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The influence of Mr. Grimm— Anecdote of a hawk — List of Grimm's 
drawings — "If Mr. Pennant had got such a work ready" — Henry 
White's new parlour — A title for John White's book — Consults an 
engraver in London — A serious illness — The great parlour begun — 
The Magdalen College archives — John White's book thrown aside — 
Mr. Sewell upon Roman coins — The new parlour tiled — John White's 
MS. at Selborne — Buys fields behind his house — Opinion of * Fauna 
Calpensis ' — Samuel Barker at Cambridge — Late appearance of house- 
martins — Mulso upon the view of the Hermitage — "One of the first 
rooms in the county " — A new correspondent, Mary White — A weed- 
ing woman . . . . ... 1 


The new parlour completed — And of singular service — Dr. Chandler's 
assistance — Ravens over the Hanger — " I\ faut cultiver notre jardin" 
— Dr. Chandler approves of John White's book — Gilbert White's 
precision and integrity — ** Pray, come out. Now's your time ! " — A 
Selborne anecdote — "The place where such a genius was born" — 
Upton Nervett Rectory declined — A new correspondent, the Rev. 
Ralph Churton — "The infirmities of a deaf man" — Mrs. Snooke dies 
— Is his Fellowship vacated ? — The Oriel statutes — His income from 
property — From his Fellowship — the Ringmer tortoise brought to 
Selborne — Invitation to R. Churton — Experiments with the tortoise 
— The great-parlour accounts— Gun practice in Oxford days — The 
way from Oxford to Selborne — **A farrago of antiquities" — Zig- 
zaggians v. Bostalians — Sleep of fishes — Search for house-martins — 
Gibbon's History— Letter to R. Churton . . . . 27 


Account of Collins in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' — An anecdote of 
him — A Heliotrope— Death of John White of Blackburn — Fate of 
the ' Fauna Calpensis ' — Course of tempests from the west — A pro- 
jected Canal — "Make haste, my dear old friend" — Sense of colour 
in birds — An unnatural uncle — Grimm's drawing of the Temple — 
Provost Clarke of Oriel dies— Chaucer upon the colour of leaves- 
Frost over buried trees — Binstead Church — Letter to Mary White — 
The Rector of Faringdon dies — " I wish you a Sinecure" — Swifts in 
September — A local flood — November house-martins — Peregrine 
falcon in Wolmer Forest . . . , , , 62 




Haunted by passages of music— The star-sluch — Verses on the crocus — 
Highlanders in Selborne — Letter to Mary White — Verses on the rain- 
bow — A quotation — A strange wedding — Advice to Edmund White 
— The Temple — Dorchester Church — The sets of verses admired — 
Mr. Barker's activity — Two agreeable young men — The "long- 
continued haze" — "Metamorphosis" — "A Harvest Scene" — Verses 
on wasps — The honey-market at Selborne — Carved stones at the 
Priory farm — Lovely autumnal colours at Selborne . . . 89 


A recipe for a mad dog's bite — Verses on the "dark still weather" — A 
Hectic heat — The Royal and Antiquaries' Societies' meetings — Two 
grand rooms— A winter journey to Selborne— Sir S. Stuart's pedigree 
— Mr. Etty dies — Whitchurch Rectory — Swallows and a married 
man — The new Vicar at Selborne — ^Timothy is lost — Mr. Yalden's 
illness — Madagascar tortoises described — The Mulsos visit Selborne 
— Letter from Timothy — A tortoise's feelings — Madagascar tortoises 
dead — High poor rates — Mr. Yalden is better — The tops of hop 
plants should be nipped — A balloon journey — Selborne curacy re- 
sumed — End of the balloon journey — A farmer's mistake — A new 
way to Selborne — A great frost . . , , . Ill 


Death of Mr. Yalden — Edmund White the new Vicar of Newton — 
Coccus mtis-viniferce — Mary White marries — Verses on the crocus — 
An anecdote from Selborne— Rough roads to Selborne — Tortworth 
Rectory vacant — Village amusements — Letter to Mary White — A 
lottery prize — The Vicar of Selborne marries — The bride at Selborne 
— Swallows in France — The number of his nephews and nieces — 
Edmund White about to marry — Samuel Barker's marriage — Letter 
to him — Benjamin White, senr., marries again — Dr. John White 
elected to Salisbury Infirmary — Making a fairy ring . . . 141 


The Wilts method of brewing — Samson White elected Fellow of Oriel 
— "Cease to curatize" — Nature notes at S. Lambeth — R. Churton 
at Selborne — Remark on hop-planting — Mulso urges publication — 
The book in the press— Samson White receives an exhibition at Oriel 
— Instructions for printing . . . . . 163 


A Selborne parish return — Selborne dames* schools — Cutting the Hanger 
— Errata in the 'Selborne' — Finishing the Index — Letter to Mary 
White — Fox-hunting parsons — Receives more proofs — Thomas 
White's corrections — A search for torpid swallows — "Your embryo 
glory " — Ready for publication — A full house — The book published — 
A flattering reception — Mulso receives the book — His opinion of it . 174 

jfAn. ]^k' 





A remarkable prophecy — Death of Henry White — Application regarding 
Fyfield Rectory — An early review — "The world has been indulgent 
to my book" — A new correspondent, George Montagu — "Greatly 
entertained by your * Natural History ' " — The willow-wren — Second 
letter from Montagu — How to preserve birds — Mrs. Chapone not a 
botanist — The fern-owl maligned — "My book is still asked for in 
Fleet Street"— Sowing furze seed — The Index insufficient — " Worry- 
brees" — "Oxford recedes every year from Selborne" — Compliments 
and honours — Daws in Derbyshire — Enlarging the Index — " Whiteists 
and Badcockists" . . . ... 191 


Dr. Chandler settles at Selborne— His journey home described — First 
letter from Robert Marsham — Migration of birds — Increase of swallows 
— An early planter — Dr. Hales— Growth of trees at Selborne — The 
fern-owl — Its food — A hybrid bird — The last letter from Mulso — 
Beech and oak trees — Birds and lighthouses — Anecdotes of Dr. Hales 
— Rebuilding the "Horace's head" — Illness of Gilbert White — 
Crossbills at S. Lambeth — The Hermitage thatched— A flight of 
house-martins — A paper upon the fern-owl proposed — Benjamin 
White contemplates retiring — The Dsemon of Procrastination — The 
Grindstone oak — Migration of nightingales — Last visit to Oxford — 
Postpones account of the fern-owl — Has long ceased to be a sports- 
man—Extract from John White's book — Martins at Gibraltar — 
Young's 'Journey in France' — Recognition of the wall creeper . 215 


Dr. John White marries — Certhia muralis — " I was born and bred a 
gentleman " — Dr. John White and his bride — Barrington and the 
Royal Society — A threatened inclosure at Selborne — A disputed 
bridle road — "Remembrances of the days of my youth" — Visit to 
Bentley Church — Last search for torpid swallows — Early bank- 
martins— Strangers praise the 'Selborne' — The last letter to Marsham 
— Not author of letter against torpidity of swallows — Last entries in 
his Journal — Illness and death . . ... 252 


Funeral directions — Will — Headstone and monument — J. R. Lowell's 
verses— Gilbert White and Darwin — A book of outdoor life — The 
testimony of two investigators — No portrait of Gilbert White — Love 
of his family for Selborne— Memorials at Selborne — The last of 
the family at Selborne — Early editions of the book — Some early 
notices — The cult of Gilbert White and Selborne — A present-day 
appreciation . . . . ... 272 


John White, father of Gilbert White . . Frontispiea 

From a miniature by Bernard Lens, in the possession of the 

Seal (arms of Holt), which belonged to Gilbert White, 
and was invariably used by him for sealing his letters 
{\\ the size of the original) . . .On Title page 

Henry White's House at Fyfikld . . To face page 4 

From a recent photograph. 

Thomas Holt- White, nephew of Gilbert White . ,, ,,16 

From an oil painting in the possession of the author. He notes 
on the margin of Letter V. to Pennant, in his copy of the ' Sal- 
borne,' that "these calculations ['a state of the Parish of Selbome 
taken Oct. 4, 17S3'] were drawn by me out of the Selborne 
Registers ; and very many of the suggestions for the Work came 
from my Father [Thomas White]." 

The Old Parlour AT " The Wakes " . . „ ,,28 

From a recent photograph. This room is quite unaltered since 
Gilbert White's time. 

" The Wakes," Selborne : garden front . . „ ,,50 

From an engraving in the third (4to) edition of the ' Selborne,' 
1813. The two windows on the left of the picture are those of the 
"great parlour" built in 1777-8 by Gilbert White, 

Mrs. Snooke's House at Ringmer in 1783 . . On page 61 

From an engraving in the ' Reliquary ' (by pennission of 
Messrs. Bemrose and Sons). 

Mary (Molly) White, setat 20 . . .To face page 96 

From an oil painting by W. M. Metz, in the possession of thft 

Henry White, Gilbert White's youngest brother . „ „ 138 

From a drawing in the possession of John Edward White, Esq. 

Barometer, which belonged to Gilbert White ; now in the 
possession of Mrs. John White . . . On page 173 



The Garden and Park of "The Wakes," Selborne, 
looking towards the Hanger . . .To face, page 188 

From a recent painting by Edith Margaret Green. 

" The Wakes," Selborne, from the village street . ,, „ 204 

From a photograph by the late Professor Thomas Bell. 

Benjamin White, brother of Gilbert White . . „ ,, 232 

From a miniature in the possession of Mrs. John White. 

Selborne FROM THE Common ABOVE THE Hanger . „ ,, 258 

From a recent photograph by Holliday and Co., Alton. 

The Last Page of the Naturalist's Journal ; June 
9th-15th, 1793 . . . • ,, „ 270 

The Grave of Gilbert White in Selborne churchyard . ,, ,, 274 

From a recent photograph. 

Extract from the Particulars of Sale of "the Sel- 
borne Estate, Hants, which will be sold by auction by 
Mr. George Robins at the Auction Mart, London, on 
Tuesday, July 25th, 1840, at 12 o'clock. In four lots" ,, „ 282 

The " Grindstone Oak," in the Holt Forest, near Farn- 

ham . . . . .On page 289 

From an engraving in Bennett's edition of the 'Selborne,' 1837. 

Pedigree of the White family . . .To face page 300 





On September 27th, 1776, Mulso writes that he was 

unable to visit his friend this year, because — 

" I have a great variety of businesses now on my hands, 
... I have all my farmers to compose. ... I am horribly 
provoked, for curiosity as well as affection draw me towards 
you: and Mrs. Mulso, hearing of practicable egress and 
regress, remits her apprehensions of walking to Selborne: 
as to my girls, the thought of it is a banquet. ... Oh ! 
how unlike is the visit of Bloxam * and attorney Knott to 
the elegant attendance of Mr. Grimm, who came to per- 
petuate scenery so dear to you? Yours is a life of virtii, 
and mine of carking and caring." 

The influence of Mr. Grimm is perhaps apparent 

in the following entry in the Naturalist's Journal : — 

"Oct. 12. The hanging beech-woods begin to be beauti- 
fully tinged, and to afford most lovely scapes very engaging 
to the eye and imagination. They afford sweet lights and 

* A surveyor. 
VOL. II. — B 


shades. Maples are also finely tinged. These scenes are 
worthy of the pencil of a Rubens." 

"Nov. 1. [Fy field.] Four swallows were seen skimming 
about in a lane below Newton. This circumstance seems 
much in favor of hiding, since the Hirundines seemed to 
be withdrawn for some weeks. It looks as if the soft 
weather had called them out of their retirement." 

From Fyfield his uncle wrote — 

To Samuel Barker, Fyfield, Novr. 1, 1776. 

Dear Sam, — Just as I thought you had been master of the 
manners and customs of the bank-martin, you write me 
word that you do not know it when you see it. The case is, 
you did not begin to look 'til the decline of summer, when 
all the Hirundines cease to frequent their nesting-places. 
If you will pay some attention to those holes in the spring, 
you will probably see the owners busyed in the matters of 
nidification : besides they are to be distinguished from their 
congeners by their small size, their mouse-colour, and their 
wriggling, desultory manner of flying. Pray observe when 
they come first. 

The instance you give of the swiftness of an hawk was 
somewhat extraordinary. But a very intelligent person once 
assured me that he saw a more extraordinary instance of 
command of wing in a daw, which is not very remarkable 
for feats of activity of that kind. As this person was riding 
on Salisbury plain he saw a bird on the wing dropping 
something from its bill, and catching it again before it came 
to the ground, several times repeatedly: this unusual sight 
drew his attention, so that he rode nearer, and saw still the 
same feat repeated to his great surprize. It appeared to him 
that the ball dropped and recovered was a wallnut. Now a 
wallnut, I should think, would fall much faster than a dead 


bird, whose feathers would meet with resistance from the 

In 24 days Mr. Grimm finished for me 12 drawings ; the 
most elegant of which are 1, a view of the village and 
hanger from the short Lithe * ; 2, a view of the S.E. end of 
the hanger and its cottages, taken from the upper end of the 
street ; 3, a side view of the old hermitage, with the Hermit 
standing at the door,f this piece he is to copy again for 
Uncle Harry ; 4, a sweet view of the short Lithe and Dorton 
from the lane beyond Peasecod's house. He took also two 
views of the Church J; two views of my outlet; a view of 
the Temple-farm § ; a view of the village from the inside of 
the present hermitage; Hawkley hanger, which does not 
prove very engaging ; and a grotesque and romantic drawing 
of the water-fall in the hollow bed of the stream in Silk- 
wood's vale to the KE. of Berriman's house. You need 
not wonder that the drawings you saw by Grimm did not 
please you; for they were 3s. Qd. pieces done for a little 
ready money : so there was no room for softening his trees, 
&c. He is a most elegant colourist ; and what is more, the 
use of these fine natural stainings is altogether his own; 
yet his pieces were so engaging in Indian-ink that it was 
with regret that I submitted to have some of them coloured. 
Mr. Wyndham of Sarum has engaged Grimm next summer 
for eight or nine weeks in a tour round N. and S. Wales. I 
rejoice to hear you are so deep in French. 

I am wonderfully delighted with the addition to my 
Brother's little common parlor ; " Nequeunt expleri corda 
tuendo"; it now altogether gives much ease to such a 
numerous family; and is very peculiar, light, roomy and 

• The large folding frontispiece to ' The Natural History and Antiquities 
of Sel borne,' first edition. 

t The vignette on the title-page, op. eit. 
X Placed opposite pp. 315, 323, op. cit, 
§ Placed opposite p. 342, op. cit. 


convenient, containing 450 square feet. Mr. Amy and is 

a very genteel pleasing youth; he puts me in mind of 

Mr. Brocket. Yours affect., 

Gil. White. 
Pray write soon to Selborne. 

When the children are buzzing down at their spinnet, and 

we grave folks sit round the chimney, I am put in mind of 

the following couplet, which you will remember : — 

"... all the distant din that world can keep 
Rolls o'er my grotto, and improves my sleep." 

It is very extraordinary that the new chimney does not 
smoke in the least. Mr. Henry Woods has been at my house, 
and has taken his daughter to Chichester ; so there are now 
no children at nurse at Selborne or Newton ! 

To the Bev. John White. Eyfield, Novr. 2, 1776. 

Dear Brother, — As you have experienced so often how 
very necessary exercise is for your health, you will no doubt 
be careful how any avocation or pursuit, how laudable 
soever, shall again interrupt that regimen so essentially 
needful. Our brother Thomas has found vast benefit from 
his journey to Bath : the waters, and the bathing have quite 
removed for the present both his internal and external ails. 
He advises, I find, if your rheumatism returns, a journey 
to Buxton. 

Jack is very tall indeed! but if he continues healthy, 
it will be esteemed an advantage to be a well-grown man. 
You have never told me whether he was bound for five 
or seven years. 

With respect to your MS. you seem a cup too low ; and 
do not assume the importance of an author. If Mr. 
Pennant had got such a work ready, he would feel little 
diffidence ; and would expect it would produce some money. 
If you desire it, I shall be willing to look it over; and 

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perhaps brother Thomas will do the same when at leisure. 
By what I saw perhaps some articles may be thought too 
long. The whale-fishery is a fine new circumstance, and 
worthy of a national attention ; especially as we may soon 
possibly have nothing to do with the N. American seas. 
But in such narrow limits, and so warm a climate, how can 
such an offensive occupation be carryed on without proving 
a vast nuisance to the garrison ? Train-oil, and whales flesh 
must smell very vigorously in lat. 36. How wise have all the 
Naturalists proved themselves to be by laying it down for 
granted that there were no whales in the Mediterranean. 

Brother Harry has now a fine annual income ; and will, I 
trust now, when he comes to rest a little from his labours of 
building, be able to lay up money for his family. His new 
pupil is a very pleasing, ingenuous youth. Mr. Halliday, 
though upwards of six feet high, does not leave him 'til Feb. 
We are now sitting in the new edition of his old parlor 
enlarged ; it is odd and peculiar, but very roomy, light and 
convenient, and every way suitable to a vast family. 

The ceiling of the new part is eleven feet high. This new 
building is thirty feet long ; so that my sister gets the N. 
end for a store-room: and over all are to be two small 
lodging-rooms; so there are now in this house twelve 
chambers. The whole room is wainscotted with deal.* 

Last night my brother received a letter from the attorney 
near Manchester, who wishes to be curate of Darwen. He 
is urgent for matters to be brought to a bargain. Sure the 
injunctions and provisions against simony have never 
reached your part of the world. If disappointed he will 
not, I hope, stir up a clamour against the southern non 

* Henry White's house at Fyfield still exists, apparently not much altered 
externally. It stands near the Rectory (partially rebuilt in 1830), which he 
used as a schoolhouse. His enlarged parlour cannot now be certainly identi- 
fied owing to internal alterations. 


Dick* is with me; he is good-natured, and some what 
heady at times. It is well he is intended for trade, since he 
loves anything better than book : bodily labor he does not 
spare; for rolling, wheeling, water-drawing, grass-walk- 
sweeping are his delight. I have taught him to ride ; and 
perhaps a good seat on an horse may be more useful to him 
than Virgil, or Horace. I tryed Phsedrus ; but my patience 
failed. However he may procure health and strength, and a 
little behaviour at my house. 

We all join in respects. My brother's outlet is still 
pleasing. y^^ affect., 

Gil. White. 

Early in the year 1777 Gilbert White visited his 
brother Thomas in London, whence he wrote — 

To the Bev. John White. 

Thames street, Feb. 27 [1777]. 

Dear Brother, — Many thanks for your letter of the 18th 
and for your extract from Reaumur. We all much approve 
of what you intend to inscribe to the Archbishop, thinking 
it neat and polite : but like yourself we do not much like 
your title-page. Brother Ben. says he thinks that 'Hist. 
nat. observations in Lat. 36 ' should all be left out ; and 
that it should begin with 'An Essay,' &c., but it is not worth 
while to be solicitous about a title-page : Swift says, " for 
a title-page consult your bookseller." But the term ' Fauna 
Calpensis,' tho' judged to be too quaint and pedantic for 
the beginning of a title, yet, I think, must by no means 
be sunk for the following reason, because I believe you have 
always told Linnaeus that you should call your book by that 
name; and therefore if he mentions your work in his last 
edition (as he certainly will) you will lose all the credit 

* His nephew Richard, son of Benjamin White, now aged 15. 


to be derived from such notice of you, if you mention no 
such title. Supposing Linn, to be dead, there can be no 
doubt but that his son will put forth the new edition. By 
what we remember of the specimen of your work, we 
thought some articles too diffuse. It is natural for you 
to fall a little into this extreme from the regard you express 
for Eeaumur ; since all the French in Natural History are 
very circumstantial. Be so good as not to forestall my 
cobweb-shower;* I wish I had two or three dozen more 
of such anecdotes. An engraver has been with me; and 
I have been talking with him about his taking off five or six 
of my drawings : he says that my quarto drawings cannot 
be well executed under eight guineas a piece : now five times 
eight is forty ! Grimm is reducing my Hermitage- view in 
order to bring it to a proper size for a mgnette : he is also to 
take it in a large scale for brother Henry. You will see 
in the papers a remarkable cause in the Commons between 
a Patron and a Eector who took two distant perpetual 
curacies : the matter was determined in favor of the Eector ; 
had it gone against him the Eector of Fyfield would have 
had cause to quake. I propose staying in town 'til the 
14th of March. Eespects to my sister. 

Your aff. brother, 

Gil. White. 

If you think the mention of your degree of A.B. will 
occasion any inconvenience you may easily drop it. Brother 
Thomas waits on the Dean of Ely to-morrow at Lambeth : 
and will be sure to desire him to represent you and Harry 
in a favourable light to the new Bishop of Chester. Poor 
Nanny White f declines very fast, and is in a very languish- 
ing state. 

* Vide 'The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne,' Letter 
XXIII. to Eeafiftiit. Sa/r.^j^/,. 

t Daughter of Benjamin White, senr. 


A somewhat serious attack of illness occurred 
during the London visit. 

To the Bev. John White. Selborne, May 2 [1777]. 

Dear Brother, — I should have wished that you had found 
your book more marketable, and that you could have sold it 
outright. Yet if Benj" offers to join, it looks as if he did 
not fear the want of success in the publication: besides 
booksellers have ways and means of subscribing off among 
the trade in which authors cannot avail themselves. 

My thanks are due for your calling on Edm. Woods, who 
will, I think, soon supply me with some windows. 

I wish I could prevail on you to come down and spend 
a little time with us before you return Northward. 

As soon as I got to town I sent your Hortus siccus by my 
brother Thomas's boy to Mr. Curtis's own house ; and was in 
hopes he would have examined the plants. 

No swifts appear yet, though we have soft weather. 

My left hand is full of gout : all my fingers look red, and 
shoot and burn. If I have gout about me it is best to come 
out. I hope you found and left Mrs. Snooke well. 

The spirit of building prevails much in this district ; 
Rich*^ Butler, the thatcher, is going to enlarge his house; 
John Bridger of Oakhanger builds a new one next spring ; 
and Mr. P.[owlett] of Rotherfield began pulling down 


" The child that is unborn may rue 
The pulling of that day." 

I am your loving brother, 

Gil. White. 

Pray write often, and let me hear what steps you take 
respecting your book. 

On June 1st, 1777, Mulso wrote : — 


" It was from Dr. Balguy's information, (who returned to 
us very lately) that I learnt you had been very dangerously 
ill in London ; but my comfort came at the same time, for he 
mentioned your being recovered, and attending at the visita- 
tion at Alton. ... I am curious to know whether the regimen 
that you must have been put into for your cure, had any 
effect on your deafness. ... As I do not see any advertise- 
ments in the papers, I conclude by the time of year that 
you have deferred your publication till next winter. I wish 
you had not: your brother Ben. is a timid man, and you 
yourself are too modest and nice. The humour for such 
performances will be over, and make something against the 
merit of even your book. I felt impatient to see it, with 
the decorations of Mr. Grimm." 

From the Naturalist's Journal — 
"June 6. Began to build the walls of my parlor, which is 
23 ft. and half by 18 ft. ; and 12 feet high and 3 inches." 

To Thomas White. 

[With a copy of a letter from Dr. Chandler"^ respecting 

The Temple, near Selborne.] 

Selborne, June 20, 1777. 

Dear Brother, — The Doctor's letter on the other side is 
very satisfactory, and very edifying: for it not only proves 
that OUT Temple belonged to the Knights Templars ; but that 
it was also a preceptory, the preceptory of StiDiNGTON ; now 

* Dr. Richard Chandler (1738-1810) was educated at Winchester College, 
and Queen's College, Oxford. He became Demy of Magdalen 1757, and 
Probationary Fellow 1770. In 1764 he was commissioned by the Society of 
Dilettanti to travel for antiquities in Asia Minor and Greece, of which he 
published a narrative, as well as other works. In 1777 he was presented 
to the livings of Worldham and West Tisted, in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of Selborne. In 1790 he settled for some time at Selborne Vicarage. 
As will be seen, he rendered very material help to Gilbert White in the 
preparation of his account of the antiquities of Selborne, in which parish 
Magdalen College owned the Priory Estate. 


called Southington : notwithstanding Bishop Tanner asserts 
that he never could find more than two preceptories in this 
county, viz. Godesfield and S. Badeisley. Hence we may 
be certain that the Bishop did not get access to the papers 
in Magdalen College archives. 

Though the lands of the convent and the Templars abutted 
on each other, and were intermixed; yet we see that those 
two societies of Eeligious lived on the best of terms, in 
an intercourse of mutual good offices, exchanging lands, 
and permitting roads to be opened for each other's mutual 

We see also that Blachmere and Bradshot, names well 
known to modern ears, were also familiar to the neigh- 
bourhood four or five hundred years ago. 

I expect Dr. Chandler soon; and regret much (and he 
assures me he does the same) that the statutes will not 
permit him to bring with him the archive -papers to 
Selborne, which contain much knowledge concerning the 
antiquities of this place; information that has never been 
pryed into ; but has slumbered within the College- walls ever 
since they were founded. 

We have drowning weather, and a dismal black solstice. 
Such rains make carriage very irksome, and the attendance 
on building very comfortless, and brick-burning very pre- 
carious : but the walls, I trust, will be the stronger ; since 
the mortar is the better blended into the chinks and crevices 
during so sloppy a season. 

Let me hear how you have sold your oak-timber. 

Y^s &c., 

Gil. White. 

To the Rev. John White. Selborne, July 16, 1777. 

Dear Brother, — Some how or other I had persuaded 
myself that you were to write first ; and having little to say, 
as we had seen each other so lately, I thought I would stay 


'til you gave the challenge before I attacked you with an 

As yet I have not seen your work ; but shall peruse it 
with pleasure as soon as brother Thomas brings it. But he 
is going at present to bathe on the coast of Dorset for a few 

As I hoped and expected to see you derive some credit 
and emolument from your labours, I was sorry to hear 
that the whole pursuit is thrown aside for the present in 
some degree of disgust and chagrin. One thing I could 
never understand, and that is, that you say in a former 
letter, "that having so near a relation a bookseller, should 
you not agree with him about terms, no other publisher 
would meddle with your work, because your relation is 
one of the first editors in the natural history way": now 
the force of this argument I could never see: for Cadel[l] 
or any other man would be influenced alone by his own 
judgment; and if he saw merit in the work, and an in- 
teresting subject, would little regard, I should think, another 
person's sentiments. Unless you have experienced the 
inconvenience that you thought you foresaw, your suspicions 
were probably wrong. 

The roof of my great parlor is finished ; and my walls in a 
few days will be up to their proper pitch ; so that we shall 
soon proceed to rearing. You do well in removing the earth 
that lies above your floors : I have taken away much for the 
same reason. 

I have not seen the clergy-act, but am assured that it has 
nothing to do with residence: there is nothing compulsive 
in it : but it enables the clergy to borrow money on their 
livings, which they may lay out on the repairs of their 
houses, &c., and so exempt their representatives at their 
deaths for heavy dilapidations. For the money borrowed 
the resident incumbent is to pay five per cent, and some 
small proportion of the principal off annually ; a non-resident 


must pay ten per cent, and when the borrower dies the 

residue remains a debt on the living 'til by degrees it is 

payed off. Mr. Etty, as far as he knows of the matter yet, 

for neither has he seen the act, approves much of the plan, 

and thinks he may avail himself of the matter so as to 

save himself from heavy demands on his family at his death. 

The security to the lender seems to be safe and good, since 

the living, not any particular incumbent, is answerable : but 

some think few men that have money will care to lend it so 

as to have the principal repaid at the rate perhaps of only 

20s per ann. We had wet weather all the month of May : 

but from the 10th of June to the 9th of July it was the 

strangest summer-solstice I ever saw; nothing but wind, 

and floods, and clouds, and wintry doings ; so that we kept 

fires in the parlor most part of the time. We have now 

sweet weather. Respects to my sister. 

Y^« &c., 

Gil. White. 

A copy of the following letter from Mr. Sewell, 

Eector of Headley, to Gilbert White, was forwarded 

by him to his brother Thomas ; no doubt in view 

of the latter 's proposed publication upon Hampshire 

antiquities. To the letter Gilbert White added the 

postscript below given : — 

Headley, Aug. 7, 1777. 

Rev^ Sir, — Out of a large pot of Medals (about 3 years 
since) which were found in Wulmere pond, I collected a 
regular series, from Claudius Drusus to Commodus included ; 
that is, Medals of all the Roman Emperors from a.d. 43 to 
194 with those of the two Faustinas, and Crispina, Empress 
of Commodus : and after Commodus I found no more. Also 
among the rest I found that of Trajan's famous Stone 
Bridge over the Danube below Belgrade ; which if it had 



been found, when the three bridges at London were first 
planned viz. Westminster, London and Blackfriars Bridges, 
would then have been of very great value. Vespasian, a 
General under Claudius Drusus, about a.d. 47, marched 
down with a Eoman Army this way, from the parts where 
London now is, towards Porchester, S. Hampton, and the 
Isle of Wight. It is beautiful, on Headly Heath and 
Common, to observe the Entrenchments of the Eomans, 
and Britains over against each other: the first advancing, 
the other retreating. The Eomans crossed Headly Eiver at 
Stanford, and advanced to the place, where now is Wulmere 
pond; and there fixed an abiding Station or City, which 
remained for near on 150 years ; when they seem to have 
been expelled thence by the Britains, or perhaps by an 
earthquake or some other cause. Great treasures even now 
lye buried in that pond, of Eoman Antiquities, of Coins and 
medals, of instruments of war, and husbandry, and various 
utensils for various uses. 

Of the vast quantity of Medals found there, as you 
mention about 40 years since, no kind of historical use was 
ever made that I ever heard of : when this plain and obvious 
historical Truth might easily from thence have been deduced, 
the commencement, continuance, or duration of the Eoman 
Station, or City of Wulmere in Hants. I believe may be 
traced from thence vestiges of Eoman Eoads to Porchester, 
Winton, &c. — The Et. Hon. Mr. Legg got a great quantity 
of these coins ; and with him they lye dormant ; as also do 
a great quantity with Whitehead Esq. of Liphook, and with 
Mr. Hugonin. And this is the misfortune of most An- 
tiquities and Curiosities, that they frequently fall into 
hands that can collect nothing from them ; in whose cofiers 
they are more buried than if they were to lye in the depth 
of a mine, or of Wulmere pond. The greatest curiosity 
hereabouts is, as I said, the advancement of the Eoman 
Army to the S.W., over Hindhead, and over Headly upper 


Heath and Common. What may be observed of this kind, 
by way of Liphook over Hindhead, I have not yet searched 
and examined. i am, Sir, most respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

W"' Sewell. 

" Let those, who weekly, from the city's smoke, 
Croud to each neighb'ring hamlet, there to hold 
Their dusty sabbath, tip with gold and red 
The milk-white palisades, that Gothic now, 
And now Chinese, now neither, and yet both, 
Checquer their trim domain." 

" These seem to be some of the best lines in Mr. Mason's 
'English Garden,' which is a work that has disappointed 
me much, especially as the subject and the credit of the 
author had raised my expectations. By last post I wrote 
to you on an interesting subject, and hope for your answer 
soon : I shall now, I trust, be able to secure that 'Angulus ' 
which the family have been labouring so long to obtain. 
Harry and Cane left me this morning ; the former expressed 
no uneasiness to me concerning the matters you hint at. 
Dr. Chandler is reading brother John's papers with great 
attention and assiduity ; but says, in order to their becoming 
more popular that they should be thrown quite out of their 
systematic arrangement." 

From Mulso, August 19, 1777 : — 

"I know you to be that sort of man, who is long in 
determining upon any point, but constant to the plan 
established. I have therefore considered you for some time 
as a man plunged into mortar. ... I like the scheme of con- 
farreation between your brother and you. He is a man of 
sense and vivacity and will teach the goiXt to be of use to 
you. I am not at all surprized at your improvement, even 
though you had not had the furtherance of your brother, 
for you have been nibbling at it a long time ; and to say 


truth I did not know but that this expatiating scheme 
might depend upon another, and that you was preparing 
to exhibit to us Benedict the married man. I knew such a 
venture was too delicate to be explained even to an old 
friend, till it was quite resolved upon ; and then like 
January you would have called your council about you. 
I hope it is better as it is, though I declare I should have 
spoken with Placebo and not with Justin. 

" Let me, however, know how matters are going with 
you; and whether, if an opportunity offered of my calling 
upon you, I should have nothing but a Hod for a Hammock. 
I feel awkward, if a summer slips by me, and I do not see 

On August 30th it is noted — 

" Finished tiling the new parlor in good condition." 

The brother mentioned by Mulso was undoubtedly 
brother Thomas, to whose eldest son, Thomas Holt- 
White, the house and property at Selborne were 
originally devised by his uncle ; who, however, 
ultimately left it to his own brother Benjamin. 
The erection of this considerable addition to "the 
old house at home" clearly indicates a definite 
intention now to remain at Selborne. 

To the Rev. John White. Eingmer, Sepr. 11, 1777. 

Dear Brother, — Being informed that Mrs. Snooke was 
seized with the palsy, and had lost the use of one side, and 
that her speech was much impaired; and moreover that 
she was alone by herself without any friend; I set out 
at a day's warning, though surrounded with workmen, and 
arrived here late last Saturday evening. I found the poor 
old lady in a low and languishing state, though better, the 


people about her told me, than she had been some days 
before. The next morning she was much mended ; and has 
continued to mend so fast every day that she is become quite 
another woman; and Mr. Manning informed me this 
morning that he had now good hopes of a recovery. 

Brother Harry brought your MS. to Selborne the first 
week in August but what between an hurry of business, 
company, and building, I have been able as yet to pay little 
attention to it. Yet though I have not paid it that regard 
which I ought, a visitor of mine has read it through with 
great care; and if I may judge from the many hours he 
bestowed on it each day should suppose he was well pleased. 
The person alluded to is D'^ Chandler the traveller in Greece, 
who being no naturalist has no partiality for the Linn. 
system; but avers that it will prevent your book from 
becoming popular. He and I had much serious talk about 
the matter; and he asserts roundly, that he is sure that 
if you could perswade yourself to divest it of its quaint garb 
(those were his words) that he is certain it would be worth 
£200 of any body's money. He advises (no he does not, for 
he spoke with great modesty on the occasion) he hints, I 
should say, that if you could prevail on yourself to exchange 
Glasses and Ordines for Chapters, and to throw all your tables 
back into an appendix, that your book would be very much 
read. The generality of readers, he observes, are very lazy, 
and afraid of figures ; though your tables, he thinks, may be 
pleasing and useful to some. He farther added, that you 
might still refer to Linn. &c. at the bottom of each page. 
And I have observed myself, that booksellers lately in new 
editions of Nat. works have added Linn, names; and the 
reason is, because though it is the fashion now to despise 
Linn, yet many languish privately to understand his method. 

Pray weigh seriously what I have said, and consider about 
the J)^'^ £200. You have not been informed, I think, that 
John Wells has at last consented to sell me the fields 


behind my house, that a7igulus iste, which the family have 
so long desired. For this little farm I have laid down 
some money in part payment ; so hope no untoward accident 
will now deprive me of it. With respects to my sister I 
remain. y^ affect, brother, 

G. White. 
Pray write to Selborne where I hope to be soon. 

His aunt's illness did not prevent his noticing, and 

noting in his Naturalist's Journal, exact particulars 

of the tortoise's diet on September lltli, and, a day 

or two afterwards, the fact that it had not " at all 

increased in weight since last year." On October 9th, 

1777, Mulso wrote regretting that he could not visit 

Selborne that year. 

"I am angry with you that you speak so faintly about 
your own work. Mind, that I expect you upon 'Nature,' 
and the Bishop of London upon 'Isaiah and Prophecy' 
next winter. Fail not herein 'as you shall etc.'" 

In the following letter the elder brother records 
his opinion of the MS. of ' Fauna Calpensis ' : — 

To the Rev. John White. Selborne, Octr. 31, 1777. 

Dear Brother, — Had I not been called in the beginning of 
this month to Oxford, where I spent all my time either in 
college business, or inspecting, and transcribing by means of 
an amanuensis, many curious papers from the Archives of 
Magdalen College relative to the antiquities of Selborne, you 
had heard from me some time ago. In my pursuits as an 
antiquary D"". Chandler has been wonderfully friendly and 
communicative, and my discoveries about this place are very 
great : we examined 366 parchments. I have now read your 

VOL. II. — c 


work, all but the entomology, once over ; and am proceeding 
to read several parts twice over. In the whole I much 
approve of your book. Your preface is neat; your history 
is what I call true Natural History, because it abounds with 
anecdote, and circumstance ; and I verily think your disserta- 
tions on the Hirundines are the best tracts I ever saw of the 
kind, as they throw much light on the dark but curious 
business of migration ; and possess such merit as alone might 
keep any book from sinking. If consulted I therefore protest 
loudly against the intention of throwing your papers aside ; 
for I think in a thousand instances they will delight a good 
Naturalist. I therefore pronounce as the Vice-chancellor of 
Oxon. does on similar occasions — imprimatur. But then to 
act as an impartial critic, I must also say, that sometimes 
(and others think so as well as myself) your language is 
rather diffuse, and your sentences too long ; and what I most 
wonder at is, that at times you not only use the same verb, 
or its derivations five or six times in a paragraph, but some- 
times twice or thrice in the same sentence. Being jealous 
of the honor of your work, I cannot admit of these inaccur- 
acies, and have therefore presumed to amend some of them, 
but with what success I must leave you to judge. I must 
therefore desire you, who are so perfectly capable, to bestow 
a fresh and severe inspection on the language. Brother 
Thomas is now in town, and I wish you would desire him to 
send me down your entomology which I long to see. 

No wonder that you did not much relish D^ Chandler's 
proposal of rejecting all system ; the reason of sending you 
that advice was that I thought then that System was the 
stumbling-block between you and your chapman ; but now I 
plainly perceive that warm words and some heats have arisen 
between you, which I hope will all soon be forgotten. Indeed 
I wonder that in these days any work should stick on hand 
of your sort; as I cannot but think that it might sell. 
Would it not therefore be best to make fresh advances 


in Fleet Street ; and so set your work a going in some way ? 
When you print, pray correct the press yourself. Pray, 
before every class, give an explanation of terms : Linn, does 
so ; and I think by this means the town might be led on 
gently to relish Linn, terms. But without a glossary how 
should men know what the lorum* of a Bird is ! no wonder 
Linn, does not answer your letters ; poor man, he is grown 
childish ! 

Poor Nanny White was buried last Monday night in this 
church-yard ; she dyed at S. Lambeth. 

If you lend money on private security, pray be careful. 
Jack, I hope, will write to me about the earthquake. 
Brother Thomas has the best interest with Mr. Lort ; I have 
none. Next week I put in my sashes, and proceed to ceiling 
and plastering my great parlor. Our weather is very tem- 
pestuous; the glass yesterday at 28*3. My best respects to 
my sister. Y''^ affect., 

Gil. White. 

On October 21st, 1777, Samuel Barker was admitted 
a Pensioner of Clare Hall, Cambridge ; as appears 
from information kindly supplied by the Rev. Dr. 
Atkinson, the present Master of that College. 

To Samuel Barker, Selborne, Novr. 7, 1777. 

Dear Sam, — No event that I have met with for some time 
has given me more pleasure than the news of your being 
sent to the university : because, I trust, you will make the 
best use of this advantage, both in your literary pursuits, 
and by improvement in the knowledge of men and manners. 
As to a proper acquaintance, you have nothing to do but to 
lys by, and act a little on the reserve, and you will soon 
discern what young men are suitable to your purpose : and 

* Lorum, the space between the bill and eye of a bird. — A. N. 


besides young people of your own turn, when they know 
you a little, will naturally make some advances. 

All the house-martins withdrew about the 7th of Oct., 
and seemed gone to a bird 'til Novr. 4th, when 21 were seen 
playing about under the hanger all day, and for that day 
only. This circumstance seems the more odd, and amusing 
to me, because I have known it befal more than once or 
twice. Where were they during the interval? and where 
are they now ? This event militates strongly in favour of 
hiding, and against migration. The bats do just the same 
all the winter and spring : they sleep at intervals ; and then 
come forth and feed, and retire again. 

The Order of Polygamia frustranea is constituted, you 
know, from having the florets of the disk hermaphrodite 
and those of the radius neuter. Not knowing where to 
apply for a common knap-weed in bloom, I know not how 
to solve your difficulty. The district round Cambridge will 
furnish you in the summer with the great aquatics. When 
you are a little at leisure I shall always be glad to hear 
from you. 

Don't fail to practise frequently in writing English. 
I am your affect*® friend, 

Gil. White. 

In the previous month of October, 1777, the pur- 
chase of the "farm late John Well's," as he called it, 
was completed by Gilbert White. The money for 
its purchase was advanced by his brother Thomas, 
whose tenant he accordingly became at an annual 

On November 30th, 1777, Mulso writes : — 

" I wish you joy of your purchases, of your buildings, and 
of the advances of Selbourne towards perfection. I feel a 
partiality for that place, from its being such a favourite 


of yours, and from the many happy and useful hours that 
I have spent there. 

"I thank you for the piece of Mr. Grimm, but surely I 
was never more disappointed. I declare that had the picture 
come through any hands but a White's, which might have 
directed me, I should not have guessed at the place. A 
print in general does ill with perspective; but in this, 
neither the Hill itself, or the neighbouring country are in 
character. I hope I do not mortify you to say so : and I 
hope better things of your other views." 

The view in question was clearly a proof of the 
vignette of tlie Hermitage. Perhaps the severe 
opinion was partly justified, but it is not easy to 
do justice to a scene on an eminence ; as it were, 
hanging in the air. 

That Gilbert White was now fairly embarked in 
his 'Antiquities of Selborne' appears from a long 
letter, dated December 15th, 1777, about Selborne 
Priory, to Mr. John Loveday, of Caversham, M.A. 
of Magdalen College, Oxford, and the following : — 

To Thomas White. 
[With a list of documents from Dr. Chandler concerning 
The Priory of Selborne]. 

30 Deer. [1777]. 

Dear Brother, — You see D' Ch.[andler] has been wonder- 
fully kind and obliging to take so much pains in transcribing 
from the index such articles as he thought most interesting 
with respect to the priory &c. of Selburn. From the index^ 
I say; for it doth not yet appear that he has at all con- 
sulted the original papers, which are reposited in the Tower 
[of Magd: Coll:] under several keys. I have made appli- 
cation to the President by means of a friend for leave, if 


possible, to be granted, to take some of these papers into my 
hands, for which I would give hond to the society. But the 
D"* says the statutes are so strict concerning these papers, 
that he doubts much whether my request will be attended 
to. All the indulgence I may expect to meet with, he 
imagines, if any at all, will be to have them deposited in 
some Fellow's apartments, in which I may have access to 
them. He desires much, that no notice may be taken of 
his having sent me this extract. 

Pray read over these articles very deliberately and send 
me your sentiments. I think I discern many interesting 
anecdotes ; but shall forbear to mention particulars, wishing 
rather to see our wits jump. Your aff. Bro"" 

Gil. White. 
I thank you for your letter this evening. 

At the beginning of the year 1778 a bad account 
of John White's health reached Selborne from Black- 
burn. On January 5th, Mulso, after condoling with 
his friend upon the melancholy news, continues — 

"You are a happy man who clear away rubbishes, and 
build on a clear surface. I shall visit your new room one 
day or another, I hope. With its beautiful site it will be 
one of the first rooms in the County. 

"I have framed Mr. Grimm, though I dislike him as a 
Print. Where he could throw a little colour, or chiaro 
oscuro, the effect might be great, but Ned Mulso and 
Mr. Airson as well as myself, declared that they should 
never have thought of Selbourne from that Piece. However 
it will do with the rest. The lines are strong and clean, 
and poor Harry* makes a decent figure, but not so good 
as in the original. If I was with you, I could point out 
what would have been more advantageous; but the thing 

* As the Hermit. 



is set, and I do not desire to put you out of conceit with 
your Vignette, which is really pretty. But I grow very 
impatient for the Work, I have promised it as a regale to 
the good old bishop. I depend upon the religious turn that 
is in it to compleat his approbation to that part which as a 
naturalist he may know less of, and of course care less about." 

On February 12th, 1778, the same correspondent 

writes : — 

"You are so taken up as a builder, that you do not yet 
speak in your old style of a gardener. . . . The Hermitage 
is hanging over my chimney now, and I do all I can to 
persuade myself that it is like: but your little motto at 
the bottom does more towards bringing it to my mind 
than all Grimm's graving. Success to your Lares V 

The motto referred to is, of course, the line from 
the ' Invitation to Selborne ' — 

" Where the Hermit hangs his straw-clad cell." 

A new correspondent, to whom gossiping letters 
were addressed, now appears in Mary (Molly), the 
only daughter of Thomas White, who, at this time 
a girl aged nineteen, kept house for her father, a 
widower, at South Lambeth. 

The following letter was written after a visit to 
his brother at South Lambeth, whither he carried 
his Naturalist's Journal, in which he continued to 
note his observations, some of which read rather 
oddly at the present day. 

" March 14. The green woodpecker laughs in the fields of 

" Owls hoot at Vauxhall." 


To Miss White, 

Thomas White's, Esqre., 
South Lambeth, Surry. 

Selborne, Apr. 13, 1778. 

Dear Niece, — It is now full time to return your father 
and you thanks for all good offices at S. Lambeth; and 
to remind you that you are indebted to me not only for 
this year, but for all last year, and I believe all the year 
hefore: so that I hope you will come when convenient 
and wipe out all scores. 

My poor portmanteau-horse, Miller, has lost the use of 
his hinder parts ; and now one of his legs is swelled to 
an enormous degree ; so that he cannot lie down ! 

The mm^-man, Charnley, has sent down my bed, table, 
&c. For the table he has charged £2 8s. Oc?., whereas a 
man in Fleet-ditch, only three years ago charged but 
£1 14s. Od for the same sort of table, exactly of the same 
dimensions and materials', and a very well-made table it 
is, and very handsome. 

Please to tell your father that his Greatham tenant has 
just paid in an year's rent up to Michaelmas last. 

Poor Mr. Willis of Holiburn is ill, and gone to Bath. 
The weather is so hot, that we all say there never was 
such weather before; forgetting that the 26th and 27th 
of March, .77, were much hotter. In my way down I found 
a swallow at Eipley: and we have here swallows, and 
cuckows, and nightingales ! 

Your handmaid, I hope, arrived safe, and proves to your 
mind. I address you now as a prudent and experienced 
mistress of a family. By a late letter brother John rather 
mends; but his poor wife is worn down, and very low 
indeed. Did you say how does my new parlor go on ? 
Why, pretty well, I thank you: and was it never to rain 
any more would be very dry: however this weather acts 


much in its favour. I* begin to alter Thomas's 

room, and to make my entry* and then shall 

proceed to flooring, &c. I am now going to retain my 
weeding woman for the summer. This is the person that 
Thomas says he likes as well as a man : and indeed ex- 
cepting that she wears petticoats, and now and then has 
a child, you would think her a man. To the care and 
abilities of this Lady I shall entrust my garden, that it 
may be neat and tidy when you come. My great parlor 
grate and fender are arrived, and seem proper for the 

My cucumber -plants are gross, and vigorous; and I have 
one, and only one fruit about the size of my thumb. As 
the season was late I just saw my crocus's in bloom. On 
Thursday morning last we had thunder and an heavy 
shower. I have seldom in this month seen the weather 
so hot and the ground so moist at the same time ; of course 
therefore vegetation is very vigorous. When you can spare 
time from the cares of housekeeping, and want to relax your 
mind, I shall be glad to hear from you, and shall rejoice 
in your communications. 

I am, dear Niece, y"*^ affectly, 

Gil. White. 
Eespects as due. 

I have just received a letter from Eingmer. Mrs. Snooke 

is much mended. 

To Mrs. John White. Selborne, April 17 [1778]. 

Dear Sister, — By both your last letters, for which I 
return you thanks, it plainly appears that my brother con- 
tinues gradually to recover strength, and that air, exercise, 
and bathing are of singular service ; and therefore I hope he 
will strive against irresolution, and summon up all his man- 

* Letter imperfect. 


hood to pursue the one and submit to the other, irksome 
as it may feel at times. You talk of Bath in this case: 
and those waters doubtless have done wonders ; but brother 
Thomas says while the cold bath continues to be so service- 
able, he cannot see what more can be expected from hot ones, 
which, one should suppose, would rather relax. He thinks 
at present you had better pursue your home regimen. In 
town I saw Mr. Fielden, and your intended curate; the 
former had lately seen my brother, who to his thinking was 
marvellously mended, and looked in the face almost as 
usual. Yesterday, if I mistake not, Mrs. Snooke entered 
into her 84th year. The late hot weather was of singular 
service to her, and relieved her from a cough, which had 
annoyed her the winter thro'. On Easter Monday brother 
and sister Harry and several of their children are to go up 
to South Lambeth, They have just inoculated four of their 
children with singular success. My neighbour Yalden has 
just got a regular smart fit of the gout. 

My new parlor now dries at a great rate ; and will be fit 
for use at Midsum"", but I shall not be able to compleat it 
this summer. I must not put on my upper paper 'til 
another year. With my best wishes and prayers for my 

brother's recovery, I remain 

Y"^ affectionate brother, 

Gil. White. 


On April 24th, 1778, the Naturalist's Journal 

records the discovery, in bloom, " in the Litton 

coppice at Selborne just below the church," of the 

''Lathrcea squammaria, a rare plant," and a little 

later a slip is inserted noting that his servant 

Thomas Hoar had heard "pretty late one evening" 

the twittering notes of swallows from ** under the 

eaves of my brewhouse, between the ceiling and 

the thatch." 

"Now the quaere is, whether those birds had harboured 
there the winter through, and were just awakening from their 
slumbers ; or whether they had only just taken possession of 
that place unnoticed." 

A similar occurrence, reported by Mr. Derham to 
the Royal Society, is referred to. 

" July 3. Began to inhabit my new parlor." 

This room was built at the west end of the old 
house, looking into the garden, and " outlet," towards 
the Hanger, by two windows. In recent years a story 
has been added above it, and the windows altered, 
while a passage to a new room now occupies part of 
the original room, opposite the windows. 



To Mrs. Barker. 

Selborne, Sep. 2, 1778. 

Dear Sister, — My thanks are due for your kind letter. 
I have now the pleasure of seeing my house full of friends. 
My niece Anne Barker pleases me much, and is a sensible 
intelligent young woman. Mrs. K. Isaac has not been here 
for 25 years ; and finding every thing much altered, hardly 
knows the place again. Molly White and your daughter 
seem well pleased to meet again. Jenny and Becky White* 
are to come to Newton this week: Mrs. Yalden pressed 
their mother much to come ; but she is in a very poor way, 
and chose to wave the journey. Mrs. Snooke has just 
written to me with her own hand: she did not complain 
much. Last post I had a letter from Blackburn: my 
brother's state of health and spirits is much the same : my 
poor sister makes sad complaint, and laments the state of 
their family : indeed they both merit the compassion of 
their friends. My great parlor is now of singular service ; 
but while it is so empty the echo is very troublesome. I 
have a new bed in my little red room ; and have put my 
old white bed up in my late drawing-room,f where I lie, as 
you ordered me. Brother Harry's school thrives : he has 
just got three new pupils, and expects one more. His house 
is now quite full. My peaches ripen ; but, the summer con- 
sidered, are not so fine as might be expected. We have 
fine wheat ; and a vast crop of hops. Barley and oats are 
lean and poor. The failure of turnips is miserable ! 

Your loving brother, 

Gil. White. 

* Daughters of Benjamin White. 

t This room was over the kitchen on the first floor, looking into the 
garden. Mr. Bell notes that in this room the Naturalist died. 


To Samuel Barker. 

[On the same sheet as the above.] 

Dear Sam, — I am much pleased to find that the university, 
and your studies there give you so much satisfaction : there 
is no fear that you will neglect this opportunity of improve- 
ment, or spend your time amiss : I should rather wish that 
you were cautioned to remember, that it is possible for a 
young man to apply too earnestly ; and therefore I hope you 
will intermix daily exercise with your studies. To the 
generality of young men I am well aware this caution would 
be needless ; but to you, who I know apply yourself to all 
laudable pursuits with all your might, it may not be im- 

D^ Chandler the traveller has been with me a month, 
and is just gone: he has furnished me with more curious 
matter respecting the antiquities of this place; and in 
particular with William of Wyckhame's Notabilis visitatio of 
this priory. From this long instrument, consisting of 36 
injunctions, and reprimands, it appears, that this institution, 
which then had been founded only one century, had 
deviated much from its original simplicity. For they were 
become mighty hunters, and used to attend junketings, and 
feastings ; had altered their mode of dress ; and used to let 
suspectae come into their cloisters after it was dark; had 
suffered their buildings to dilapidate; had pawned their 
plate; administered the sacrament with such nasty cups, 
and musty, sour wine, that men abhorred the sight {ut sit 
hominihus horrori) had let down their number of brethren 
from 14, the original number, to eleven ; had suffered their 
friends, and relations to hang on to the convent, and eat it 
up, &c. : they also were got into a method of laying naked in 
bed without their breeches, for which they are much 
reprimanded. Moreover I find that the Knights Templars 
by their statutes were enjoined constantly to sleep in their 


breeches, and to have candles constantly burning in their 
dormitory. Should I ever be able to finish my work 
respecting this nfy native place, the old deeds and charters, 
&c. will furnish a long appendix. 

Your affectionate friend, 

Gil. White. 

Towards the end of September the annual visit 
was made to Mrs. Snooke at Kingmer, where 
Timothy, the tortoise, was noticed, and, as usual, 
weighed. Eeturning by Findon and Chilgrove, 
the Naturalist's Journal records — 

" Oct. 8. [Findon.] Not one wheatear to be seen on all 
the downs. Swallows abound between Brighthelmstone and 
Beeding. Wot one ring-ouzel to be seen on the downs either 
coming or going. 

" [Oct.] 9. [Chilgrove.] Many martins near Houghton- 
bridge. Some swallows all the way." 

On arriving at Selborne, the Naturalist's Journal 
records a sight which tells indeed of the difference 
which modern farming and game preserving have 
caused in wild-bird life. 

"Oct. 13. Near 40 ravens have been playing about over 
the hanger all day." 

On October 15th Mulso wrote that he was unable 
to accept an invitation to Selborne, though passing 
through Alton to Farnham Castle. 

" I looked up towards your hills as I passed them with a 
longing eye, and I passed on without the unfeelingness of the 
Levite. ... I hope your excursion has been of service to 
you, and that you can sleep without dreaming of the French. 
Mrs. Snooke is not so fainthearted, or she would not hold so 


well at her age. I hear of accommodations, but I trust no 
reports ; at the same time I am not apt to fear them. Wrap 
up your content in the conclusion of Voltaire's Candide, 
' II faut cultiver notre jardin ' ! " 

"We met sister Chapone at the Castle, who helped to 
enliven the place." 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, Oct. 19, 1778. 

Dear Molly, — Bating your account of your father's in- 
disposition, which I hope will be very short, your letter was 
very agreeable to me; and particularly the circumstance 
which intimates your intention of coming down next 
Monday. Nothing, I hope, will prevent so agreeable an 
event ; and I will take care to send Thomas in time on that 
day to meet you at the inn at Chawton. 

For some mornings past we have experienced severe frosts 
for the time of year, which have stripped my vines of all 
their leaves, and left a fine crop of grapes naked, and 
forlorn on the walls ; they used to be cloathed with foliage 
'til the middle of next month ! So you must come and eat 
grapes every day, or they will be spoiled. 

A Selborne man was aboard the Porcupine sloop when 
she took the French India rich ship. I saw a letter from 
him this morning, in which he says that his share will come 
to £300. This will be some recompence to the poor fellow, 
who was kid-napped in an ale-house at Botley by a press- 
gang, as he was refreshing himself in a journey to this place. 
The young man was bred a carter, and never had any 
connection with sea-affairs. 

Your hand-writing is very fair, and handsome : pray keep 
it up; and don't scribble it away. Nanny Barker is a 
very good correspondent ; but spoils her hand by writing too 
fast. A little patience would make her also a good pen- 


Mr. Etty, who is going suddenly to town, will take my 
letter with him. Mrs. Etty is well. I am with due affec- 
tion, Y'^ loving Uncle, 

Gil. White. 

I do not recollect any more errands. Respects over the 

To Mrs. John White. Selborne, Nov. 2nd, 1778. 

Dear Madam, — I thank you for your last letter, which 
gave a much more favourable account of my brother's 
health than any that I have received for some time; and 
may, I hope, be followed by many more to the same purpose. 
You may tell my brother that Dr. Chandler has read over 
every part of his work with great attention ; and approves 
of the whole much, and was much entertained with many 
parts : but does not, as my brother knew before, relish the 
systematic manner in which it is drawn up.f He has in 
several parts with his pencil altered several expressions, but 
chiefly where the same verbs, etc., are used two or three 
times in a sentence: such slips must necessarily befall 
" opere in longo " : with the matter he has never meddled. 
I have also read over said work with great care (the insects 
very lately) and approve much of the whole, which discovers, 
I think, great discernment, and application. Here and there 
I have flung in a small marginal note. Many parts are to 
me curious, and interesting : and the whole Fauna contains 
much more anecdote than ever I met with before in such 
a work. Some parts are, and must be in so long a work, less 
engaging than others. The Hawks, the Rirundines, the 
Turdi, the Gallince, the Insects, are favourites with me : not 

* Benjamin White lived opposite his brother at S. Lambeth. 

t The Linnean method was for many years unpopular in this country — a 
fact which perhaps explains Benjamin White's refusal of his brother's work, 
and the consequent abandonment of its publication. 


but the other Ordines have each their merits : but one man 
is pleased with one subject, and one with an other. 

I wrote to Nephew Benjamin last Saturday, and made the 
proposal mentioned to me. But I would have my brother 
at present sit loose to such matters, and not let his mind be 
agitated about this event, or any other ; but keep himself as 
quiet as possible. As for the work I could wish to see 
it published. 

The present new Lord Chancellor* has given a decree 
point blank against us with respect to Mr. Holt's concerns. 

Mrs. Ben. White continues still in a bad state. My 
brother Thomas and Molly are just returned to my house : 
my brother has been ill; but is recovered. I have sent 
word to Harry about his rents. You did right, I think, in 
allowing the repairs. your loving brother, 

Gil. White. 

When you see or consult your physician at Manchester, 
should he not be asked whether he has any opinion of 
electrical applications ? My brother formerly used to amuse 
himself with electricity. 

The antiquities of Selborne were now engrossing 
their historian's attention. His interest in these, how- 
ever, by no means extended to his friend Mulso at 
Meonstoke, who wrote on February 13th, 1779 : — 

" You know, wretch, that I have always had, and still have 
such an opinion of your precision and integrity, that I 
proclaim things, as certain^ that you have once said. Take 
care that you prove well what you say of birds of passage, of 
spiders and flying webs, for I shall assert it 'pedibus manibus- 
que ' on your authority. I am shocked at you for deferring 
that Piece so long : for heaven's sake do not take too much 

* Lord Thurlow. 
VOL. II. — D 


time in ascertaining the size, the markets, the tolls, the 
souls, the priories, and religious Houses of Selborne ; for these 
circumstances, though curious in reality, are to the go'6,t 
of not five readers in five hundred. Be it therefore very- 
clear, but very sJiort. The novelty and elegance, the tender- 
ness, and the piety of the natural part will be the forte of the 
Performance. . . . How was it with Mrs Chapone; it was 
the genuine affetuoso, the con amore of her book that gave 
it its run. . . . Pray come out while the passion rages ; the 
world is getting off its eyes from Portsmouth and the Trial.* 
. . . Now's your time." 

Shortly after this time the brothers at South 
Lambeth received a visit from Gilbert White, who 
found Benjamin lately a widower. 

To Miss White. Selborne, April 17, 1779. 

Dear Molly, — My thanks are due for your kind letter, 
and for your father's care in procuring me two fine hams; 
and for his present of a rain-measurer ; and for his trouble in 
purchasing my long annuity. There was a time when rain- 
measurers were very entertaining; and doubtless there will 
again : but now we have seen no rain for four months ! 
I rejoice much to hear that my nephew Thomas recovers so 
fast. Enclosed I send some large white cucumber-seeds 
for your father: but the sun is so hot, and the dung so 
dry, that hotbeds thrive but poorly. When Mr. Cricket 
is tired of his new room, he may let it to you. My furniture 
from Mr. Graham does not come to Alton 'til this day. 
As soon as I can get a person I shall paint my room. Mrs. 
Eashleigh left Selborne this morning. Old George Tanner 

* Admiral the Hon. Augustus Keppel was tried by court-martial at Ports- 
mouth, January 7th-February 11th, 1779, and honourably acquitted of a 
charge of cowardice. Politics had a good deal to do with the trial, and 
party feeling at the time seems to have been greatly excited. 


lies very ill, and is in danger. In the night between the 
11th and 12th of this month Burbey's shop was attempted. 
The assailants wrenched off the hinges at the bottom of 
the shutters, and so crept up between the shutters and 
the sash, and broke the glass; and with a knife began to 
cut and hack, in a very bungling way, the bars of the 
sash. It is imagined that they were disturbed in their 
business by some means, for they never got in, nor could 
reach to the till, which is near the window, and was, it 
is supposed, the object they had in view. Burbey heard 
the glass jingle; but being but half awake, did not know 
what was the matter. Our maypole is mended and painted: 
we talk of gilding the Vane. If I had not interposed, the 
vane would have rested again on a shoulder'^ but now it 
is to turn on a pivot at the top.* 

As soon as ever you hear about Molly Barker's finger, 
pray give me a line. 

With proper respects I remain. 

Your loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

The French East India-man, the Carnatic, met with such 
stormy weather to the E. of the Cape of Good-hope that 
she could not get to that port at all; but arrived at last 
in a most distressful condition at the Isle of Loanda on 
the coast of Angola, being in about Lat. 8. S. The Por- 
tuguese Governor at first pleaded an inability of assisting 
them, saying that they had been without rain for two 
years, and were almost starved: but the captain urging 
their great wants and pitiable condition, and adding that 
they had a sick English lady aboard, they were at last 
admitted to go ashore ; and miss Shutterf was lodged in the 
Governor's house, where she was entertained for a fortnight. 

* The maypole stood on the Plestor. It is clearly seen in the pictures 
given in the quarto editions of *The Natural History and Antiquities of 

t Mrs. Etty's niece, who had recently returned from Madras. 


On July 22nd, 1779, Mulso writes :— 

" You will be very happy in the company of your brother 
Thomas and his daughter. I am not delighted at present, 
though I know not what I may be, at your labours about 
the history of Selbourne. I fear the sweet and elegant 
simplicity of your observations will be overwhelmed by 
the rubbish of the antiquities of your native place. / shall 
be pleased from the partiality I have for the place for 
your sake. The Provost of Worcester,* and some of your 
antiquarian friends will like it for the studiousness of the 
researches; but I doubt whether the book will be the 
better for it in the eye of the world." 

Then he goes on to an observation, which now, so 

long after the fame of Selborne and its historian 

has become established, seems a singularly prophetic 

one : — 

" It may save some future biographers trouble, who may 
think it necessary to celebrate the place, where such a 
genius was born. ... I saw Mr. Wyndham lately : he told 
me that he had hopes to have seen you, while Grimm was 
with him; and that he had been surprized and delighted 
with the grandeur of Selbourne Hangers." 

On September 27th, 1779, Mulso writes again : — 

"I called on Mr. BuUer at Alresford, and he told me of 
your having in your option the living that you had long 
had in your eye. We wondered whether you would resolve 
upon taking it or no. I own I should think you very 
wrong if you did not. You will be money out of pocket 
for a year or two, but you will be repaid hereafter. The 
situation and the distance are both of them strong tempta- 
tions and really good circumstances. The farmers cannot 

* Dr. Sheffield, a friend and correspondent of Gilbert White. 


but expect a rise : you are in the right not to think of 
straining them, but you have prudence enough not to say 
so ... at all events you will raise your living to something 
more than it stands now, as Mr. Cowper was on it a great 
number of years at the old rent. The curate there is a 
valuable acquisition, and now I hope to see you master of 
your own time. ... I wish you a good journey to Sussex ; 
I fancy you will find there a strong persuasive to taking 

The last sentence, in the light of what follows 
later, clearly means that her nephew would find 
Mrs. Snooke, from whom he had some expectations, 
in good health. 

The living in question, which Gilbert White 
visited on September 10th, was the rectory of 
Ufton Nervett, in Berkshire, in the gift of Oriel 
College, which lay conveniently enough for an in- 
cumbent who might be partly resident at Selborne, 
since it is only seven or eight miles north of Basing- 
stoke ; but it was declined after being again visited 
in November. 

Mulso wrote again on this matter on December 
21st, 1779 :— 

"I cannot but approve of your refusing Ufton upon the 
reasons that you give. A living is a very troublesome charge, 
and there are but two reasons for burthening oneself with 
it, ' the hope of doing real good,' and ' the reasonable expecta- 
tion of a large increase of income.' The first you could have 
done as well as any man, had you chosen a constant resi- 
dence there; but yet there does not lie so much spiritual 
power and efficacy in the clergy of the Church of England 


now, as did formerly. The itching ears even of the vulgar; and 
the republican principles of the Times, make all the members 
of our church looked upon with an evil eye. As to the 
last you are the best judge of it; but in my opinion, a certain 
small income is better than a precarious large benefice." 

In the following letter a new correspondent 
appears, the Kev. Ralph Churton, who became one 
of Gilbert White's most intimate friends and visitors, 
until the latter's death. At this time a Fellow of 
Brasenose College, Oxford, and twenty-five years 
of age, he subsequently became Bampton Lecturer 
(1785), Whitehall Preacher (1792), Rector of Mid- 
dleton Cheney, Northants (1792), and Archdeacon 
of S. David's (1805). Like his Selborne corre- 
spondent, he was a friend of Mr. John Loveday, 
of Caversham, father of John Loveday, d.c.l., of 
Williamscote, Oxfordshire ; and of Dr. Richard 
Chandler, the antiquary and traveller. He wrote 
in later life numerous theological works. 

To the Rev. E. Churton. Selborne, Nov. 17, 1779. 

Dear Sir, — On opening your favour, I was much pleased 
to see your name at the bottom ; because you are a gentle- 
man to whom I am much obliged, and to whom I wished for 
an occasion to express my acknowledgements. 

You are a fellow of a college as well as myself, and there- 
fore must be well aware that with regard to elections it 
is not in my power to enter into any promises ; but you may 
be well assured that I shall have the better opinion of Mr. 
Smith for what you say of him, and, if I am able to attend 
at Easter, shall mention your recommendation to the society. 


When the summer is established, if you find within your- 
self an inclination to visit Hants, I shall be very glad to see 
you at my house, and to show you our prospects, which are 
romantic enough. Your company and conversation, provided 
you can bear with the infirmities of a deaf man, will be very 
agreeable to me. D"". Chandler is now sitting at my elbow, 
and is deeply engaged in Bishop Waynflete's Kegisters, 
two volumes folio which I obtained to be sent to my house 
from Winton by permission from the Bishop of that diocese ; 
last summer we had Bishop Wyckhame's registry of the 
same bulk and number of volumes. I am, Sir, 

Your obliged servant, 

Gil. White. 

So far back as September, 1774, in Letter XXII. 
to Harrington, the Naturalist had complained of deaf- 
ness as partially disqualifying him from observing 
nature. Among his effects at his decease was an 
ear-trumpet. That however he continued to enjoy 
good health in other respects appears from a sen- 
tence in a letter of Mulso's, dated August 16th, 

1780 :— 

" You have owned yourself threescore with only one 

To Miss White, Selborne, Deer. 4, 1779. 

Dear Niece, — When I wrote last I was desirous to wait 
on you and your father as next week, but the difficulty of 
getting my church supplyed on these dark, short Sundays ; 
and the nearness of Xmass, against which I must be back at 
all events, have abated my ardor ; so that now I think it 
best to defer my visit 'til after the holidays. I am very sorry 
indeed to hear that your father has experienced some return 


of his fever ; and sincerely wish the medicines he is taking 
may have their effect. Many thanks for your kind letter, 
which was opened at Mr. Etty's, where we all admired the 
neatness of your hand, and the propriety of your words ; and 
agreed all that you were a very nice maiden. 

Pray write again soon, and let me hear, if it please God, 
that your father is quite recovered. 

Mrs. Etty was this morning at Hartley, and paid a visit 
to Mrs. Wilmot. Mr. E. and I made an evening visit about 
a week ago. Mrs. W. seems to be an accomplished woman ; 
and had, I imagine, a large landed fortune. There is a large 
young family ; two boys at school ; Miss W. a young lady in 
person not unlike yourself; and three little Missisipies all 
in a row. They buryed a daughter about a year ago who 
was near grown to woman's estate. We have had vast rains 
lately. j ^j^ yom- affectionate Uncle, 

Rain. Gil. White. 

Deer. 2, 1-40. 
„ 3, -60. 

Pray tell my brother Ben. that I wish he would send me 
down Harmer's ' Observations on the usages and customs of 
the East,' and a small pocket-clasped almanack. 

To Miss White. Seleburne, Dec. 16, 1779. 

Dear Molly, — It will be by no means proper to send you 
three or four cheeses from hence; because the cargo* at 
our shop turns out very poor, and mean, without any good 
flavour, and full of eyes; so that I hardly can pick out 
a tolerable one for my own table. There is a Randal at 
Farnham, a cheese-monger of repute; would it be worth 
while for your father to write to him? 

* This word, in the sense of a parcel conveyed by land, has long become 
obsolete. Wykehamists, however, still use it of a present in kind from 


We were all pleased to hear that your father was so 
well recovered : when he gets about, and goes to town, I 
wish he would send me down half an hundred of good 
salt-fish. There were vast rains with much thunder and 
hail on Monday last : so that I fear the water will encrease 
in your Jiold, and that pumping will not avail long. The 
springs at Faringdon rise very fast, but are not yet up to 
the surface. 

Mr. and Mrs. Wilmot, Miss Wilmot, Miss Fletcher, and 
Captain Bain were to have drank tea at the vicarage last 
night ; but were prevented by the snow. 

On Friday, I hear, the poll-books, and all election imple- 
ments are to be wafted over to the Isle of Wight, which 
is the stronghold of the Baronet candidate. At present 
Mr. Jervoise is ahead. This day Mr. Etty is to meet his 
brother at Alresford. 

With due respects I conclude, 

y affect, friend, 

Gil. White. 

On March 8th, 1780, Mrs. Snooke died at 
Eingmer, aged eighty-five. Her nephew attended 
her funeral there on the 15th, and thence wrote: — 

To Benjamin White. Eingmer, Mar. 16, 1780. 

Dear Brother, — After returning my sincere thanks for 
all the good offices that I have experienced from you and 
yours so lately ; I think it proper to inform you, that 
Mrs. Snooke by will has given me her Iping-farm,* charging 
it with a legacy of £50 to you, and £50 more to be divided 
equally among all your children ; and also with £50 a piece 
to each of her nephews and nieces. These bequests she 
has enjoined me to pay within twelve months after her 

* Which had belonged to her father, the Vicar of Selborne. 


I shall say nothing concerning the other parts of her 
will, because Brother H[enry] in his letter has entered into 

In my journey I have caught a cold, and cough ; and am 
feverish ; so that I shall be glad when I am got home. 

I propose to leave this place on Friday, and to return 
by Uckfield, Cuckfield, Horseham, Dorking, Guildford, &c. : 
the country as far as Guildford will be new to me. 

With due respects I remain 

Your loving brother, 

Gil. White. 

The Naturalist's Journal records — 

"March 17. Brought away Mrs. Snooke's old tortoise, 
Timothy, which she valued much, and had treated kindly 
for near 40 years. When dug out of its hybernaculum it 
resented the Insult by hissing." 

Frequent mention of the proceedings of the tortoise, 
its weight, habits, food, etc., appear from this time 
in the Naturalist's Journal. 

On March 18th Mulso wrote : — 

" I enter into your feelings at quitting Ringmer, a neat 
and beautiful spot, and never entered without being associated 
with the idea of a warm and valuable relation, and hospit- 
able hostess. I know nothing of the value of the farm 
that your aunt has bequeathed you, or of its condition; 
but have hope from your silence on that head that there 
is not such in it as would vacate your fellowship at Oriel 
College — a circumstance which I touched upon lightly to 
you of late, when you sent me word of your refusing the 
living, when without much merit of a divining spirit, I 
foretold the death of your aunt. I am glad to hear that 


Harry will be materially benefited by her will, as he has a 
large family and is of our trade, which is not a very thriving 
one as times go." 

There is something perhaps a little incongruous in 
the anxiety lest his friend should continue to hold 
his Fellowship without warrant, coming as it did 
from a man who at the time was a much (though 
legally) beneficed pluralist. It will, nevertheless, 
be well to endeavour to ascertain whether or no 
Gilbert White was justified in continuing to retain 
his Fellowship. 

The original statutes of Oriel College, of January 
21st, 1325-6, provide for the avoidance of a Fellowship 
on the obtaining of a ''uberius beneficium." By an 
ordinance of 1441, made by the College in pursuance 
of its power under the original statutes and duly 
confirmed by the Visitor, it was provided that any 
of the Fellows who obtained ''aliquod beneficium, 
redditus, patrimonium, officium, pensionem, seu plura- 
litatem eorundem, seu aliquam aliam promotionem, 
quocunque nomine censeatur, unde potuerit ad suam 
exhibitionem [i.e. support] annuatim, ad terminum 
vitae, decem marcas de importatis percipere Oxoniae 
residendo, eo facto, et alias per acceptionem hujus- 
modi promotionis," should be deprived of his Fellow- 

This standard of ten marks became inapplicable 
after the change in the value of money, but no other 
sum was ever authoritatively substituted for it. It 


appears that the practice in the eighteenth century 
was to take the then value of a Fellowship from 
all sources, including allowances during residence, on 
an average of the last seven years ; and if the value 
so ascertained was exceeded by the value of the 
benefice or other property, the Fellowship was held to 
be vacated. But the only cases which are noticed in 
the College register are those of ecclesiastical prefer- 
ment ; and the value of these was taken from the 
King's Books. It was not till 1816 that the College 
confirmed this practice by a College order. 

The above account is kindly furnished from Oriel 
College ; but the opinion of other experts in the his- 
tory of College statutes, and their interpretation by 
college custom (which is quite as important as the 
statutes themselves), difiers widely as to what is meant 
by the words ''patrimonium" and "redditus" — 
whether the former word was held to include all 
inherited property, or only patrimony in its strictest 
sense; and as to what was held to constitute ''red- 
ditus," or income ; some authorities holding that 
nothing but ecclesiastical preferment or distinct 
" patrimonium," i.e, inheritance of real property, 
would void a Fellowship. Certainly income earned 
by a Fellow's own exertions, including a stipend 
received as curate, has never been held to disqualify 
him ; and it would seem naturally to follow that 
money saved by a Fellow during his tenure of a 
Fellowship would not be reckoned as disqualifying 



Now Gilbert White never held any benefice other 
than his little living of Moreton Pinkney, the value 
of which, as reckoned in the King's Books, would be 
insignificant indeed. What, then, was the income from 
his total inherited property after his aunt's death ? 

Though he made fairly coniplete entries of his 
expenditure in his account-books, he does not appear 
to have kept any regular account of his incomings. 
Fortunately, however, the following entries occur 
of the rent and outgoings of his landed property, all 
of which was certainly inherited by him : — 



Outgoings (1 year). 




£ s. 


Holtham farm . . 


Land-tax and quit-rent 2 5 


Parson's farm [Spar- 

rows Hanger] 



do. . 2 19 


Benham's land, 

Wakes [i.e. land 

near his house] . 




do. . 2 17 


Woodhouse farm 

[Sussex] . . 



do. . 10 15 


Hurst farm, Iping 

[bequeathed by- 

Mrs. Snooke] 



. 6 10 


(rent from Michs, 



Total outgo 

Total rent . . . 



ings . 25 9 

Deduct outgoings . 



Net rent . . . 



From the net rent of Hurst farm, bequeathed by 
Mrs. Snooke, however, is to be deducted the interest 


of the sum of £50 bequeathed by her to her nephew 
Benjamin, to his children £50, and £50 apiece to 
her nephews and nieces, Thomas and John White, 
Basil Cane, Mrs. Barker, and Catherine S. Isaac ; in 
all, a sum of £350, which, at (say) 5 per cent. -£17 
105. per annum, leaving £92 95. Oo^. as the net in- 
come from landed property. 

But, as all landowners know very well, and indeed 
as appears from Gilbert White's accounts, there are 
other deductions besides land-tax and quit-rent to 
be made from the rent of land, such as insurance and 
repairs of buildings, allowances to tenants, etc. 

As regards personal property Gilbert White had 
inherited and received a sum of £300, in 1746, on the 
death of his great-uncle, Mr. Thomas Holt. A good 
'' economist," as his friend Mulso termed him, it had 
been his habit to put by money all his life, which he 
invested from time to time in the purchase of '* Long 
Annuities"; but, excluding this property, which, with 
the exception of the £300 bequeathed him by Mr. 
Holt, appears to have been entirely his own savings ; 
his income from all inherited property, after necessary 
outgoings were deducted, can have little, if at all, 
exceeded £100 per annum at this date (1780). 

It remains to ascertain the value (including 
allowances) of his Fellowship. In some of his 
earlier account-books the amount received by him 
**From my Fellowship of Oriel Coll:" is occasionally 


£ s. d. 

Thus, in 1755, he enters . . 50 14 4 

1759 „ . . . 65 15 

1760 „ . . . 116 11 10 

1761 „ . . . 74 11 6 

From the latter date no entry occurs until 1781, 

when he enters — 

£ s. d. 

''By drt. from Oriel College 146 0" 

an amount to which something should be added for 
the ''allowances" appertaining to a Fellowship. The 
next entry, in 1787, is £154 155. ll\d. Where, then, 
does the alleged impropriety of Gilbert White's re- 
tention of his Fellowship appear, and what is to be 
said of the statement already quoted, that he con- 
tinued to hold his Fellowship by holding his tongue ? 
It is naturally very difficult so long after his 
death to put forward positive and absolutely con- 
clusive evidence that the Naturalist was justified in 
retaining his Fellowship, of which no doubt the 
College would not have thought of depriving him, 
or any other Fellow, if his property had produced 
an income only a little in excess of the value of the 
Fellowship ; but it may certainly be said that, apart 
from the abundant proof of the respect and regard 
which Gilbert White received from all who knew 
him, the whole evidence now procurable acquits 
him absolutely of a charge which should never 
have been so lightly brought forward against the 


memory of a dead man : a charge made, it is true, 
with very imperfect knowledge of the facts of the 
case, though this circumstance hardly tends towards 
its excuse. 

To Miss White. Selborne, Mar. 31, 1780. 

Dear Molly, — It gave me much concern to hear that your 
father had experienced some return of his complaint; but 
I trust that the bark, and the advance of summer weather 
will soon restore him to his usual state of health. I hardly 
ever remember an ague in this village, that properly be- 
longed to the spot. Charles Etty brought one lately from 
school; but has known no return since his first arrival. 
If your father has any idea that a change of air by and 
by might have a good influence on his health, you may 
assure him that I should be glad to see him here; because 
nothing would please me better than any expedient that 
might probably contribute to his welfare. 

Timothy the tortoise accompanyed me from Ringmer. 
A jumble of 81 miles awakened him so thoroughly, that 
the morning I turned him out into the garden, he walked 
twice the whole length of it, to take a survey of the new 
premises; but in the evening he retired under the mould, 
and is lost since in the most profound slumbers; and 
probably may not come forth for these ten days or fortnight. 

Mrs. Etty is very well, and so is Miss E. but Mrs. 
Yalden is troubled with pains in her limbs. Charles sails 
for India about the end of April. Pray write to me soon. 

With due respects I remain, 

Y"^ affect, friend, 

Gil. Wbite. 
On Monday I paint the great parlor. 
Has your father been so kind as to receive my long ann. 
up to Xmass last ? 


To the Rev. R. Churton. 

Selborne, near Alton, Hants. 

July 3, 1780. 

Dear Sir, — As I have always wished to express my grati- 
tude for the many good offices you have conferred on me, I 
must desire that you would furnish me with an opportunity, 
by taking the trouble to come to my house, where I shall 
rejoice to see you in the course of this summer. 

At present my beds are all like to be full for two or three 
weeks to come ; but by the end of July at farthest I shall 
be glad to see you for four or five weeks. It will probably 
be in my power to shew you a new country, and a district 
not unpleasing in fine weather. If you can bear with the 
infirmities of a deaf man, your company and conversation 
will be very agreeable to me ; and in your answer I bar all 
proposals respecting some future summer, because at my 
time of life there is little dependence to be made on distant 
engagements. Pray take me, in the very words of Creech, * 
"just as I am, very much disposed to receive you, and ready 
to show you all civilities." 

If you are a botanist, we have a very good Flora, to whom 
I am willing to introduce you. You are, I find, learned in 
yew-trees : we have at hand several noble ones. 

We have just found a large stone-urn down at the Priory ; 
for what use it was made it remains for you to inform us.*!* 

We will examine The Temple, King John's hill, &c. &c. 

I am, with great esteem, 

Y^ obliged, and humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

* Thomas Creech (1659-1701), the translator of Lucretius, Horace, etc. 

t Vide 'The Antiquities of Selborne,' Letter XXVI. , in which this dis- 
covery is recorded as occurring " two years ago." The "judicious antiquary," 
mentioned in a note as guessing that the vase might have been a standard 
measure, was no doubt Dr. Chandler, who, as appears from the postscript to 
this letter, was at Selborne at the time. 
VOL. II. — E 


D*". Chandler, who is going to be very busy with Bishop 
Beaufort's Register, from "Winchester, joins in respects. 
When my beds are at liberty I will write : pray let me hear 

From the Naturalist's Journal — 

" July 1. We put Timothy into a tub of water, and found 
that he sank gradually, and walked on the bottom of the 
tub ; he seemed quite out of his element and was much 
dismayed. This species seems not at all amphibious. 
Timothy seems to be the Testudo grceca of Linnaeus. D"*. 
Chandler, who saw the operation, says there is a species of 
tortoise in the Levant* that at times frequents ponds and 
lakes; and my Bro[ther] John White affirms the same of 
a sort in Andalusia. 

"[July] 11. Finished my great parlor, by hanging curtains 
and fixing the looking-glass." 

The "great parlour" — a name which, it should 
perhaps be said, was at this time a recognised one for 
a certain kind of sitting-room, and does not mean 
merely " a large sitting-room " — being at last finished, 
some little account of its construction and furnishing 
may be of interest, and is obtainable from a bundle 
of bills neatly tied up and endorsed by Gilbert 
White, " Bills relating to the building of my great 
parlor; in 1777, and furnishing." 

Of course, no contractor was employed, and the 
labourers' wages appear in their accounts. One 
George Kemp, whose descendants are living in 
Selborne at this day, was the foreman bricklayer, and 

* The freshwater tortoise {Emys orbicularis) is found throughout the 
greater part of Europe, and formerly inhabited England. — A. N. 


















































his wages were 25. a day, his assistant receiving 
Is. 6d. "Building bricks" cost 165. lOJo?. a thou- 
sand. "Eubling bricks from Harting comb" were 
35. a hundred. The carpenters employed were paid 
l5. Sd. a day, and some of the nails they used, 
presumably made by hand, cost no less than l5. 8c^. 
a pound. Most of the timber used was brought over 
from Winchester. A chimney-piece, described in the 
bill as "23 foot 7 in. of superfishal white and vained 
Italian marble" (£5 175. lid.), was set up in July, 
1778 ; and a " large fine bath stove grate" and fender 
(£4 95. Od.) were added a little later. 

Hanging the great parlour with "a flock sattin 
paper" cost a good deal more than would now be 
paid, viz. £9 155. Od. A looking-glass, no doubt a 
pier-glass, was bought in London for £9 195. Od., 
a price which, unless it was a very large one indeed, 
may seem high to those who suppose (erroneously) 
that what is now called "antique" furniture was 
cheap when new. On the other hand, Mr. Luck, of 
" the original carpet warehouse," Cheapside, provided 
"a fine stout large Turkey carpet" for £11 11 5. Od.; 
a sum which, regard being had to quality, compares 
favourably with present prices. 

Thomas White, who was suffering still from ague, 
contracted probably when visiting his Essex property, 
and his daughter visited her uncle in the summer 
of this year. Writing to her brother at Fyfield, Miss 
White remarks — 


"We have had a great deal of visiting ever since our 
arrival. . . . yesterday the family from Hartley drank tea 
here. ... I must mention now my uncle's new room, which 
is quite finished in every respect and looks very handsome 
indeed. The paper, a sort of light brown, with a coloured 
border is extremely elegant, and the glass and other furniture 
are very neat and handsome; in short the tout en semhle 
has a very pleasing effect, and it is I think one of the 
pleasantest rooms I ever was in." 

Writing on August 16th, 1780, Mulso remarks 
upon the excellent flavour of the snipes he had 
recently eaten at the Bishop's at Farnham, and 
continues — 

" I do not remember your ever shooting a snipe at Oxford 
in summer, where there used to be plenty in winter ; at that 
time you used to practise with your gun in summer to 
steady your hand for winter, and inhospitably fetch down 
our visitants, the birds of passage: what you was then is 
my son John now ; I see him with his rod and line at the 
Canal, and his gun lodged against a tree, a complicated 

To the liev. R. Churton. 

Fyfield, near Andover, Hants. 

Aug. 31, 1780. 

Dear Sir, — Your favour of July 10th carry ed with it a 
very obliging air, because it seemed to imply that you will 
endeavour to pay me a visit. 

Now let me (as old men love to be didactic) enjoin you to 
leave the North as soon as you conveniently can, and to get 
to Selborne by the last week in September at farthest; 
for it seems to me to be very unreasonable to desire you to 
come so far only for a week or a fortnight. About the 


time that term begins I should be glad also to go to Oxford, 
and, provided health permits, will give you a cast in a 
post-chaise about the 12th or 13th of October all the way to 

Dr. Chandler left me the week before last. After much 
delay we got one vol. of Bishop Beaufort's Eegister, the only 
one that can be found; but it contained only thirteen 
years of a long episcopate of above forty. It did not afford 
much concerning Selborne, but would, it seems, furnish 
much matter concerning the Lollards, who were cruelly 
harassed in the reign of Hen. 4th. 

The way to Selborne is Dm^chesteVy Wallingford, Panghorn ; 
here leave the Eeading-road, and go down the new turn-pike 
for Aldermaston-Yjhoxi, Aldermaston ; Basingstoke^ Tunworth- 
down under Hackwood-^s^vk pales, the Golden-pot ale-house, 
Alton, Faringdon, Horse- and- Jockey, Selborne. 

Please to direct to me as before at Selborne near Alton 

Hants. If you know anybody in the K whom it may 

concern, you may assure them that the crop of hops in the 

S. is prodigious; and that they are very fine in quality. 

I conclude Your most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 
Pray write soon. 

To Miss White 

At the Bevd. Mr. White's 

At Fy field near Andover. 

(Turn at Harford Bridge.) ^ ,, ^ .« ..,^« 

^ •^ ^ ^ Selborne, Sep. 13, 1780. 

Dear Molly, — My journey, I thank God, proved much less 
irksome than I had reason to fear: while I was in the 
carriage I was easy, but had a pinch at Winton, where we 
dined. My driver was the most civil man alive; but I 
found that the days were too short for one pair of horses ; 
for, had there been no moon, we had been in dead darkness 


all the way from Hartley,* where the day closed upon us. 
I got to my house just at eight o'clock ; and found my 
nephew Barker, who arrived at J hour after six. 

We are to make our farewell visit to Hartley in a day 
or two, because the family are on the wing : they acknow- 
ledge noiv that they fear they shall have two houses on their 
hands for four years; but Mr. Wilmot comforts himself 
that he can come over and shoot pheasants at Hartley ! Tell 
your father that the state-prisoner lately released in Russia 
is the father of the little Emperor Iwan ; he and his family 
were shut up in 1741, when Empress Elizabeth came to the 

Triple Ladies' traces now blow in abundance in the Lythe. 
Brother Ben. and family are expected next week; but we 
see nor hear naught of nephew Ben. 

Pray write to me soon, and send me the news of Fyfield ; 
and in particular let me know the state of your father's 
health. Present my respects to my brother and sister H., 
and tell them I am indebted to them for all their good 
offices ; and in particular for the extraordinary trouble 
occasioned by my indisposition. 

With all due respects I remain 

¥>« affectly, 

Gil. White. 

Timothy the tortoise was the subject of many ex- 
periments by his master, who at this time records — 

" Sept. 17. When we call loudly through the speaking- 
trumpet to Timothy he does not seem to regard the noise." 

On September 21st Mulso wrote — 

"Pray does your book come out this winter? I really 
cannot hold out any longer. If you spoil the genuine 

* Through the (now disused) "hollow lane." 


elegance, and neat simplicity of the original design, by a 
farrago of antiquities, routed out of the rusts and trusts 
and crusts of time, I shall not esteem it so well as I once 
did, and so I tell you. Eemember that Tom Warton has 
given the world two large specimens of his old bards and 
untunable harps.* Go to ! " 

To Miss White. Selborne, Sept. 30, 1780. 

Dear Molly, — Your letters are always agreeable to me : 
but your last was particularly so, because it brought so good 
an account of the state of your father's health. 

Finding that Larby alone would never finish his job, 
I hired a whole band of myrmidons and set them to work 
on the Bostal,-f where they have made great dispatch, and 
have but half a day's work to come, which has been delayed 
by the rains. They ran thro' the upper part a day sooner 
than I expected, because as we advanced, the soil grew 
shallower: but then we have been obliged to widen and 
raise all Larby's first attempts; because his part was so 
narrow, hollow, and clayey, that it soon grew dirty, and 
would have been impassable. By and with the advice 
of our Privy Council we took a higher direction than 
was at first marked out, because it much shortened the 
path, and brings us out straight at the top of the slidder 
before you come to shop -slidder at the corner of the 
Wadden. In our progress we found many pyrites in the 

* The second volume of Thomas Warton's monumental work on 'The 
History of English Poetry ' had appeared in 1778. 

+ The Bostal, described in the Naturalist's Journal, Sept. 27th, 1780, as 
" a sloping path up the Hanger from the foot of the Zigzag to the corner 
of the Wadden, in length 414 yards. A fine romantic path, shady and 
beautiful," is very well known to visitors to Selborne. It presents a much 
easier way of reaching the pretty common above the wood than the zigzag 
path, which was made when the writer of the above letter was a young man, 
and its construction now must be regarded as a sign of old age. The 
expense of making it was borne by Thomas White. 


clay as round as a ball; and some large Gornua Ammonis 
in the chalk. All people agree where party does not inter- 
pose, that it is a noble walk : but there is a junto against it 
called Zigzaggians, of which Mrs. Etty is the head; but 
Mr. E. and Mr. Yalden would be Bostalians — if they dared. 
The tall trees in the hanger are very fine when you are 
among them, and the views through them romantic. My 
Nephew Barker sets out for Fyfield on Monday, and regrets 
that he shall miss of you and your father. Brother Ben., 
&c., came to Newton on Thursday. Pray desire your father 
to receive my dividend at his leisure. 

The bostal measures 400 yards, and the zigzag, which 
is to be nicely cleaned out, 426. 

Mrs. Etty and her young people set out to-morrow for 
Oxford : Mr. E. is already in Oxfordshire. 

All join in due respects, and good wishes. 

¥•* loving Uncle, 
Octbr. 1st. Gil. White. 

Pray write soon. 

My barometer is this evening at 28 "6. 

Thomas's brother has his ague still: he has taken the 
roots of daffy-down-dillies. 

To Samuel Barker. Seleburne,* Novr. 23, 1780. 

Dear Sir, — Your letter, though rather late, was very 
acceptable. I was glad to hear that you had a safe and 
pleasant journey back, and that you were so well pleased 
with your journey into Hants, as to be able, on a retrospect, 
to speak of it with some degree of satisfaction. The test 
will be whether you liked your late reception by expressing 
a willingness to come again. Pray give my respects to 
Mr. Brodrick, and tell him that I always esteem my friend's 

* The perusal of old documents, for the antiquities of Selbome, no doubt 
accounts for the changed spelling now adopted. 


friends; and therefore if he will come over next summer, 
when you are here, from Pepperharrow for a night or two, 
that I shall be glad to see him: and we will show him 
some such prospects in these parts as may not be unworthy 
his attention. To say the truth, the lower part of the 
Bostal began to be dirty so that the Zigzagians (who 
have horns and hoofs) began to triumph. Many of them, 
in the shape of horses and heifers, ran up and down it, 
doing it great damage with their feet: but to silence all 
clamour I had all the bad part well-bedded with a quantity 
of fern. Since this amendment Mrs. Etty and her sister 
Stebbing, and Mrs. Yalden have been up and down it 
by night and by day: so that party feuds are like to be 
at an end. You do not, I hope, flatter me about my 
Natural History: if you do not, I am much pleased to 
find that an intelligent person like yourself approves of 
it. Were it not for want of a good amanuensis, I think 
I should make more progress: but much writing and 
transcribing always hurts me. All I know about the sleep 
of fishes is, that at the Black-Bear-inn in Eeading there 
is a stream in the garden which runs under the stables, 
and so under the road into the meadows; it is a branch 
of the Kennet. Now this water all the summer is full 
of carps, which roll about, and are fed by travellers, who 
divert themselves by tossing them crumbs of bread. When 
the cold weather comes, these fishes withdraw under the 
stables, and are invisible for months; during which period, 
I conclude, they must sleep. Thus the inhabitants of the 
water, as well as of the air and the earth, retire from the 
severity of winter. Timothy, your friend, retreated into 
his hyhernaculum last week: he is laid up in the fruit- 
border, in a dry, wholesome, sunny spot: at Kingmer he 
was forced to lie in a swamp. My nephew Eichard has 
been here : he was quite transported beyond himself with 
the pleasures of shooting; and, after walking more than 


a hundred miles, killed one woodcock] which ill-fated bird 
took the pains to migrate from Scandinavia to be slain 
by a cockney, who never shot a bird before ! ! ! Pleasure 
is a most arbitrary matter ! The pains my nephew took 
in his new pursuit would have been a great misery to 

many- I conclude 

Y*" affectionate friend, 

Gil. White. 

I frequently see that new vegetable that we talked of 
called a Quid^ lying in a path : hahitat intra lahra immundi 
hominis. I made some remarks of moment on the house- 
martins just before they withdrew. They do not amount 
to proof; but the presumptions are very strong indeed. 

Now the leaf is down the Bostal discovers itself in a 
faint, delicate line running up the hanger, such as would 
require the hand of a Grimm to express it. 

The Naturalist's Journal records the remarks on 
the house- martins above referred to — 

"1780, Oct. 13, 14. On these two days many house- 
martins were feeding and flying along the hanger as usual, 
'til a quarter past five in the afternoon, when they all 
scudded away in great haste to the S.E. and darted down 
among the low beechen leafy shrubs above the cottages at 
the end of the hill. After making this observation I waited 
'til it was quite dusk, but saw them no more ; and returned 
home well pleased with the incident, hoping that at this late 
season it might lead to some useful discovery, and point out 
their winter retreat. Since that, I have only seen two on 
Oct. 22 in the morning. These circumstances put together 
make it look very suspicious that this late flock at least 
will not withdraw into warmer climes, but that they will 
lie dormant within 300 yards of this village." 

The incident was not forgotten, since he recorded: — 


" 1781, Ap. 5. Searched the S.E. end of the hanger for 
house-martins, but without any success, tho' many young 
men assisted. They examined the beechen-shrubs and holes 
in the steep hanger. 

"[Ap.] 11. While two labourers were examining the 
shrubs and cavities at the S.E. end of the hanger, a house- 
martin came down the street and flew into a nest under 
Benham's eaves. This appearance is rather early for that 
bird. Quae, whether it was disturbed by the two men on 
the hill?" 

To the Rev. B, Churton. Seleburne, near Alton, Hants. 

Dec. 7, 1780. 

Dear Sir, — If you have no more fears about a winter- 
journey than I had at your time of life, you might, I should 
hope, favour me with a visit during the approaching vaca- 
tion. The country indeed is now shorn of its tresses, and 
much in dishabille; but we have still pleasant footpaths, 
wild views, and chearful neighbours. I will give you some 
roast-beef, plum-pudding, and other Xstmass-cheer. We do 
not, I believe, now keep the good season that is advancing 
so jollily as you do in the N. ; but you will, I hope, be 
pleased with visiting Sir Adam de Gurdon's hall, where that 
old baron probably entertained his tenants with an ox 
roasted whole, and floods of brown ale. What I want is 
for you to try your hand at this place at this disadvan- 
tageous season ; and then I shall not doubt but you will like 
it better in the summer. We have finished a walk of 400 
yards in length through an hanging wood just above my 
house; which we are apt to think will please strangers, 
because we like it ourselves. From hence we look on the 
village in a very pleasing light. If you are a draughtsman, 
I can show you some stained views taken from nature by an 
artist that came down to me from London. 

My progress in Nat. Hist, is very slow indeed. I now 


and* advertised, I see, and will be out 

in February. I heartily wish he may give no reason 

for complaint with respect to religious matters: in other 

respects he will be secure of fame. 

If I was to meet Gen. Arnold f I should address him 

thus : — 

" But wherefore thou alone ? wherefore with thee 
Came not all ? ♦ ♦ * ♦ 

* * * ' had'st thou alledg'd 

To thy deserted host this cause of flight 
Thou surely had'st not come sole fugitive." 

I am, with due respect, 

Your most humble servant, 
Gil. White. 

Mr. G.[ibbon], I understand, will draw a comparison be- 
tween Xstianity papal, and Mohammedism ; and indeed I 
am at a loss to say which will make the most hideous 
picture. I mean the popery of the darker ages. 

To the Bev, B. Churton. Selborne, Dec. 19, 1780. 

Dear Sir, — By your letter of the 14th to D'^ Chandler, 
which the D"^ has communicated to me, I am glad to find 
that you are so well disposed to make me a visit, and hope 
you will meet with no interruption. You will not, I hope, 
over-stay this unprecedented run of fine weather, that has 
befallen us now for more than three weeks, without rain, 
wind, or frost! 

If you have a friend in London to whom you can send 
your portmanteau, then you need only desire him to direct 
it for you "at the Eevd. Mr. W. at Selborne, to be left at 
the Swan-Inn at Alton, by the Southampton coach," which 

* Letter imperfect. The missing words, no doubt, referred to the second 
and third volumes of Gibbon's History, which was published in April, 1781. 

t Benedict Arnold, an American general, in 1780 fled precipitately to the 
British lines, after his plot to betray his countrymen at West Point had 
been discovered. 




comes from the Belle Savage-Inn on Ludgate hill; but if 
you have no such person, then direct it to Mr. Edmund 
White, at Mr. Hounsom's mercer in Fleet-street, London, to 
be forwarded to Mr. White &c., by the Southampton coach. 

If you call at Caversham, pray present my most respect- 
ful compliments to Mr. Loveday, and the ladies. I have 
inot the pleasure to be known to D"^ Loveday. 

Your most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

Mrs. Snooke's House at Ringmer in 1783. 


The following letter, signed ''V." (= Vitus), the 
original of which, Mr. Moy Thomas, in his memoir 
of Collins, mentions having seen in Gilbert White's 
handwriting, appeared in the * Gentleman's Maga- 
zine ' for 1781 (vol. li. pp. 11, 12). It is interesting 
as showing his acquaintance with William Collins, 
who was a Chichester man, but not quite accurate in 
all details concerning the career of the unfortunate 
poet, who died in 1759. What called forth the 
letter does not appear, but Langhorne published an 
edition of Collins poems in 1781, and Johnson's 
life of Collins (in his 'Lives of the Poets') 
appeared in the same year : — 

January 20 th. 

Mr. Urban, — William Collins, the poet, I was intimately 
acquainted with from the time that he came to reside at 
Oxford. He was the son of a tradesman at the city of 
Chichester, I think an hatter ; and being sent very young to 
Winchester School, was soon distinguished for his early 
proficiency, and his turn for elegant composition. About 
the year 1740 he came off from that Seminary fi^^st upon 





the roll, * and was entered a commoner of Queen's College. 
There, no vacancy offering for New College, he remained a 
year or two, and then was chosen a demy of Magdalen 
College, where, I think, he took a degree. As he brought 
with him (for so the whole turn of his conversation dis- 
covered) too high an opinion of his school acquisitions, and 
a sovereign contempt for all academic studies and discipline, 
he never looked with any complacency on his situation in 
the University, but was always complaining of the dulness 
of a College life. In short, he threw up his demyship, and, 
going to London, commenced a man of the town, spending 
his time in all the dissipation of Kanelagh, Vauxhall, and 
the playhouses; and was romantic enough to suppose that 
his superior abilities would draw the attention of the great 
world, by means of which he was to make his fortune. 

In this pleasurable way of life he soon wasted his little 
property and a considerable legacy left him by a maternal 
uncle, a colonel in the army to whom the nephew made 
a visit in Flanders during the war. While on this tour 
he wrote several entertaining letters to his Oxford friends, 
some of which I saw. In London I met him often, and 
remember he lodged in a little house with a Miss Bundy, 
at the corner of King's Square-court, Soho, now a ware- 
house, for a long time together. When poverty overtook 
him, poor man, he had too much sensibility of temper to 
bear with his misfortunes, and fell into a most deplorable 
state of mind. How he got down to Oxford I do not 
know ; but I myself saw him under Merton wall, in a very 
affecting situation, struggling, and conveyed by force in 
,the arms of two or three men, towards the parish of S* 
Clement, in which was a house that took in such unhappy 
[objects; and I always understood that, not long after he 

* Mr. Joseph Warton, now Dr. Warton, headmaster at Winton School, 
[was at the same time second upon roll ; and Mr. Mulso, now (1781) pre- 
[bendary of the Church at Winton, third upon the roll.— V. 


died in confinement, but when, or where, he was buried I 
never knew. 

Thus was lost to the world this unfortunate person, in 
the prime of life, without availing himself of fine abilities, 
which, properly inspired, must have raised him to the top 
of any profession, and have rendered him a blessing to 
his friends, and an ornament to his country. Without 
books, or steadiness or resolution to consult them if he 
had been possessed of any, he was always planning schemes 
for elaborate publications, which were carried no further 
than the drawing up proposals for subscriptions, some of 
which were published; and in particular, as far as I re- 
member, one for a 'History of the Darker Ages.' 

He was passionately fond of music; good natured and 
affable; warm in his friendships, and visionary in his 
pursuits, and as long as I knew him, very temperate in 
his eating and drinking. He was of moderate stature, with 
grey eyes, so very weak at times, as hardly to bear a candle 
in the room ; and often raising within him apprehension of 

With an anecdote, respecting him, while he was at 
Magdalen College, I shall close my letter. It happened 
one afternoon at a tea visit, that several intelligent friends 
were assembled at his rooms to enjoy each other's con- 
versation, when in comes a member* of a certain College, 
as remarkable at that time for his brutal disposition as 
for his good scholarship ; who, though he met with a circle 
of the most peaceable people in the world, was determined 
to quarrel ; and, though no man said a word, lifted up his 
foot and kicked the tea table and all its contents, to the 
other side of the room. Our poet, though of a warm temper, 
was so confounded at the unexpected downfall, and so 
astonished at the unmerited insult, that he took no notice 
of the aggressor, but getting up from his chair calmly, he 

* [Hampton.] The translator of Polybius. — V. 


began picking up the slices of bread and butter, and the 
fragments of the china, repeating very mildly — 

" Invenias etiam disjecti membra poetae." 

I am your very humble servant, 


The following entry in the Natur^alist's Journal 
may interest Selborne residents : — 

"Jan. 26 [1781]. My Heliotrope, which is J. Carpenter's 
workshop, shows plainly that the days are lengthened con- 
siderably : for on the shortest day the shades of my two old 
chimneys fall exactly in the middle of the great window of 
that edifice at half an hour after two p.m., but now they are 
shifted into the quick-set hedge, many yards to the S.E." 

To Miss White. Selborne, Feb. 6, 1781. 

Dear Molly, — I was much pleased to see a letter from 
your father under his own hand : for it was indeed a very 
long time since I had seen any such thing. Pray desire 
him soon to receive my Xmass dividend, because I want 
to get all my monies together that I may pay my debts. 
We have had a dry and a mild winter: from Nov. 25th, 
1780, to Jan. 18, 1781, there fell, with us, only '69 of rain; 
and snow ; less than three-quarters of an inch ! 

We were much pleased with your account of Buddie: 
D' Chandler calls you Sister Antiquary, and talked much 
of you this day : he wonders your father does not get 
acquainted with D"^ Ducarrel,* whom he esteems as a very 
knowing man, and one from whom much might be learned. 

Yesterday Miss Shutter was married at Beaconsfield to 
a Mr. Kansford, a young gentleman of a very great landed 
estate near Northampton: his mother lives at Bath. 
Yesterday also Mr. Etty received a letter from his son 

* Librarian at Lambeth Palace. 
VOL. II. — F 


Charles, dated in July last, at sea within two degrees of 
the line. It came from Cork, and expressed that, so far, 
they had experienced a pleasant voyage; and were not to 
stop 'til they arrived among the Indian islands. 

Pray, niece, write to me. The boys might prepare their 
skates, but they would be troubled to find water to make 
ice this winter. Our ponds were dry, and the millers 
wanted water for grinding. y*" loving; uncle 

Gil. White. 

On November 21st in the previous year (1780) 
John W^hite, who had long been a sufferer from 
a serious rheumatic complaint, died at Blackburn. 
He was buried under the Communion table of the 
parish church there. A mural tablet records that 
he was "an ingenious and accurate Naturalist." 

Mulso writes on February 11th, 1781 : — 

" As his constitution was irrecoverably injured, his release 
was a blessing to himself, as a very worthy man. But his 
family and friends miss him much; and I think the world 
has a loss in him, for he was a man of more than private 
accomplishments, and united in himself things which do 
not commonly assemble, mathematics and poetry, philosophy 
and humour. Pray what is to become of his ' Fauna ' ? 

"That work is not, I hope, to be secreted, like a certain 
person's, whose false modesty will not trust forth a Piece 
really good for fear it should not be absolutely perfect, 
which would be prodigii instar." 

The 'Fauna Calpensis' was never published. In 
a notice of John White, written in a pedigree com- 
piled, apparently in 1826, by his nephew John (son 
of Benjamin) White, who, in partnership with his 



brother Benjamin (who died in 1821), carried on 
their father's publishing business, it is stated that 
the work was ''now existing in MS." ; but it seems 
since then to have been certainly lost or destroyed, 
very possibly in 1839, when the last member of the 
White family ceased to reside in Gilbert White's 
house at Selborne, where, there is reason to believe, 
the MS. had remained. The introductory chapter 
describing the Eock of Gibraltar, in John White's 
handwriting, still exists. 

In the course of the year following her husband's 
death Mrs. John White came to Selborne, where 
she resided with her brother-in-law during the rest 
of his life. 

From the Naturalist's Journal : — 

"Feb. 10. The nuthatch brings his nuts almost every day 
to the alcove, and fixing them in one corner of the pediment, 
drills holes in their sides, and after he has picked out the 
kernels, throws the shells to the ground." 

Writing to his nephew, Samuel Barker, who had 
inquired whether anything corresponding to the 
aurora borealis was ever seen in the southern 
hemisphere, Gilbert White quotes a passage from 
J. E. Forster's 'Observations in a Voyage round 
the World,' p. 120, and then proceeds as follows : — 

To Samuel Barker, g Lambeth, Mar. 26, 1781. 

My thanks are due for your entertaining account of the 
Testudo aquarum dulcium. You do very right, I think, in 
looking into history, which is a very gentleman-like study. 


You, who have youth, health, and a strong retentive memory 
on your side, will soon make a vast progress. 

Pray tell your mother that I thank her for her letter. 
Jack White's time will not be out 'til the 16th of next 
June, when he and his mother will come Southward among 
their relations. What mode of life that young man will 
take up I have not yet heard; whether he will walk the 
hospitals in town, or become for a time a journey-man. 
Poor Joe Woods, son of Mr. Jos. Woods, a promising young 
man of 21, is just dead of a decline, to the great sorrow 
of his parents, &c. 

With all due respects I remain 

Your affect, friend, 

Gil. White. 
I propose to return home on Thursday. 

Having had no rain, not once enough to measure, at this 
place, since the last week in Feb., the degree of dustiness 
is horrible, and not to be described. As brother Thomas 
and I walked out this morning a gale rose from the N., 
which filled the whole atmosphere with such a cloud from 
road to road that the prospect was quite obscured! 

On the 27th of Feb., Tuesday, the day I left Seleburne, 
we had such a terrible storm of wind that vast mischief was 
done in the S. and W. of England. I expected to hear of 
great damage, especially in Sussex; but was thankful to 
find that I had escaped with the overturning of my alcove 
into the hedge, the overthrow of my stone-dial, and what 
grieves me most, because it cannot be repaired, the ravage 
of my great wal-nut-tree, which, they write word, is almost 
torn to pieces ! The gale began at eleven a.m., the wind W. ; 
but the great damage was done about five p.m., the wind 
N.W. Soon after a calm succeeded. Derham remarks that 
most tempests from the W. vere a little at last to the N.W., 
and then the ravage and damage takes place. 

Pray write, and on large paper. 


To Miss White. Selborne, April 9, 1781. 

Dear Molly, — It is full time that I should sit down, and 
return my best thanks to your father and you, and my 
other relations for the many good offices that I experienced 
at S. Lambeth and London. 

On the road I found the dust very troublesome : yet I 
got safe to Alton at five o'clock. You need not for the 
future suffer any inconvenience on similar occasions, for 
Mr. Edwards, the Hants Map-man, is going to make a canal 
from Chertsey to Alton ; so that you may come all the way 
as far as Alton by water. Moreover, he intends to bring a 
canal up to Bishop's Sutton, Bassat's village, from Winton ; 
and then to bore a hole for five miles from Alton under 
Bentworth, Medsted, &c., and out at Eopley-dean; and so 
to make a junction of the Wey, and the Itching. You may 
smile at this proposal; but the projector tells me that the 
tunnelling part will be the most profitable and easy to be 
managed; because the chalk, when burnt into lime, and 
the ashes of 4,000 barges of peat made by the burning, will, 
at half the present - price of lime and ashes, produce 
£31,371 ; besides infinite advantage to the lands ! Edwards 
has published a pamphlet on this subject, to which I refer 
you ; and is to have a county-meeting soon. 

But there is a matter at present of more consequence 
to me, concerning which I wish you would consult your 
father, and write me word by the first post ; and that is 
that I sent Goody Hampton, my weeding woman, last 
Wednesday to the post office with a letter to your uncle 
Harry, in which I enclosed, or thought I had enclosed, half 
a £10 bank-note. But lo, nephew Samson* is come up 
express to tell me that the letter came safe and unrumpled, 
but in it no half bank note. Since my nephew came I have 
examined every probable place, but to no purpose. The 

* Son of Henry White of Fyfield. 


only solution of this difficulty seems to be, if it so prove, that 
at the same time that I made up the Fy field letter, I made 
up also a frank to Mrs. Bentham,* in which were two or 
three little papers. Now it is possible the half bill may be 
gone to Oxford. If it should prove so, it will also prove 
that my memory is very bad. But if this half note is not 
forthcoming, let me know what I am to do with the remain- 
ing part, whether it should be sent to town. The end con- 
taining the number and person to whom drawn to is missing. 
I cannot suspect Goody Hampton : her honesty and 
ignorance acquit her. Brother Harry's servant took the 
letter at Mullen's pond of the post boy, so no fraud could 
be committed at the turnpike house. 

Sam. has brought me up the dog Eover, whom, if he 
behaves quietly, I shall approve of, because he is both 
large, and good for nothing ; I mean has no sporting blood 

^° ^™- Y- affect., 

Gil. White. 

To the Bev. B. Churton. 

Selborne, May 9, 1781. 

Dear Sir, — When I called at Brazennose College in the 
Easter week, I was sorry but not disappointed in not find- 
ing you, because Mr. Loveday had intimated that probably 
you would be gone on a visit to his son. 

As you have seen Selborne, and the nakedness of the 
land at Xmas, you will not do it justice if you do not 
come and visit it in all its glory, in its full foliage, and 

I therefore exhort you and enjoin you to come and spend 
the Whitsun vacation here, where your company and con- 
versation will be very acceptable; and, if I mistake not, 
my neighbours will be glad to see you also. 

* Wife of Dr. Bentham, Gilbert White's tutor when at Oriel. 


If you come by Caversham, be pleased to ask for a parcel 
of papers which I left with Mr. Loveday. 
I am, with due respect, 

Your most affectionate servant, 
Gil. White. 

If you will direct your portmanteau to be left at the 
Bell Savage on Ludgate hill London, to be forwarded to the 
Swan at Alton by the Southampton coach, it will, I trust, 
come safe. 

On June 16th, 1781, Mulso wrote to thank his 
old friend for his interposition with Dr. Sheffield, 
now Provost of Worcester College, in favour of his 
son, John Mulso, junior, who had been elected to a 
scholarship there — 

" I presume this will find you at Selbourne after your visits 
in London and Surry. . . . Pray give me an account of 
your family and their proceedings, and how Jack Gib. goes 
on. I daresay well, and hope he will be a comfort to his 

You have robbed the good old Bishop* of a pleasure by 
deferring the publication of your book. Are you cowardly, 
or are you over nice and curious ? Make haste, my dear 
old friend, or you may rob the nephew too. Am I not 
three score in Nov^ next ? Do you keep it for my chair- 
days ? Perhaps you mean to assist my ideas, when I cannot 
expatiate to enlarge my observations. I do not know that 
I could conquer Selbourne Hanger now." 

On July 28th the Naturalist's Journal has a 
curious note on the sense of colour in birds : — 
"The white throats are bold thieves; nor are the red 

* John Mulso's uncle (both in blood and by marriage), Dr. Thomas, 
Bishop of Winchester, who had recently died. 


breasts at all honest with respect to currans. Birds are 
guided by colour, and do not touch any white fruits 'til they 
have cleared all the red ; they eat the red grapes, rasps, 
currans, and goose berries first." 

To Miss White. Selborne, Aug. 1, 1781. 

Dear Niece, — I thank you for your care about my tea and 
chest, which Thomas is to fetch from Alton this afternoon. 
We shall be very glad to see you and your father whenever 
it is convenient, and hope we shall meet happily together. 
Mr. and Mrs. and Miss Fort, and Mr.* and Mrs. and Miss 
Hounsom, &c. dined with me last Saturday; and this day 
they set out for Funtington, from whence Mrs. and Miss 
Fort are to return to Newton. 

We are in the midst of wheat harvest, and have glorious 
weather : the wheat in general has much straw ; but proves 
light and blasted; but in some countries the state of the 
crop is deplorable. Our gardens are burnt up; but Johnf 
says that we are very verdurous in comparison with South 

Tell your father that I thank him much for his prefaces, J 
some of which have given me great pleasure. He need not, 
unless he chuses it, order a newspaper down ; for we have 
four every week. I am sorry for Uncle Harry's disappoint- 
ment: I thought the young man's coming was a settled 
thing. Mr. Etty is in Oxfordshire, whither he was called 
by the sudden death of his tenant, who was not in good 

Mrs. Hounsom came down to Newton in the coach, in 

* Gilbert White's niece, Anne Woods, married John Hounsom of Funt- 
ington, Sussex, in 1792. His father, the "Mr. Hounsom" of this letter, 
was probably the "Mr. John Hounsom, linen draper in Fleet Street," 
mentioned in Gilbert White's letter to his brother John of March 9th, 1775. 

t "Gibraltar Jack." 

X T. Holt- White mentions "my father's [i.e. Thomas White's] Preface to 
his republication of Evelyn's * Fumifugium.' " This edition is not known at 
the British Museum, 


which was a female fellow-traveller, who after a time told 

her she was going to Selborne in Hants. Pray, says Mrs. H. 

do you know Mr. White of that place ? Yes, replies the 

woman, by character ; that is the gentleman that starved his 

niece. Sure, replyed Mrs. H. you must be mistaken ; I can 

hardly credit the report. You may depend on the truth of 

it, rejoined the person again, for I have relations at Selborne, 

and go there every year. Thus you see, that you have been 

looked upon as one of the Children in the vjood, and I as the 

Unnatural Uncle. I must desire you therefore to come down 

as plump and chearful as possible; and to eat and drink 

plentifully all the time you stay, that I may no longer labour 

under the atrocious imputation of starving my relations ! 

My Sister, and John came here yesterday to dinner, and 

join in respects to you and your father, and nephew and 

niece Barkers. Y"^ hard-hearted Uncle, 

Gil. White. 
Miss Etty is at Priestlands bathing. 

I rejoice to hear that Miss Mary Barker's hand is so 

finely healed. 

From the Naturalist's Journal — 

"Aug. 24 One swift still frequents the eaves of the 
Church; and moreover has, I discover, two young nearly 
fledged which show their white chins at the mouth of the 
crevice. This incident of so late a brood of swifts is an 
exception to the whole of my observations ever since I 
bestowed any attention on that species of HirundinesV 

To Miss White. Selborne, Sep. 4, 178L 

Dear Molly, — For some weeks past I have now expected 
a letter from you every post ; and for several evenings past 
have flattered myself that you and your father would 
surprize us agreeably by coming without any notice. Mrs. 
Etty, who is a wise woman of Tekoa, told me positively that 


you would appear last Saturday. The great heats are now 
abated, and the dust is layed; but the lovely weather 
continues. We all therefore earnestly wish to see you both, 
while the country is so agreeable. Peaches and nectarines 
which are delicate, are going out; but grapes will soon 
come ; they look black. We have caught 20 hornets ; wasps 
there are none. 

Pray enquire of your father if he has received my 
dividend ; because I want to pay John Stevens. Tell him I 
thank him for ensuring Iping buildings; and enquire if 
he has been so kind as to pay the continuance of the 
Selborne, and Harting ensurance, which was forgotten. 

Your father's hazel-stick is looked out, and wiped ; and 
the Bostal is in good order. 

With all due respects I remain 
y loving JJnJcley 
(for that is the modish way of spelling the 


Gil. White. 
Mrs. Etty is very angry ! 
A letter to you, post mark Gloucester, is lately arrived. 

On September 29th, 1781, Mulso writes :— 

"I thank you, in his name and my own, for your late 
civilities to my son, of which he is very full; I think he 
has even brought home with him the tone of your voices, 
your phrases, and your stories. He is likewise sensible of 
the charms of Miss White, and the obligingness of your 
neighbours. He delivered your Piece by Mr. Grimm (the 
Temple*) which I approve of very much; though I still 
think that Mr. Grimm has a heavy hand at a distant view ; 
nor can I forgive him, but as a Christian, for giving so 

* This became Plate VIII. in ' The Natural History and Antiquities of 
Selborne,' p. 343. 


little an idea of the high point of your Hermitage* In the 
place he is just, but gives no representation of the position 
with regard to the lower grounds. In the Temple, by 
shewing the turn of the Hangers, and by multiplying the 
grounds before you, he describes the advanced ground that 
you are upon. Colouring would express it compleatly, but 
the engraving is of too uniform a shade to do it justice. 

" I was exceedingly obliged, my dear old friend, by your 
visit to me; especially considering that I have seemingly 
been negligent with regard to visiting Selborne." 

During the visit referred to in the next letter the 
Naturalist's Journal records the opening by " brother 
Thomas " of two tumuli on Selborne Down ; " nothing 

To Miss White. Selborne, Nov. 13, 1781. 

Dear Molly, — Your visit, which you call a long one, I call 
a very moderate one, and wish you could have been prevailed 
on to have stayed longer: however I thank you and your 
father for coming to see us. Mrs. Yalden lately took a 
handful of sticks, and stuck them along the common down 
to the Bostal, and from the mossy-dells to the zig-zag ; she 
afterwards took a cartful of chalk and a carter, and ordered 
him to lay lumps of chalk all the way, for direction posts, 
the whole length of the down, so that Mr. Etty who used to 
say he would not go over the common by himself in the dark 
for £50, might now venture for half the money. 

Molly Berrimanf continues to be the most unfortunate of 
women, for now she has lost all her clothes. When the 

* This sentence locates the site of the Hermitage, i.e. the original 
Hermitage, well known to Mulso. The curious visitor to Selborne will 
readily distinguish the "area" (as Gilbert White called it) on which it 
stood, cut out of the chalk hill high up, a little to the west of the Zigzag. 

t The wife of a Selborne farmer. 


soldiers left this place, two maidens of the village followed 
them ; and that they might cut a figure in their new way of 
life, stripped the poor woman's wardrobe. Kob. B. pursued 
them in great wrath; and overtaking them at Hungerford, 
brought the damsels back. But as nothing was found upon 
them, after much trouble and expence he was forced to let 
the matter rest. 

Poor Dame Larby gets worse ; and must soon, it is feared, 
be starved. 

We have had fine rains this month. On the 2nd 56 ; on 
the 5th -78 ; on the 6th 1-21 ; on the 10th 18 ; on the 11th '58. 

Y"^ loving unkle, with a K, 

Gil. White. 

Oct. 30. The tortoise went under the ground in his coop, 
but not liking his quarters, on Nov. 8 he lifted up his coop, 
and came forth, and has buried himself again in the laurel- 
hedge, where he will probably be lost in the profoundest 
slumbers during the uncomfortable months of winter. 

Pray write to us. 

Our grapes are good still, and not quite gone. We have 
eat of them twice every day to this time. 

On November 21st, 1781, the Provost of Oriel 
College, Dr. John Clarke, died, and Dr. John Eveleigh 
was elected in his place on December 5th. It does 
not appear that Grilbert White, though he went to 
Oxford for the election, was a candidate on this 
occasion. Writing at this time to her brother, Miss 
White remarks — 

"We see in the paper an account of the death of D** 
Clarke and wish we could elect my uncle Provost of Oriel, 
but I fancy he would make some objections, was it in our 


Probably he thought himself too old at sixty-one 
to undertake new and important duties, and had 
become too much attached to Selborne to leave it. 
That he was engaged in compiling his book is shown 
by the following letter of December 4th, 1781, from 
the niece mentioned : — 

" Agreeable to your request I have written out the passages 
in Verstegan and Chaucer. . . . My uncle Benj" says he has 
seen the grey crow on Selborne-Common : we are in doubt 
whether it is in your list of birds. 

" Pray add to your provincial words Merise, a small bitter 

Cherry says the French dictionary (perhaps from Amarus). 

... * October had the name of Wyn-monat, and albeit they 

had not antiently wines made in Germany, yet in this 

season had they them from divers countries adjoining ; rather 

because in this month ' — 

' . . . pocula laeti 
Fermento atque acidis imitantur vitea sorbis.' 

" I wish for Fermento we might read Frumento. . . . 

"Extract from Chaucer's 'Floure and the Leafe.' 

'And to a pleasant grove I gan to pas, 
Long or the bright Sonne uprisn was ; 
In which were okes grete, streight as a line. 
Under the which the grasse so fresh of hewe, 
Was newly sprong ; and an eight foot or nine 
Every tree wel fro his fellow grew. 
With braunches brode, laden with leves newe, 
That sprongen out ayen the Sonne shene. 
Some very redde, and some a glad light grene.' " 

To Miss White. Seleburne, Deer. 19, 1781. 

Dear Mrs. Mary, 

The young Antiquary, — Your letter of the fourth of this 
month afforded us much pleasure and information. D"^ 
Chandler thinks that you now deserve more than ever to be 
made S. A. S. : by the first S. I suppose he means Soror. 


As the Saxons had invented significant names for eleven 
of their months, I wonder that April should come off so 
poorly; for certainly the Goddess Goster is as arlitrary an 
appellative as June, July, August, &c. 

I agree with you in preferring the reading of Frumento 
for Fermento ; if any MSS. would keep us in countenance ; 
or 'perhdips fermento in its place might be read adjectively, pro 
fermentatis. Virgil often expresses himself in that manner. 

The poets have many times taken notice of the various 
shades and tints of autumnal leaves; but Chaucer, in your 
quotation, is the only one that I have remarked that has 
observed the different colours of leaves at their first coming 
out in the spring. 

You are certainly right respecting Merise, a bitter cherry : 
hence no doubt comes our provincial word Mery, or more 
probably Meris, the S. being dropped. 

Thanks are due for our salt-fish which came last Saturday, 
and looks finely ; pray write word what it cost. 

The girl has knit your father one pair of stockings, and 
almost an other. I will procure more worsted. Her eldest 
sister is hired as a nurse-maid to Mrs. Clement.* Poor 
Dame Larby lies still in the same hopeless way. 

I have, in my time, seen two grey crows in Selborne parish. 
My well, and others, particularly that most profound one at 
Heards, continue very low. The stream at Gracious street 
just runs, and Well-head is not much increased. Mrs. 
White and Mr. and Mrs. Etty, who have been gossiping all 
the morning with Mrs. Clement, bring some imperfect 
accounts of good news both from India, and off Brest. God 
grant that they may be true ! We often exceed you in rain. 
In Dec. .79 we had 6*28 in., and in Nov. .81 6*18 in. In 
this current month we have caught, as yet, only -100. I 
have received from Shields the nursery man four peaches 

* His niece, Jane, daughter of Benjamin White, who now lived at Alton. 


and nectarines, trained trees, that are to bear next year: they 
have fine regular heads, but are very dear ! 

In a note to my account of Wolmer-forest* I have men- 
tioned that some old people have assured me, that of a 
winter's morning they have discovered sunk trees in the 
bog by the hoar-frost that lay longer over the space where 
they were concealed, than on the surrounding morass. Nor 
does this seem to be a fanciful notion ; but conformable to 
true philosophy. For D^ Hales says, " that snow lies longest, 
as he has often observed, over drains, elm-pipes, &c. : because 
these intervening, detached substances, interrupt the warm 
vapor from the earth, and impede the thawing." See Hales's 
' Hsemastatics,' p. 360. Hence I make the following quaere. 
Might not observations of this nature be extended to 
domestic uses by the discovery of old obliterated dreins and 
wells about houses ; and in Roman stations, and camps, lead 
to the finding of pavements, baths, f graves, and other hidden 
relicks of curious antiquity? Pray continue your com- 
munications, and particularly respecting the quaere. 

Y"^ loving unkle, 

Gil. White. 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, Dec. 31, 1781. 

Dear Molly, — The girl has finished only one pair of 
stockings, which I send ; another pair is almost completed ; 
when she has done what she is about, I will order more 
worsted. As soon as you know, pray send me the price 
of the salt fish. 

Many thanks for your last letter. We should be glad of 
more hints, quotations, and anecdotes. 

* Letter VI. to Pennant, 'The Natural History of Selborne.' 
t Until well into the nineteenth century the remains of rooms of Roman 
houses in this country, which frequently contain hypocausts, were called 
" baths," since in the milder climate of Italy hypocausts rarely appear 
except as the foundations of baths. Hence the mistake. 


As Uncle Will was coming down in great glee from 
Newton to Selborne, he attempted to get down the slider 
immediately below the hermitage. The slippery ground 
hurried him on much faster than he was aware, so that 
he fell with his head on a stump and cut his forehead sadly. 
He was stunned with the fall, and lay senseless for some 
time. I was shaving when he came in, and seeing at my 
elbow a courier with his hand full of letters, and all over 
dirt and blood, could not imagine at first who he was. 

Y'^ loving unkle, 

Gil. White. 

We are glad to hear that your father is so well. 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, Jan. 16, 1782. 

Dear Niece, — D"" Chandler and Mr. Churton went lately 
to visit Binstead* church, where in a room to the N. of 
the church, called the school-room, they found the following 
inscription in Saxon characters: "Eichard: de: Westcote: 
gist: ici: Deu: de: sa: Alme: eit: merci ! Amen." And 
on the tomb the stone effigy of a Knight Templar in 
his shirt of mail, with his legs across, and a little lion 
between them ; with his shield on his arm, and his sword 
by his side ; and all in pretty good preservation. A quarter 
of a mile to the W. of the church stands an old mansion 
called Westcote, perhaps once the residence of this Knight. 

Well-head runs now very strong, and sends out perhaps 
30 gallons of water in a minute ; the stream nearly fills the 

The bostal, from much use, is dirty; while the zigzag, 
from the contrary reason, is sound and clean. 

Dame Larby dyed yesterday morning. 

* A villaffe near Selborne, 



Pray write rae word what the salt fish came to. 
After the fast Mrs. White and I hope to visit you. 

Your affectionate Uncle, 

Gil. White. 
The wells are now very high. We have some hopes of 
seeing Uncle Harry next week. 

To Miss White. Seleburne, Feb. 9, 1782. 

Dear Molly, — That you may not be kept in any suspense, 
I think proper to inform you that Mrs. White and I propose 
to dine and lie at Alton on Monday the 18th. I believe 
I should have said sZee^j; but I cannot always promise to 
fulfil my engagements in that matter just to a night. How- 
ever, the day after, we propose to reach S. Lambeth by tea 
time ; where, I hope, we shall all have a happy meeting. 

The Grange farm is now going to be sold in earnest : the 
poor owner has but seven years remaining of her lease of 
twenty-one ; so that the purchaser must first apply to the 
Coll. and know their terms, and then treat with the tenant 
Mrs. W. 

The other day I fetched up a bottle of brandy (for you 
know I deal much in brandy) when lo the contents, though 
all the rest had been bright, was of a deep purple ! Why 
so, niece ? 

Venus was so resplendent last night, and is again this 
evening, that she casts a beautiful pale light on the walls 
of my chamber, &c., and shows distinctly the shades of the 
window-frames, and the lead between the panes of glass; 
or, to speak as an astronomer, she shadows strongly. Mars, 
who made such a figure in June, now looks very simple. 

Mr. and Mrs. Clement left us this morning. We have 
now sharp frost ! Your father, I hope, will receive my 
Xmass dividend. y'* affectionate Unkle, 

Gil. White. 

VOL. II. — G 


Writing from South Lambeth to her brother at 

Fyfield on March 11th, 1782, Miss White tells him 

that — 

"My uncle and Mrs. John White intend returning next 
Friday. My uncle is obliged to leave us on account of his 
church: we have just heard of the death of Mr, Roman: 
he christened me. My uncle may perhaps lose his curacy 
of Faringdon. The living is, I believe, intended for a young 
man about seventeen." 

Eeturning from Lambeth Gilbert White received 
a visit from his brother Henry, with whom, as the 
latter records in his own Journal on April 6th, 1782, 
he visited Winchester on his way to Fyfield, where — 

" H. W. and G. W. saw the new altar piece at Winchester 
Cathedral, the raising of Lazarus by Mr. West — very fine, 
the frame gone to be changed." 

On April 5th, 1782, Mulso writes : — 

" I lately learned an event that I think must have inter- 
ested you a good deal, and that was the death of D"^ Roman ; 
by which your curacy of Faringdon must have been hazarded. 
I have not yet learned who succeeds, or upon what footing 
you now are. I think your College might make an exchange 
for you, if the value of the living would compensate the 
Fellowship and curacy." 

These remarks serve to show that the writer's 
scruples about the retention by his friend of his 
Fellowship must have been satisfied, as in truth they 
should have been. 

On June 2nd, 1782, Mulso writes thanking his 
friend for kindly receiving the recommendation of a 


Worcester College candidate for an Oriel Fellowship, 
in whom he was interested from the fact that the 
election of this young man at Oriel would facilitate 
the election of his son John to a Fellowship at 
Worcester College. He continues in the old strain — 

"Another winter is passed without your Essays. I have 
no more to say than that you are a timorous provoking 
man. You defraud yourself of a great credit in the world : 
as to your labouring at your Antiquities, it is Tnal-a-propos ; 
the world does not care for such rough work now. Your 
Porch will be bigger than your House, and you will clap 
a Gothic Front upon a plan of Palladio.* I mean this, 
if you labour too much at it. I will give you credit 
myself that everything that comes from you shall be good. 
I shall not be quite sorry when you have left Faringdon, 
but I wish you a Sinecure in its room, if such a thing 
would not vacate your Fellowship. But perhaps you are 
like an old prisoner of the Bastille, and would fear to catch 
cold in your leg, if it had not a chain on." 

To Miss White. ^^g^ 3^ 1782. 

Dear Molly, — Pray desire your father to receive my 
midsummer dividend, and to bring me down thirty pounds 
in Cash. 

Mrs. White desires you to bring her down one quire of 
hlack-edged paper. 

If you have some mushroom-spawn to spare, I should be 
glad of some. 

* The result shows that this prophecy of Mulso's, like others that he 
made of his friend's work, was correct. Very few people read the 'An- 
tiquities' in comparison with those who read the 'Natural History' of 
Selborne. Yet they are good of their kind, and creditable to their author, 
as indicating the spirit of thoroughness with which he set about describing 
his native parish. 


Thomas desires a parcel of sweet-williams. 

Your father gave me two yellow asphodels ; one of which 
has blown finely. 

You may bring us half an hundred of good loaf-calibages, 
and ^om.Q ferruginous fox-gloves, if any to spare. 

We shall hope to see you soon. 

Mr. and Mrs. Eichardson are here, and three young 
Wykehamists, for whose sake Timothy is locked safe in 
the stable. D"^ and Mrs. Stebbing come on Monday. Mr, 
and Mrs. Powlett dined here yesterday. 

We shall hope to see you and your father very soon. 

Y'^ loving friend, 

Gil. White. 

The quantity of water that fell at Selborne in July last 
was 7*09 ! ! ! Multum computruit foenum ! 

On August 7th, 1782, Mulso writes from Meon- 
stoke : — 

"You must be in great beauty in your verdurous spot. 
How are you in your health? and how able are you as a 
horseman ? Do you amble about your neighbourhood ? Do 
you yet serve Faringdon, or is the new representative of 
Mr. Cage come to exclude you, and to enlarge you? . . . 
You and your place are among the prejudices of my youth, 
and my mind dwells upon them with a fondness that I do 
not feel for newer and grander things. 

"Am I to die before your little favourite work comes 
out? Des aliquid famm and don't be so tedious and 

During the summer, which was exceptionally wet 
and cold, several relations visited Selborne. The 
Naturalist's Journal records — 


"Sept. 1-7. The swifts left Lyndon in the County of 
Eutland, for the most part, about Aug. 23. Some con- 
tinued till Aug. 29 : and one till Sept. 3rd ! ! In all our 
observation Mr. Barker and I never saw or heard of a 
Swift in Septem^ tho' we have remarked them for more 
than 40 years. 

" Sep. 15. My brother Thomas White opened two of the 
most promising tumuli on the down above my house" 
[without result, however]. 

On October 22nd, while staying with his brother 
at Fyfield, he made the observations on goldfish, 
which appeared in * The Natural History of 
Selborne,' Letter LIV. to Barrington. 

Everybody in the Eastern Counties seems to have 
his own particular cure for ague, and it would seem 
that Thomas White, who had suffered sharply from 
this complaint, formed no exception to the rule. 

To Miss White. Selborne, Dec. 7, 1782. 

Dear Niece, — Your father will be pleased, no doubt, to 
hear that his good offices to Anne Osgood were effectual. 
This woman went to Burbey,* and took one ounce of the 
red bark; but still the ague returned; though with less 
violence. She then entered upon and took all the second 
ounce which performed a compleat cure. As a corroborating 
circumstance Burbey gave her a warm linsey-woolsey jacket : 
before she had no gown to her back. Your father has 
often enquired of me whether the autumn previous to the 
severe winter 1739-40 was wet or not: all that I could 
tell him was, that the lavants at Chilton Candover were 
high, when the rigorous season began. But now I see by 

* Who kept the village shop at Selborne. 


D"" Huxham,* that, at Plymouth at least, the whole year 
1739 was a wet one: for the rain in that period was 
36"308 in., a large quantity. I have been much entertained 
with the remarks of that accurate writer; and find from 
him that the district of Plymouth is rather to be called 
a wet one from the frequent rains, more than from the 
quantity. Besides, I see, in our very dry years they had 
little rain : as in 1741, 20-354 in. ; and in 1743, 20-908 in. 
Nor do I find that in the 20 years and upwards that the 
D' carried on his exact measurings, that ever the water 
was caught that has fallen of late years at Selborne. 

Burbey took a piece of timber from my orchard, and 
set a person to turn the water in the pound-field lane. 
The man, I suppose by the order of Town, did not dig a 
pit in the hop-garden, but carry ed a ditch round by the 
hedges into Town's mead. A most effectual rain for trial 
(1*45) fell on the 2nd and 3rd of November. Much white 
water ran into Town's mead; and so good effect had the 
contrivance that, comparatively, little came down the street. 
But behold Parsons came open-mouthed in the morning 
to complain that your father's expedient had flooded half 
an acre of his wheat-fallow on the other side of the hedge. 
However upon examination this outcry, as Parsons himself 
allowed afterwards, proved to be without reason. I then 
spoke to Town, who said that Parsons was a poor envious 
fellow, that could not bear to see him get any benefit from 
the water; and moreover made a vast merit of admitting 
the water at all. I see since that some body has stopped 
the mouth of the drain with a spade ! 

Before you wrote I had seen accidentally Dryden's * Hind 
and Panther.' The poet does not compare martins to 
Dutchmen) but swifts to Swiss, on account of their bulk. 
What a strange, long-winded allegory has the Laureatf 

* Author of ObservatioTies de Aere, etc. Vide Letter LX. to Barrington. 
t William Whitehead. 


made of the three species of Hirundines ? little superior, 
some beautiful passages excepted, to the fables of despised 
Ogilby. Many thanks for your quotation from Taylor the 
water-poet, which is very quaint, and comical: and in 
particular for the Latin one from Gassendus, because it 
so exactly describes my case. My head to this day is full 
of the lessons of M. and E. Barker. 

We are likely to lose poor W. Dewey : he is afflicted with 
a terrible asthma, and is in the last stage of a dropsy. He 
will be missed in his various capacities, and as an honest, 
blameless man. 

The knitter has finished two pairs of stockings, a fine 
ribbed one, and a pair as thick as a jack-boot. 

On November 13th and 14th my Barometer was at 30*2 
and 30-3. 

Pray has your father received my long ann. dividend up 
to Midsummer 1782 ? When opportunity offers pray send 
me down one pound of Mr. Todd's 14s. green tea. As Mrs. 
White and I were returning from Fy field on Novr. 1st, 
we saw several house -martins playing about under the 
chalk cliff at Whorwel : the air was frosty, the sun warm. 

Mrs. J. White joins in respects. 

Mrs. Clement and child go well. 

Your loving friend, 

Gil. White, 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, Dec. 14, 1782. 

Dear Molly, — I must trouble you again to desire your 
father to send us, when he has an opportunity to buy 
it, half an hundred of good salt fish, to be sent down by 
Earwaker the carrier who puts up at the Castle and Falcon 
in Aldergate street. When the fish is sent, pray acquaint 
me by letter of the price, that I may settle with my 


Now you mention a falcon, one of the keepers of Wolmer 
forest lately shot a peregrine falcon, a noble bird, which 
weighed 2 pounds and a half, and measured from wing 
to wing 42 inches.* I had one sent me before in 1766, 
which I sent to Mr. Pennant. 

We have now, what you would little expect, 26 highland 
soldiers quartered in this parish ; 14 in the street, and 12 at 
Oakhanger. They belong to the 77th regiment, and were 
embarked in the S. of Ireland in order to have attended 
L*^ Howe to Gibraltar: but a cross wind drove them to 
the back side of Cornwall, and so to Ilfracombe on the 
N. of Devon, where they were landed. These sans-breeches 
men make an odd appearance in the S. of England. 

Mrs. J. White desires that when you write to Miss Isaac, 
you would mention her son's having set up as a surgeon 
at Salisbury; because she understands that our cousin 
boards with a Physician. 

We have had much dry weather of late, aud little more 
than half an inch of rain since the first week in November. 
I am to be sponsor to my great niece Clement. 

Yours affectionately, 

Gil. White. 

* This incident is duly noted in the Naturalist's Journal^ where it is 
added that "the plumage answers well to Pennant's 'Brit. Zoology,' 4to, 
vol. i. p. 156." Peregrine falcons are still sometimes seen at Selborne ; 
Mr. Parkin, the present owner of "The "Wakes" there, recently saw one 
flying overhead and striking at a heron. A noble sight ! 


To the Rev. B. Churton. 

Seleburne, Jan. 4, 1783. 

Dear Sir, — Your long and communicative letter of Dec. 16th 
gave me much satisfaction. After you went away my family 
became very large for the rest of the summer. I had with me 
my brother Thomas White, and daughter and two sons, my 
sister Barker from Kutland and her two youngest daughters, 
and at times my nephew J. White son of Mrs. J. White, who 
is just settled at Salisbury as a surgeon, being invited by 
some friends who seemed perswaded that there was an 
opening. My nieces. Barkers, especially the eldest of the 
two who is 22 years of age, have (I speak as a foolish uncle) 
very fine fingers, and play elegantly on the harpsichord. 
These maidens entertained us day after day with very lovely 
lessons from Niccolai, Giordani, and several other modern 
masters, in a very agreeable manner. But I find, as I grow 
old, that music, though very sweet and engaging at the time, 
yet occasions very unpleasing sensations afterwards. When 
I hear fine lessons I am haunted with passages therefrom 
night and day, and especially at first waking, which by their 
importunity give me more pain than pleasure : airs and jigs 
rush upon my imagination, and recur irresistably to my 
memory at seasons, and even when I am desirous of thinking 
of other matters. The following curious quotation strikes 



me much by so well representing my own case, and by 
describing what I have so often felt, but never could so 
well express. " Praehabebat porro vocibus humanis, instru- 
mentisque harmonicis, musicam illam avium : non quod alia 
quoque non delectaretur ; sed quod ex musica humana 
relinqueretur in animo continens quaedam attentionemque 
et somnum conturbans agitatio; dum ascensus, excensus, 
tenores, ac mutationes illae sonorum, et consonantiarum 
euntque redeuntque per phantasiam : cum nihil tale re- 
linqui possit ex modulationibus avium, quae, quod non 
sunt perinde a nobis imitabiles, non possunt perinde inter- 
nam facultatem commovere." — De vitd Peireskii per Gassen- 

I am glad that you met with the Star-sluch in Cheshire, 
after you had examined the Tremella nostoc in Hants. Not 
that I had any doubt myself but that the former was a 
vegetable, but because I met with intelligent people who are 
still perswaded that this substance is a mass of indigested 
food cast-up out of the stomachs of crows ! and some have 
told me that they have distinguished the limbs of frogs 
among it! As to a star-sluch growing on the bough of 
an oak, this must have been a matter of accident. The 
seeds of all fungi, you know, are lighter than air, and 
therefore float about in it; and vegetate only when they 
happen to fall on a proper nidus. 

J)^ Chandler seemed a good deal chagrined about the 
behaviour of his prime minister. If he had not come home 
just in time, a hern would have been born unto him in 
the vicarage. Sim Etty, tutored by the D'^, runs about 
the village, and repeats to every one he meets, with great 
vehemence: — "Mulieri ne credas, ne mortuae quidem." 
Charles Etty is at the Nore aboard the Duke of Kingston, 
and is expected every day at Spithead; from whence he 
is to make a visit here for a day or two before he sails 
for India. 


I thank you much for procuring Mr. Hampton's pamphlet, 
which you will please to leave at my brother's. You will, 
I hope, make yourself known to him; I have mentioned 
you to him. You will see a roomy shop, well furnished, 
with old gent[lemen] in leathern doublets. Timothy the 
tortoise would make but a poor king: he would be so 
slow in his motions as to be but a king Log at best; and 
an alert enemy would deprive him of half his dominions, 
before he could awake from his profound slumbers. 

I will take care of your Beoc Platonicus, and hope I shall 
bring it you at Easter. My brother Thomas opened several 
of the barrows on our down in the summer, but found 
nothing. Now you talk of last summer, it was a strange 
summer indeed! Nothing like it, I believe, has befallen 
since the year 1725, when it rained every day, except about 
ten in July, from March 29th to September 29th ; but then 
the first part of said year was very dry. In 1782 the rain 
that fell at Selborne was 60 in. 26 hund. ! and of this 
the greatest part came in the first 9 months; for Octr., 
Novr., and Deer, were comparatively dry; Deer, afforded 
only in. 91 h. I would have you dine with my brother 
Ben in Fleet street: he dines always about three o'clock. 
If you would call some morning at my brother Tho. White's 
at South Lambeth, just beyond Vauxhall turnpike, he would 
be glad to see you. It is a pretty walk from town to 
S. Lambeth! If you will go there and dine* . . . . 
. . . Sunday, you will meet both families; for they both 
live* .... 

Say what impels amidst surrounding snow, 
Or biting frost the crocus-bloom to glow : 
Say, what retards, amidst the summer's blaze, 
Th' autumnal bulb, till pale declining days ? 

* Letter imperfect. 


The God of seasons, whose pervading power 
Controls the sun or sheds the fleecy shower ; 
He bids each hast'ning flower his word obey, 
Or to each lingering bud enjoins delay * 

I am with all due esteem, 

Your most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

Neighbours are all well. Mrs. J. White joins in the good 
wishes of the season. If you know any gentlemen in or 
round Salisbury pray mention my nephew John White 
the surgeon to them, who he is and what he is. D"^ 
Chandler has been very kind that way. All beginners in 
any calling stand much in need of such good offices. 

To Mary Barker. Selborne, Jan. 22, 1783. 

Dear Mary, — It is full time that I should acknowledge 
your late obliging letter ; and return you and your Mother 
and sister my best thanks for the agreeable visit that you 
made me in the autumn. I have only to regret that you 
could not consistently with the respect that was due to 
other relations extend it out to a much greater length. 

As to music, your lessons, and those of your sister gave 
me wonderful delight. I retain still a smattering of many 
passages on my memory, which I sing to myself when I am 
in spirits. Indeed I am often too much affected with 
musical harmony, especially of late years. The following 
curious Quotation strikes me much by so well representing 
my own case ; and by describing what I have so often felt, 
but never could so well express i*. . . . 

When I hear fine music, I am haunted with passages 

* *0n the Early and Late Blowing of the Vernal and Autumnal Crocus.' 
The verses given above were sent to John Mulso, who had been the recipient 
of so many of his friend's compositions, under the signature of "Nobody." 

t Here follows the passage from Gassendi, sent him by Miss White, and 
quoted in the letter to Mr. Churton of January 4th, 1783. 


therefrom night and day; and especially at first waking, 
which by their importunity give me more uneasiness than 
pleasure, still seizing my imagination, and recurring irresist- 
ably^ to my memory at seasons; and even when I am 
desirous of thinking of other matters. . . . Yet notwith- 
standing all these fine things, I would give six pence to 
hear you two maidens perform the wopses, the lesson with 
the jig, and that with the lovely minuet, &c., &c. 

The letter from Nobody puzzled the Mulso family for a 
long time. At first they suspected me : but the strange, 
unknown hand, the London post-mark, and some other 
circumstances threw them all out ; so that to put them out 
of doubt, I was forced to own the imposture, and to acknow- 
ledge that you were accessory. Mrs. Clement held her 
Xtening lately : I was Godfather ; and we named the child 
Jane. Mr. Charles Etty came in this morning from Spit- 
head, where his ship, the Duke of Kingston, is lying at 
anchor in readiness for sailing soon. This young gentleman 
says that peace is the general talk : so that he supposes 
they may possibly sail with a white flag, and without any 
convoy at all. We have had all this winter 26 High-landers 
of the 77th regiment quartered in this village, and at Oak- 
hanger : where though they had nothing in the world to do, 
they have behaved in a very quiet and inoffensive manner ; 
and were never known to steal even a turnip, or a cabbage, 
though they lived much on vegetables, and were astonished 
at the dearness of Southern provisions. Late last night 
came an express ordering these poor fellows down to Ports- 
mouth; where they are to embark for India; near 100 of 
them aboard Charles Etty's ship. Uncle Harry writes word 
that he hopes his son Charles will have a commission soon. 
With all due respects I remain 

Your affectionate uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Several of our soldiers came from Caithness. 


To Miss White, Seleburne, Feb. 7, 1783. 

Dear Molly, — As the spring begins to advance, and as we 
propose now being with you about the first week in March, 
we can hardly wish for half an hundred of salt fish so late : 
and Mrs. Yalden and Mrs. Etty, I find, are of the same 
mind. We must therefore desire your father to send a note 
to his fish-monger to stop his hand. 

Having expected the Rector of Faringdon for some time 
at my house, I could not so well say when about we should 
endeavor to get to town ; but as he has been here, we shall 
hope to be at liberty as above mentioned, and should be 
glad to know if that season would be convenient. 

Mr. and Mrs. Etty have been very uneasy about Andrew, 
who still continues in a very poor state, Mr. E. lately has 
dreaded that a palsy would be the consequence. Mr. Webb 
pronounced last night that the disorder is St. Vitus's dance, 
as yet in a small degree. Mrs. E. and Mary went to 
London last Tuesday : Charles lies still at Spit-head. It 
was a pity that the parcel was sent by the waggon, because 
it was detained a fortnight at the warehouse till the tea 
has lost some of its flavour. Mrs. Clement is at Newton : 
she has removed her girl to Norgates in Newton-lane, being 
displeased with her Alton nurse. Mrs. Clement is not very 
well, and has got a sore throat. Mr. Yalden has some what 
of the Gout. 

" Look upon the rain-bow, and praise Him that made it : 
very beautiful is it in the brightness thereof." 

Ecclus. xliii. 11. 

On morning or on ev'ning cloud impress'd, 
Bent in vast curve, the wat'ry meteor shines 
Delightfully, to th' levell'd sun oppos'd ; 
Smit with the gaudy scene, th' unconscious swain 
In vacant mood gazes on the divine 
Phsenomenon, gleaming o'er th' illumin'd fields, 
Or runs to catch the treasure which it sheds. 


Not so the sage, inspir'd with pious awe ; 
He hails the federal arch ;* and looking up, 
Adores the God, whose fingers form'd this bow 
Magnificent, compassing heaven about. 
With a resplendent verge, * Thou mad'st the cloud, 
Maker Omnipotent, and thou the bow ; 
And by that covenant graciously hast vow'd 
Never to drown the world again : henceforth, 
Till time shall be no more, in beauteous train. 
Season shall follow season, day to night. 
Succeed ' — inspir'd, so sang the Hebrew bard, t 
* Genesis ix. 12-17. f Moses. ^^^^^ MiLTON. 

The end of Jany. and this month have been very wet ; so 
that I fear the springs will get very high, and that the 
season for our spring-crops will be bad, especially if harsh 
weather succeeds at once. 

How will your Cellars come off? When do the young 

men + go to College ? Your affectte. uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Jany. 27th, 1-05 ; 30th, -62 ; Feby. 5th, -80 : 7th, 75. 

Mr. Dennison is chosen to Holiburn [School] in the room 

of Mr. Willis : poor Mrs. Robinson, who has 10 children, 

made what interest she could for her husband, who at 

present is a Navy-chaplain in the W. Indies : she got two 

votes, her opponent three. There are but five feofees, one 

of them a broken blacksmith. 

Undated, but of this time, is the following to the 
same niece, who had on Feb. 10th, 1783, thanked 
her uncle for his verses on the Rainbow and ''as 
we are no poets," sent him an extract from Thomson's 
'Seasons' (Spring, 11. 203-217), in which occur — 

" Here, awful Newton, the dissolving clouds 
Form, fronting on the sun the showery prism." 

X Miss White's brothers, who were at Oriel College, Oxford, where six of 
Gilbert White's nephews were now in residence. 


To Miss White. Selbome. 

Dear Molly, — As you seemed to be so versed in Milton, I 
send you an other quotation applicable to the occasion 
mentioned in my former letter. 

. . . "He 

. as an evening dragon came, 
Assailant on the 'perched roosts 
And nests in order rang'd 
Of tame villaticfowl." .... 

Here, my dear niece, your Newtons and your indexes will 

not avail you. yours affectionately, 

Gil. White. 

To Miss White. 

Selbome, Feb. 20th, 1783. 

Dear Mrs. Mary, — I return you many thanks for your 
very entertaining letter ; and for your method of making of 
mice ; which is a receipt that no family ought to be with- 
out ; and especially my family, as we have not had a mouse 
in the house for months. 

We have had a strange wedding lately. A young mad- 
headed farmer out of Berks came to marry farmer Bridger's 
daughter, and brought with him four drunken companions. 
He gave two guineas and a crown to the ringers ; and came 
and drank with them, and set all the village for two days in 
an uproar. Poor dame Butler, hearing that her son was 
fighting, fell into fits, and continued delirious two days. 
These heroes, after they had drank all the second day at the 
Compasses, while a dinner dressing at the great farm at 
Newton was spoiled, went up at last, and ranted and raved 
so, that they drove the two Mrs. Hammonds (one of whom 
is the bride's eldest sister) up into their chambers through 
fear. At six in the evening they took the bride (who wept 
a good deal) and carryed her away for Berks. The common 

Walter 4:i:ackerdlph.s 




people all agree that the bridegroom was the most of a 
gentleman of any man they ever saw. He told the folks at 
the inn that whenever the next sister was married, he 
would come and spend ten guineas. 

Our crocus's begin to look gaudy. 

By the accident that happened to Miss Woods's suit of 
cloaths, which was entirely consumed, Geo. Fort's chamber 
and furniture sustained much damage, and his house was in 

In riding from Alton to Selborne Mrs. Etty had a fall; 
but being light, she was little hurt. The mare fell, having a 
stone in her foot. Poor Mrs. Hoar of ISTore-hill dyed this 
morning ! 

Pray present my respects to your father, and tell him I 
was much concerned, on casting up our account, when I 
came to find that by the sudden rise of stock, he had over- 
purchased himself in my long ann., and had laid out more 
than £20 of his own money. If he pleases to have his 
money before I get to town, I will send him a draught 
on brother Ben. We talked of setting out on March the 
4th, but now find it more convenient to defer our journey 
'til Mar. nth. yr loving Uncle, 

Gil. White. 


Therm. Feb. 9, 83 28-2f 
Therm. „ 16 „ 30-2^ 
Kaiii in Jan., 4*43. 
Eain from Jan. 24 to Feb. 14, 5*22. 

The following letter was written to Edmund, son 
of Benjamin White, at Oriel, who took Orders and 
became Vicar of Newton Valence, and consequently 
his uncle's neighbour, after the death of his uncle, 
the Rev. Richard Yalden : — 

VOL. II. — H 


To the Rev. Edmund White. 

Selborne, Feb. 28, 1783. 

Dear Nephew, — I could wish that you would make it 
a rule to read aloud to yourself every day some portion 
of Scripture or the common prayer, though ever so short, 
and that you would sometimes also read before a judicious 
friend. But at the same time read plainly and unaffectedly, 
and do not aim at anything theatrical or fine: but only 
attend well to what you read, and your own good sense and 
ear will tell you at the time how to modulate your voice, 
and lay your accents justly, according as you are affected by 
what is before you. 

Mr. and Mrs. Yalden, who are just gone, and Mr. and 
Mrs. Clement now in the room, join with Mrs. J. White in 

Remember me to White 3^^"^ 4*^, and 5*^^. 

I am, dear White 2""^'^^, 

Your loving friend, 

White 1^"«. 

Give my respects to Mr. Beake, and Mr. Twopenny ; and, 
when opportunity offers, to the Provost. Mrs. J. White 
and I propose to go to town about March 10th. 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, Apr. 30, 1783. 

Dear Mrs. Mary, — If your Father will turn to Baron 
Riedesel's travels thro' Sicily, &c. translated by Forster, he 
will find, p. 184, some curious particulars respecting the 
family of Coypel the painter, then residing in some rank at 
Gallipoli, in Apulia. I returned from Oxford on Saturday 
last, and was with the Provost,* who has been at Bath. 
I am sorry to say that his state of health is still very 

* Of Oriel, Dr. Eveleigh. 



lamentable. We rejoice to hear that uncle Harry expects 
more pupils. 

You may say what you please, but the original thought 
of the Epigram is faulty, in making the Naiades sub- 
servient to Ceres, who had certainly no influence over 

For Ulysses's mill-maids, see Pope's Odyssey, vol. 4, 

p. 75, book 20. We have swallows and house-martins, but 

no swifts yet. The martins clean out their old nests, and 

perhaps new-line them. Smith's terrier, I think, should be 

questioned about the truth of what his master says he saw 

on the 11th. We want rain : yet the weather is so glorious, 

that I can hardly wish it to alter. Our rain was Ap. 11th 

•51, 23rd '37 : and that is all since we left you. Thermometer 

18th 63°, 19th 65°. We have three nightingales singing 

in my fields ! Cucumbers now come by heaps. Mrs. J. White 

smiles to see you quote Latin so boldly. Miss Ch[arles] Etty 

and Andrew [Etty] remain much the same. Your account 

of your neighbour Cr. head of hair made us laugh. Baptist 

Isaac, it seems, does not leave Oriel ; he has changed his 

mind. I shall be glad to hear from you again soon ; and 

am, dear niece, ^rr «> 4-- 4. tt i 

Y^ affectionate Uncle, 

Gil. White. 
Did you see the wonderful Auroras on Sunday night ? 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, May 13, 1783. 

Dear Molly, — Mrs. Tom Butler, who is an intelligent 
person, says that in the time of Queen Eliz. Temple was in 
possession of the Seymours; and that she does not think 
that they have any title-deeds older than that reign. The 
Seymours of that period must probably be the sons of 
Edward duke of Somerset, Uncle to King Edw^ the sixth, 
and L^ Protector. See new peerage. Vol 1^* p. 13, 14, 15. 


What owners there were between the Seymours and Pow- 
letts, I have not yet learned. 

In my way to Oxford, having an hour to spare, I stopped 
at Dorchester, and saw the church. This is a most venerable 
pile of building, and of a vast length ! Some years ago the 
church was new roofed and repaired by a benefactor, but 
the large chancel, being in the hands of a half-ruined 
Impropriator is miserably neglected. In this noble pile 
I found a Knight Templar in ef^gj with his legs crossed : 
so you see he was vowed to the holy land. In Saxon times 
Dorchester was a Bishop's See : but in the reign of William 
the Conqueror it was removed to Lincoln : since which this 
town has been in constant decay, and is dwindled down 
to a paltry village. I saw a gentleman lately, who says, 
many of the Roman coins found at Dorchester were made 
at Birmingham. For an account of Dorchester in Oxford- 
shire, see Camden's ' Britannia.' 

We have felt many smart frosts lately, and on May 7th 
had snow and hail-storms: but now the weather is very 

Not long since I bottled out some very fine raisin-wine. 
The next morning before I was up Thomas came and told 
me that he thought that the wine had fermented and broke 
some of the bottles; for a stream of wine ran from under 
the vault-door. To this I replyed like a philosopher, that 
it was impossible that the fermentation could be come to 
such a degree in so short a time. Thomas came up again, 
and told me that the stream smelt also of brandy or rum. 
This account confirmed my first suspicions. So I got up 
and went into the cellar: when, woe is me, the shelf was 
fallen down and — caetera desunt. We had no swifi 'til 
May 4th, and then only a pair: but now this morning, 
May 13th, we have five or six pairs. 

y loving Uncle, 

Gil. White. 


My tulips are blown out, but are as yet small : but you 
must observe that the cups of those flowers keep enlarging 
almost as long as they continue in perfection. Andrew 
Etty is worse, and Mrs. Etty not well. 

On July 12th, 1783, Mulso, referring to the 
little sets of verses which his friend had recently 
composed, wrote : — 

" That I thoroughly admired all your lines I think I told 
you; but I communicated them to many friends, and you 
gained just as many admirers ; and even transcribed them 
all to my sister Chapone ; now I shall observe that she liked 
the ' Eainbow ' least, and Mr. Nott liked it best ; I do not 
know which flattered your opinion most. But all the Pieces 
were much admired. I did not know which to prefer ; they 
seemed to be professedly imitations of several stiles of 
poets, and in that they seemed equally just. You must 
not wonder that you did not hear from my daughters upon 
it, to whom they were directed. They could hardly be 
answered but in their own way, and that they did not dare 
to attempt." 

To Miss WhUe. Selborne, Aug. 8, 1783. 

Dear Molly, — Whenever your brothers want a walk, pray 
desire them to go to the nursery -garden, late Shields, and to 
buy me two dozen of the roots of the Dog's toothed violets, 
and to pay for them, and then to bring them to you, who 
will, I trust, bring them to Selborne when you come. 

I once wished to have had your father here early in July ; 
but since I no wise regret that I was disappointed. For the 
weather turned out, the month through, violently hot, so 
that nobody could stir about. Now your father, I know% 
when at Selborne, loves to bustle about, and to have some- 
what in pursuit, and to take walks before dinner. But last 
month I could neither walk or ride ; for the flies tormented 


the horses so that there was no peace. Mr. Barker set out 
from Lyndon on horseback last Monday, and arrived here 
on Wednesday evening without the least complaint or 
fatigue. The distance is 118 miles, which he rode with 
ease, besides walking 4 or 5 miles at every baiting-place 
in his boots, while his horses were eating their corn. He 
has still a streight belly, and is as agile as ever ; and starts 
up as soon as he has dined, and marches all round Hartley- 
park. This morning Mr. B. ran round Baker's hill in one 
minute and a quarter; and Sam [Barker] in somewhat less 
than a minute. 

Sally Dewey, though married, is still willing to be em- 
ployed in my service: I have her now, and have retained 
her for the autumn : so there will be no need of troubling 
you to bring down a maid. 

When my house is at liberty I shall be glad to see you 
all. I was in great hopes of seeing Mr. Brown * and Co. 
again, but they returned by Sarum and Fyfield without 
making much stay at Southampton. Mrs. Brown is better. 
Mrs. Etty and Co. are at Priestlands : Mr. and Mrs. Yalden, 
for this week at Funtington. 

Pray buy me, and bring down when you come 
1 pound Hyson-tea 14s. 
1 p*^ green tea 10s. 

1 p^ of coffee. 

J p*^ of chocolate. 

2 dozen Dogs toothed violets. 

Y"^ loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 
Thus far we have had sweet harvest weather. 
Is Colman's translation of Horace's art of poetry f well 
received ? Mrs. Etty returns to-morrow sennight. 

* Mr. Edward Brown, of Stamford, Lincolnshire, husband of Gilbert 
White's niece, Sarah Barker. 

t This work of George Col man the elder was published in this year (1783). 



Gilbert White's nephews, Samuel Barker and John 
White, visited him early in August. From Selborne 
they went to spend the day with John Mulso, who 
wrote on August 26th, 1783 : — 

" I thank you for sending me over two such agreeable and 
accomplished young men. They put me in mind of the 
times in which we used to take our airings together, and seek 
for every high hill and every green tree. I have confessed 
to them that I am broken-winded; they have hinted the 
same of your horse, but not of yourself ; but tell me that 
you are well and in spirits. My sister Chapone is here. 
She seemed alarmed that I had told you that she did not 
like your imitation of Milton; that I did not, nor I could 
not, justly say ; but I said that she liked it the least of the 
three, and for this you have assigned, perhaps, the just 
reason. We all here love to talk of you and your place." 

The curious long-continued haze described in the 
following letter was noticed at some length in ' The 
Natural History of Selborne,' Letter LXV. to 
Barrington. The cause, which was unknown to the 
writer, was presumably the fine dust floating in the 
atmosphere, following a violent volcanic eruption. 
So far Gilbert White's commentators are agreed, 
but none of them have traced this occurrence to its 
origin, which was undoubtedly a tremendous volcanic 
outbreak in Iceland, in June, 1783, in or near the 
SkaptarjokuU on the north-west border of the Vatna- 

To the Rev. E. Ghurton. Seleburne, Aug. 20, 1783. 

Dear Sir, — Though my house is full of company, yet 
I must no longer delay to answer your agreeable and 


intelligent letter from Williainscot. Poor Mrs. Etty has 
been a great sufferer both in mind and body, having paid 
a long attendance on her son Andrew, who languished from 
spring to midsummer, and then dyed of a slow decay. What 
added to the affliction was, that Miss Charles Etty* was lying 
all the while under the same circumstances at Winchester, 
and dying first, was brought to this place; so that I had 
the sorrowful office of burying these two young people, the 
one on one Saturday, and the other on the following. 
Charles Etty has not been heard of since he sailed for India 
in March; but the papers mention the Duke of Kingston 
(his ship) having called at the Cape Verds in April, all well. 
We have experienced a long summer, with intense heats, 
little rain, and no storms. But what has been very extra- 
ordinary, was the long -continued haze^ extending through 
this island, and, I think, through Europe, attended with 
vast honey-dews, which destroyed all our hops, and lasted 
more than a month. Through this rusty coloured air, the 
sun, "shorn of his beams," appeared like the moon, even 
at noonday. The country people looked with a kind of 
superstitious awe on the red lowering aspect of the great 
luminary, " Cum caput obscura nitidum ferrugine texit." 
And I have no doubt, but that the unusual look of the sky 
at Caesar's death, mentioned both by historians and poets, 
was somewhat of the same kind.f As I love to trace 
natural appearances, I desire to know if you saw a very 
large luminous meteor traversing the sky from N.W. to S.W. 
on Monday even Aug. 18th about 9 o'clock. Pray hunt for 
star-sluch, because several intelligent people, one at present 

* i.e. daughter of Charles, elder brother of the Rev. Andrew Etty. 

t Henry White of Fyfield records in his Journal at this time — 

" 1783, 17th July. The sun sinks away every day into y® blue mist about 
5 p.m., and seems to set behind vast clouds. 

" 19th. Air seems clearer from y^ late blue thickness, which has been so 
very remarkable that the superstitious vulgar in town and country have 
abounded with the most direful presages and prognostications." 


in this house, stare and wonder when I advance that the 
matter is vegetable; and D"^ Chandler in particular shakes 
his head, and asserts that the mass is frogs thrown up 
indigested. But I beg to know why crows are not some- 
times crop-sick, and have not weak digestions in Hants (yet 
we have no such appearance) as well as in Cheshire. Apply 
a magnifying glass to the substance, and try to discover the 

I return you thanks for Hampton's pamphlet, and am 
indebted to you whatever it cost. The notices concerning 
Wolmer-forest in the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' came, I 
conclude, from D"^ Chandler, whose extracts from the 
Worldham Kegister are genuine. We have this year a most 
lovely harvest, much corn — but no hops. Our fruit is well 
ripened, and grapes very forward. 

You pay an high compliment to my ' Crocuses,' but were 
not aware that it will bring more lines on your back. Eead 
them, as little exercises, made last autumn for the use of 
my nephews (for such they really were), and then you will 
give them all reasonable allowances. Some weeks ago 
D"" Chandler was at Portsmouth ; but we have not seen 
him. The D'^ does not seem disposed to settle. May I 
presume to send my humble respects to D"* Townson, whom 
I have sometimes seen, a long time ago, at Magdalen College. 
Sportsmen expect a vast breed of game this season. Pray 
be so good as to favour me with a letter at your leisure. 
Mrs. J. White joins in respects. I am 

Your obliged servant, 

Gil. White. 

I am glad that you are pleased with the passage from the 
life of Peireskius, and that you, as well as myself, have been 
haunted with passages in music. 

If you will look in the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for June 
1783, you will find, under article " Metamorphosis," a copy 


of verses written by a poor dear Oxford friend long since 
dead, who was pleased, about 35 years ago, to make himself 
merry with my attachment to gardening.* 



Wak'd by the gentle gleamiiigs of the morn, 
Soon clad, the Reaper, provident of want, 
Hies chearful-hearted to the ripen'd field ; 
Nor hastes alone ; attendant by his side 
His faithful wife, sole partner of his cares, 
Bears on her breast the sleeping babe ; behind, 
With steps unequal, trips the infant train. 
Thrice happy pair, in love and labour joined ! 

All day they ply their task ; with mutual chat. 
Beguiling each the sultry, tedious hours : 
Around them falls in rows the sever'd corn. 
Or the shocks rise in regular array. 

But when high noon invites to short repast. 
Beneath the shade of shelt'ring thorn they sit. 
Divide the simple meal, and drain the cask : 
The swinging cradle lulls the whimp'ring babe 
Meantime ; while growling round, if at the tread 
Of hasty passenger alarm'd, as of their store 
Protective, stalks the cur with bristling back, 
To guard the scanty scrip and russet garb. 

To Miss White. ^ , , , _^ ^ ^^. 

Seleburne, Aug. 27, 1783. 

Pray Mrs. Mary, did you observe the curious and re- 
splendent meteor on Monday Aug. 18th a little after nine in 
the evening, which alarmed the Country people much, who 
all agree that it was a Fire-drake. Our shutters were shut 
to the N.E. so that we saw nothing of the matter; but 
Mrs. Clement and Co. who were at supper with their 
windows open, ran out and had a fine view of this 
Phsenomenon. Sam Barker was at that instant talking 
with the Ostler at the Inn in Leatherhead, where he saw 
it as well as could be expected in the crouded horizon of a 

* Fide supra, vol. i. p. 50. 



Mr. Barker, the father, is the same agile being that he 
used to be : he rises at six, and cannot sit still ; but starts 
up the moment he has dined, and runs away to Hawkley 
Hanger, or King John's Hill. He rode in three days from 
Lyndon through Oxford to this place 118 miles; and at 
every dining place, while the horses were baiting, walked 
four or five miles in the heat in his boots with his wig 
in his hand. 

As soon as I read your translations I knew at once that 
the first must belong to the Scotch Bishop Gawen Douglas : 
as to the second, had I supposed that Chapman had ever 
translated Virgil, as he did Homer, I should from the 
numbers have imputed it to him; but not recollecting 
such translation, I suspect it may be done by Phaer and 

Pray desire your father to receive my midsummer 
dividend, and to bring me down thirty Pounds, when he 
comes, and also to remember to charge me for the two hams 
which he procured for me in the Spring. Be sure remember 
the Dog's toothed Violets. We have suffered much in our 
grass-grounds and gardens from drought, but on the 24th 
and 25th instant we had fine showers. Wasps began to 
abound and to be very troublesome; but I have employed 
the Boys to destroy seven nests, and have set my nephews 
with lime twigs to catch many hundreds more, so that at 
present the felon race is much lowered. 

We have also set bottles with treacle &c. 

They by th' alluring odor drawn, in haste 

Fly to the dulcet cates, & crouding sip 

The palatable bane : joyful thou'lt see 

The clammy surface all o'er strown with tribes 

Of greedy insects, that with fruitless toil 

Flap filmy pennons oft to extricate 

Their feet, in liquid shackles bound, till Death 

Bereave them of their worthless souls. Such doom 

Waits luxury, and lawless love of gain ! 


Mrs. Etty and Co. returned last Friday all well. 
Pray bring me a Is. box of Greenough's lozenges of 
Balsam of Tolu. 

We all join in respects. 

Y"* loving and affecte Uncle, 

Gil. White. 

From the Naturalist's Journal — 

"Sep. 13. Began to mend the dirty parts of the Bostal 
with chalk. 

"Brought down by brother Thomas White from South 
Lambeth and planted in my borders 

"Dog toothed violets. Persian Iris. Quercus cerris. 
Double ulmaria. Double filipendula. Double blue Cam- 
panula. Large pansies. Double daisies. Hemorocallis. 
White foxglove. Double wall-flower. Double scarlet 

"Planted from Mr. Etty's garden a root of the Arum 
dracunculus, or Dragons, a species rarely to be seen ; but has 
been in the vicarage garden ever since the time of my 
Grandfather, who dyed in spring 172|. 

" Oct. 4. This day has been at Selborne the honey-market : 
for a person from Chert came over with a cart, to whom all 
the villagers round brought their hives, and sold their 
contents. Combs were sold last year at about S^d. per 
pound; this year from 3fd-4d" 

To Miss White. -n. ^ 1 1 -kt n -, t^oo 

Fyfield, Nov. 6, 1783. 

Dear Niece, — When I desired you to procure me some fit 
stockings, I was afraid that I had enjoined you a trouble- 
some task ; however I return you many thanks for the pains 
you have taken, and would wish to have some knit, provided 
you think there is any probability of success ; but I once 
bespoke some in that way, and when they came they were 



long enough for the Giant at WeyhilL* We are much 
pleased to find that your moving household went on so 
smoothly, and that you had such fine weather. You must 
not expect to feel yourselves quite at home at your new 
house at first : some matters will not be perhaps so convenient 
as in your old place. You know I love to see fine houses, 
and furniture: therefore I took a walk yesterday to Mr. 
Gauler's,f where I was much entertained. The Lady shewed 
us the whole house. The offices are all under ground, and 
the kitchen is two feet lower than the cellars ! Last night 
we had grand fire-works. Koman candles, serpents, and sky 

Suppose you get me two pairs of woven stockings of the 
size and colour desired. I should wish to have them thick 
and shapely. Your loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

If you can find at last any knit ones fit also, please to get 
me two pairs. 

October 19th, 1783. The Naturalist's Journal 
contains a note of the discovery of two large (carved) 
stones by the tenant of the Priory Farm "in the 
space which I have always supposed to contain the 
South transept of the priory-church," and of the 
discovery two years before of a vase.;]: 

* Weyhill Fair was one of the most important fairs in the South of 
England. Piers Plowman mentions it, "At Wy and at Winchester I went 
to the fair." It was largely attended by buyers and sellers of hops, cheese, 
etc. On October 11th, 1783, Henry White of Fyfield records in his Journal, 
" Hops, none from Selborne and very few from that district, few from 
Farnham, and a very thin shew on y* Hill tho' some Kentish and some old 
Hops were brt. Best price £11 per cwt. Bought none. Weyhill being y® 
worst market when they are dear tho' the best when they are cheap." 

t Ramridge manor-house, in the parish of Weyhill, Hants, an interest- 
ing and beautiful mansion, was built by Mr. Gauler, in or about 1779, from 
designs by Adams. 

:}: These discoveries were recorded in 'The Antiquities of Selborne,' 
Letter XXVI. 


"[Oct.] 26. If a masterly landscape painter was to take 
our hanging woods in their autumnal colours, persons un- 
acquainted with the country, would object to the strength and 
deepness of the tints, and would pronounce, at an exhibition, 
that they were heightened and shaded beyond nature. 

" Wonderful and lovely to the Imagination are the colour- 
ings of our woodland scapes at this season of the year. 

* The pale descending year, yet pleasing still, 
A gentler mood inspires ; for now the leaf 
Incessant rustles from the mournful grove, 
Oft startling such as, studious, walk below, 
And slowly circles thro' the waving air. 
But should a quicker breeze amid the boughs 
Sob, o'er the sky the leafy deluge streams ; 
Till choak'd, and matted with the dreary shower, 
The forest-walks, at every rising gale, 
Koll wide the withered waste, and whistle bleak.' 

" Thomson's ' Autumn.' " 

On November 14th Mulso received a visit from 
his old friend, who notes in his Journal — 

"Nov. 14. Winchester. Mr. Mulso's grapes at his pre- 
bendal house are in paper bags but the daws descend from 
the Cathedral, break open the bags, and eat the fruit. 

"Looked sharply for martins along the chalk-cliff at 
Whorwel, but none appeared." 

The next day he went home again. He later 
noted — 

"Dec. 5. Fetched some mulleins, foxgloves, and dwarf- 
laurels from the high-wood and hanger; and planted them 
in the garden. 

" [Dec] 27. Mr. Churton cameTfrom Oxford." 


The following letter mentions a curious recipe for 
curing the bite of a mad dog : — 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, Jan. 7, 1*784 

Dear Mrs. Mary, — We were much obliged to you for your 
Liliputian rhimes, which entertained me and Mr. Churton 
much. If any parcel should be coming down, pray send 
me half a pound of break-fast green-tea at 10s. and half pound 
of best tea at 14s. By the time that I received your favour, 
you, I trust, received a letter from me desiring your father 
to send me about 36 pds. weight of good salt fish, with the 
price. I thank God I am better ; but have not yet been at 
Faringdon; and shall, I fear, find it difficult to recover 
some hardiness, especially as the severe weather is returned, 
after a rapid thaw. We rejoice to hear that Bro. B. and 
H. H. W. are so much better. A mad dog from Newton 
great farm alarmed us much Sunday was fortnight by biting 
half the dogs in the street, and many about the neighbour- 
hood. 17 persons from Newton farm went in a waggon to 
be dipped in the sea, and also an horse. Eobert Berriman 
has lost by illness two horses very lately : and now his cow ; 
which by some strange neglect got into the barn's floor in 
the night, and gorged herself so at an heap of thrashed 



wheat, that she dyed what they call sprung, being blown up 
to a vast size. These accumulated losses amount, it is 
supposed, to full £27 I Your loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 
Respects as due, and compliments of the season. 

On January 29th, 1784, Mulso, who had received 
the verses from his friend which have been published 
under the title of ' On the Dark, Still, Dry, Warm 
Weather occasionally happening in the Winter 
Months,' wrote : — 

"It was cruel to have a child of yours in my keeping, 
and never tell you how I liked it, and how much it had 
the features of its father: yet how could I enjoy the 
description of calm and occasionally warm weather, when 
my very ideas are petrified with cold ? Have you re- 
membered anything so severe and so lasting since the year 
1740? But as to your poem, I think it super -excellent. 
You are quite in your element. I have communicated your 
lines to my sister Chapone; she will think with me that 
these will be amongst the pieces that you will give one day 
to the public." 

Here it may be remarked that their author never 
published any of his verses, with the one exception 
of the poem entitled * The Naturalist's Summer 
Evening Walk,' which is appended to Letter XXIV. 
to Pennant, and may truly be termed ''super- excel- 
lent," and not unworthy to be compared with even 
the ' Elegy ' itself. As will presently be seen, how- 
ever, on one occasion some verses, probably those now 
sent to Mulso, were forwarded to the 'Gentleman's 
Magazine,' by whom does not appear. 



After indulging, like a candid friend, in a little 
criticism, Mulso continued — 

" I do not love to hear of your small inward fever ; it was 
well enough to have a Hectic heat when you was young ; but 
I cannot see by your present poetic fury, but that you may 
be entitled to an honest burning fever, that perspires off in 
warm verse, and ends in fame to the Doctors and apothe- 
caries; I mean the printers and booksellers, that have 
watched the crisis and carried your distemper to its end." 

To Miss White. Selborne, Feb. 13, 1784. 

Dear Molly, — Having suffered much from the severity of 
the season, I long for the weather described on the other 
side of the paper. 

According to the Scotch Bishop I am as great a monster 
as the faithless ^neas ; for I 

". . . sowkit never womanis breist " ; 

having been bred up by hand. Caucasus belongs to the 
passage you sent me : but one would wonder how the 
translator could think of lugging in Araby ! The " milk 
unmild " is an extraordinary sort of milk in the second 
translation; and puts me in mind of Bristol milk, a sort 
of beverage which has destroyed many a morning whetter, 
some of whom I have known. Mrs. J. White and I thank 
your father and you for your kind invitation. We begin to 
turn our thoughts towards S. Lambeth; and hope the 
rigor of the season will soon abate, that we may set out, if 
convenient to you, on Tuesday the 24th instant. The frost 
has lasted just 28 days this evening. Last night we had a 
great snow again, which is much drifted. All friends are 
well, or mending fast, we hope. I have just received a letter 
from the Provost of Oriel, who, finding that the extreme 

VOL. II. — I 


west end of Cornwall agreed well with him, never went to 
Lisbon at all; but has spent several months at and near 
Penzance, where the kingdom is but eight miles broad. 
Amidst this world of waters the sea air has been of great 
service to him, and has restored his flesh : but he is not 
quite free from complaints. 

There have been vast snows in Cornwall, and at Totnes, 
Devon, whence he wrote, the cold has been intense ; he says 
at 60. Y"^ loving friend, 

G. White. 
Lay the verses by 'til I come.* 

I have just received your letter by Mrs. Yalden ; but not 

the tea and stockings by Mr. Clement. 

The following letter seems to shov^ that Gilbert 
White, when in town, used to attend the meetings 
of the Royal and Antiquaries' Societies. There is 
indeed a family tradition of his shyness on being 
introduced at these receptions. In a letter to her 
brother, written on March 22nd (probably 1784), 
Miss White tells her brother, ''My uncle went to the 
Antiquaries' and Eoyal Societies last Thursday with 
Dr. Lort. Mr. Barker's account of the weather was 

To the Bev. B. ChuHon. 

South Lambeth, Mar. 30, 1784. 

Dear Sir, — I take it very kind that you should remember 
me, when probably I owed you a letter all the while. As 
I propose to return to Selborne on Friday next, and to set 
out for Oxford on Easter Tuesday, it does not seem very 
probable that we shall meet. If you are in London on 

* Those on the * Dark, Still Weather,' etc. 



a Thursday, I would advise you by all means to attend 
on the Eoyal Society and Antiquary meetings in their new 
splendid rooms at Somerset-house. D^ Chandler can prob- 
ably put you in a method of being introduced; if you do 
not see him, attend in the outer room, between the two 
rooms, at a quarter before seven in the evening, and enquire 
for Dr. Lort, who, I trust, on your using my name, will 
introduce you to both the meetings, where perhaps you 
may hear somewhat worth your trouble. The Antiq. 
Society, I find, is growing very fashionable ; for I observed 
that many Eight Honourables were balloted for on Thurs- 
day se'nnight. The weather has been dismal and winter- 
like ever since I left home ; however, I have great advant- 
ages in these parts, having a bed at command both in town 
and country and a carriage to take me to town. Thomas 
Davis, the bookseller, has just published his memoirs on 
plays and players, a pleasant book. He has a good stile, 
and language that no man need be ashamed of, and abounds 
in curious and pleasant anecdotes. Mr. Etty has heard 
twice from his son at the Cape of Good Hope ; his ship was 
burnt in the Indian seas, from which he had a miraculous 
escape, and was carried naked aboard another ship in com- 
pany; he lost everything. Molly White's rhimes were 
Norwegian. If you see any lines in the ' Gentleman's 
Magazine' on such soft weather as I have languished for 
in vain the spring through, treat them with what lenity 
you may. 

Mrs. J. White joins in respects. If you hear nothing 
curious at the E. S. or Antiq. meetings, at least you will see 
two grand rooms and many respectable people, besides 
Somerset House, a national building as big as three or four 

colleges! ^ .^, , 

I am, with due respect. 

Your most obedient servant, 

Gil. White. 


The next letter, describing his journey home in 
snowy weather, will be of interest to those who 
know the locality, and the (now long disused) 
"hollow lane" from Alton to Selborne ; which, to 
modern eyes, looks a fearsome road to travel, even 
in summer-time. 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, April 6, 1784. 

Dear Mece, — The many kind offices that we experienced, 
and the good treatment that we met with from your father 
and self and other friends at S. Lambeth, deserve an early 
acknowledgement. The roads were good and without any 
snow as far as Guildford: but when we came in sight of 
that town we were surprized to see all the upland grounds 
covered ; and were struck with a chill by the wind blowing 
over a snowy district. After dinner we mounted Guild- 
down, and shuddered to behold that Apennine six feet deep 
in snow under the hedges ; and all the sandy country, vales 
and all, covered over. From Farnham to Alton the scene 
looked pretty well : but again from Alton to Harteley the 
snow under hedges was many feet deep; so that had we 
attempted to have gone earlier in the week, we could not 
have got along. At the end of the avenue, which was very 
bad, poor old Selborne afforded a very Siberian view ! I 
hardly knew again my native spot. The down, the hanger, 
the fields looked very wild and strange ! 

" Amidst this savage prospect, bleak and bare, 
Hung the chill Hermitage in middle air ; 
Its haunts forsaken, and its feasts forgot, 
A snow-cap'd, lonely, desolated cot." * 

* These lines are slightly altered from 'Selborne Hanger,' addressed "To 
the Miss Batties." 


Sunday and yesterday were fine days, during which most 
of the snow was melted, except under the hedges of the 
uplands. As I recollect that the havock among the ever- 
greens about town was great, I was surprized to see how 
well mine have escaped. My crocus's, retarded a month by 
the severity of the season, are now in high beauty, and 
make a glowing appearance. My hepaticas are also fine. 
There is a good appearance for the bloom of wall-fruit. 
My Persian Iris's given me by your father, blow well : but 
stocks and wall-flowers are killed. Thomas has saved many 

I now see why the late Sir S. Stuart* thought he had 
pretensions to the Viscountcy of Purbeck. His maternal 
Grandfather, Sir Eichard Dereham of Dereham - abbey, 
married the Hon. Frances Villiers, the eldest daughter 
of Eobert, Viscount Purbeck, who left no son. By this 
lady Sir Eichard Dereham had two children, Sir Thomas 
Dereham and the late Lady Stuart. Sir Thomas dying 
unmarried at Eome in 1739, Lady Stuart became sole 
heir to her Brother Sir Thomas Dereham. So that if Sir 
S. Stuart had any claim, it was through his mother Eliz. 
Dereham, who was Grand -daughter to Eobert, Viscount 

Mrs. Yalden has got a bad cough and cold, caught by her 
attention to poor Mrs. Etty, who has been in great distress 
indeed. As to Mr. Etty, I can give but a bad account of 
him. He got home from Alton on Monday se'nnight, as 
well as could be expected ; but was seized the next day with 
a delirious fever that deprived him of his reason for some 
time : however, thank God, he is become very calm, has had 
some fine sleep, and is much better. A great quantity of 
blains are now come out over his body and limbs. Mrs. 
Etty has the satisfaction to have with her Mrs. Stebbing 

* Of Hartley House, near Selborne. 


and Mr. Charles Etty, her brother ; the former of whom 

came last Friday, the latter last Sunday. Mr. Litchfield 

from Whitchurch is also here. Mrs. J. White joins in all 

due respects. ^^ , . 

Your loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Sheep and lambs have suffered greatly. Hay is £4 per 
ton, mutton 5d. per pound : they talk of 6d. 

The poor have suffered greatly for want of work, and the 
poor-tax is almost doubled. 

I have got a bad cold, but hope to get to Oxford next 
week. Little Clement's feet are as bad as ever, both 
wrapped in rags; and his eldest sister is come home just 
in the same condition. Eichard Knight, malster at Faring- 
don, I hear, has got his ague again. Mrs. Burbey is by no 
means well, and cannot use one arm; the cause supposed 
to be rheumatic. 

A few days after the date of this letter, on April 
12th, Mr. Etty was buried at Selborne by Gilbert 
White, who registers himself as " curate ^ro tempore.'' 
The loss of this old and intimate friend and neigh- 
bour must have been great indeed, especially in such 
a retired neighbourhood as that of Selborne. More- 
over, he was soon to lose the head of another of " the 
three families," Mr. Eichard Yalden. 

To Miss White. Selborne, April 19, 1784. 

Dear Molly, — Pray present my respects to your father, 
and tell him I return him many thanks for the £100 which 
he has just paid into nephew Ben's hands : £80 of it was, 
I suppose, on his own account, and £20 on Mrs. J. White's : 
of this let me hear, to prevent mistakes. 


Mr. Charles Etty* is gone to town, I suppose to prove 
his brother's will. Mrs. Stebbingf had told us that she 
should stay to the end of this week : but I was surprized 
to see her in my parlor on Saturday morning, and to hear 
her say she was come to take leave ; and that the chaise 
was at the door. After a small pause, she told us that 
she would not conceal from us the reason of this sudden 
motion : for she was hasting home to consult D** Stebbing 
about the living of Whitchurch, | which she had good 
reason to suppose the L<* Chancellor § was disposed to give 
him. The Lord Chancellor, it seems, was very nearly 
related to D"^ Battie, and when a young Counsel used to 
be almost every day at the D^'^ house, and consequently 
intimate with Mrs. Stebbing and Etty : though no acquaint- 
ance has been kept up for more than 20 years past, for 
certain reasons. Mrs. Stebbing doubts much whether her 
husband will be disposed to take Whitchurch at all, in 
the first place because the D'^ hates all trouble, and business, 
even to the writing a common letter: in the next place, 
he must resign Streatly, which neats him £40 per annum ; 
and the getting into Whitchurch, a second living, and 
a Chancellor's living, will cost him £70, or £80 : so that 
if he should dye within the year, his family will be a loser. 
I wish myself he may take it, on Mrs. Etty's account, for 
reasons too obvious to be mentioned. It is remarkable that 
by the Battie interest Mr. Etty did enjoy, and D'' Stebbing 
may, as it seems, enjoy the desirable and much sought for 
parsonage of Whitchurch. Mrs. Etty does not now leave 
Selborne 'til matters are finally settled. Poor Lady, she 
bears her great loss with wonderful resignation. The next 

* Of Priestlands, in the parish of Milford, near Lymington, Hants, a 
brother of the Rev. Andrew Etty. In the large view of Selborne (in the 
quarto editions of 'The Natural History') he is represented standing in 
the foreground. He died in 1797, and was buried at Selborne, by his 
own desire. t Mrs. A. Etty's sister. 

t Held with Selborne by Mr. Etty. § Lord Thurlow. 


taker, it seems, for Selborne, is a Mr. Taylor, a gentleman 
that has long resided in the New Forest : he is a Londoner 
by birth. 

What between frequent snows, and rain, we have sown 
no seeds in the garden ; and what is worse, the farmers have 
sowed no spring-corn. Last Wednesday we had a heavy 
snow all day, which hung in the trees, and covered the 
ground very deep ! ! Pray how is it, Mrs. Mary, that the 
present most hitter spring does not at all retard the coming 
of the summer birds? for the nightingale was heard at 
Bramshot on March the 30th, the Tuesday before we left 
you; and a farmer told Mr. Yalden he saw two swallows 
at Hawkley on April 7th, and again a nightingale was 
heard at Maiden-dance on April 16 th, and again many 
swallows (perhaps house martins) were seen at Oak-hanger- 
ponds on April 16th : and a black-cap was seen and heard 
on April 17th. Timothy begins to move, and to make the 
mould crumble over his back. On my asking Mr. Yalden 
whether he thought the farmer a likely man to know 
swallows, he cryed, " 0, yes — for he was a married man." 
To which I replyed, "that though a very unworthy 
batchelor, I presumed I knew swallows as well as most 
married men in England." 

Indeed, Molly, I have suffered a great deal since I saw 
you; but, I thank God, am much better. The death of 
Mr. Etty in the midst of my illness did not, you may 
imagine, much assist my spirits. I was not able to go to 
Oxford. Tell nieces Barkers that I should be very glad 
to hear rux the wopses* and Sam Barker that I hope to write 
to him soon. Little damage was done in the great parlor 
by the accident that might have proved fatal to the house, 
had not both the servants been just at hand. 

Mrs. J. White returns you thanks for your kind letter. 

* Some musical piece. Cf. letter to Mary Barker, Jan. 22nd, 1783. 


Pray write soon and mention the business alluded to at the 

° ^' Yr loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Crickett, red cabbages, early York, and sugar loaf are in 
rough leaf. 

To Miss White, Seleburne, May 22, 1784. 

Dear Molly, — If your brother Harry was in orders, I 
could now put him into present pay and good quarters; 
because the curacy of Selborne seems likely to be at my 
disposal. The reason of this is, because Mr. Taylor, the 
probable next vicar, has been here, but does not seem at 
all disposed to reside. He was very earnest with me to 
take this church at once : but I told him I could not leave 
Faringdon abruptly. This gentleman and Mrs. Etty are 
in treaty about the vicarage-house, which Mrs. E., I find, 
would be glad to take. Mr. Taylor, I understand, has made 
connections in the New Forest near Eing-wood; has got 
a small living in those parts, and expects a better: he is 
concerned with the Lisle family some how ; and is to marry 
a young lady of that name, as is reported. 

Poor Mrs. Etty is now in some perplexity of mind about 
her son Charles, who wrote her word that he should 
certainly sail from the Cape in one of Commodore King's 
men of war. But Mr. King has been now come in to 
Spithead for some time; yet no young man, nor letter 
appears: neither by enquiries aboard can they make out 
the meaning of this disappointment. We all hope that in 
the interim between his writing and King's sailing, Charles 
went aboard some Indiaman, and may have called by the 
way at S^ Helena. 

We have lost poor Timothy, who, being always in a great 
bustle in such hot weather, got out, we suppose, at the 
wicket, last Thursday; and is wandered we know not 


whither ! Thomas is much discomposed at this elopement ; 

and has 

"... made as great a coil as 
Stout Hercules for loss of Hylas. 
He has forc'd the hangers to repeat 
The accent of his sad regret : 
And Echo from the hollow ground 
His doleful wailings to resound." 

But to be serious, I should be very sorry to lose so old 
a domestic, that has behaved himself in so blameless a 
manner in the family for near fifty years. We have leaped 
this year from winter to summer at once, like the countries 
round the Baltic, without any gradation of seasons. The 
Tulips, as soon as blown, gape for breath, and fade. 

Yours, &c., 
Gil. White. 

in. h. 

The rain in April was . 3 92 
as yet this month only . 23 ! 
Pray write soon. 

Mrs. J. White thanks you for your letter; and your 
father for £10 bank-note. 

May 24. Fine showers this morning, but now hot sun 
again. No Timothy to be found. 

On June 2nd, 1784, Mulso writes : — 

"I received your kind letter, signifying your return to 
Selborne. You and your family have a turn for improving 
every place that you belong to. ... I hope you will retain 
them that are left in your neighbourhood. New friends may 
be an amusement, but 'the old are better.' Of D' Balguy* 
it may be said, here is the man that refused a Bishoprick ; 
and of you, here is the man who refused livings, and served 
curacies. ... I think by the time you leave Faringdon you 

* John Balguy (1686-1748), an eminent theologian and moral philosopher. 


might get my son John in there, and he might get shelter 
for his head at Selborne, and travel over on Sundays, as 
you do." 

To Miss White. Selborne, June 12, 1784. 

Dear Niece, — I did not mean to tell you that Mr. Taylor 
would not take Seleburne, because I believe he will. I only 
intimated that if he does, and does not marry, he may throw 
it up at any time between Michaelmas next and Michaelmas 
twelvemonth. So far, you see, his keeping this vicarage 
is not a settled thing. 

Poor Mr. Yalden, within these two or three days, has 
been ill, very ill. He is better; but we think his state 
of health very bad at present. 

Lady Young,* and her two daughters are now at Mrs. 
Etty's house. Mrs. Calif was to have been of the party, 
but was prevented by indisposition. 

Mr. Clement has just served thirty-nine people of the 
parishes of Binsted, Frinsham, &c. with some process in law 
at the desire of Lord Stawel, because they have carried away 
all the top and lop of the great fall of timber cut this 
spring in the Holt. If these reputed culprits do not make 
restitution, they are all to be prosecuted at the assizes at 
Winton. One person, who has got a team, has secured to 
himself near forty stacks of wood. These folks, especially 
the females, are very abusive, and set my Lord at defiance : 
for, they say, they can produce the will of one Alice Holt, 
wherein, after bequeathing the Holt to the crown, she has 
given the lop to the poor of certain parishes, and they 
threaten also to produce a brass plate, dug up in some 
church-yard, which is to confirm their claim. 

After Timothy had been lost eight days, he was found 
in the little field short of the pound-field. He had con- 

* Formerly Miss Battle. 

t Formerly Miss Philadelphia Battie. 


ceived a notion of much satisfaction to be found in the 
range of the meadow, and Baker's hill; and that beautiful 
females might inhabit those vast spaces, which appeared 
boundless in his eye. But having wandered 'til he was 
tired, and having met with nothing but weeds, and coarse 
grass, and solitude, he was glad to return to the poppies, 
and lettuces, and the other luxuries of the garden. 

The more I enquire into the mischief occasioned by the 
hail-storm the worse I find it ! Had not this tempest been 
confined to narrow limits the whole neighbourhood would 
have been desolated ! You will be surprised to see the heaps 
of stones that the torrents have washed down ! ! ! 

Your loving friend, 

Gil. White. 

Blowing showery weather for some days. A prospect 
of much grass. When do you make hay ? 
We shall hope to see you all in August. 

The Naturalist's Journal at this time mentions — 

"July 17th. Mr. Charles Etty brought down with him 
from London in the coach his two finely-chequered tortoises, 
natives of the island of Madagascar, which appear to be the 
Testudo geometricay Linn., and the Testudo tessellata Raii. 
One of them was small, and probably a male, weighing 
about 5 lbs. : the other which was undoubtedly a female, 
because it layed an egg the day after its arrival, weighed 
lOi lbs. The egg was round, and white, and much re- 
sembling in size and shape the egg of an owl. The backs 
of these tortoises are uncommonly convex and gibbous." 
[A reference to " Ray's Quadrup., p. 260 .1' is given]. " The 
head, neck, and legs of these were yellow. . . ." 

At this time the Mulso family from Meonstoke 
were purposing a visit to Selborne. The usual 


request for a guide to meet them at Tisted turn- 
pike, with a comparison of Selborne to the *' Bower 
of Woodstock," was made. 

Mrs. Chapone, also invited, was unable to come. 

The entry occurs on — 

"July 27th, 1784. Mr. and Mrs. Mulso, and Miss Mulso, 
and Miss Hecky Mulso came." 

The latter name is noticeable in view of what 
followed a little later. 

On August 12th, 1784, John Mulso writes his 
thanks for ''all the kind attentions you paid to me 
and mine." He continues — 

" Timotheus has been prurient of poetry, and surely now 
'his flying fingers have swept the Lyre,' he has shown a 
great vivacity, joined with sentiment and solidity. I hope 
he will not content himself with speaking once, like Balaam's 
ass, but will exercise his gifts, having once spoken so well." 

The above must be read in conjunction with the 
following reply of '' Timothy the Tortoise," which, first 
published in Jesse's * Gleanings on Natural History ' 
(John Murray, 1834), has always hitherto been 
assumed to be addressed to Mrs. Chapone, nee 
Miss Hester (Hecky) Mulso. It was, of course, 
addressed to her niece, Mulso's second daughter 
— then a girl in her twenty-first year — who had 
sent to Gilbert White some verses addressed to the 
tortoise, after this visit to Selborne. 

Mrs. Chapone had for twenty-four years ceased 
to be Miss Mulso, a fact which has been deemed 


of small importance by some sentimental writers, 
who have enlarged on '*the pathos" of this incident. 

Timothy the Tortoise to Miss Hechy Mulso. 

From the border under the fruit wall, 
Aug. 31, 1784. 

Most respectable lady, — Your letter gave me great satis- 
faction, being the first that ever I was honored with. It 
is my wish to answer you in your own way ; but I never 
could make a verse in my life, so you must be contented 
with plain prose. Having seen but little of this great 
world, conversed but little and read less, I feel myself 
much at a loss how to entertain so intelligent a corre- 
spondent. Unless you will let me write about myself, my 
answer will be very short indeed. Know then that I am 
an American, and was born in the year 1734 in the Province 
of Virginia in the midst of a Savanna that lay between a 
large tobacco plantation and a creek of the sea. Here 
I spent my youthful days among my relations with much 
satisfaction, and saw around me many venerable kinsmen, 
who had attained to great ages without any interruption 
from distempers. Longevity is so general among our species 
that a funeral is quite a strange occurrence. I can just 
remember the death of my great-great-grandfather, who 
departed this life in the 160th year of his age. Happy 
should I have been in the enjoyment of my native climate 
and the society of my friends had not a sea-boy, who was 
wandering about to see what he could pick up, surprised 
me as I was sunning myself under a bush; and whipping 
me into his wallet, carryed me aboard his ship. The 
circumstances of our voyage are not worthy a recital; I 
only remember that the rippling of the water against the 
sides of our vessel as we sailed along was a very lulling 
and composing sound, which served to sooth my slumbers 


as I lay in the hold. We had a short voyage, and came 
to anchor on the coast of England in the harbour of 
Chichester. In that city my kidnapper sold me for half 
a crown to a country gentleman,* who came up to attend 
an election. I was immediatety packed in an hand-basket, 
and carryed, slung by the servant's side, to their place of 
abode. As they rode very hard for forty miles, and I 
had never been on horseback before, I found myself some- 
what giddy from my airy jaunt. My purchaser, who was a 
great humorist, after shewing me to some of his neighbours 
and giving me the name of Timothy, took little further 
notice of me ; so I fell under the care of his lady, a benevo- 
lent woman, whose humane attention extended to the 
meanest of her retainers. With this gentlewoman I re- 
mained almost forty years, living in a little walled-in court 
in the front of her house, and enjoying much quiet and 
as much satisfaction as I could expect without society. 
At last this good old lady dyed in a very advanced age, 
such as a tortoise would call a good old age; and I then 
became the property of her nephew. This man, my present 
master, dug me out of my winter retreat, and, packing me 
in a deal box, jumbled me eighty miles in post-chaises 
to my present place of abode. I was sore shaken by this 
expedition, which was the worst journey I ever experienced. 
In my present situation I enjoy many advantages — such as 
the range of an extensive garden, affording a variety of 
sun and shade, and abounding in lettuces, poppies, kidney 
beans, and many other salubrious and delectable herbs 
and plants, and especially with a great choice of delicate 
gooseberries ! But still at times I miss my good old mistress, 
whose grave and regular deportment suited best with my 
disposition. For you must know that my master is what 
they call a naturalist, and much visited by people of that 

* Mr. Snooke of Ringmer, near Lewes. 


turn, who often put him on whimsical experiments, such 
as feeling my pulse, putting me in a tub of water to try 
if I can swim, &c. ; and twice in the year I am carried 
to the grocer's to be weighed, that it may be seen how 
much I am wasted during the months of my abstinence, 
and how much I gain by feasting in the summer. Upon 
these occasions I am placed in the scale on my back, 
where I sprawl about to the great diversion of the shop- 
keeper's children. These matters displease me; but there 
is another that much hurts my pride : I mean that contempt 
shown for my understanding which these Lords of the 
Creation are very apt to discover, thinking that nobody 
knows anything but themselves. I heard my master say 
that he expected that I should some day tumble down 
the ha-ha; whereas I would have him to know that I 
can discern a precipice from plain ground as well as himself. 
Sometimes my master repeats with much seeming triumph 
the following lines, which occasion a loud laugh — 

" Timotheus placed on high 
Amidst the tuneful choir. 
With flying fingers touched the lyre." 

For my part I see no wit in the application; nor know 
whence the verses are quoted; perhaps from some prophet 
of his own, who, if he penned them for the sake of ridiculing 
tortoises, bestowed his pains, I think, to poor purposes. 
These are some of my grievances; but they sit very light 
on me in comparison with what remains behind. Know 
then, tender-hearted lady, that my greatest misfortune, and 
what I have never divulged to anyone before is — the want 
of society of my own kind. This reflection is always upper- 
most in my own mind, but comes upon me with irresistible 
force every spring. It was in the month of May last that 
I resolved to elope from my place of confinement ; for my 
fancy had represented to me that probably many agreeable 
tortoises of both sexes might inhabit the heights of Baker's 


Hill or the extensive plains of the neighbouring meadow, 
both of which I could discern from the terrass. One sunny 
morning, therefore, I watched my opportunity, found the 
wicket open, eluded the vigilance of Thomas Hoar, and 
escaped into the S*-foin, which began to be in bloom, and 
thence into the beans. I was missing eight days, wandering 
in this wilderness of sweets, and exploring the meadow at 
times. But my pains were all to no purpose ; I could find 
no society such as I wished and sought for. I began to 
grow hungry, and to wish myself at home. I therefore came 
forth in sight, and surrendered myself up to Thomas, who 
had been inconsolable in my absence. Thus, Madam, have 
I given you a faithful account of my satisfactions and 
sorrows, the latter of which are mostly uppermost. You are 
a lady, I understand, of much sensibility. Let me, therefore, 
make my case your own in the following manner ; and then 
you will judge of my feelings. Suppose you were to be 
kidnapped away to-morroiv, in the bloom of your life, to 
a land of Tortoises, and were never to see again for fifty 
years a human face ! ! ! Think on this, dear lady, and pity 

Your sorrowful Eeptile, 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, Aug. 16th, 1784. 

Did you not, Molly, feel a sharp twinge in one of your 
arms on the 22nd of July, by sympathy ? because on that 
day the heavy gales, and showers broke off a great bough 
from your ajmaSevSpov, the sycamore, and have injured it 
much ! As I have a great regard for you, and all that 
belongs to you, I am much concerned for your tree. 

You know I never dictate to you about your coming to 
this place : I only injoin you to come before winter, and to 
stay a long time. We have provided a young person to help 
while you are here; so you need not trouble yourself to 

VOL. II. — K 


send down your maid. Pray pay Mr. Almond for my two 
pairs of stockings : by not taking the money in Fleet street, 
he has wronged himself : for he returned the whole money to 
Mrs. J. White while we were in town. Desire your father 
to send me down a good large ham : 

To bring me down a £30 lank-bill : 

Bring me a pound of coffee : 

Half a pound of soft sealing-wax : 

Two or three quires of small writing paper. 

Your father, of course, I conclude, will receive my Mid- 
summer long ann : dividend. Mrs. Etty and family intend 
to go to Priestlands soon. Charles Etty's fine Madagascar 
tortoises dyed as soon as they got to Selborne; but not 
before the female, a very grand personage, had laid an egg. 
They seem to have been jumbled to death in the boot of the 

Brother Ben gathered a puff-ball, Lycoperdon hovista, in a 
meadow at Alton, and brought it to Newton: it weighed 
seven pounds and an half, and measured in girth, the longest 
way, 3 feet 2 inches and an half ! ! 

Mr. and Mrs. Mulso, and two daughters have just spent a 
fortnight with me. You may suppose the company of such 
very old friends was very agreeable. Mr. and Mrs. M. are 
very inactive ; especially the latter. That Lady and I made 
a visit to Mrs. Etty in a carriage: and once we went on 
foot. Mrs. J. White says you need not trouble yourself 
farther about her hat: she herself will settle that matter. 
Suppose you send the Coffee down by Neps. Ben and 
Edmund; who, as I understand, are soon to be in Hants. 
Pray let me hear as soon as you get to Fyfield. I thank 
your father for paying my insurance. When you come I 
shall be glad to trace your Essex-tour on the map with you. 
Tell your father that the wheat-crop in the pound-field (he 
remembers circumstances) is bad. We have sweet harvest- 
weather; but the Selborne wheat (especially what was 



smitten by the hail) does not ripen together: some part is 

very green, while some is dead ripe. 

Your loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, August 31, 1784. 

Dear Molly, — My sealing-wax, paper, and coffee came safe 
by my nephews : the latter by mistake was directed for Mrs. 
Etty. That gentlewoman had left Selborne just before your 
letter arrived : she is gone to Priestlands. We expected Mr. 
Taylor last week to come and take possession of Selborne 
living : but he came not. He must be inducted soon. We 
have had a sad, cold, wet wheat-harvest: much wheat is 
housed in a poor cold state. The poor steal the farmers 
corn by night :'^ the losers offer rewards, but in vain. My 
quantity of fruit is very great : but nothing ripens. Much 
of the wheat of Selborne will be bad, especially what was 
smitten by the hail: a great proportion of it will never be 
ripe. Lord Eodney the other day came to look at Hartley- 
house, which he says he will take, if the trustees will put it 
in repair. Mr. Wilmot is threatened with £200 delapida- 
tions ! The newspapers will tell you of the princely diver- 
sions that were carryed on lately at Up-parkf for the 
amusement of the Prince of Wales, Jack-ass races, and men 
jumping in sacks afforded the principal sport! Charles 
Etty was there, and many folks from these parts. A hungry 
dog came the other night, and standing on his hind-legs, 
pulled off as many of my ripe apricots as he could reach: 
many of which he swallowed, and many he left half eaten 
on the ground. The thief with me was a real dog, canis; 

* How badly off the poor were at this time may be gathered from Henry 
White of Fyfield's Journal — 

" 1784, April 15th. Parish meeting, y^ Poor Rates higher than ever, 16 ! 
Rates, 3 more than ever was known before, but 13 last year." [A Rate was 2d.] 

t In Sussex, near Petersfield. 


but there came lately to Mr. Mulso's at Meon-stoke, some 
two-legged dogs, who stripped his apricot-trees of all their 
fruit; and the next night carryed away two of his large 
goose-berry-trees laden with fruit. This fruit was taken for 
sale at cricket-matches, and ass-races. As Mr. Wools was 
playing last week at cricket, his knee-pan was dislocated by 
the stroke of a ball: and at the same time Mr. Webb was 
knocked down, and his face and leg much wounded by the 
stroke of a ball. Mr. Yalden is better, and talks much of 
shooting ; but the fields are full of corn : much wheat 
abroad, and no spring -corn housed. We hope business 
will not detain you now for any long time: for when once 
September commences, we may truely say, "Apace the 
wasting summer flies." Miss Heckey Mulso has written a 
long letter in verse to Timothy ; which, with great labour, 
and pains, he has answered in prose. 

Pray let me have early information of your motions. 

Hops innumerable, but small. y^^ &c 

Gil. White. 

The summer has been so bad, that we have had no white 
kidney-beans, and few Cucumbers : the scarlet kidney-beans 
have born a little. 

The hops smitten by the hail are likely to have a good 
crop : their tops were broken off, but they soon threw out 
fresh runners. The damage done to the wheat is more 
permanent. The Crop of Hops at Farnham is vast! We 
hardly see two fine days together, and very little sun. Miss 
Butler was lately married to a Mr. Cox, who has taken the 
parsonage-house at Trotton, near Midhurst. Here is fine 
after-grass for your father's horses. Please to send me a 
good large ham. Neighbour Hale and I have been both 
walking in his hop-garden, and in the contiguous one of 
Spencer, both of which were smitten by the hail: and we 
both agree that the seeming calamity of the hailstorm has 


proved a great advantage to each owner. For these plants, 
being nipped off, have thrown out much side-wood^ and have 
produced much fairer and larger hops than any in the 
parish ; and a vast crop. Qu8e. Should not men, when the 
binds are very strong, nip their tops ? we do so with melons, 
and cucumbers. Hopping begins this day : Sep, 1st. 

Ptain Aug. 20th — 1*61. Eain in the month of Augst., 3*88. 

Edmund, and Mr. Clement launched a balloon last night 
in Mrs. Y[alden's] stair-case, with some success ; but it would 
not succeed abroad. 

From the Naturalist's Journal — 

"Sept. 11. Mr. Eandolph, the Kector of Faringdon, 

To Miss White. Selborne, Septemr. 24, 1784. 

Dear Molly, — We have made a post with one of your 
arms:* but as the material is young and tender, it will not 
last long. My wall-fruit is now fine : but the rains, and the 
bees injure it. We have gathered good grapes once. The 
latter harvest, and the hops are finely got in. Poor Moses 
Terry, a bed-rid paralytic, was found dead in his bed this 
morning : it is to be feared that he strangled himself in his 
wife's absence with a leathern thong, part of which, being 
broken, was found round his neck ! Tell your father that I 
have saved all the after-grass of the great meadow for his 
horses : it is fetlock deep. We hope you will come not long 
hence. Mrs. Etty has been gone some time: but as you 
come so late, you may probably see her, before the end of 
your visit. October is often fine : I hope the next will prove 
so. November is also often fine : so we hope you will stay 
with us a good long time. Pray do. 

Mr. Taylor has not been here yet to take possession 

* i.e. of the sycamore planted by her. 


of Selborne vicarage.* We expect Sister Harry and Lucy 
in a day or two : they are to stop at Alton the first night. 
My niece comes here for change of air. Nephews Ben., 
Edmund and Clement have had a sad wet journey to 
Portsmouth, and the Isle of Wight, where they saw naught, 
but a dirty inn ; not being able to stir out one step. They 
had also squally weather, and were almost drowned with 
rain in their passage out. Mr. Clement has caught a great 
cold : the other young men have escaped better than could be 
expected. I was in fear for nephew Ben., because of his 
late Infirmities. Molly ! you don't tell us of the balloon, 
and the ascension of Mr. Lunardi : did it not affect you, to 
see a poor human creature entering upon so strange and 
hazardous an exploit ? I wish the newspapers would learn 
to talk with a little more precision about thermometers. In 
the late accounts they represent Mr. L. and his apparatus 
covered with ice at 35°, three degrees ahove the freezing 
point. One paper says Mr. L. discharged some of his gas, 
and then the atmosphere was very mild ; not understanding 
that the descent into a lower region occasioned the mildness!! 

Your loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

My ham came safe; but had a great escape: for in its 
passage down the waggon was robbed of about £30 in value. 

To Mrs. Barker, Selborne, Octr. 19, 1784. 

Dear Sister, — From the fineness of the weather, and the 
steadiness of the wind to the N.E. I began to be possessed 
with a notion last Friday that we should see Mr. Blanchard 
in his balloon the day following : and therefore I called on 
many of my neighbours in the street, and told them my 
suspicions. The next day proving also bright, and the wind 

* He took possession on September 26th, 1784, the Naturalist's Journal 



continuing as before, I became more sanguine than ever; 
and issuing forth in the morning exhorted all those that had 
any curiosity to look sharp from about one o' the clock 
to three towards London, as they would stand a good chance 
of being entertained with a very extraordinary sight. That 
day I was not content to call at the houses only ; but I went 
out to the plow-men and labourers in the fields, and advised 
them to keep an eye to the N. and N.E. at times. I wrote 
also to Mr. Pink of Faringdon to desire him to look about 
him. But about one o'clock there came up such a haze that 
I could not see the hanger. However, not long after the 
mist cleared away in some degree, and people began to 
mount the hill. I was busy in and out 'til a quarter after 
two ; and took my last walk along the top of the pound-field, 
from whence I could discern a long cloud of London smoke, 
hanging to the N. and N.N.E. This appearance, for obvious 
reasons, increased my expectation: yet I came home to 
dinner, knowing how many were on the watch : but laid my 
hat and surtout ready in a chair, in case of an alarm. At 
twenty minutes before three there was a cry in the street 
that the balloon was come. We ran into the orchard, where 
we found twenty or thirty neighbours assembled ; and from 
the green bank at the S.W. end of my house saw a dark blue 
speck at a most prodigious height, dropping as it were from 
the sky, and hanging amidst the regions of the upper air, 
between the weather-cock of the tower and the top of the 
may -pole. At first, coming towards us, it did not seem to 
make any way ; but we soon discovered that its velocity was 
very considerable. For in a few minutes it was over the 
may-pole; and then over the Fox on my great parlor 
chimney; and in ten minutes more behind my great wall- 
nut tree. The machine looked mostly of a dark blue colour; 
but some times reflected the rays of the sun, and appeared 
of a bright yellow. With a telescope I could discern the 
boat, and the ropes that supported it. To my eye this vast 


balloon appeared no bigger than a large tea-urn. When we 
saw it first, it was north of Farnham, over Farnham-heath ; 
and never came, I believe, on this side the Farnham-road ; 
but continued to pass on the other side of Bentley, Froil, 
Alton; and so for Medsted, Lord Northington's at the 
Grange, and to the right of Alresford, and Winton ; and to 
Eumsey, where the aerial philosopher came safe to the 
ground, near the Church, at about five in the evening. I 
was wonderfully struck at first with the phsenomenon ; and, 
like Milton's " belated peasant," felt my heart rebound with 
fear and joy at the same time. After a while I surveyed the 
machine with more composure, without that awe and concern 
for two of my fellow-creatures, lost, in appearance, in the 
boundless depths of the atmosphere! for we supposed then 
that two were embarked in this astonishing voyage. At last, 
seeing with what steady composure they moved, I began to 
consider them as secure as a group of Storks or Cranes intent 
on the business of emigration, and who had — 

"... set forth 
Their airy caravan, high over seas 
Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing 
Easing their flight. ..." 

Mr. Taylor, our new vicar, has taken possession of S[elborne] 
living; and I have reassumed the curacy, after an inter- 
mission of 26 years ! Mrs. Etty rents the vicarage house ; 
but has been gone eight or nine weeks, and does not return 
'til winter. Mr. Yalden has gone to Bath in Company with 
Mr. Budd. Brother Ben. and family are at Newton, but go 
next week. Brother Thomas has been expected here all the 
autumn, but is not yet come. Mrs. H. White brought Lucy 
to my house lately, for change of air : the poor young woman 
is languid, and has over-grown her strength : but I perceive 
no bad symptoms. We have apples and pears innumerable, 
and very fine grapes. Mrs. Clement is in a fair way, I 
suspect, to encrease her family. I wish you joy of your late 


grand-daughter, which makes my 41st nephew and niece! 
I have very dutiful nieces, that seem disposed to make me as 
great an uncle as they can. Mrs. J. White joins in respects. 
I am with all due affection and regard, 

Y^ loving brother, 

Gil. White. 

Sweet autumnal weather ! we have had no rain since 
Septemr. 27th not enough to measure. I miss poor Mr. 
Etty every day: he was a blameless man, without guile. 
His son Charles is in London making interest for an appoint- 
ment to India. His escape off Ceylon was wonderful ! 

On the same date a letter describing the balloon 
journey in identical terms was sent to his niece Molly 
at South Lambeth. He adds : — 

" We most earnestly hope to see you soon, and shall rejoice 
more at the sight of your post chaise, than if the balloon had 
settled on our sheep-down. Your father's letter on balloons 
is very entertaining and the last quotation finely adapted 
and happily applied." 

His account must have been published, since in 
the Naturalist's Journal of this date is pasted a 
cutting from a newspaper, headed " Extract of a 
[the above] Letter from a gentleman in a village 
50 miles S. W. of London, dated Oct. 21." The end 
of the balloon journey is thus recorded by Henry 
White of Fyfield in his Journal : — 

" 1784. Oct. 18. Mr. Wellman came. He saw on Satur- 
day last p.m. half -past 4, at Eumsey Mr. Blanchard in his 
grand air baloon hovering at a great height over the Church, 
and soon after saw him descend into a meadow near the 
town. . . . Mr. Blanchard was only 3 J hours passing from 
London to Eumsey, 75 miles, and was seen passing over many 
places particularly from Selborne hill and village." 


Mr. Bell (in his edition, vol. ii. p. 156) recounts 
that the letter Gilbert White wrote to Mr. Pink 
warning him to look out for the balloon was the 
occasion of a very ludicrous circumstance. Mr. 
Pink, a very respectable yeoman, was on his way to 
Alton market, the day after he received the letter, 
when he overtook a neighbour, and asked him if 
he had heard or seen Mr. White lately. Being 
answered in the negative, he said, "Ah, poor man, 
he is very far gone indeed ! " pointing to his head. 
" I had a letter from him yesterday, and what do 
you think he said to me, and desired me to do ? — he 
told me to look out sharp to the north-east between 
one and three o'clock to-day, and perhaps I should see 
two men riding in the air in a balloon." To which 
his neighbour replied, " Then he must be pretty far 
gone indeed." Mr. Pink expressed great sorrow, 
as he very much respected him. When they came 
to Alton Butts, a small open common just as you 
enter Alton, a large concourse of people were 
assembled together, looking earnestly upwards. Mr. 
Pink asked them what they were about ; to which 
they replied that if he would look over the church 
he would see two men riding in a balloon. After 
satisfying themselves of the truth of this, Mr. Pink 
jogged his companion, saying, " Neighbour, I think 
Mr. White is not so far gone as you and I thought 
him ! " 

Living in a neighbourhood where the roads were 
so bad Gilbert White was ever interested in road- 


[To face p. 138, Vol. If. 


making, like his grandfather, who bequeathed money 
for this purpose. Among the few anecdotes of him, 
which the writer has been able to collect in Selborne, 
is the story that when the Naturalist was seen 
approaching, the village children used to put stones 
in the ruts, and receive from him pennies for their 
diligence. The following letter refers to this subject : 

To Miss White 
At the horse and jockey 

Newton-lane end. IsTovr. 23rd 1784. 

Dear Molly, — When you come to Newton-cross I wish 
you would turn short on the left, and so go along Newton- 
lane, where the quarter,* I think, is made very safe. After 
you have passed the N. field, turn down the N. field-hill- 
lane, which has had much labor bestowed on it, and is, I 
trust, now very safe also. 

If the latter should prove as I expect, having never been 
used for quarter before, you may say — 

". . . juvat ire jugis, qua nulla priorum 
Castaliam molli divertitur orbita divo." 

Y"^ loving Uncle, 

Gil. White. 

On the same date as the above letter the 
Naturalist's Journal records — 

"Brother Thomas, and his daughter, and two sons came. 
The chaise that brought some of them passed along the 
King's highway into the village by Newton lane, and down 

* This word, in these days of universally metalled roads, may be strange 
to many of the present generation. It means the space between the horse's 
track and the wheel ruts, which was not worn down. 


the N". field hill, both of which have had much labour 
bestowed on them, and are now very safe. This is the first 
carriage that ever came in this way." 

In December of this year (1784) the great frost, 
a record of which Gilbert White wrote,^ occurred, 
while his brother Thomas, who was still at Selborne, 
described it in the ' Gentleman's Magazine,' 1785, 
vol. liii. pp. 170, 171. 

* Vide *The Natural History of Selborne,' Letter LXIII. to Barrington. 


Early in 1785 Mr. Richard Yalden, Vicar of 
Newton Valence, died. His loss must have been 
severely felt by his friend at Selborne, who refers to 
it below. 

To Miss White. Selborne, Mar. 9, 1785. 

Dear Molly, — We thank you for the tea, which we think 
very good : and also for the salt-fish, which proves more 
white, and delicate than usual. Instead of in a parcel, the 
cod came down in a barrel, which being leaky let the brine 
out on the kitchen-floor. I therefore told Thomas he should 
carry it into the cellar. Thomas without much thought 
took the barrel by the hoops, and was got to the cellar 
stairs ; when off came the hoops, down fell the barrel, out 
flew the head : in short the stairs from top to bottom became 
one broken wet scene of barrel-staves, and codfish ! Please 
to send me the price of the fish, and remind your father 
to charge it to me. Has your father received my Xmass 
long ann. dividend ? 

Pray enquire of your father what is the name of the 
author of the vision of Piers Plowman : he was, I remember. 
Fellow of Oriel College,* you may find about him in 

* There is no evidence to support this statement. 


Warton's * History of Poetry.' What says Dugdale of 
Canons regular of the order of S* Augustine? 

While you were with me, and since, I bore up very well 
against the severity of the season : but now this return of 
winter, with the aggravation of March winds, has quite 
over-come me, has given me a feverish cough, and confined 
me to the house. The late frosts have destroyed all the 
garden-stuff, and, as men tell me, have much injured the 
wheat. Everything is very backward : for the ground is so 
hard that the farmers cannot plow their stubbles. John 
Withal has been able to do some work for some time : but 
two of his fingers, one on each hand, are still very sore, and 
want much dressing. Mr. Dusuetoy, the curate at Newton, 
has just recovered from a purse-proud farmer at Eastmeon 
the sum of £200 with costs, having brought an action for 
most gross usage, such as calling him, where-ever he met 
him, French son of a female dog; spitting in his face at 
Church and else where ; for having written to the Bishop to 
prevent his getting priest's orders, &c., &c., the jury was 
special, his attorney Mr. Clement. Mr. Mill, the clergyman 
at Faringdon appeared against the smuggler that robbed him 
on the Farnham road, and has got him condemned : he is a 
most daring fellow, and has twice broke out of gaol, once at 
Dorchester, and once at Winton. They have cut all the 
beeches on the top of the hanger ; have thinned that beauti- 
ful fringe, but not destroyed it, so that next summer the 
Hanger will be as lovely as ever. I thank your father for 
his account of Oaks.* We lament greatly the loss of poor 
Mr. Yalden : this is now the second good neighbor that I 
have lost in eleven months ! Mr. Charles Etty is still at 
Gravesend or the Hope, two miles lower : but they are on 
the wing, and expecting to sail every hour for India. The 
parish sent our sailor-boy, Bridger, up to town, and down 

* Published in the form of a letter to the * Gentleman's Magazine,' 1785, 
p. 109. 



to Gravesend, hoping Charles Etty would have been able to 

have got him a passage to India as a soldier : but after 

being at considerable expence for clothing, a watch (the boy 

would not go without a watch) and other matters ; he could 

not get admittance aboard, and is returned to this place. 

Some snow lies still on the hill^ and there is this day a 

great rime on the hanger, but none in the vale with us. 

Thermometer 26°. The ground is as hard as a rock : 

Bar. 29-25. ^rr ^ - ^ 

Y^ loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 
Mrs. J. White joins in respects. 

Crocus's begin to blow. 

"Say, what impells, amidst surrounding snow,"* etc. 

Writing on March 19th, 1785, Mulso regrets the 
death of Mr. Yalden— 

" You have lost some very good men and true Christians 
from your neighbourhood of late. For God's sake take care 
of yourself and live as long as ever you can to keep up so 
precious a character. ... I fear you are all plunged again 
into sadness. I pray God that the vicinity of your nephew 
may produce future scenes of joyousness and happiness." 

This nephew, also a nephew of Mr. Yalden's, was 
Edmund, son of Benjamin White, who was to be 
the new Vicar of Newton. 

In April the usual visit to brother Thomas at 
S. Lambeth was made, and the Naturalist's Journal 
records — 

"May. 1. Saw one Swifts two house-martins in Fleet St." 

* In the second (1802) and subsequent editions of 'The Natural History 
of Selborne' these verses were placed at the end of Letter XLI. to Barrington. 


Keturning to Selborne, a notice occurs of the 
Coccus vitis-vinifercB, with a speculation as to the 
possibility of its having come from Gibraltar in 
boxes, etc., received twelve years ago from thence. 

" My brother John, in his excellent * Nat. History of 
Gibraltar/ which I have by me in MS., gives the following 
account of this Coccus vitis viniferce!^ etc. : — * 

To Miss White. 

Selborne, May 17th, 1785. 

Dear Molly, — When I came to look over my melon-seeds, 
I was surprised to find only one paper of Succades, and 
those twenty years old : however, I would wish your father 
would try them ; and if Smith was to soak them in water 
a few hours before they were sown, he might have a better 
prospect of success. 

We had a hot, and dusty journey to Alton, and especially 
between Cobham and Ripley, where the heaths were like the 
deserts of Arabia for smother, and fervent heat. 

Our grass and corn are in a bad state, and my garden, 
and grass-plots are burnt up. My wall-nut tree is so killed 
down, that the foliage will be this year very scanty. 

The sycomores have suffered also ; and my jasmine is dead. 
We have cucumbers, and a few asparagus : but Timothy has 
devoured most of my lettuce. The hanger is beautiful. 

As my Barometer is this day below 29*3, we have some 
hopes of rain ; but it seems very unwilling to come. 

We return your father and you, and all friends many 
thanks for all your good offices while we were with you. 
We have little apple and pear-bloom, and no wall-fruit. 
Farmer Town is very bad ; and Betty Loe is very weak. 
John Stevens has a son and heir. 

* Vide ' The Natural History of Selborne,' Letter LIII. to Barrington. 


Mrs. Etty expects Lady Young, and Mrs. Rashleigh this 
afternoon. y^ loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 
My cough is better. My Portugal laurels seem to be dead. 

To Miss White. Selborne, June 25, 1785. 

Dear Molly, — I am desirous to address you once more in 
your maiden state, which, I now understand, is soon to be at 
an end. 

I hope you received my long letter by Edmund, in which 
I desired to know whether Smith had any success with my 
old Succade melon-seeds, so as to make them grow : I wished 
also to have enquired after the cuckow's nest, but, I think, 
I forgot it. 

Mrs. J. White and I have made many enquiries about 
a maid for you ; and one day I rode myself on that errand 
as far as Kingsley. In consequence of my ride we had 
a maid offered from that parish, of whom Mrs. J. White 
has sent you some account by the post. Tell your father 
I have taken up riding again, and mount my little horse 
frequently. Inform him that we have also pulled down 
part of his old cottage, and find it in a very bad state, most 
of the timbers being worm-eaten beech. In the room 
of what we have taken down I shall erect a fewel-house; 
and will endeavour to put him to as little expence as 
possible. The drought begins to be very serious and 
stubborn, so that there will be very little grass, and less 
spring-corn. We water, and water; but our annuals die 
away." [The rest of this letter is missing.] 

On June 29th, 1785, Mary White married her 
cousin Benjamin, the eldest son of her uncle Ben- 
jamin White, and went to live at the *' Horace's 
Head," No. 51, Fleet Street. 

VOL. II. — L 


The Naturalist's Journal at this time records some 
remarks on the fly-catcher, all of which were not in- 
corporated into their author's book. 

" 1785, July 25. While the hen fly-catcher sits, the cock 
feeds her all day long : he also pays attention to the former 
brood, which he feeds at times. 

"Aug. 1 [at Meonstoke]. Ely -catchers in Mr. Mulso's 
garden, that seem to have a nest of young. The fly-catchers 
hover over their young to preserve them from the heat 
of the sun. 

"[Aug.] 8, Selborne. Ely-catchers' second brood forsake 
their nest. 

" Sept. 8. Mr. S. Barker came. Planted a Parnassia which 
he brought out of Eutland in full bloom, in a bog at the 
bottom of Sparrow's hanger." 

On September 4th, 1785, John Mulso forwarded a 
criticism of his friend's lines ' On the Early and Late 
Blowing of the Vernal and Autumnal Crocus ' — 

" I received your ' Crocus ' in its triple shape, and I like 
it in all. The original is an ingenious thought, piously as 
well as poetically imagined, and happily expressed. Of the 
two translations I like the first and shortest the best, but I 
do not approve of the stop ';' after 'summa potestas*; 'Elora- 
rum Deus,' etc. is the answer to the question. If it is 
added, 'whose power is supreme ' — ' cui summa potestas ' — as 
it must be construed if stopped so strong, then 'ipse' is 
wanted before ' temperat.' But if it intends ' whose supreme 
power tempers' etc., then it should have no stop. It is 
concise and just. The other, more at large, is likewise well 
done ; but the same objection occurs at the same place. 
And I fear that 'calet' and 'liquet' are applied as active 
verbs, which is not usual Latin, unless I have forgot it." 


To Mrs. B, White 

at Horace's head 

Fleet street, London. 

Sepr. 20, 1785. 

Dear Niece, — I fully intended to have made some catchup 
for you, and your father ; but the mushrooms fail again, as 
they did last year, to such a degree that we have not 
been able to raise half a pint. Last week Mrs. Burbey 
had a respectable farmer, a cousin, with her on a visit. 
This person waked in the night, and found himself standing 
naked in the cart-way with his night-cap in his hand. 
How he came there he could not imagine : but there was 
just light enough for him to see that the sash of his 
chamber was up ; and therefore he concluded he must have 
come down from thence. Finding the doors all locked, he 
was forced to call up the family, who were astonished to 
see their visitor in his shirt, and much confused and 
frightened. The poor man received a cut on the sole of 
one of his feet, and a small contusion on one knee: and 
this was all the harm that he received from descending, 
fast asleep, for the space of twelve feet and a half, down 
on the bare pavement. Mr. S. Barker is with me; and I 
expect uncle Harry this week for two nights ; and perhaps 
Betsey,* who, I hope, will stay a little. Your father in 
law and sisters, &c. are all well. Newton's vicar has got 
his harpsichord down; and I can borrow Mrs. Etty's. 
Mary and Hannah f are most woefully overhatted, so that 
they look like Jenny Diver, and Miss ISlamerkin in the 
^Beggar's OperaJ Tell your father that I have seen no 
Serapias in bloom all this autumn. 

y loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

* Daughter of Henry White. 

+ Daughters of Benjamin White, senior. 


After visiting Oxford in October, a large party of 
relations from Fyfield were received at Selborne. 

To Mrs. B. White. Seleburne, Deer. 1st, 1785. 

Dear Molly, — I am very angry with your husband for 
calling away his wife so suddenly, when in appearance he 
had acquiesced in her staying 'til the return of her father. 
I am far from wishing that time may abate his affection 
for the good woman in the smallest degree : yet I hope 
to live to see the day when she will be permitted to make 
me a much longer visit ; and to come down and look at her 
children, which, peradventure may be nursing in this village. 

Thomas went this afternoon to the Horse and Jockey to 
meet Mrs. Etty and Co. who were expected to have been 
there about three o'clock: but, after waiting till it was 
dark, returned, bringing word that the ladies were arrived 
at Alton; but came in so tardy* that they thought it more 
prudent not to trust our rough roads at so late an hour. 
I thank you for your letter, which I expect by Mrs. Etty 
to-morrow, but not being able to divine the exact purport 
of it, I can only foresee by anticipation that you are much 
obliged for all favours, and all that : to which I reply that 
you were heartily welcome, and all that. Hoping, an other 
year, to find you a more dutiful niece, and less dutiful wife, 
I remain with true affection y*" loving uncle 

Gil. White. 

On December 7th, 1785, Mulso writes : — 

"I heartily join in your satisfaction on the Provost of 
Oriel's kind promise to your brother Harry's son:-[- but 

* Another word which has quite fallen out of general use. Yet 
Wykehamists keep it in mind, and have substantial reasons for so doing, 
when and as they happen to come into chapel after the bell has stopped. 
At least it used to be so when Plancus was Consul. 

t Henry White's son, Samson, was eventually elected to a Fellowship at 


will he live to be as good as his word ? I hear, poor man, 
of a dangerous state of health that he is in. 

"I am not going to wish you joy of Tortworth living:* 
I am sure you will never think of it ; for if everything went 
quite smooth there, neither the country, nor the modes of 
collecting your income are at all to your mind. Get some 
pretty little sinecure tenable with your Fellowship. Live 
on at Selborne and be cotemporary with Jack Mulso 
still. . . . The winter has been so severe that I am glad 
that you do not trot to Faringdon on a Sunday." 

Mr. Churton came to pay his usual Christmas 
visit at Selborne. 

To Mrs. B. White. Seleburne, Deer. 26, 1785. 

Dear Mrs. Mary White, — I thank you for your kind 
letter respecting raisins, and salt-fish. Concerning the 
former I shall say nothing just at present: but must 
desire you to procure me, as soon as conveniently you can, 
five good Iceland cod-fishes; two for Edmund White, and 
three for myself, to be sent down by Findon, the Faringdon 
Carrier. If your husband has an account with Edm^ please 
to desire him to charge two to him, and three to me: or 
else let me hear, and charge all to me, and I will settle with 

You know of course, as well as I, how the matter stands 
between nephew John,-]- and Mrs. Kemp. He left proposals 
behind him, which I much suspect will be accepted. If he 
does settle among us, I sincerely wish the undertaking may 
answer his expectations. 

We had very mild weather 'til Friday last : on Saturday 

* In Gloucestershire, an Oriel living. 

t "Gibraltar Jack." Mrs. Kemp appears to have been widow of a doctor 
at Alton, whose practice he was proposing to acquire. The next letter shows 
that he did settle in the neighbourhood. 


morning came snow ; since which the frost has been severe. 
This morning the thermometer abroad at 24°. There are 
in this village hand-bills sticking up signifying "that on 
Thursday there will be shot for at the Red Lion at Oak- 
hanger a good fat porker, yards for inches, at a card : all 
to charge out of the same bag: and also two boar-pigs to 
be bowled for." Other bills say, " that at Faringdon on the 
28th a good watch of one guinea value is to be played at 
farmering for : he that wins the farm the three first times 
to have the watch." Such are the amusements of this 
neighbourhood at this season of festivity. This evening I 
had a letter from Mrs. Barker in which she says, that 
Mrs. Brown is to lie in about the end of March. Upon 
which I remark, well done Mrs. Brown ! well done Mrs. 
Clement ! and so vice versa : for I think they are well 
matched, and will run a hard heat. Tell Nephew Tom I 
thank him for his letter, and will write soon. I can scan 
his verses and think the measure very pretty. 

With due respects I conclude 

Your loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

To Mrs. B. White. 

Jan. 16, 1786. 

Dear Molly, — Though I have little to say, yet as James 
Etty is going to town I would not omit the opportunity 
of writing by him. 

We are to thank you for the salt-fish, which came safe 
and is very good. Mrs. Clement came to Newton yesterday 
with her little family, who are to be inoculated at the 
vicarage at Newton this evening. Nephew Edmund set out 
for Oxford last Friday, some days sooner than he first 
intended, and proposes to return by way of London about 
the 20th of February. The rains and snows are, and have 
been so great lately that the ground is quite glutted with 


wet : if the fall has been as great with you, your two fathers 

will be in danger of seeing more liquor in their cellars 

than they would wish. Much water has soaked into my 

cellar lately. Dr. White often calls on us : he has met 

with dismal weather in his rounds. Pray ask Mrs. Yalden 

where her volume of Mr. Churton's sermons is. Did she 

bring it down from S. Lambeth to Newton ? The reason 

of these enquiries is because I have lost my book, given 

me by the author. There is a copy at Newton, which 

I suspect Edmund borrowed of me; but, being a lover, 

he does not know whether he did, or no. As a certain 

man was looking at his son lately, while he was eating 

bread and butter, he remarked, "that he was a sound puppy, 

and did not husk while feeding." Mr. Ventris has been 

much out of order lately, so that I have not seen him. 

I wrote a long letter to Nephew Thomas Holt- White lately, 

and hope to hear from him soon. Is Uncle Harry in town ? 

Boswell's journal* is a comical, pleasant book. I wish he 

and D*" Johnson had taken more tours together. 

Mrs. J. White joins in respects. y*^ loving uncle 

G. W. 

To Mrs. B. White. 

Selborne, Jan. 24, 1786. 

Dear Niece, — Though I wrote to you the other day by 
James Etty ; yet I do not love to let Mrs. J. White's 
parcel go off for the coach to-morrow without sending you 
a line. To-morrow I am to marry Nanny Hale over the 
way to young Farmer Tull of Wick-hill. The young woman 
has been bred to habits of industry; and the young man, 
I believe, is sober, and steady : so the match, I think, 
promises well. Yesterday Mrs. Etty and Co. and nephew 
John dined with me: whether I drank too freely among 

* 'The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, ll.d., 
by James Boswell, Esq.,' was published in 1785, 


my friends, I cannot say: but in the evening and part 
of the night my feet raged and I felt violent pains, so 
that I expected the gout at once : but this day, I thank 
God, they are better; but still in a grumbling way. Mr. 
Powlett, it is said, is going to quit Rotherfield, and to 
retire. Is Uncle Harry still in town ; or is he returned 
back to Fyfield ? The quantity of fall, snow and rain, 
has been very great this month : already, I think, six inches 
and upward. How do the cellars stand affected at S. 
Lambeth ? Some people continue still to fall with sad 
fevers at Alton; some die. The snow of Wednesday, 
Jan. 4th was drifted much under the tiles of my roof, 
and lodged on the ceilings, where it became very trouble- 
some, and did much damage, when the thaw came. 

Y' loving uncle, 
Gil. White. 

The Provost of Oriel College, the newspaper says, has got 
a daughter. 

To Mrs. B. White. Seleburne, Mar. 25, 1786. 

Dear Molly, — Was I to let the bearer to return without 
any answer to your late kind letter, I should think that 
I had not deserved so kind an attention. Have you heard 
of the great good fortune that has befallen Crondall, a 
village near Farnham ? The people of that parish in a 
club, about 36 in number, joined and bought one quarter 
of a ticket, which came up one of the £20,000 prizes : so 
that a number of little farmers, and servants, and labourers 
have shared £5,000 between them; and in such a manner 
as one would think, would do the gainers no harm, but a 
great deal of service. Had that great lump fallen to any 
individual amongst them, it would, in all probability, have 
driven him quite into a frenzy: but now it is lowered 
and diluted into so many parts, there is reason to hope 


that all may be made very happy. The prize was not 
bought in equal shares ; so that many servants and labourers 
divided only £35 per man. I wish such a prize, so divided, 
would befall my neighbours at Selborne.* 

On Tuesday Mrs. Etty and her maidens leave us : and on 
Thursday, by permission, Mr. Taylor, our vicar, is to come to 
the parsonage house for eight or ten days, and to bring his 
hride with him, and to keep his wedding here. They are to 
bring, I hear, a man and maid servant with them, but no 
lady bridesmaid ; and are, I conclude, to be in a very private 
way: however it is not unlikely that we shall visit them. 
The bride is — "ah! pray. Uncle, tell me who the bride 
is." Why, the bride is to be Miss Lisle of Moylscourt near 
Ringwood, a lady of one of the best families in the county ; 
and whose uncle represented this county in parliament 
for many years; and whose grandfather wrote the book 
on husbandry. I am in a sad fright, having no silk-breeches, 
and stockings to make a wedding-visit in. In just such 
a fright was Uncle Richard,! when first your mother came 
unexpectedly to Newton. John Carpenter has opened a 
shop with a great bow-window to the Plestor, in which 
he sells ironmongry, hardware, cheese and breeches. Tell 
your father that the vast Ash-tree on the Plestor is all 
worked into bushels, half-bushels, pecks, gallons, and seed- 
laps; and that it was curious to see such a huge, stubborn 
mass by art bent and moulded into so many pliable and 
shapely implements and utensils. Tell him also that 
nephew Edmund is very earnest to procure some rock-work 
for the bottom of his shrubbery; and that he, nephew 
John, and Ventris are to go all to Bridestone-lane in order 
to select out some large rocks for that purpose. 

* On one occasion the purchase of a lottery ticket occurs in Gilbert White's 
account-books. He had a distinguished example, since John Mulso mentions 
that his uncle, Bishop Thomas, had shared a ticket with Ms pupil, Prince 

t Richard, brother of William Yalden, Mrs. Thomas White's first husband. 


I hope you practice every day at your Glass; and that 
you are by this time perfect mistress of "Nimini pimini."* 
Inform your father also, that nephew Edm*^ has carted 
his flints to the top of the Bostal; and that I hope soon, 
now the snow is gone, to lay them in that path. Mrs. 
J. White joins in respects. 

I am, dear niece, Your affect, uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Your aunt seems to be quite recovered from her fall, 
which was a very dangerous one. Pray present my respects 
to Miss Eebecca White for her fine present of flower-seeds. 

At the end of March, 1786, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor 
paid a short visit to Selborne. Mrs. B. White's 
curiosity about the lady was thus satisfied by her 
uncle : — 

To Mrs. B. White, Selborne [April, 1786]. 

Your aunt and I think the bride a very agreeable woman, 
and began to wish they would have stayed longer ; but they 
set off this morning for Blashford. However they seem 
inclined to come again, when the summer is established. 
Mrs. Etty, I find by her letter, is a little jealous lest they 
should grow too fond of Selborne : but I think her suspicions 
are groundless ; and that the incumbent, now marryed, is less 
likely than ever to reside, because his lady seems strongly 
attached to Moyle's Court, the seat of the Lisles, from whence 
Blashford is distant only one mile. The Lady is tall, and 
well-shaped, about thirty years of age, and has an easy, 
engaging address : her complexion is dark, and her hair very 
black; and no wonder, since her Mother was a Levant 
woman, perhaps an Egyptian ; because her father lived, she 
says, eleven years at Grand Cairo. 

* At this time a miniature portrait of Mrs. B. White, junr., was painted. 


The following card was lately put into my hand. "J^ 
Carpenter, carpenter, cooper, bent-ware maker and iron- 
monger at Selborne near Alton, takes this method of 
acquainting the public that he sells all kinds of bent-ware 
goods, and all sorts of cooperage, chests of drawers, bedsteds 
and tables, nails, locks, joints," &c., &c. 

I proposed to have written by Edmund but he hastened 
away a day sooner than I was aware. 

Y"^ loving Uncle, 

Gil. White. 

At this time Dr. Chandler was travelling in the 
South of France, whence he sent his friend at 
Selborne frequent accounts of the occurrence of 
swallows, which were duly noted by him in his 
Naturalist's Journal. 

To Samuel Barker. Seleburne, Apr. 17, 1786. 

Dear Sir, — Partly through idleness, and partly through 
infirmity I have too long neglected your late letter. My 
thanks are due for your curious account of the climate of 
Zarizyn,* and I feel myself the more obliged, because you 
know I love to study climates. Whether you translate or 
abridge D"^ Pallas, I do not know ; but should be glad to see 
the remaining part of the year, if the subject does not give 
you too much trouble. I believe all fervid regions afford 
instances of undulating vapours; that at a distance appear 
like water. Arabia, I know does; and the phenomenon is 
finely alluded to in the Koran. In what language does 
Pallas write? 

The summer-like weather of last Friday fetched out 
Timothy. There is somewhat very forlorn and abject in that 

* This is to be found at pp. 641-646 of the third volume of the original 
edition of Pallas's 'Travels' (Reise, u.s.w., St. Petersburg: 1776).— A. N. 


creature's first appearance after a profound slumber of five 
months. When a man first rouses himself from a deep sleep, 
he does not look very wise : but nothing can be more squalid 
and stupid than our friend, when he first comes crawling out 
of his hibernacula : so that some farther lines of Dryden's 
ode, (written he supposes on purpose to ridicule tortoises) 
may well be applyed to him : — 

" Has rais'd up his head. 
As awak'd from the dead ; 
And amaz'd he stares around." 

There was, as I remember, one Abdon, a judge of Israel, 
of whom there is nothing memorial, but that he had 40 sons 
and 30 nephews. As a father, this chieftain, I must acknow- 
ledge, exceeded me much : but as to the matter of Nepotism^ 
I go much beyond him : for I had 42 nephews and nieces 
before; and now Mrs. Brown's little daughter makes the 
43rd; and I have more at hand, if I do not reckon my 
chickens before they are hatched. Nephew John of Alton, 
now Dr. Whitey has met with an ugly accident: as he was 
descending from his hayloft, the ladder turned, and gave him 
a bad fall on the stones ; by which he bruised his side, and 
dislocated his left wrist: but he was not confined one day, 
and is getting well. This young man has found employ, and 
much riding about : but he must have time to approve him- 
self, before he can expect much prime business. On March 
26th Mrs. and Miss Etty left us for some weeks : and on the 
30th by permission, came Mr. Taylor, our vicar ; and his 
bride Miss Lisle of Moyle's court near Ring-wood Hants. 
The lady is of a very good family in this county, and niece 
to Mr. Lisle of Crooke's-easton ; the gentleman who stood 
and carried the grand contested election for this county in 
1733 ; but it cost him £10,000. The lady was desirous of 
spending part of her honeymoon at her husband's parish. 
Charles Etty is expected home in June. Nephew Edm^, for 
which I highly commend him, is parting with all kinds of 



farming whatsoever : he lets all his tithes, and all his glebe ; 
reserving only to himself three or four fields for his horses 
and cows. He will now know what he has to depend on: 
whereas both his late uncles* were much imposed on; and 
were subject to all the rabble and hurry of common renters. 
Edmund I trust, some time hence, will make an excellent 
neighbour ; but has been as yet a very bad one, for his time 
has been so taken up with various courtships, that he has 
never been at home yet for ten days together. He marries, 
I think, in June : but first keeps another term at Oxford. 
All my apricots were cut off by that violent weather in the 
beginning of March ! So deep was the snow, and so starved 
the birds, that the poor ring-doves came into our gardens to 
crop the leaves and sprouts of the cabbages ! Hay is become 
very scarce and dear indeed ! My rick is now almost as 
slender as the waste of a virgin: and it would have been 
much for the reputation of the two last brides that I have 
married, had their wastes been as slender. We have just 
covered the dirty part of the bostal with small flints. The 
first swalloiu that I heard of was on April 6th, the first 
nightingale April 13th. The great straddle-bob, Orion, that 
in the winter seems to bestride my brew-house, is seen now 
descending of an evening, on one side foremost, behind the 
hanger. The almanack announces Venus to be an evening 
star, but I have not seen her yet. Miss Etty is not so well 
as could be wished : she is low and languid ; and often short- 
breathed. Miss Layton of Alton, Mr. Charles Etty's niece, 
is lately dead. Mrs. J. White and I thank your mother for 
her kind letters : the former will write soon. 
We think Mrs. Taylor an agreeable woman. 

I am, with all due respects. 

Your affect, uncle, 

Gil. White. 

* Edmund and Richard Yalden, who respectively succeeded their father, 
the Rev. Edmund Yalden, in the vicarage of Newton Valence. 


From Samuel Barker. 

[With an extract.] 

Lyndon, July 18th, 1786. 

Dear Sir, — I have above completed the history of the 
year at Zarizyn, but am afraid that in the names of the 
birds you will meet with some confusion, as I have no 
assistance but a common French dictionary and the Latin 
names are but seldom annexed. I translate from a French 
abrigement of the travels of Pallas, Gmelin, and the other 
naturalists deputed by the Empress of Russia. 

My principal object in writing at present is to inform 
you of a change in my situation which is soon to take 
place, and which I ought to have been earlier in mentioning 
to you. The lady with whom I am to be connected, is of 
Northamptonshire, her name is Haggitt, a young woman of 
gentle manners and long black eye-lashes, and of course, 
you know, everything that is agreeable, &c., &c., &c. I have 
had much trouble in finding a house, but believe I shall 
at last fix at Whitwell in the house formerly inhabited by 
the Isaacs ; it is at present much out of repair, but when 
put into order, may suit me I think tolerably well. Edmund 
White is, it seems, beforehand with me ;* present my con- 
gratulations to him, and tell him I shall follow his 
example as fast as I can. — I have been last June a long 
and delightful tour in the North, with my uncle Henry, the 
extent of which was Northward as far as the mountain 
Skiddaw, and westward to Moel-Enllyn, a mountain near 
Ruthin in the vale of Clwyd ; but I have enlarged so much 
on the travels of Professor Pallas, that I have no room left 
for my own, and must conclude with respects to all friends. 

Your affectionate nephew, 

Samuel Baeker. 

* He was married on June 20th to Miss Anne Blunt, as his uncle re- 
corded in his Naturalist's Journal, adding that this increased the number of 
nephews and nieces to forty-five. 


To Samuel Barker. ci i i a ±. i -i^oa 

Seleburne, Augst. 1, 1786. 

Dear Sir, — As you know I am fond of the history of 
various countries, and in particular love to study and com- 
pare climates; it was very kind of you to take so much 
pains to compleat the history of Zarizyn for a year. 

I return you my thanks for your making me your con- 
^fidant in a matter of so much moment as that of your 
taking a wife. You, no doubt, will make a prudent choice ; 
and then there will be a good prospect of your being happy 
in a state where both parties must concur to render the 
change agreeable. As it is much the fashion now for the man 
and his wife to set out on a visit as soon as the ceremony 
is over, we shall be glad to see the lady and you here, where 
our new niece will meet all proper respect, and every 
attention from myself and Mrs. J. White. Edmund's wife 
made my nephews and nieces 45 : and we expect every day 
to hear that Mrs. Ben. White has added one more to the 
number : so that according to appearances the lady we are 
talking of will be the 47th. 

We have experienced a very dry and hot summer ; most 
part of June was sultry: yet we had a good crop of hay; 
and have a fine prospect for wheat, which is very tall and 
even : the hops also look well : but of late the pastures and 
meadows burn, and the gardens suffer greatly. My grapes 
are very forward, and the crop large. Plums we have none, 
and no wasps yet. 

When I see you, you must tell me all the circumstances 
of your long tour, which cannot fail to entertain. I only 
fear that after your eyes have been stretched with the sight 
of Skiddaw, &c., that you will despise the mole-hills of this 
district, which once used to delight you so much. My 
intended niece, I trust, will be pleased with our hangers 
and prospects. Whitwell, I think, is a pretty situation. 
In the year 1742 I spent a very pleasant long vacation there. 


Tell your mother that on the 10th of this month she and 
I shall have a new sister.* Verses have been written on 
ladies eye-hrows ; but you talk of the beauty of your 
mistress's eye-lashes: in that matter as far as I remember, 
you speak like a Turk. Now you talk of ladies, can you 
repeat "Pretty, pretty Peggy Haggit" three times in a 
breath ? We expect Mrs. Etty from Beaconsfield every day. 
Her son Charles, it is to be hoped, will soon return from 
^omh^y. Your loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Little Tom Clement is visiting at Petersfield, where he 
plays much at Cricket : Tom bats, his grand-mother bowls, 
and his great grand-mother watches out ! ! 

To Mary Barker, Selborne, Octr. 25, 1786. 

Dear Mece, — I received your favour of Octr. 12th, and 
rejoice to hear that my nephew Mr. Barker has made so 
prudent a choice, and has so fair a prospect of happiness in 
the matrimonial state. He is to live, I find, at the parsonage 
house at Whitwell, where I spent three very agreeable 
months as long ago as the year 1742, when I was a very 
young man. 

Present my respects to your father, and tell him that the 
caterpillars of phalcence devoured all the foliage of our oaks 
in the bud, and therefore of course there could be no acorns : 
but that the beeches were loaded with mast ; and that I was 
not unmindful of his injunctions ; but have employed people 
to pick up a quantity of seeds from those trees, which 
I intend shall be cast into the bushes on the down. We 
had a wet, cold August and September after a dry spring, 
and hot summer. We have grapes in vast abundance, that 

* On August 20th, 1786, Benjamin White, senr., married (secondly) Mary, 
widow of the Rev. Richard Yalden, Vicar of Newton Valence. This lady 
appears in the folding north-east view of Selborne, which forms the frontis- 
piece to 'The Natural History of Selborne.' 



were very forward in July ; but they are not so delicately 
ripened as in some more favourable autumns, though now 
good. The beginning of this month deluged all the country, 
and had like to have blown us all away : the tempests and 
torrents were dreadful! From the 4th to the 11th of this 
month inclusive the quantity of rain was 5*04 ! but now we 
have delicate weather, and a fine wheat season. The late 
election at Salisbury has done my Nephew John much 
honour: but neither he nor his mother are elated on the 
occasion, because he quits a little certain business in hopes 
of greater. He certainly was getting ground at Alton. 
Should he succeed at Sarum, there will be more field- 
room for getting money than in our poor rough district; 
and so there had need : for the Infirmary brings neither 
salary, nor emolument, but only credit, from the supposition 
that the surgeon is a man of skill and merit in his pro- 

Brother Thomas is here ; and brother and sister Benjamin 
and Mary at Newton: they join in respects. I am glad 
to hear that Mr. and Mrs. Brown have left Uppingham. 

I am, with all due respects. 

Your affectionate Uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Our hop-planters returned from Wey-hill fair with chear- 
ful faces, and full purses, having sold a large crop of hops 
for a good price. The reason was, because the Kentish 
hops, which were a fortnight behind, were blown away 
by the tempests. The parish of Selborne will be much 
benefited by the hop-plantations, to the amount, some say, 
of near £2,000. The women had a fine picking, and earned 
2s. 6d. per day. Uncle Harry has built him an hermitage at 
Fyfield, on which Samson White has written a good copy 
of verses. Mr. Twopeny is just married. 

VOL. II. — M 


From the Naturalist's Journal — 
" 1786. Sep. 23, Brother Thomas and sons came." 

The following whimsical experiment is here re- 
corded. These articles — salt of tartar, oil of vitriol, 
a tea-kettle, sea salt, wood ashes, coal ashes, nitre — 
were placed in concentric circles. 

"With the above mentioned articles Bro*" Thos. has at- 
tempted to make a fairey-ring, circle within circle : and we 
are to take notice in the spring which circle, and whether 
any, will produce grass of a deeper green than before. The 
tea kettle . . . was set out, time after time, full of boiling 
water. The circles made with oil of vitriol, with sea salt, 
and with salt petre have discoloured the grass: those with 
Sal Tartar, wood, and coal ashes have no visible effect at 
present. The grass seems killed where the tea-kettle stood. 

" Novr. 22. I sent a woman up the hill with a peck 
of beech-mast, which she tells me she has scattered all 
round the down amid the bushes and brakes, where there 
were no beeches before. I also ordered Thomas to sow 
beech-mast in the hedges all round Baker's hill." 

Later in the year a visit was paid to Fyfield. 
After the return to Selborne Mr. Churton came as 
usual at Christmas time. 


To Thomas Barker. 

Selborne, Jan. 10, 1787. 

Dear Sir, — I have herewith sent you the Selborne rain, 
an account of which, I think, has been kept very exactly : 
but know nothing of the Fyfield and S. Lambeth rain. 
There fell such a glut of rain in the beginning of October 
that men were in some pain about the wheat season : how- 
ever, such lovely weather followed quite into November that 
the sowing time was unusually good. Again during the 14 
first days of December there fell 5 inches of rain: this 
deluge washed our malm-grounds sadly. 

As to strong beer at Mr. Yalden's, I can say nothing 
about the management of it, because John Pullinger, who 
had the sole conducting of it, has left Edmund White: 
I only know that my strong beer is much admired by those 
that love pale beer, made of malt that is dryed with billet. 
My method is to make it very strong, and to hop very 
moderately at first ; and then to put in it, at two or three 
times, half a pound at a time of scalded hops, before I tap 
it. This is the Wilts method, and makes the beer as fine as 
rock-water. As my family is small, I never brew more than 
half a hogshead at a time ; but then I put malt at the rate 
of 13 bushels to the hogshead, and only 3 pounds and a half 
of hops at a brewing. I tap my half-hogsheads at about 
12 months old ; and always brew with rain water, when 



I can. The tank at Newton is made of brick : their beer 
was, and is, often good; but their water, when drank by 
itself, has a filthy taste of lime and moss. Their table beer 
does not keep in summer.* 

Please to present my best thanks to my sister for her 
kind charity which will be very acceptable to our numerous 
poor. Mrs. Etty is here, but will leave us soon, perhaps 
'til midsummer. Y'^ affectionate servant, 

G. White. 

The crop of beech-mast was prodigious, and of great 
service to men's hogs, which were half fat before they were 
shut up. Between mast and potatoes poor men killed very 
large hogs at little expense. Tom Berriman's hog weighed 
16 scores; yet eat only seven bushels of barley-meal: 
whereas without the help above mentioned, he would have 
required 20 bushels. 

Dame Berriman is much disordered in her mind, and 
very violent. I sent a woman to scatter some beech-seed 
in every bush on the down. 

Mrs. J. White joins in respects. Barometer has been 
very high for some days ; on Monday it was 30-3. 

From the Naturalist's Journal — 

" March 27. Swallows were first seen this year at Messina 
in Sicily. 

"April 6. Nightingal sings at Citraro in the nearer 
Calabria, f 

" [April] 13. Sam[son] White elected a fellow of Oriel 
College in Oxford." 

* Amongst Gilbert White's papers there is " An account of the brewings of 
strong-beer. A chronicle of strong-beer, and raisin wine," beginning March 
24th, 1772, and containing regular entries of the brewing and tapping of 
strong beer and raisin wine, and bottling out port wine. The last entry- 
occurs thirteen days before his death — "June 13th, 1793. Tapped the other 
barrel of raisin wine : it is well-flavoured." 

t Communicated, no doubt, by Dr. Chandler. 


His nephew's success is in itself evidence that 
Gilbert White was anything but a ''persona ingrata" 
at Oriel. 

On May 6th, 1787, Mulso writes to his friend 
upon the subject of a subscription to the new library 
then proposed to be built by Oriel College, for the 
books bequeathed by Lord Leigh. He continues — 

"I sincerely wish well to the Society; it furnished me 
with a friend whom I continue to value, and shall look upon 
as one of my blessings to the end of my life. You know 
less of his worth than other people, so I shall not put you 
to the trouble of guessing at him. ... I heartily wish you 
joy of having got your brother Harry's son into that Society, 
as I know you had set your heart upon it. It is indeed a 
fine provision for a young man. I hope you did not signify 
a willingness to resign your own, in order to facilitate his 
Fellowship. Keep that eligible Bisk"^ in your sleeve and 
cease to curatize; it is too great a trouble for you: 'solve 
senescentem.' You may do what duty you please, but do 
not be under the necessity of doing it, or the solicitude of 
getting your place supplied. This is my serious advice, and 
the wish of all who love you." 

The advice of his easygoing friend did not com- 
mend itself to the Curate of Selborne ; who, with 
more wisdom, had neither the wish nor the intention 
to live an idle life. 

In May, 1787, the following note was made in the 

* Bisk or bisque, a term in the game of tennis for the odds one player 
gives the other. Mulso's expression, signifying "to have an advantage to fall 
back upon," seems to have been proverbial, as the ' New English Dictionary' 
cites two examples of its use ; one in 1713 — " He (like a compleat Politician) 
reserves always a Bisk in his sleeve (a Phrase we Tennis-players use)." 


Naturalist's Journal at South Lambeth, where its 
author was visiting, and, as usual, using his eyes : — 

"May 21. A pair of red-backed Butcher-birds, Lanius 
collurio, have got a nest in Bro. Tho. outlet. They have 
built in a quick-set hedge. 

"In outlets about town, where mosses, lichens, gossamer, 
etc. are wanting, birds do not make nests so peculiar each 
to its species. Thus the nest of the chaffinch has not 
that elegant appearance, nor is it so beautifully studded 
with lichens as those in the country ; and the wren is 
obliged to construct his nest with straws and dry grasses, 
that do not give it that roundness and compactness so re- 
markable in the edifices of that little architect. 

" June 2. Hay is making at Vauxhall." 

The following interesting letter from Mr. Churton 
was written at Selborne in the absence of the 
Naturalist, who had gone to London on the day 
previous. It seems unnecessary to print all the 
other letters from this correspondent to Gilbert White 
in the present writer's possession, especially as Mr. 
Bell has done so ; but by the kindness of a descendant, 
two letters to him from his Selborne correspondent, 
in addition to those printed by Mr. Bell, are now 
added : — 

From the Bev. B. Churton. 

Selborne, June 6, 1787. 

Dear Sir, — I am just arrived from Waverley, and very 
sorry not to find the master of this hospitable mansion at 
home. I did not know that I should be at Waverley these 
holidays till just before I set out thither; and when my 
plan was fixt I purposed at several times to write to enquire 


whether you were at Selborne; but one or other avocation 
prevented me. So here I am; and your bread and butter, 
and cream and tea and sugar, will shortly suffer great 
depredations. However, in some respects I hope you will be 
the better, aye, and the richer, for my visit. In the first 
place I bring you an Anglesey penny from the fair hands of 
Miss Loveday ; who, I hope, by this time is in perfect health. 
When I called at Caversham on Whit Tuesday a bad fever 
was just gone off, but she still kept her bed. Of her friends, 
however, she was not unmindful, and she sent me down this 
coin with a commission to bring it hither. I never saw 
Mr. L. in better health or spirits, though his leg, which he 
bruised some time ago and neglected, is not well, as it would 
be soon if he would rest it before him; but he prefers a 
wounded leg with activity to sound limbs and idleness. 
This incomparable friend of ours, who knows everything, 
presently showed me the 'Annals of Waverley' in print, 
among some other tracts published by Gale. D^ Adee, M.D., 
whom you knew probably, collected a history of Waverley 
Abbey; and my friend D"^ Bostock has a transcript of it. 
He has made considerable use of the annals, and appears to 
have put together all, or nearly all, that is to be met with on 
the subject. I left a paper for you at Fleet Street, which 
said that the heart of Peter de Eupibus was buried at 
Waverley, and his body at Winchester. The Hist, of 
Waverley mentions this; and D^" Adee adds "that when 
Mr. Child first came to the place, a heart was dug up in a 
leaden pot, and preserved in some liquor." Simon de Mont- 
fort is also mentioned ; but this, I think, I extracted on the 
said paper. 

No Mr. White, no Mrs. J. White, no Mr. Edmund White, 
no Mrs. Etty ! Alas poor Selborne ! thy grotesque lanes, 
thy romantic vales, thy delightful walks, thy verdant hills, 
thy extensive prospects deserve to be honoured by other 
inhabitants than the philosophic Timothy in the beginning 


of June ! Here, however (for I have almost done mischief 
enough to the loaf), here "Let me wander all unseen, By- 
hedgerow elms and hillocks green," in fields somewhat more 
fertile than the Surrey hills, where the largest of the trees 
first planted by 0. Hunter is about 3 feet in girt, after grow- 
ing, I believe, more years than I have been growing; but 
then in height they have far outstript me, to say nothing of 
my friend the Archon of Eolle * who honoured me with a 
letter yesterday after a half year's silence. He says not a 
syllable about returning to England; but if he has left 
Eolle, as perhaps he may before a letter arrives, it will be 
forwarded. He says the English literature and nation enjoy 
in Switzerland a degree of esteem which is very flattering to 
a lover of his country, and that it is surprising to see the 
number of English authors to be met with in the libraries of 
gentlemen in the delicious little town where he was when he 
wrote to me. 

I inclose you a letter from the Wanderer (Thicknesse 
the traveller); how instructive it may prove I know not. 
Mr. Burby tells me he saw a letter from C. Etty, which was 
forwarded to Mrs. Etty, and that he apprehends he is on the 
English coast, if he is not landed. I was much indebted 
to the hospitality and conversation of S. Lambeth during my 
visit to the metropolis at Easter, which was not so long as it 
would have been if the smoke had not given me a wretched 
cough, which the air of Oxford and the country removed 
some time ago. I am afraid I shall not see Selborne again 
this summer, as I am bound for Cheshire towards the end of 
the term, which begins to-day. I came across the country 
from Waverley by the Holte, through Kingsley, and along 
the edge of Wolmer, and never was much out of my way I 
believe. Some of the hills hereabout I knew as I ap- 
proached them; but there was a clump of trees on a 

* Dr. Chandler. 


promontory to the left of the Temple nearer Empshot, 
which disturbed me a good deal. I thought I must have 
seen and remembered such a prominent feature (if you allow 
fashionable expressions) in the landscape. I am much 
obliged to you for the kind letter which I found in my room 
on my return to college after Easter. And now let me 
inquire after friend Timothy. He looks very well, and says 
not a syllable of a late elopement. Perhaps he is ashamed 
of it; and yet who knows whether he was not going in 
quest of his master, and if he had not speedily been brought 
back he might possibly have surprised you by an unexpected 
visit at S. Lambeth. Thomas tells me that C. Etty is 
arrived in England, which I am very glad to hear. I saw 
Mrs. Etty for five minutes at Beaconsfield, on my way to 
London. The rain, which is just set in, will, I hope, be 
of service to the country; but I could gladly have excused 
it for three hours longer, one to walk about here, and two 
to ride back to Waverley. My great coat I very wisely left 
at Keading. I might make that in my way to Waverley; 
but then I should run a risque of losing my dinner, which, 
at a proper interval after breakfast, is an object of some 
importance. It still rains, and I am still, dear Sir, 

Your most obedient and much obliged servant, 

E. Churton. 

The Naturalist's Journal at this time records an 
observation and suggestion which show the practical 
bent, as well as acuteness of its author's mind. 

"July 8. Hops are diecious plants: hence, perhaps it 
might be proper, though not practiced, to leave purposely 
some male plants in every garden, that their farina might 
impregnate the blossoms. The female plants without their 
male attendants are not in their natural state; hence we may 


suppose the frequent failure of crops so incident to hop- 
grounds; no other growth cultivated by man has such 
frequent and general failures as hops." 

This note was not used in ' The Natural History 

of Selborne ' as published by its author, though it 

appeared in the selection from his MSS. made by 

/ Dr. Aikin, published in 1795. It has now long been 

the practice to plant male hops in hop-gardens. 

On July 23rd, 1787, Mulso recurs to the old 
subject of his friend's deferred publication. 

" Did you consult your brother about your book, and its 
publication ? I feel impatient. As it is your only child, 
I hope you will not let it be a posthumous one. You cannot 
imagine the pleasure you would take in daddling and nursing 
it, and in the speeches that would be made you on its being 
so promising, and the features of it so handsome. Then the 
pride you would take in seeing it dressed in its red and gold, 
and keeping company with Lord Leigh in the new library at 
Oriel. But seriously speaking, your diffidence prevents a 
great deal of credit to yourself, and of satisfaction to the 
world. In point of profit there is certainly a white day 
to every author; which, if you seize it, is well; if you let 
go, it is difficult to recover. The aid of your brother in 
giving a ton and a currency is of vast importance ; and the 
zeal of your friends to recommend it and forward its 
notoriety. All this depends on the present time ; and will 
grow languid and cold, when you are less on the public 
stage yourself, and cannot second the efforts of your friends. 
Too frigid caution will make you listen to discouragements ; 
and, believe me, there is more jealousy stirring in the world 


than you are aware of. Be bold therefore, and come forth ; 
' Sume superbiam qusesitam meritis.' " 

On Sept. 6, 1787, he writes again : — 

"You delight me with the account of your being in the 
press. I have written to my brother [T.] Mulso to bespeak 
a set of the first impression of your brother Benj*^, and I 
hope you will second me in it, that what I have of yours 
may receive no disgrace after it leaves your hands." 

From the Naturalist's Journal — 

"Fyfield, Nov. 8. The Fy field comedians performed 'Much 
ado about nothing,' with the Romp. 

"Nov. 13. The Fyfield players performed 'Richard the 

These versatile comedians were the children of 
Harry White and their friends. 

In the times now treated of printing off a book 
must have been a long business, since the following 
letter was written about a year before the publica- 
tion : — 

To Mrs. B. White, Seleburne, Nov. 26, 1787. 

Dear Molly, — Pray give the opposite letter* to your 
husband, and desire him to insert it among those addressed 
to Mr. Barrington, but before the three or four last which 
all concern the weather at Selborne. This will soon be 
followed by an other, which I shall also extract from my 
Journals. My thanks are due for your late kind and 

* ' The Natural History of Selborne,' Letter LX. to Barringtou. 


intelligent letter, and quotation, and for your present, and 
all other good offices. I paid Nurse Abor up to Michaelmas 
last, as long ago as the first of October. We suppose ' The 
Wealth of Nations,' which was left behind in the hamper, 
went down to Fyfield in Mrs. J. White's trunk. Sam[son] 
White is a very fortunate young man : for now the Provost 
and Fellows of Oriel Coll. have elected him to a good 
Exhibition which is to continue three years, viz. 'til he 
has taken his Master's Degree.* This benefaction was 
given us, and two more of the same value, by D*^ Robinson, 
Bishop of London, and first Plenipotentiary in the reign 
of Queen Anne at the making of the peace of Utrecht : 
he also built us a wing to our College. 

But that I may not be wanting in the most momentous 
part of my Natural History permit me to add, that your 
son is perfectly well and jolly, and much disposed to eat 
my roasted apples ; and promises another double tooth : 
he promises also to be a Connoisseur, for he takes much 
notice of the engravings on my wainscot, which appear to 
him to be different from Dad's naked walls. Thanks to your 
father for his letter, which I will answer soon. 

¥•■ loving uncle, 
Gil. White. 

I procured Sam's exhibition for Uncle Harry between 
30 and 40 years ago. 

Pray let this letter stand the last, before the letters to 
Mr. Barrington describing the weather of Selborne, in 
number, I think, four. Many thanks for your careful 
corrections of the proofs, which are very exact. Where you 

find a word not marked thus , print it in Italics when 

you think it expedient. Your father-in-law, by his In- 
structions to Mazel has much improved the front of the 

* A further instance of the goodwill of the College to Gilbert White. 




Vicarage. Desire your father to attend to the oarometer 
part of this letter, and to correct errors. I fear I have 

been negligent in not marking several words thus as 

for Italics; and especially the names of birds in letters 
39 and 40 to Mr. Pennant. 

Manakin is very jolly! Mrs. J. White will write next 



On New Year's Day, 1788, Bishop Brownlow 
North issued from Farnham Castle a paper of 
questions to each incumbent in his diocese, to be 
returned before the last day of March in the same 
year, the object of the inquiry being to gain 
information prior to an approaching Episcopal 

One of these papers of questions found its way to 
Selborne. The return was made by the Curate in 
charge there in his usual careful manner, and is 
now in the muniment-room at Farnham Castle. It 
is headed, "Answers to the several questions re- 
specting the parish of Selborne," and contains 
particulars respecting the extent of the parish, its 
number of tenements, population, baptisms, burials, 
and marriages. It continues — 

"The Curate for the present (who is not licenced) is 
Gilbert White, A.M., nominated by the Vicar, the Eev. 
Christopher Taylor, b.d. For more than a century past 
there does not appear to have been one Papist, or any 
Protestant dissenter of any denomination. 



"Selborne is not able to maintain a schoolmaster; here 
are only two or three dames, who pick up a small pittance 
by teaching little children to read knit and sew." 

The present writer happens to possess some of 
the receipts given to Gilbert White by these 
Selborne dames, when he paid them for their ser- 
vices out of his grandfather's bequest for that 
purpose. Usually the form of receipt was written 
by him ; when this was not the case the spelling 
and handwriting of the ladies leave a good deal to 
be desired. 

The return concludes with an account of the 
charitable institutions of the parish. It was 

"Given in to the Lord Bishop of Winchester, by Gil. 
White, Curate of Selborne, March 25th, 1788." 

To Samuel Barker, Seleburne, Jan. 8, 1788. 

Dear Sir, — It is to be hoped that you are not so punctual 
a man as to register all the letters that you write to your 
friends; because the distant date of your last epistle to 
me would reproach me with neglect and negligence towards 
one of my near relations. I have been very busy of late ; 
and have at length put my last hand to my Nat[ural] 
Hist[ory] and Antiquities of this parish. However I am 
still employed in making an Index; an occupation full as 
entertaining as that of darning of stockings, though by no 
means so advantageous to society. My work will be well 
got up, with a good type, and on good paper ; and will be 
embellished with several engravings. It has been in the 
press some time; and is to come out in the spring. It 
pleases me much to find that you still pursue your botany. 
I had reason to suspect that your noble neighbour had a 


propensity to the same enquiries, because I have sometimes 
met him at Curtis's garden. Brother Thomas thinks it 
may be best to cover the Ginkgo* a little in severe 
weather. We have had a very deep snow, which began on 
Sunday Deer. 23rd and lasted for two or three nights, and 
days, so that several of our hollow lanes became impassable. 
The turnpike through your village must be a very pleasant 
circumstance, and prevent such inconveniences ; to which, 
I remember in old days, it was very liable. I recollect to 
have heard Mr. Isaac say, that they had often been snowed 
up; and that he had shot woodcocks and snipes from his 
best chamber-window as they came to feed at the fine 
perennial spring from whence your parish f takes its name. 
Mr. Charles Etty left us last Friday, and went to his ship, 
the Duke of Montrose, now lying at Gravesend, in which 
he is soon to sail for Madras, and China, as third mate. 
The wicked woodcutters entered our Hanger this day, for 
the second time, in order to fell some more of our beautiful 
beeches. Last year they cleared as far as the shop slidder ; 
and will strip now as far as Hercules \ If my niece does 
not come, and see the remains of that sweet pendulous 
covert next summer, she will scarce be able to conceive 
how lovely and romantic it once had been. Sam White 
is a very fortunate lad: for not long since the provost 
and fellows of Oriel elected him to a good exhibition 
founded by D'' Eobinson Bishop of London, which he is 
to enjoy for three years. I have just sent your father an 
account of the Selborne rain during last year : it will again 
greatly exceed that of Eutland. 

S. White has undertaken to translate the Prognostics of 
the Greek Poet Aratus into English verses. It has never, 
it seems, been rendered into our Language: but was so 

* The ginkgo is the pretty Japanese tree, with leaves like the maiden- 
hair fern, Salishuria adiantifolia, — A. N. 
t Whitwell in Rutland. 



admired by the Eomans, that Cicero and others thought 
it worth their pains to give a Latin version of it for the 
amusement of their country-men. Virgil, I fear, that 
notorious poacher of everything that was elegant in the 
Greek tongue, has gleaned up every fine Image, and trans- 
planted them into his Georgics. It is remarkable enough 
that there is now sitting, at my elbow an Oxford gentle- 
man* who is deeply employed in making an Index also: 
so that my old parlor is become quite an Index manufactory. 
Mrs. J. White joins in best respects, and the good wishes 
of the season, to you and lady : and I am, 

with all due affection, 

y'^ loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

To Benjamin White, junr. 

Seleburne, Feb. [1788]. 

Dear Sir, — I received your letter concerning Mr. Pegge, 
but cannot, as you well know, promise any thing. At the 
same time also I received, by Molly, six more sheets of clean 
proofs, so well corrected, that I have not met with one error. 
And indeed the errata are so few, that at present they will 
go into a small Compass, and are as follow : 

p. 11, 1. 13. for scences read scenes. 

p. 31, 1. 15. for teems read teams. 

p. 91, 1. 7. d. comma, and for or read of. 

p. 219, 1. 15. for no tie read not he. 

As I find you advance apace, I have by bearer sent up my 
Antiquities, because I do not find myself able to correct or 
improve them any farther. You will be pleased not to be 
offended at the vague spellings of the names of men, and 
places, but to take them as you find them in their places, 
because centuries ago men had no criterion to go by, but 

* The Rev. R. Churton. 
VOL. II. — N 


spelt just as it happened, even their own names often not 
twice alike. Should not the quotations from the documents 
be printed in Italics ? You will, I conclude, have a title- 
page to the Antiquities, to which the priory-seal will make 
a proper vignette. The great N. view of Selborne is engrav- 
ing, I understand, and will be opposite the first title-page : 
the view of the Hermitage will then best perhaps appear 
opposite p. 62 : in which mention is made of it. That the 
documents may be kept safe together, I have numbered 
them, and put them in a paper bag. 

As fast as I receive my proofs, I continue to enlarge my 
Index. The title-page to the ]Srat[ural] Hist[ory] is furnished 
with apt Motto's. My thanks are due for all your good 
offices; and for your late trouble in purchasing me £200 

Y^ loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

I take the liberty to return the book of Royal Forests, &c., 
from which I have extracted some information. You will 
also receive my preface, or advertisement. Concerning the 
disposition of the Hermitage print please to consult your 
father, and father in law. Might not the Hermitage print 
come in well at the back of the first title-page, or as a tail- 
piece to the Natural History ? 

Please to observe that all se diphthongs, as musce, phcdcence^ 
&c. are always written — muse, phalene, &c. — in old records. 

Where there is any very bad Latin in the evidences, or 
strange uncouth spelling, please to put in the margin — sic. 

None of the errata pointed out in this letter was 
corrected in the first edition of the book, and conse- 
quently it would seem that it was already at least 
partly printed off at this date. The first three of 
them, with others, were printed on an inserted slip. 



To Mrs. B. White. 

Selborne, Feb. 3rd, 1788. 

Dear Molly, — Tho' I wrote to your husband but yesterday; 
Yet I don't love to omit writing again by your father, who is 
to go from us to you to-morrow. 

Thanks for your letter by Farmer Keene, and the clean 
proofs by the same hand. Tell your husband that I wish to 
have the Gentleman's Magazines remain in London for the 
reason given, because the wanting may be supply ed perhaps 
some time hence. 

In your father's portmanteau I send up my camblet sur- 
tout, and desire you would please to order Bunce to bring 
you some patterns out of Hand, and to make me such another, 
and full as lig every way ; cut high behind, but with a turn 
down collar. Pray charge him to make it full as hig and 
full as long. I send you two pheasants, which were killed on 
my farm at East Harting, and sent me by E. Woods, and G. 
Hounsom : one of them I intend for yourself, and one for 
my sister Ben. 

You may depend on it that we shall be glad to see you, 

when you are disposed to come. The learned pig^ is very 

well, and very intelligent. " Moreover his mother made him 

a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when 

she came up with her husband . . . " 1 Sam. ii. 19. The text 

above I leave you to apply as you think proper : I shall only 

remark, that it proves affectionate mothers to have been the 

same in all ases. -r^, , • , 

° Y'^ loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Pray bring down both my Surtouts, and as many sorts of 
seeds as Miss Eebecca has to spare ; but not many of a sort : 
and at the same time more clean proofs. 

* His niece's child Benjamin, at nurse at Selborne ; ' * Manakin " in a 
former letter. 


To Mrs. B. White. ^eh. 26, 1788. 

Dear Niece, — We were glad that you had a safe, and not 
disagreeable journey to town. The barometer on Thursday 
last stood at Selborne at 28'3 — and at Newton at the same 
time at 28 ! and yet we had no drowning rains at that period, 
nor stormy winds ; but much dripping rain since. 

Mrs. Edmund WJaite and her son Eichard Yalden White 
go on well, and are in a good way. We think Edm'^ has done 
well in showing respect to his benefactor. 

I have been thinking that I have nothing to do with fox- 
hunting parsons ; they must do as they like best : — and 
therefore be pleased to eraze my reflection on them, which 
you will find among the notes to my letter respecting the 
Notabilis Visitatio* We now recollect, with regret, that we 
never gave you, nor your father any of his Vidonia wine !f 
The day you left us Manakin's surprize was very great in 
the afternoon, when instead of his mother, and grandfather 
he found the parlor full of strangers. He surveyed Mrs. 
Clement often from head to foot ; and was astonished at the 
tuft of ostriches feathers, which nodded on the crown of her 
riding-hat. Mrs. C. brought Jane, and Martha, and her 
Nursemaid Zebra White sic. Mrs. Chase, or Miss Greene 
must, I think be mistaken about Mr. Churton's Doctorate. 
My gout is rather better ; and so is that of Mrs. J. White 
but I think her spirits not good at present. We have very 
soft, mild weather at present, and a rising barometer. 

y loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Richard Yalden White encreases my nephews and nieces 
to the number of 51. 

If the engraving of the great N.E. view of Selborne 

* It was, however, not erased. Vide note to Item 11, Letter XIV. of 
' The Antiquities of Selborne.' 
t A Canary wine. 


village should be finished before the Natural History is all 
printed, I should be glad if your husband could send me one 
down with the clean proofs. 

I have got duplicates of sheet F. viz. from p. 33 to p. 40 
inclusive : the last sheet that you brought me is G g. p. 225. 
If any objection or difficulty arises in the MS. let your 
father [i.e. Thomas White] decide the matter. 

On a blank page in this letter Benjamin White, junr. 
made a note — 

" It will not be necessary to print the quotations from the 
Documents in Italics. 

"The Priory seal will make a very good Vignette to the 
Antiquities, and The Hermitage to the general Title; 
but with your leave the 'where the Hermit hangs,' etc., 
shall be erased. 

" The great view of Selborne is not yet finished ; great part 
is done. B. W. will observe the rest of the directions." 

To Mrs. B. White. Selborne, Mar. 13, 1788. 

Dear Molly, — My thanks are due for six sheets of letter- 
press, clean proofs, which I received by means of Mr. Webb : 
the last sheet of which is Nn. Two sheets more, I con- 
clude, will comprize all the Natural History. In return 
for your care about my brat, I have the pleasure to inform 
you that your boy is perfectly well, and brisk: and that 
his nurse is better. On the other side of the paper you 
will find the epitaphs of your great great grandfather Sir 
Samson White, and your great great uncles, Henry White, 
Alderman, of Oxford ; and of Francis White, Fellow of 
Baliol Coll. in the same University. These inscriptions 
were lately copied,* and sent me by Sam White ; and may 
prove some entertainment to your father and father-in-law, 

* From their monuments in St. Mary's, Oxford. 


as they were to me, who though I have often seen them 
formerly, yet had forgotten many circumstances. Your 
husband also will be pleased to see some account of his 
ancestors. This fierce weather appears very formidable to 
me, who, though the gout hangs still about me, shall be 
obliged, if at all able, to set out for Oxford on Easter 
Monday. Please to send Mrs. J. White word whether 
Mrs. White of L[ambeth] chuses to have Mrs. Etty's dark 
tortoise-shell cat. Mrs. E. talks of leaving Selborne in the 
Easter week. Yrs ^ 

Gil. White. 

To Mrs. B. White. 

Friday, Mar. 21, 1788. 

Dear Molly, — I have just this minute received your kind 
letter of the 20th. As I have always looked upon your 
father's interposition as a singular advantage to my work 
while printing off, I shall most readily desire that his cor- 
rection may take place : and any other that may occur in 
the course of this business. As to the Antiq. letters being 
addressed to some body, I cannot well tell what to say : 
though I think if to any, it should be to D"". Chandler ; 
because he has taken so much pains, and has contributed so 
much to make them what they are. But as the T)^ is too 
far off to be consulted, and may perhaps be displeased 
should we take any such step without his approbation, I 
think it may be best to let the letters go as they are, 
addressed to no one. Your husband is the best judge of 
the expediency of printing in Italics or not ; I meant with 
respect to those documents applyed in the body of the 
work, not those in the appendix. The Priory-seal will 
appear well, I think, in the title-page to the Antiquities. If 
there is any objection to the line under the Hermitage, 
let it be erased. In the last parcel of clean proofs at 
237 p. line 2 there is the following error, which injures the 


sense of the motto: — instead of ast aves solse vario meatu, 
it stands — est aves soke &c.* 

Mrs. J. White desires me to tell you that your boy is 
'perfectly well : and that she will send you particulars soon. 
We were much surprized last night to hear that Mr. 
Charles Etty was at the parsonage : he has been lying for 
weeks at the Motherbank, near Spithead; but is now to 
sail with troops, he supposes, next week. He looks well. 
Excuse haste ; as I want to send this to Alton this day. 

Y"" loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Mrs. White thanks you for your letter to her. 

A fragment of a letter to Mr. Churton, written 
in the spring of this year (1788), contains the 
following interesting reference to the old heresy of 
hibernation : — 

" Pray go to Waverley : you will take the Hirundines just 
in the nick of time, just as they are stretching and yawning 
and rubbing their eyes; and struggling to loose themselves 
from the chains of torpidity with which they have so long 
been bound. Only one naturalist that I know of ever dug 
out the holes belonging to bank-martins : he made no dis- 
coveries — yet you may : and may hereafter figure in the 
memoirs of the Koyal Society." 

The annual Easter visit to Oxford was made at 
the end of March. In June the occurrence of the 
red-backed butcher-bird, or " fiusher," in Benjamin 
White's outlet at South Lambeth, was noted in the 
Naturalist's Journal, which also records an account 

* Corrected in the errata slip. 


of the crop of lucerne grown in his brother's field, 
and the exact time which it lasted for his horses' 

On July 21st, 1788, Mulso writes :— 

" I rejoice excessively at you being now committed to the 
press. As to your frights and fears, they become you well 
enough as a modest man, but they are unnecessary as an 
author. But I will put you in great heart. D"*. Chelsum told 
me that he had seen your booh, that it seemed a very promis- 
ing performance, and likely to get into great favour ; that it 
was well put forth and decorated with very pleasing prints 
and views. D"" Chelsum is a man of knowledge, a Connoscenti, 
and deep in Virtu. What would you have more in your pre- 
existing state ? This is but your embryo glory ; your material 
and substantial happiness and enjoyment is to come." 

A family tradition has descended to the present 
writer that Gilbert White feared that the public 
would " laugh at an old country parson's book," but 
that his scruples were overcome by the advice and 
exhortations of his brother Thomas, who promised 
to himself review it in the ' Gentleman's Magazine,' 
which he did. That its author had, or at least 
affected, modest views as to his book's success is 
shown by some amusing lines which he wrote in 
January, 1789, in which he predicted a very humble 
fate for the pages of his ' Selborne.' For these verses 
the curious reader may consult Mr. Bell's edition, 
vol. i. p. lii., and may add to the version there 
given the following concluding lines, which appear 
in a copy made early in 1789 by Thomas White — 


" For Cloacina with resistless sway 
Demands her right, and authors must obey." 

In July brother Thomas and Mrs. Henry White 
and two daughters came to stay at Selborne. 

To Mr. Churton. Selborne, Aug. 4, 1788. 

Dear Sir, — You must not expect that I who am at best 
but a venerable vegetable, remaining like a cabbage on the 
same spot for months together, should be able to furnish out 
a letter full of entertaining incidents like you, who are 
flying from diocese to diocese, and from cathedral to 
cathedral. I thank you for your information respecting 
Bourn Well-head, and might have made some use of it, had 
not my last corrections, and errata been sent to London the 
very day that I received your letter. The fate of my work 
is now determined; and as the tree is fallen, it must lie. 
My brother and nephew have spared no expense about it, 
and particularly on the engravings, which have cost a con- 
siderable sum. This book will as you suppose not be 
published now till the autumn, when the town begins to 
fill. In the interim the author will be in no small a squeeze ; 
and will feel like a school boy who has done some mischief, 
and does not know whether he is to be flogged for it or not. 
As you were accessory to making me an author, you must 
defend me if I am attacked unreasonably. ' Orna me,' 
I think TuUy says somewhere. As to your own work you 
will, I find, spare no pains about it ; so that not long hence 
I expect to see you a very distinguished Biographer. As to 
my beds they have all been full some time; and will be 
more than full next week : however, by the end of the 
month or the beginning of next there will be room for 
you : so finish your K excursions, and then come and stay 
a good while. The heats are so severe that the reapers give 
out and fall sick. As to D*" Chandler and Lady, they will 


I think be quite roasted in their return from Naples. 
Camden, or rather the Bishop [Gibson], says that there is 
a medicinal spring at Bourn. I cannot but wonder at you 
for losing your way ; a traveller so intelligent should always 
be sure of his bearing. You talk of Archbishop Parker's 
MSS. and the Coll. at Cambridge where they are preserved 
with so much care ; but never mention what College 
[Corpus Christi then called Ben'ct]. We have a fine 
crop of wheat this year at Selborne and a good shew for 
hops. The season becomes more and more sultry, and this 
day my thermometer in the shade stands above 80° ! Mrs. 
Etty writes word that she is much pleased with the manners 
and mode of life of the gentry of Cornwall. Her son 

* Magd. Coll. He will have better luck, 

Pray present my most respectful com- 
pliments to D"^ Loveday, and lady unknown, and to 
D"* Townson whom I once saw about 40 years ago. A 
Mr. Headley of Trin. Coll. has published a collection of 
ancient poetry in two volumes, and seems to intimate that 
he may another day undertake more of the same kind. As 
I can direct him to a book which probably he has never 
seen ; and as that book was written in the time of Queen 
Elizabeth and may contain words and expressions explana- 
tory of passages in Shakespeare, I have thought of writing 
to his friend, Mr. Benwell of Caversham, and of recommend- 
ing that old poetry to their consideration. I remain, 
Your obliged and 

Humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

My brother and I ride out every day when the heat will 
permit. Family respects attend you. Thermometer 82°. 

In August the house at Selborne was full of 
relations, since Henry White came from Fyfield 

* Letter imperfect. 



with several of his family. He records in his 
Journal a fishing expedition to "Frensham great 
pond," besides several observations on natural history; 
and regretfully notes — 

"Aug. 14. Selborne Hanger dreadfully denuded, and y® 
grand Hanging Wood facing Bro : White's garden horribly 

"[Aug.] 19. Famous Druidical Stones br^ fr. Bridestone 
Lane by Nep^ Edm^." 

The era of improvements at Selborne was by no 
means over, since the Naturalist's Journal records — 

" 1788, Oct 10. Nailed up a Greek, and an Italian inscrip- 
tion on the front of the alcove [? the new Hermitage] on the 

" [Oct.] 27. Set up again my stone dial, blown down many 
years ago, on a thick Portland-slab in the angle of the 
terrass. The column is very old, and came from Sarson 
house, near Amport, and was hewn from the quarries of 
Chilmarke. The dial was regulated by my meridian line. 

"Nov. 3. Bro[ther] Tho[mas] sowed many acorns, and 
some seeds of an ash in a plot dug in Baker's hill. 

" [Nov.] 26. Finished shovelling the Zigzag and Bostal." 

On Dec. 3rd, 1788, Henry White wrote in his 
Journal at Fyfield — 

"Hamper from London containing y^ Natural History of 
Selborne, presented by y^ Author. A very elegant 4*^° with 
splendid Engravings & curious invest® [investigations]." 

To the Bev. B. Ghurton. Selborne, Dec. 3, 1788. 

Dear Sir, — There is an old maxim, which poor dear 
Mrs. Etty now and then made use of, that when once " Stir 
up we beseech thee, Lord, the wills of thy faithful people," 


&c., had been read and passed over, the festival of Xtmass 
came creeping upon us before we could be aware. Being 
reminded by this wise saw, I began to think that I would 
write to neighbour Churton, and invite him to Selborne, 
when your agreeable letter came in. 

It is a very flattering account that you give of the 
reception which my book met with at Caversham and your 
lodgings. There is reason to wish that the work may find 
many more such candid readers : if not, what is to become 
of the Editors, who have spared no expense in getting it 
up, and who have printed off a large impression ? 

I am now reading every day your friend D** Townson's * 
discourses, which give me, as you engaged that they would, 
singular satisfaction: there is an acumen, and nicety of 
critical discernment, not often to be met with. In his 
sermon, p. 282, 1 am particularly charmed with the author's 
remarks upon the use Xt. made of his parables, and the 
reasons why they were so nicely adapted to the taste of his 
hearers ! 

We have just heard that Miss and Reb. Chase were on 
the wing for India. Their motive must be, no doubt, a view 
of settling in the married state. Celibacy has something 
in it so abhorrent to the sex, that they will flie from pole to 
pole to avoid it. However, let their fate be what it may, 
I wish them happy. 

Pray bring what you transcribe respecting the Kopwvrj and 
XeXi^wv; some use may possibly be made of it. I rejoice 
to hear that D"^ Chandler is well. I most readily condole 
with you on the sad calamity that has befallen at Windsor ; 
and pray to God that He will be pleased speedily to 
restore the King to a right use of his faculties. Should 
the nation be long deprived of one of its states so necessary 
to the constitution, such a spirit of party, it is to be feared, 

* 'Discourses on the Gospels,' by Thomas Townson, d.d,, Archdeacon 
of Richmond and Rector of Mali)as, Cheshire, 

W o 
O > 
!^ oo" 

<; 2 

M « 

K I 
H o 









will break forth, as may make what we remember of political 
struggles a mere civil game to what may ensue. 

Mr. Loveday has just written me a letter, in which he 
says, " If in the perusal any things should occur worthy of 
remark, such observations shall be transmitted to Selborne." 
Now pray tell that gentleman that any strictures from such 
a quarter will be most gratefully received ; and be sure to 
add, that could such have been obtained before publication, 
they would have been deemed inestimable. Pray come 
on the 24th; for if you cannot be as regular in your 
migrations as a ring-ousel or a swallow, where is the use 
of all your knowledge ? since it may be outdone by instinct. 
When Lord Botecourt was Governor of Virginia, a slave, 
meeting him, pulled off his cap, and made him a bow, which 
the benevolent peer returned. Good God ! says a by- 
stander, does your Lordship pay any regard to such a 
wretch? By all means, says the good nobleman: would 
you have me outdone in common civility by a negroe ? 
Mrs. J. White joins in respects to you and J. Etty; and 
to Mr. Ventris, when you see him. 

Y^ most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

On December 15th, 1788, Mulso, who had also 
received an early copy of his friend's book, writes : — 

Dear Gil., — I have longed to write to you some time 
to tell you how very handsome I think you in your new 
dress. But, alas, I and all my family have been ill with 
what is called Influenza : it seizes the weak part of every- 
body, and therefore varies with the constitution. . . . The 
time of unwellness is most agreeably filled up with a real 
good work, and especially when that book is the production 
of a well-beloved friend. I was much obliged to your 
brother Benj" for sending me your 'Selbourne' so early, 


before it made its appearance in the world; I wrote to 
your brother about it: he was very careful and kind, and 
I wrote to my own brother to call on him and pay for 
it, which he has promised me to do. And now as to 
what I think of it; you have known long, as I have read 
all the natural observations before, and given them such 
commendations as I could give ; which wanted such weight 
as a thorough knowledge in that branch would have given, 
and which the book deserves. As to the Antiquities, you 
have given to them such a grace in your manner of treating 
the subject, as would give a pleasure and a hunger of 
reading to a man not an antiquarian. Your book was men- 
tioned with respect by our Chapter (a full one), and the 
volume ordered to be bought for the library. The Prints 
do not satisfy me, nor do they do justice to your beautiful 

I do not know whether you will resent any fault being 
found with the care of the printing; I have hardly ever 
seen a book so well attended to, and so happily finished off. 

An account which followed in this letter of the 
pairing of certain jackdaws which frequented the 
Deanery roof, opposite to the prebendary's study 
window, may be pronounced, in this case, a very 
strong, as well as very early, instance of that in- 
struction in the observation of Nature, which the 
book in question was to exercise in the future. 


At last, then, the book, which was literally the work 
of a lifetime, was published. 

Its reception was not equivocal. One of the most 
striking as well as prophetic testimonies to its value 
came, soon after its appearance, from Dr. Scrope 
Beardmore, Warden of Merton College, Oxford ; who 
said to a nephew of the author's, " Your uncle has 
sent into the world a publication with nothing to 
call attention to it but an advertisement or two in 
the newspapers ; but, depend upon it, the time will 
come when very few who buy books will be without 
it " — a prediction which has been singularly fulfilled. 

Thomas White fulfilled his promise to review 
his brother s book in' the January and February 
numbers of the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for 1789, 
pp. 60, etc., 144, etc.; his notice being written in 
very good taste, as coming from a brother, and not 
too laudatory. 

The pleasure which the congratulations of his 
friends gave the author must have been, however, 
sadly marred by an occurrence which was nearly 



coincident with the issue of his book to the public ; 
since, on December 28th, 1788, he lost his youngest 
brother, Henry, who died very suddenly at Fyfield, 
aged 55, leaving a numerous family. 

On January 5th, 1789, Mulso writes : — 

" Though letters of condolence are very ineffectual, yet 
cannot I bear to pass unnoticed the sad event of which you 
informed me in your last. I am struck with it as one of 
the wonderful decrees of Providence, that a person on whom 
so many other creatures depended for provision, comforts, 
and education, should be so hastily struck out of the book of 

" Yours is the most happy family that I know in being able 
to give mutual help on these necessary calls. I heard the 
other day with great pleasure that Mrs. J. White's son is 
much admired in his way, and gets into great business. 

Mr. Lowther and Dr. Sturges (both able men) admire your 
book, particularly the Natural History, which not only 
seems well founded, but has an originality in the manage- 
ment of it that is very pleasing. I see that you avoid 
naming names, yet when you are mentioning Sunbury, 
and a friend that you visited there, I a little repine that 
my name did not stand in a book of so much credit and 
respectability; and I am ready to say with TuUy, 'Orna 
me.' " 

To Thomas Barker. January 8, 1789. 

Dear Sir, — You must have heard no doubt before now 
of the sad and afflicting news from Fyfield; of the sudden 
and unexpected event that has plunged a numerous family 
in the deepest sorrow and trouble. How the poor man 
has left his concerns, and how the widow and children 
are to proceed, I have not yet heard : however as money 



will probably he wanted, my two brothers, and nephew 
Ben., and self have each began with a present. When 
the news arrived here, I wrote away immediately to Lady 
Young,* entreating her to apply to the Chancellor for the 
living of Fyfield for Sam[son], but she returned for answer 
that she had kept up no acquaintance with Lord Thurlow, 
though a near relation, for many years. Brother Ben. 
wrote immediately to the Chancellor, and brother Thomas 
applyed by means of D"^ Lort, who prevailed on the Bishop 
of Bangor, D"^ Warren, to press the matter home, and to 
move the compassion of the great man by representing 
the afflicted situation of the family. For a short time 
we were almost ready to flatter ourselves with some hopes 
of success; the great bar seemed to be, that Samson was 
not in orders : however two or three days ago a note came 
to brother B. from the Chancellor informing him that 
Fyfield was disposed of, but that Uphaven was at his 
service. Now you must remember that Uphaven was a 
very small vicarage indeed: however brother H., I hear, 
had improved it not a little. 

I now see more and more reason to be thankful to pro- 
vidence for enabling me to procure so many friends to assist 
me in getting Sam. elected fellow. That young man, whom 
all speak well of, may become the stay and support of the 
family. By the statutes of his college he will not be able, 
I fear, to take orders till June, when he may take possession 
also of a fine curacy, now held for him. Charlesf also is 
intended for orders, and has kept some terms at Oxford. 
It is needless to inform you that we experience a long 
and severe frost, which commenced Novr. 23rd, and has 
never been out of the ground since. The snow in this 
district has been very little. After a very dry spring and 

* Formerly Miss Battie. 

t Henry White's second son, Charles Henry. He became Kector of 
Shalden, Hants. 



summer and autumn, about ten days in September excepted, 
the failure of water is remarkable. The ponds are all 
dry, and most of the wells iii the village, and among the 
rest my own. As to Edmund White's tank, it has failed 
for these seven weeks ; and he is obliged to fetch his water 
from the south side of Nore hill. My column of rain on 
the other side makes a very small figure, in respect to what 
I used to send you. Mrs. J. White returns my sister thanks 
for her late letter. I am disposing of her guinea among the 
poor. Never were gratuities of that sort more acceptable 
than now. 

We hear now from all quarters that nephew John the 
Surgeon gets business very fast, and is allowed to be in 
a way to become the first medical man in Salisbury. Little 
Ben. thrives and grows very fast. 

Mrs. J. White joins in best respects and wishes. 

I am Y"^ affectionate brother, 
Gil. White. 

In 'The Topographer for the year 1789,' etc. 
vol. i. part i., April, appeared a review of Gilbert 
White's book, from which the following extract is 
taken : — 

"It is a part of my plan to notice all new publications, 
that illustrate the topography of the kingdom. And the 
first book upon this subject that it is our province to review 
becomes a very pleasing task to us, for a more dehghtful, 
or more original work than Mr. White's History of Selborne 
has seldom been published. . . . Natural History has evi- 
dently been the author's principal study, and, of that, 
ornithology is evidently his favourite. The book is not 
a compilation from former publications, but the result of 
many years' attentive observations to nature itself, which 
are told not only with the precision of a philosopher, but 



with that happy selection of circumstances, which mark 
the poet. Throughout therefore not only the understanding 
is informed, but the imagination is touched. And, if the 
criterion of excellence, that Dr. Johnson, I think, somewhere 
in his lives of the poets proposes be true (as it certainly 
is), Mr. White's book is excellent, for I beheld the end of 
it with the pensive regret with which a traveller looks upon 
the setting sun." 

To justify his opinion the author of this notice 
proceeds to give certain selections from both parts of 
the book, noting that — " On p. 68 is a very elegant 
little poem, entitled * The Naturalist's summer even- 
ing s walk/ which confirms what we have before 
advanced of the author's poetical powers." 

To Mr. Churton. Seleburne, May 20, 1789. 

Dear Sir, — By my late letter from D"^ Chandler still at 
EoUe, I am informed, that he and lady wish now to come 
home; but are prevented by their boy, who being with a 
wet nurse, cannot be moved, till he is weaned. The D"* 
desires to know the state of our neighbourhood ; and wishes 
me to look for an house in the vale of Alton. I can find 
none in the environs, but in the town itself I have seen 
one, roomy, cheap, and fit for a gentleman's family. So I 
have sent an account of the matter to RoUe. 

From the circumstances mentioned in your last respecting 
D'' Loveday's ponds, and from what I have heard from 
Eutland, and from my own observations at home I am 
convinced that the fish which were saved in some pools, 
were preserved by the rills and springs which ran through 
them. A current of water must constantly introduce a 
current of air : while in waters where there were no springs, 
the air is breathed over and over again till it becomes unfit 


for respiration. At the instance of Sir Joseph Banks, my 
brother-in-law, Mr. Barker, of Rutland, has just written 
a circumstantial account of the long frost last winter, which 
is to be sent to the members of the Academy of Sciences 
at Paris, who, it seems, have made similar applications to 
the literati in other parts of Europe. Mr. B. is of opinion 
that the usual method of breaking holes in the ice is 

You did well to be zealous for the friend of your friend : 
but were you apprized that there was to be no election at 
Oriel last Easter? Mrs. Etty wrote at the same time on 
the same occasion. 

Littleton Etty is appointed one of the Clerks of the 
General Post Office at the stipend of £40 per annum and 
Mrs. E. like a good mother, is going to live in London to 
superintend the morals of her son. If you had stayed 
three days longer at Xmas we had made a staunch 
ornithologist of you for life; for a young farmer brought 
us in two rare water-birds, a Gooseander and Dun-diver, a 
drake and a duck of the genus Mergus merganser Linn. 
The beauty of the colours, and the curious formation of 
the parts would have struck you with wonder; and would 
have obliged you to reflect on the wisdom of God shown 
in the works of Creation ; and perhaps in no instance more, 
than in that of the birds of the air ! 

D"" Chandler has sent us several curious remarks made 
by him and his friends respecting the swallow kind even so 
far S. as Rome and Naples. 

The world has been so indulgent to my book, that I begin 
to hope that the editors will be paid for the trouble and 
expense they have bestowed on the publication. 

Mr. Gough's Gamden^^ I see, comes out in three vol. fol. 

* Richard Gough (1731-1809), an English antiquary, began to prepare 
an edition in English of Camden's ' Britannia' in 1773. The work appeared 
in 1789. 



towards the end of this month : whether he would have 
taken any notice of the antiquities of Seleburne, had he 
seen them in time, before his account of Hants was printed 
off, I cannot pretend to say. He made honourable mention, 
I remember, of my account of the British Hirundines in his 
' British Topography.' 

Charles Henry, the second son of poor brother Henry 
White was ordained Sunday seven night by the Bishop 
of Winton : as to Sam. he remains a layman still, on account 
of an awkward statute which forbids a fellow of Oriel from 
going into orders till he is regent Master. 

While I was writing this the Eeading Mercury brought 
in the news of the death of poor good Mr. Loveday of 
Caversham. He was gathered-in like a ripe stock of corn, 
in a good old age; having lived a blameless life; and been 
the occasion of many good and benevolent actions. You 
and a friend were I hear at " Horace's head " on the day 
of procession.* Nephew Ben. and wife have just left us. 
Brother Thomas and Mrs. J. White join in respects. 

The bloom of apple is again prodigious ! 

Your most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

The Naturalist's Journal, under date May 24th, 
1789, South Lambeth, contains a copy of a letter from 
Dr. Chandler, dated Eolle en Suisse, April 4th, 1789, 
regarding his observations of swallows, etc., there. 

The publication of Gilbert White's book naturally- 
brought him into relations with other students of 
natural history, hitherto strangers to him. One of 
the first of these to write to him was George 
Montagu (1755-1815), subsequently the well- 

* Of King George III. to St. Paul's, to return thanks for his recovery. 


known author of the * Ornithological Dictionary,' 
and several other highly-esteemed works. 

From Col. G. Montagu. 

Easton Grey, n"^ Tedbury Glostershire, 

May 21st, 1789. 

Sir, — ^Although I have not the pleasure of being per- 
sonally acquainted with you, yet I flatter myself you will 
pardon this intrusion of an enthusiastic ornithologist. 

I have been greatly entertained by your * Natural History 
of Selborn,' in the ornithological part of which, I find 
mention made of three distinct species of willow wrens. 
Can you inform me if they are (besides the common) the 
larger and lesser pettychaps of Latham, neither of which 
are described by Pennant in his ' Brit. Zool.' ? he describes 
a species with the inside of the mouth red, which I can 
not make out in this country: those two of Latham I 
believe I have got, as far as I can judge from the descrip- 
tion that gentleman favoured me with : but his sedge wren 
I am at a loss for, as he describes the sedge bird besides of 
the ' Brit. Zool.' 

I should esteem it a particular favour, if you have it 
in your power, if you will favour me with the weight and 
description of the two uncommon willow wrens. 

I was induced to take this liberty as you say you are 
a field-naturalist and perhaps may have it in your power 
to assist me in my present pursuit. I am collecting and 
preserving the birds and their eggs of these parts, a pro- 
vincial undertaking in which I am got forward, and as 
those of Hampshire and Wiltshire are nearly congenial 
(the coast excepted) some species, I presume, are more 
frequently met with about you than with us : will you 
excuse my mentioning a few that should they fall in your 
way, you will confer a considerable obligation on me by 
favouring me with them. 


The hawks and owls are difficult to get : of the former 
I want all except the sparrow, kestrel, and common buzzard; 
of the latter all the eared and the little owl. The great 
butcher-bird, and woodchat, goatsuckers, crossbill, aber- 
devine, or siskin, and spotted gallinule, with many cloven, 
and web-footed water birds, together with any of their eggs. 
And as you mention snipes and teals having bred near you, 
their eggs would be highly acceptable, with others not 
common which you may be able to obtain. And in return, 
sir, if there is any thing in my former, or future researches 
that can afford you any satisfaction, I shall with the greatest 
pleasure communicate. 

That amiable and excellent naturalist Mr. Pennant has 
done me the honor to say I have discovered some things to 
him he was not before acquainted with ; and I flatter myself 
I have other notes in store when I have more time to write 
to him more largely upon the subject; this you know is 
the busy season for a naturalist, and the days are not half 
long enough for me. 

A fine morning called me from this and in my walk my 
ears discovered a note I had never before heard. I pursued 
it into the thick of a wood, and after much difficulty killed 
the bird as it was delivering its song (if it may be so called) 
from the branch of an oak tree : it proved to be a willow 
wren ; its note was certainly very different from any I ever 
heard before, somewhat resembling a note of the blue tit- 
mouse, it was continued without variety, like the grasshopper 
lark but not quite so quick or shrill, nor of so long duration ; 
between each song the pause was considerable : the note I 
confess has staggered me, but its appearance, size, &c. 
discover nothing new. The common willow wren, I well 
know, has two very distinct songs: the first after their 
arrival, before they are paired, I considered as their love- 
call, the other their soft courting or amourous song : as to 
shades of colour, or size, this species vary considerably: 


that of the male is much stronger and brighter than the 
female, and is considerably larger, and even in the same 
sex there is frequently a visible difference. I last year 
killed a male and female together, when the former was 
in pursuit of the latter on her first arrival in the spring 
(as I suppose you know all our male migrative birds 
precede the females in their vernal visit) in these the great 
disparity of weight and difference in colour would have 
puzzled me exceedingly, had I not some time before the 
barbarous act was committed, paid attention to the ad- 
dresses of the male. I confess I am not acquainted with 
the one you describe with the primaries and secondaries 
tipt with white, and if you are still of opinion that is a 
distinct species I should be obliged to you for it. If you 
should favour me with any small bird at this season, it 
will be advisable to wrap it up in soft paper sprinkled, or 
damped, with vinegar, first laying the feathers smooth and 
then cover'd with thicker paper, wetted with the same. 
This will both preserve the bird moist and defy putri- 
faction: larger birds should be carefully opened with a 
sharp knife from the vent upwards, laying the feathers 
back with damp paper to prevent their being blooded in 
taking out the intestines ; a little alum or nitre should then 
be thrown in and the incision stopped with tow; and if 
a little of the alum and tow was put into the mouth it 
would ensure its coming to me in good order. If you have 
any conveyance to Bath and you will take the trouble of 
directing either a box or basket for me to the care of the 
E* Hon^^^ Lady Jane Courtenay, Milsom Street, Bath, I 
shall get it the day after it arrives there. 

Notwithstanding my post town is in Glocestershire, I 
live in Wiltshire, where I shall be happy to obey any 
commands from you and remain Sir 

Y' most obed* humble serv*, 

G. Montagu. 


A little later he wrote again to Selborne : — 

From Col. G. Montagu. 

Easton Grey, June 27th, 1789. 

Dear Sir, — I am exceedingly obliged to you for your 
polite favor, and hope you will excuse the mistake in my 

I am not able to boast of being an ornithologist so long as 
you, though I have delighted in it from infancy, and was 
I not bound by conjugal attachment, should like to ride 
my hobby to distant parts, yet I agree with you, that 
naturalists in general attempt to explore too wide a field, 
their researches are too extensive; whereas if persons well 
qualified were to confine themselves to particular districts 
the natural history compiled from provincial authors would 
no doubt throw much light on the subject. 

The difficulty of comparmg birds by recollection, and the 
great similitude of some distinct species, made me attempt 
to preserve them ; by which means I can at any time bring 
them together for a minute inspection. 

I confess myself greatly obliged to your work for the 
discovery of the third species of Willow Wren, and for the 
first determined separation of the other two species, with 
whom I was perfectly well acquainted as to their notes, 
but suspected that the same bird might produce both notes 
promiscuously. Your work produced in me fresh ardor, and 
with that degree of enthusiasm necessary to such investiga- 
tion, I pervaded the interior recesses of the thickest woods, 
and spread my researches to every place within my reach 
that seemed likely. I was soon convinced of two distinct 
species, not only in their song, but in size, colour, eggs, 
and materials with which they build their nests. The third 
species, which you seem to think is peculiar to your beech 
woods, I flatter myself I have at last discover'd to be an 

* His first letter was addressed "Gil. White Esq--^" 


inhabitant of this part, but they are scarce and partial : 
three only have I discovered, two of which I brought down 
with my gun from the top of tall oak trees, in a thick grove 
interspersed with brambles. From their reiterated note, 
somewhat resembling the blue titmouse, and their colour 
being more vivid than the other species, I do not hesitate to 
pronounce it that discovered by you, though mine did not 
possess any white on the tips of the quill, or secondary 
feather, but the belly was of a pure white, and the action of 
its wings agrees with your description: besides the note 
it commonly uses which is somewhat grasshopper-like, it 
produces a shrill note five or six times repeated something 
like the marsh titmouse. One pair of these birds I only 
know of about this neighbourhood now, the nest of which 
I have not been fortunate enough to discover : if one should 
come across you it would be an acquisition to me. You are 
perfectly right in saying the name of Willow Wren is very 
inadequate. I wish you had given them distinct names, 
as I believe you have the merit of the original discovery. 
I am surprised Pennant makes no mention of these acquisi- 
tions to ornithology, as your letter of the 17th of Augt. 1768 
long preceeded his last ed^ Do you know if Latham has 
adopted them in his 'Systema Ornithologise,' which is to 
come before the publick next winter. 

I am at a loss for your blue pigeon-hawk especially as you 
say its female is brown: from its place of resort I should 
conceive it to be the ITen harrier and that you had not 
corrected the mistake of other ornithologists, and which 
Pennant fell into in his first edition where he gave the 
Bingtail for its female. Their habits and manners are 
nearly the same only the latter perch on trees occasionally : 
its white rump at once distinguishes it from all others when 
skiming over the surface of the earth : like the Henharrier it 
makes its nest on the ground. Both these species we have, 
but not preserved, having not been able to procure them. 


being scarce and shy ; perhaps I may be favoured with them 
from you, as well as their eggs, another season if not this : 
If your Pigeon-hawk should be different I should be obliged 
to you for further explanation as I am not acquainted with 
it by that name. 

The Hobby, which I want, has been called the blue hawk 
by some; its eggs I should be glad of and are no doubt 
to be found in your extensive woodlands: they are scarce 
with us. You are surprised at my requesting of you the 
Goat-sucker: 'tis true many parts of this county produce 
them, but they are not to be commanded, and one bird 
in the spring or before August is worth twenty after that 
time, as most birds are then out of feather, and the young 
ones are seldom in full, or proper plumage till the winter, 
and many till the ensuing spring. In the latter end of 
October birds have mostly done moulting, and are again 
fit for preservation: however scarce birds are acceptable 
at all times, till a better supplies its place. Since I wrote 
I have killed the male Goatsucker, and as I have seen a 
female it is probable I may get it, but the egg I despair 
of in this part. You seem to suspect the distance through 
town would endanger spoiling any specimen during warm 
weather. 'Tis true without some little precaution it might, 
but if a bird was carefully opened with a sharp knife from 
the vent along the abdomen to the lower part of the breast 
bone, and the bowels taken out (after laying the feathers 
back with a little damp paper to prevent blooding them 
in the operation), and a little powdered alum was put 
therein and some tow, or soft paper to prevent the feathers 
from falling in, and to soak up any superfluous moisture, 
would ensure their passage twice as far; a little alum in 
the mouth and throat might be added if the bird is stale 
before sent: and if the weather is warm a brown paper 
damped with vinegar would be an excellent second wrapper 
— first laying the bird smooth in soft paper, which can 


not be so well effected in stiff paper, then packed in a basket 
or box with dry straw to prevent friction; there is no fear 
of their coming safe to hand, even though the distance was 
greater and more intricate. 

From Alton to Town is one day's journey, from thence 
to Bath one, the third day brings it to hand; and I am 
apt to think consigning it to a friend in Town might rather 
delay it than otherwise. If directed for me at Lady Jane 
Courtenay's, Bath, through London, with perishable marked 
on the direction or any other devise to hasten it, there is no 
doubt of it coming to me on the third or fourth day. 

I remain D"" Sir, 
Your much obliged and faithful humble serv*, 

G. Montagu. 

During the summer of 1789 many relatives visited 
at Selborne on their way to and from Fyfield. On 
August 16th, 1789, Mulso, who was detained by 
ill-health at his Winchester house, writes : — 

"How is your sweet retreat this year? What are your 
enjoyments, and what friends have you about you? Let 
me hear from you, my old friend, now and then; if I was 
not solicitous about you, I should not deserve you. . . . 
My sister Chapone goes to Bath on Thursday; she desired 
me to ask you if you had read D^ Darwin's 'Loves of the 
Plants.' She admires the poetry ; but the subject, ah pah ! 
*with the loves of flowers,' says she, 'one might play with 
one's fancy; but the loves of stamens and pistils is too 
much for my strength.'" 

A remark from which it may be inferred that " the 
admirable Mrs. Chapone " was not a botanist. 



To the Rev, B. Ghurton. Seleburne, Sept. 1, 1789. 

Dear Sir, — Your letter of July 31st lies before me, and 
informs me that you are now breathing your native air, 
which, I hope, will agree with you : Malpas will moreover, 
I trust, prove a mother to you, and not a step-mother. 
The reason that Edmund White delayed his journey to 
Oxford was the badness of the weather, which broke-up 
the party; however, he went himself on the last day of 
term but one, and took his degree on the last day. I 
rejoice to hear that your good friend D"^ Townson continues 
so well at his advanced time of life ; and desire my respects 
to him. As to D"^ Chandler I have heard from him twice 
in the course of this summer, and have looked him out an 
house, the best house in Alton : he seemed in his last to pay 
some attention to my information ; but I have doubts about 
his settling, and do not depend on him as a neighbour. He 
at present is much embarrassed by the troubles in France, 
which would render a journey through that kingdom truly 
dangerous. He talked in his last of going up to Basil, and 
so down the Ehine to Holland. While I was in town I 
turned over Mr. Gough's 'Camden':* it is truly a 
Herculean labour: no wonder that there should be some 
mistakes. In the map of Hants I saw Wetmer Forest in- 
stead of Wolmer. Were I to live near you I verily believe 
I should make an ornithologist of you. I have just found 
out that the country people have a notion that the Fern-owl^ 
or Eve-jarr, which they also call a Puckeridge, is very 
injurious to weanling calves by inflicting, as it strikes at 
them, the fatal distemper known to cow-leeches by the name 
of puckeridge. Thus does this harmless, ill-fated bird fall 
under a double imputation, which it by no means deserves, 

* Camden's ' Britannia ' had long been a familiar book to Gilbert White, 
since a copy, published in 1695, edited by Gibson, had been presented to 
him in his twentieth year by **the Rev. Mr. Brown, Vicar of Bray," as he 
records on a flyleaf. 


in Italy, of sucking the teats of goats, where it is called 
Caprimulgus ', and with us of communicating a deadly- 
disorder to cattle. But the truth of the matter is, the 
malady above mentioned is occasioned by the (Estrus hovis, 
a dipterous insect, which lays its eggs along the backs of 
kine, where the maggots, when hatched, eat their way 
through the hide of the beast into the flesh, and grow to 
a large size. I have just talked with a man who says he 
has been called in, more than once, to strip calves that 
had died of the puckeridge; that the ail or complaint lay 
along the chine, where the flesh was full of purulent matter. 
Once I myself saw a large rough maggot of this sort taken 
out of the back of a cow. These maggots in Essex are 
called wornils. The least attention would convince men 
that these birds, weak and unarmed as they are, cannot 
inflict any harm on kine, unless they possess the powers 
of animal magnetism, and can affect them by fluttering 
over them. Pray ask your brother whether he knows the 
bird and the distemper, and whether Cheshire men are 
perswaded that the latter is occasioned by the former. We 
had experienced a most lovely wheat-harvest; but now 
there is rain, which will respite the partridges for one 
day at least. As soon as we came from town my house 
became full of visitors ; we have had Mr. and Mrs. Sam 
Barker from Eutland, and Miss Eliz. Barker, a fine young 
woman, who is allowed to be a very good lesson-player on 
the harpsichord. They left us last Tuesday. We now 
expect my brother Thomas White and family. My brother, 
I hear, is very well. Pray present my respects to D^ 
Loveday, and tell him I should be very glad to see any 
notes or remarks made by him or his venerable father on 
the history of Selborne: could they have been procured 
before publication, they would have been more valuable, 
because I might then have availed myself of their correc- 
tions. My book is still asked for in Fleet Street. A 



gentleman came the other day, and said he understood 
that there was a Mr. White who had lately published two 
books, a good one and a bad one ; the bad one was concern- 
ing Botany Bay,* the better respecting some parish. The 
bookseller recommended the parochial work; and told the 
enquirer that he did not believe the author ever had been 
at Botany Bay, or had ever written about it. 

Mrs. J. White joins in respects. Mr. and Mrs. Edmund 
White are gone to Eamsgate in Kent, a watering-place on 
the coast. Mr.f and Mrs. Taylor are here. We have again 

a very fine crop of hops. 

Y' most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 
From the Naturalist's Journal — 

" 1789. Oct. 3. B. Th. White sowed two pounds of furze 
seed from Ireland on the naked part of the Hanger. The 
furze seed sown by him on the same space in May last is 
come-up well. 

" [Oct.] 22. Bro. Tho. White sowed the naked part of the 
Hanger with great quantities of hips, haws, sloes and holly- 

The labour was, however, useless, since in Decem- 
ber, 1790, it is recorded that the "sheep have browsed 
on them as fast as they sprouted." 

The following letter contains a favourable mention 
of his friend's book : — 

From the Bev. B. Churton. 

Brasen-Nose, Oct. 25, 1789. 

Dear Sir, — The date of your last and still unanswered 
letter I am ashamed to mention. However, though I have 

* 'A Voyage to Botany Bay,' by John White, a book in much 
request now, and never a bad one. As a matter of fact it was not pub- 
lished at this time, and bears date 1790. Of course, it had been advertised 
before.— A. N. t The Vicar of Selborne. 


not written to you, I am glad to hear my friend Miss Reeve 
has been seeing you. Very learned and, I hope you think, 
very civil, a knight's eldest daughter with perhaps a thousand 
pound for every year of her age, or at least half as many. 
Hendon House near Maidenhead is in a most charming 
country, and as yet perhaps a non-descript. As you are 
perfectly acquainted with every quadruped and bird and 
insect and flower near Selborne and have introduced them to 
the public and to immortality, it will be a pleasant circum- 
stance to vary the scene, and add celebrity to "Windsor and its 

" Methinks I see thee straying on the " thicket, 
"And asking every" bird that roves the sky 
" If ever it have" seen fair Selborne's down. 

I cannot say but I am interested in this expected 
migration. I can then whip over to see you often and 
take a dinner or a bed for a single night and return to 
college. But Selborne is a long way off. And yet it is 
worth going a long way to see, if it agrees at all with 
the account which a very curious and interesting book in 
my room gives of it. You must know that I am reading 
this work with great avidity in the very few leisure moments 
that I can find or steal, and I am only sorry that the 
Index to a volume containing such a variety of useful 
and authentic information is not much more copious. If 
you are acquainted with the writer of this "good book," 
you may tell him, with my humble service, that I hope 
to be able to give him some papers that may help in the 
second edition to remedy this single defect. But it is 
time to answer your queries in regard to the distemper 
called " Fuckeridge." I consulted my brother and other 
persons on this subject and minuted down the particulars 
he gave me, in which others also concurred. The name 
of Puckeridge is unknown in Cheshire. The disease along 

1789 "WOKRYBEEES" 209 

the chine, or rather the maggots that cause it, they call 
"worrybrees" and a single one "worrybree." But they 
are so far from thinking these maggots prejudicial, that, 
on the contrary, they judge the calf that has these " worry- 
brees" in the back less likely to be struck (as they call it) 
with the hyant^ which is or is considered a distinct disorder. 
When they are affected with this it is perceivable by the 
hand ; for the skin is hard, and rustles (if you know 
that word) under the hand when rubbed by it. Sometimes 
there is one or more spots of this nature, and sometimes 
the body is almost covered with them. When the skin 
is taken off, the flesh in those parts is like jelly. It is 
deemed almost incurable, and they die in a few hours. My 
brother never knew or heard of more than one instance 
of a calf thus stricken recovering. That was but slightly 
affected, perhaps in a single spot; and the owner took 
the skin off the part and put in a rowel, or something of 
the sort. This disorder prevails most in Spring and Autumn, 
and commonly in calves of the first or second year, seldom 
in older cattle. Quid existimas de hac questione, an Pucker- 
igium sit Hyantium? and whence comes this remarkable 
word ? Are the Hyades supposed to cause it ? I have 
heard the expression planet-struck, but whether of this 
disease I am not sure. In Cheshire they call calves the 
first winter twinters, in the second year sterJcs. The last 
is common, the other growing obsolete. I take it to be a 
contraction of two winters ; for it is applied to them not 
as soon as calved, but when, if they were calved in winter, 
they are two winters old. 

D' Loveday had a letter, about six weeks ago, from 
D"^ Chandler, still at RoUe, but talking of moving, but 
yet, if possible, more unsettled in his plans than ever. 
You mention jack-daws building in rabbit-burrows. It is 
not equally extraordinary, but perhaps you may not know 
that they build in Elden hole, a perpendicular aperture in 

VOL. II. — p 


a rock, about 90 yards deep, in Derbyshire. I did not 
take any of their nests, nor, indeed, did I see any; but 
I heard them chattering most loquaciously, and perhaps 
"disturbed their ancient solitary reign" by throwing stones 
into their little kingdom, when I was in Derbyshire about 
5 years ago. I go to town on Saturday and return the 
Monday se'nnight. I shall probably hear of you in Fleet 
Street, and in a short time, I hope (though I am un- 
reasonable to expect it), be favoured with a letter. You 
will be so good as to remember me with my best wishes and 
respects to Mr. T. White, who, I understand, is now with 
you, as also to Mr. Edm. White, &c. 

I am, dear Sir, 
Your sincere and much obliged humble servant, 

R. Churton. 

D"" Bostock has gained a Chancery suit and another son. 
Remember me to Miss Reeve when she calls next. 

To the Rev. B. Churton. 

Seleburne, Dec. 4, 1789. 

Dear Sir, — Tho' Oxford appears to my timid apprehensions 
to recede every year farther and farther from Selborne ; yet 
to you who are in the prime and vigour of life, Selborne 
ought not to be one inch more removed from Oxford than 
when I first knew you ; therefore we shall depend much on 
seeing you at Xtmass as usual. I have much to say to you : 
for surely we live in a most eventful and portentous period ; 
when wars, devastations, revolutions, and insurrections crowd 
so fast upon the back of one another that a thinking mind 
cannot but suppose that providence has some great work 
in hand ! But of all these strange commotions, the sudden 
overthrow of the French despotic monarchy is the most 
wonderful — a fabrick which has been now erecting for near 
two centuries, and whose foundations were laid so deep, that 


one would have supposed it might have lasted for ages to 
come : yet it is gone, as it were, in a moment ! ! * 

These troubles naturally put me in mind of D"* Chandler, 
who, the last time we heard of him, was in Brussels, in a 
most uncomfortable situation, having his baggage seized and 
his papers tumbled about, for which he was in great concern. 
A man of his resolution and address, and who, by his long 
voyage to the Levant, has, as it were, been inured to dangers 
and difficulties, might by himself make his way through all 
the misrule and uproar that prevail in all the provinces 
of the Netherlands : but the case is very different where 
a man has a wife and infant to protect and take care of; 
and therefore I heartily wish that he and his family were 
safe at home. My account of our visit from Miss Eeeve, 
who paid us a great compliment, and did us much honour, 
I knew would make you and Mrs. Ventris smile. I could 
tell you also if I had a mind, of a great honour received 
from Lady Coterel Dormer. You are very kind in taking 
the trouble, amidst all your busy hours, of enlarging my 
index : when I had carried it to its present bulk, I desisted 
out of pure modesty, thinking I should swell the volume 
unreasonably ; but to say the truth when I showed it to 
my brother he expressed a wish that it had been fuller: 
it was then too late. 

Your worry hree is undoubtedly a corruption of hreeze or 
hreese^ a synonymous term with the gadfly^ well known to 
naturalists : as to hyant, we know nothing of the term, or 
of the distemper intended thereby. When I was at Elden- 

* Of all criticisms of Gilbert White's book the remark that *' he was more 
concerned with the course of events in a martin's nest than with the crash 
of empires" has always seemed very inapplicable. It is true that he does 
not appear to have taken any very absorbing interest in these great events, 
but one would not exactly expect to find them treated of in what was 
professedly a natural history of a parish. His Naturalist^ s Journal 
occasionally contains entries of current events, such as the surrender at 
Saratoga, the sailing or return of naval expeditions, the loss of the Royal 
Gtorge, etc. 


hole I remember to have seen daws flying out from that 
horrible and tremendous chasm. These birds, thought I, are 
wise in their generation : for here they breed uninterrupted 
from age to age, since the most roguish boys dare not 
interrupt their ancient inaccessible kingdom. 

Are you a Whiteist, or a Badcockist ? * for I hear every 
man in Oxford must be one or the other. I can tell you how 
you may do Edmund White a good office. When he and his 
wife were in Oxford, last summer, they quartered at the 
Bear-inn, where they left behind them the first volume of 
Dilly's prose Elegant Extracts. It is a very oddshaped 
volume in quarto, somewhat like a music book. If you 
could recover this book, it would be received with thanks. 

Mrs. J. White and I join in respects to you and James 

Etty; and in best wishes to Mr. Ventris, who, we hope, 

is recovering his health and strength very fast. When does 

Bishop W. Smith, your founder, appear ? We long to see 

you a biographer and to read the result of your painful and 

curious enquiries. 

y obliged and humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

When you write, present my respects to D^ Loveday and 
D'^ Townson. How I wish that we had such a man as either 
of them living at Selborne ! 

From the Rev. B. Churton. 

Brasen Nose, Dec. 13, 1789. 

Dear Sir, — Your excellent letter deserves a much better 
answer than I have time or ability to honour it with. But 

* The Rev. Joseph White, Regius Professor of Hebrew and Laudian 
Professor of Arabic, was appointed Bampton Lecturer in 1784, whereupon he 
preached, before the University of Oxford, a set of sermons, comparing 
Christianity with Mahomedanism, which were printed in 1784, and soon 
reached a second edition. Upon the death, in 1788, of Mr. Badcock, a 
learned dissenting minister, it was discovered that a considerable share 
of the sermons was of his writing. 


I can assure you of one thing, which you, in your kindness 
to your friends, will be glad to hear of. I depended upon 
having the pleasure, V.D., of spending my Christmas at 
Selborne before your obliging invitation arrived, and on that 
account declined D^ Loveday's invitation to pass the holidays 
at Williamscot, where, however, I hope to be for two nights 
towards the latter part of this week, and then, after speaking 
twenty pounds worth of Latin on St. Thomas's day, and 
eating mince pies with the Principal, to set off for Reading, 
Tuesday the 22nd, and proceed for Selborne next day. So 
far so good. But this is not all. I inquired for the volume 
left at the Bear ; and it is no discredit to the house that the 
book was found safe in a drawer in the bar, and is now safe 
in my room waiting to be put up in my portmanteau. 
D"^ Chandler Wife and son arrived at Clapham about a 
week ago safe and well, as you will probably have heard 
by some means before this reaches you. Alas ! I have 
only found time to read, and with much satisfaction, 
the ' History of Selborne,' but not to do much in enlarging 
the Index. However, the loss is less material as D^ Loveday 
has already or will soon undertake it, and do it effectually. 
Marvellous indeed is the state of things on the Continent, 
and when and how good order and good government will be 
restored is far beyond my ken. But an all-wise Providence, 
which can controul the madness of the people, superintends 
the whole, and seems, as you justly remark, to have some 
great work in hand. I did not know till you told me that 
the " fatherlanders," as the papers call them, seized D' 
Chandler's portmanteaus ; and I was afraid they were lost 
through negligence. I hope they were restored ; but I have 
not positively heard so. I shall be glad to learn the 
particulars of the honour received from Lady Coterel 
Dormer, and other matters, ex ore tuo. And among these 
I am curious to hear more about worry hreese and hyant; 
for if the distemper known in Cheshire by the latter name 


never visits Hampshire, the reason is well worth enquiring 
after. I scarcely know whether to call myself a "Whiteist" 
or " Badcockist." The pamphlet of D' Gabriel I think 
clearly shews that considerable assistance was received, but 
by no means ascertains the degree. In my own notion the 
Professor would do well to state fairly and explicitly what 
was composed by Mr. Badcock, and what by himself ; and 
there are also some circumstances in his behaviour respecting 
the note, which should be stated in a more favourable way to 
his character, if they can consistently with truth. 

Bishop Smith sends his compliments, and thanks you for 
your kind enquiries; but he says he shall not "walk the 
town numbering good intellects" before next winter. His 
biographer has lately had so much unavoidable business on 
his hands respecting the living that he has no time to talk 
with the dead. I am, dear Sir, 

Your very sincere and obliged humble servant, 

E. Churton. 


To Samuel Barker. 

Selborne, May 6, 1790. 

Dear Sir, — We had heard that Mr. Haggitt* had been 
very ill ; but were not aware, till your letter came, that his 
disorder was of so dangerous and alarming a nature. On 
his own account, and for the sake of his numerous family, 
we hope it will please God to restore him to his former 
health, and preserve his life for many years. 

The Major Jar dine that you mention was well known 
to my Bro. John, an active, lively, intelligent Scotchman, 
that had been a private in the artillery; but having 
had some education was ready to enter into any pursuit 
where knowledge was to be acquired. He showed a great 
facility in modern languages, had a taste for music, and 
a smattering in astronomy, &c., was good-natured, clever, 
ready to assist, communicative, and pleasant ; but exceedingly 
poor, having married a Spanish girl without a farthing, who 
brought him a housefuU of children, and all her hungry 
relations to live on him, when he was only lieutenant. 
He was supposed to be the son of a Knight of Malta, whom 
he called his uncle. What can be the meaning of the 
following advertisement, which I have seen in the papers? 
"The life of the Hon. Thomas Chambier Cecil, late knight 
of the shire for Rutland, father of the present member for 

* Samuel Barker's father-in-law. 


Stamford, and brother to the Earl of Exeter." What makes 
me wonder is, because this man was always represented 
formerly as little better than an idiot! Now you talk of 
biography, have you seen the life of Mr. Elwes, late member 
for Berkshire ? 

D'* Chandler and Lady, who have been abroad almost 
four years, and who returned from the continent only last 
February, have borrowed "Selborne parsonage-house for the 
summer, and came to reside last week. The D*" who is an 
unsettled man, likes this method of procuring an habitation, 
because it looks so like not settling. Eoaming about becomes 
a habit with Gentry, as well as mendicants ; who, when they 
have once taken up a strolling life, can never be perswaded 
to stay at their own parishes. The Lady is very big with 
child, and sent for her midwife this morning: so they 
reached Selborne just in time. They brought a little son 
with them, a pretty boy, who was born at Eolle in Switzer- 
land, as it were by accident, while they were posting home 
for England. The D*^ seems to like his child better, because 
he is not sure in what kingdom he was begotten^ whether at 
Naples, or at Eome, or at Florence, or where. Eome is the 
place that the D"" admires, where he can have his fill of 
Virtii : he has, I find, secret languishings to return to that 
capital ; to study in the Vatican, and to dine with Cardinals. 
In his passage to Italy they hired a ship at Marseilles, which 
was to land them at Civita Vecchia : for some time they had 
such prosperous gales that the master told them they would 
be at their destination presently. But as they approached 
Italy such squalls came off from the Apennine, that after 
beating about for some days, and fearing that they must 
have run for some harbour in Sardinia, they with difficulty 
made Porto Longone in the isle of Elba. Their return from 
Eolle in November last was singular enough. Not daring to 
venture through France, they set out for Basle : here they 
went 50 miles to the right to see the falls of Schaffhausen ! ! 


When the D"* came to enquire of the watermen at Basle 
what small craft they had on the Rhine, and whether any 
house-boat ; they said there was nothing but some very 
small fiat-bottomed wherries: but that they could tack 
two of these together. On two such wallnut shells tyed 
together embarked the D^ and Lady, the nurse and child, and 
the French valet, without oar or sail, or any awning that 
could be kept up ; and thus ran at the rate of near 80 miles 
a day to Dusseldorf, amidst the damps and fogs of Novemr. 
on the expanded face of the Rhine, which was very full and 
very rapid ! ! Here they turned off for Brussels, not being 
aware of what was to befall them; but soon found them- 
selves in a city that expected every day to be cannonaded 
with hot balls. Here they stayed till they saw the streets 
barricaded and intersected with deep entrenchments ; and at 
last escaped to Lisle, which was not without its difficulties 
and embarrassments. The D*" and Lady went twice by water 
down the Rhosne from Lyons : the scenery on the banks is 
grand and beautiful. I have just received a letter from the 
Rev^ James Anderson, ll.d., f.k.s., f.a.s. of the academy of 
Arts &c. of Dijon &c., he directs from Edinburg, and having 
seen my book desires my assistance towards his Bee, a 
weekly work which he proposes to send forth as soon as 
he can settle a correspondence to his mind. His prospectus 
to his work is curious, and promises information. Nephew 
John White of Sarum has got him an house, and two pupils. 
Nothing but want of health will hinder that young man 
from being successful, and prosperous. His business en- 
creases. Mrs. J. White joins in best respects to yourself 
and Mrs. Barker. We expect brother Thomas next week. 

Your affectionate Uncle, 

Gil. White. 

Mrs. Chandler is a pleasant woman with a good person : 
while I was writing she was brought to bed of a daughter. 

Respects at Lyndon. 


On July 4th, 1790, a note in the Naturalist's 
Journal draws attention to "p. 274 [original edition, 
Letter LVL to Barrington] of my natural History," 
in which he had noted that instinct varied and con- 
formed to the circumstances of place and period. 
The entry continues — 

" In confirmation of what has been advanced above, there 
are now two martins' nests at Tim. Turner's, which are tunnel 
shaped, and nine or ten inches long, in conformity to the 
ledge of the wall of the eaves under which they are built." 

The next letter introduces a new correspondent in 
the well-known Kobert Marsham (1708-1797), a 
gentleman much interested in arboriculture, who was 
living on his paternal estate of Stratton-Strawless, 
near Norwich. He had communicated papers on the 
growth of trees to the 'Philosophical Transactions' 
of the Royal Society, of which he was admitted a 
Fellow in 1 7 8 1 . Altogether, Marsham wrote ten letters 
to Gilbert White, of which the first is here given. 
Though the others are in the present writer's posses- 
sion, it hardly seems necessary to print them here, 
especially as Mr. Bell has done so. Of the replies 
from Selborne ten have been preserved, and are 
now printed. It will be seen that the correspondence 
was only terminated by the death of Gilbert White. 

From E, Marsham. Stratton, near Norwich, 

July 24, 1790. 
Sir, — I have received so much pleasure and information 
from your ingenious Nat. Hist, of Selborne, that I cannot 




deny myself the honest satisfaction of offering you my 
thanks : and I hope you will excuse the liberty that I have 
taken. I have kept a poor imperfect journal above 50 years ; 
but it has been chiefly confined to the leafing and growth 
of trees ; and was undertaken by the advice of my most 
estimable friend the late D**. Hales. By that I find that 
Linnseus's disciples, and their followers, are mistaken in 
their supposed rule of Nature, that all plants must follow in 
order. For you see by the Indications of Spring in the last 
Vol. of the Phil. Trans, which very imperfect as it is, the 
R. S. did me the honour to print, there are reverses of many 

Sir, I was much pleased with your Poetry in the Summer 
Evening walk. — I hope you will excuse my asking you some 
questions for my information. The copulation of Frogs as 
you describe, is the manner of Toads with us: and I never 
saw Frogs so engaged. 

By your account of the Swallows on the 29th of Sep., 
1768, I presume that you believe in their migrating: and 
there are very strong reasons to believe so of some other 
Birds. Many Woodcocks are found by the Light-houses in 
Norfolke in the Autumn, that are kilFd by flying against 
the Lights: and the Earl of Orford informed me that the 
Landgrave of Hesse sent him a ring taken from the leg of 
an Heron with Ld. 0. name upon it. This is certain proof 
of the Heron's going from England : and myself have seen 
(coming from Holland) a Wagtail (Motacilla alba) flying 
about the Ship, seemingly at ease, when out of sight of 
Land. These, without Admiral Wager's, Adanson's and 
Smith's, (the earliest account that I recollect in print) are 
sufficient for migration: and the proofs for torpidity are 
also undoubted. So we may conclude they are both true. 
But the annual increase in the Swallow tribe, which are lost 
in Winter, affords unaccountable difficulties to be cleared. 
I have had 4 pair attending my house as many years as 


I can remember. If these produce two broods of 5 young, 
you see, Sir, one pair only, will in 7 years produce above 
half a million, 559,870 birds : yet the number every Spring 
appears the same. If both broods are destroyed, surely the 
old birds would be lessened by accidents, so as to be per- 
ceptible. If the early, or the latter brood is preserved, you 
see the next Spring Birds will be as 5 to 2, if all the old 
Birds are lost: and I never heard that Swallows are in- 
creased in any part of the Globe. We know that all the 
carnivorous Birds drive off their young as soon as they are 
able to provide for themselves ; and I conclude that fish- 
eating Birds do the same : for when I was on the charming 
Lake of Killarney, I was told that was the case of a pair of 
Ospreys, that yearly nested on an Island of Rock in that 
Lake. But we cannot suppose the Swallow tribe can fear 
the want of provision. Sir, you know the Fern Owl is one 
of the Spring Birds, and appears here as the latest comer. 
I used to have many in my Woods ; but since the long and 
severe Winter of '88 I have had very few. Is not this a 
presumptive proof of their torpidity? and that they were 
destroyed by the severity of that Season ? — Your account of 
the 26th and 27th of March in 1777 was felt here in Lat. 
52.45° but no swallows appeared. The 27th was insufferably 
hot, with a S.W. Wind ; which changed in the afternoon to 
IST.E. with a thick Sea-hase, and my Thermometer sunk 
above 20 degrees in 3 or 4 hours. The greatest change I 
have ever observed. — I find in 1776, Jan. 31st, your Thermo- 
meter sunk to 0°, mine of Farenheit was at 16°, and in 1784, 
Deer. 10th, when your DoUands was 1° below 0°, mine was 
but at 10°. The coldest Air I have measured was Jan. 19, 
in 1767, when it was down to 1°. I take the liberty to tell 
you this, as it possibly may be entertaining to you to see 
the difference of less than 2 Degrees of Lat. 

Sir, when you print a 2^ Edition, (which the merit of your 
Book will certainly soon demand) I hope in your description 



of the Holt Forest, you will pay a compliment justly due, to 
the Oak by Ld Stawel's Lodge: as I suppose it the largest 
in this Island. I went from London on purpose to see it in 
1759, and again occasionally in 1778. 'Tis at 7 feet full 
34 feet in circumference, and had not gained half an inch in 
19 years, yet I could not see it was hollow. If I measure 
right, I make 14 feet length of the Holt Oak, to contain 
above 1,000 feet, viz. above 320 feet more than the Cowthorp 
Oak, which D"* Hunter in his Edition of Evelyn's 'Silva,' 
calls the largest in England. I early began planting, and an 
Oake which I planted in 1720, is at one foot from the earth 
12 feet 6 inches round; and at 14 feet (the half of the 
timber length) is 8.2.0. So measuring the bark as timber, 
gives 116F. J buyers measure. Perhaps you never heard 
of a larger Oak and the planter living. I flatter myself, 
that I increased the growth by washing the stem, and 
digging a circle as far as I supposed the roots to extend, 
and spreading saw-dust &c., as related in the Phil. Trans. 
— I wish I had begun planting with Beeches (my favourite 
Trees as well as your's) and I might have seen large trees of 
my own raising. But I did not begin Beeches 'till 1741, 
and then by seed; and my largest is now, at 5 feet, 6.3.0 
round, and spreads a circle of + 20 yards diameter. But 
this has been digged round and washed, &c. — The last 
Winter was so very mild with us, that the leaves of many 
of my very young Oaks preserved their green into April, 
and a large Hawthorn (headed the preceding year) has its 
old leaves now; which I never observed before, in any 
deciduous trees: tho' I once had a second leafing of a 
Hawthorn about Xmass. But those leaves faded before 
Spring, I sent the account to Sir J. Pringle when P.R.S. 
but he thought it not strange. Sir, if you do not take the 
Ph. Trans, if you please I will send you a copy of my 
* Indications of Spring,' as it may be an amusement to you, 


to see how much later we are in Norfolk than you are in 
Hampshire. I am, with great esteem, 

Sir, your most obedient 

humble servant, 

R. Marsham. 

P.S. I have now in a Stack of Blocks a young Cuckow 
fed by a water-Wagtail. 

To B. Marsham. 

Selborne, near Alton, Hants, 

Aug. 13th, 1790. 

Good Sir, — As an author I have derived much satisfaction 
from your kind and communicative letter, and am glad to 
hear that my book has found its way into Norfolk, and that 
it has fallen into the hands of so intelligent, and candid 
a reader as yourself, whose good word may contribute to 
make it better known in those parts. I am glad that you 
happened to mention your most estimable friend, the late 
D"^ Steven Hales; because he was also my most valuable 
friend, and in former days near neighbour during the 
summer months. For tho' his usual abode was at Tedding- 
ton ; yet did he for many years reside for about two months 
at his rectory of Faringdon, which is only two miles from 
hence ; and was well known to my Grandfather, and Father, 
as well as to myself. If I might presume to say that what 
you see respecting the copulation of toads is, I think, a 
mistake, you will pardon my boldness : because the amours 
carried on in pools and wet ditches in the spring time are 
performed by frogs, which are more black and bloated at 
that season than afterwards. As to toads they seem to be 
more reserved in their intrigues. 

With regard to the annual encrease of swallows, and that 
those that return bear no manner of proportion to those 
that depart; it is a subject so strange, that it will be best 


for me to say little. I suppose that nature, ever provident, 
intends the vast encrease as a balance to some great devasta- 
tions to which they may be liable either in their emigra- 
tions or winter retreats. Our swifts have been gone about 
a week ! ; but the other hirundines have sent forth their first 
broods in vast abundance; and are now busied in the 
rearing of a second family. Myself and visitors have often 
paid due attention to the oak in the Holt, which ought 
indeed to have been noticed in my book, and especially 
as it contains some account of that forest. You have been 
an early planter indeed ! and may safely say, I should think, 
that no man living can boast of so large an oak of his own 
planting ! As I had reason to suppose that actual measure- 
ment would give me the best Idea of your tree, I first took 
the girth of my biggest oak, a single tree, age not known, in 
the midst of my meadow : when though it carries a head 
that measures 24 yards three ways in diameter ; yet is the 
circumference of the stem only 10 ft. 6 in. I then measured 
an oak, standing singly in a gentleman's outlet at about two 
miles distance, and found it exactly the dimensions of yours. 
After such success you may well say with Virgil, 

" Et dubitant homines serere, atque impendere curas ? " 

In an humble way I have been an early planter myself. 
The time of planting, and growth of my trees are as follows : 
Oak in 1731—4 ft. 5 in. Ash in 1731—4 ft. 6J in. Spruce 
fir in 1751—5 ft. in. Beech in 1751—4 ft. in. Elm in 
1750—5 ft. 3 in. Lime in 1756—5 ft. 5 in.* 

Beeches with us, the most lovely of all forest trees, thrive 
wonderfully on steep, sloping grounds, whether they be 
chalk or free stone. I am in possession myself of a beechen 
steep grove on the free stone,f that I am persuaded would 

* The Naturalist's Journal of August 3rd records these measurements, 
giving also the site of the trees. *' Oak by alcove, ash by ditto, great fir 
Baker's Hill, lime over at Mr. Hale's. " 

t Sparrow's hanger, at the south end of the village. 


please your judicious eye; in which there is a tree that 
measures 50 feet without bough or fork, and 24 feet beyond 
the fork : there are many as tall. I speak from long obser- 
vation when I assert, that beechen groves to a warm aspect 
grow one-third faster than those that face to the N. and 
N.E. and the bark is much more clean and smooth. About 
thirty or forty years ago the oaks in this neighbourhood 
were much admired, viz. in Hartley Wood, at Temple, and 
Blackmoor. At the last place, the owner, a very ancient 
Yeoman, through a blameable partiality, let his trees stand 
till they were red -hearted and white -hearted 3 or 4 feet 
up the stem. We have some old edible chest-nut trees in 
this neighbourhood; but they make vile timber, being 
always shahey and sometimes cup-shakey. 

As you seem to know the Fern-owl, or Churn-owl, or 
Eve-jar, I shall send you, for your amusement, the following 
account of that curious, nocturnal, migratory bird. The 
country people here have a notion that the Fern-owl^ which 
they also call Pucker idge, is very injurious to weanling 
calves by inflicting, as it strikes at them, the fatal dis- 
temper known to cow-leeches by the name of ;puckeridge. 
Thus does this harmless, ill-fated bird fall under a double im- 
putation, which it by no means deserves — in Italy of sucking 
the teats of goats, where it is called Caprimulgus, and with 
us, of communicating a deadly disorder to cattle. But the 
truth of the matter is, the malady above-mentioned is occa- 
sioned by a dipterous insect called the oestrus hovis, which 
lays its eggs along the backs of kine, where the maggots, 
when hatched, eat their way through the hide of the beast 
into its flesh, and grow to a large size. I have just talked 
with a man who says he has been employed more than 
once in stripping calves that had dyed of the puckeridge\ 
that the ail, or complaint, lay along the chine, where the 
flesh was much swelled, and filled with purulent matter. 
Once myself I saw a large, rough maggot of this sort 




squeezed out of the back of a cow. An intelligent friend 
informs me, that the disease along the chines of calves, 
or rather the maggots that cause them, are called by the 
graziers in Cheshire worry hrees, and a single one worry 
tree. No doubt they mean a hreese, or breeze, the name 
for the gad-fly, or oestrus, the parent of these maggots, which 
lays its eggs along the backs of kine. 

But to return to the fern-owl. The least attention and 
observation would convince men that these poor birds 
neither injure the goat-heard, nor the grazier ; but that they 
are perfectly harmless, and subsist alone on night-moths 
and beetles ; and through the month of July mostly on the 
scarabceus solstitialis, the small tree-beetle, which in many 
districts flies and abounds at that season. Those that we 
have opened have always had their craws stuffed with large 
night moths and pieces of chafers: nor does it any wise 
appear how they can, weak and unarmed as they are, inflict 
any malady on kine, unless they possess the powers of 
animal magnetism, and can affect them by fluttering over 
them. Upon recollection it must have been at your house 
that the amiable Mr. Stillingfleet kept his Calendar of Flora 
in 1755. Similar pursuits make intimate and lasting friend- 
ship. As I do not take in the K. S. T. I will with pleasure 
accept of your present of a copy of your ' Indications of 
Spring.' Hoping that your benevolence will pardon the 
unreasonable length of this letter, on which I look back 
with some contrition, I remain, with true esteem, 

Your most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

Any farther correspondence will be deemed an honour. 

Marsham replied to the above letter on August 31st, 
1790, and received an answer from Selborne dated 
October 1 2th, but this letter is unfortunately missing. 

VOL. TI. — Q 


He wrote again to Gilbert White on December 29th, 

On October 2nd, 1790, Lord Stawell sent the 
(now well known) hybrid bird, which was described 
in the Naturalist's Journal. It is here recorded that 
upon Gilbert White's recommendation " Mr. Elmer 
of Farnham, the famous game painter," was em- 
ployed " to take an exact copy of this curious bird." 
The picture, which was given to the Naturalist by 
Lord Stawell, was engraved for ' A Naturalist's 
Calendar,' etc., published in 1795, and is now in 
the possession of a member of the White family. 
The bird itself found its way into the Earl of 
Egremont's museum at Petworth, where Mr. Herbert 
saw it in 1804. With the rest of this collection it 
has long ago perished. 

On December 15th, 1790, Mulso wrote, in reply to 
a letter of inquiry from his friend, to announce his 
wife's death, " You knew her, my good friend, and 
you valued her as she did you." He continued — 

I hear that, bating your deafness, you are in great sound- 
ness of body and mind. You have given in your work a 
very pleasing occupation for the last, in everybody. It is 
everywhere spoken of, and with the highest praises. Among 
others, T>^ Warton is excessively pleased with it. Your 
nephew John called on me some time ago, and of him 
I enquired much after you. Alas, my good friend, how 
should we now do to converse if we met? for you cannot 
hear, and I cannot now speak out. I hear very good 
accounts of John White's success, and very satisfactory 


conduct in practice and behaviour, and that he has made a 
wise Partnership. Pray do you go this year to S. Lambeth ? 
and at what time ? How many branches have you to look 
after in every place that you go to ! . . . 

I am, my dear Gil., 
Your old friend and affte. humble servant, 


This letter ends the correspondence on the side 
of Mulso, who died in the following September. 
Like so many of his contemporary clergymen in the 
eighteenth century, his view of life was not perhaps 
a very dignified one. Nevertheless, he certainly was 
a true and attached friend to Gilbert White ; and all 
unknowingly acted the part of a veritable Boswell, 
by which he has very materially contributed to our 
knowledge of the Naturalist's career. 

To E. Marsham. Selborne, Jan. 18th, 179L 

Dear Sir, — As your long silence gave me some uneasiness 
lest it should have been occasioned by indisposition ; so the 
sight of your last obliging letter afforded me much satis- 
faction in proportion. 

I was not a little pleased to find that your friend Lord 
Suffield corroborated the account of the Cuckoo given by 
Mr. Jennor, * whose relation of the proceedings of that 
peculiar bird is very curious, new, and extraordinary. It 
does not appear from your letter that you endeavoured to 
revive the Swallow, which fell down before your parlor- 
window. I have not yet done with trees, and shall therefore 
add, that my tall 74 ft. beech measures 6 feet in the girth at 
two feet above the ground. Beeches seem to me to thrive 

* Jemier, the inventor of vaccination. 


best on stoney, or chalkey cliffs, where there seems to be 
little or no soil. Thus about a mile and an half from me to 
the S.E. in an abrupt field, stand four noble beech-trees on 
the edge of a steep, rocky-ravin, or water-gulley, the biggest 
of which measures 9 feet 5 inches at four feet from the 
ground. Their noble branching heads, and smooth rind 
show that they are in the highest vigour and preservation. 
Again the vast bloated, pollard, hollow beeches, mentioned 
before, stood on the bare naked end of a chalky promontory 
many of which measured from 20 to 30 feet in circum- 
ference ! they were the admiration of all strangers. How 
has prevailed the notion that all old London was built with 
chestnut ? It is with us now vile timber, porous, shakey, 
and fragile, and only fit for the meanest coopery purposes. 
Yet have I known it smuggled into Portsmouth dock as 
good ship-building oak ! 

The more I observe and take notice of the best oaks now 
remaining in this neighbourhood, the more I am astonished 
at the oak which you planted yourself. For there is a 
most noble tree of that kind near Hartely house, which 
I caused to be measured last week; when behold, at four 
feet above the ground the girth proved to be only 14 feet, 
when yours measured 12 ft. 6 in. ! Why this fine shafted 
tree, with it's majestic head escaped the axe thirty years ago, 
when Sir Simeon Stuart felled all its contemporaries, I 
cannot pretend to say. If you ever happen to see the 
Hamadryad of your favourite Oak, pray give my respects 
to her. She must be a fine venerable old lady. For a 
diverting story respecting an Hamadryad, see the * Spectator,' 
vol. viii., p. 128. 

Behind my house I have got an outlet of seven acres 
laid out in walks by my father. As the soil is strong, the 
hedges, which are cut-up, are prodigious. The maples about 
35 feet in height, and the hasles, and whitethorns 20, which, 
when feathered to the ground, were beautiful : but they now, 


being 50 years old, have rather over-stood their time ; and 
besides, the severity of December, 1784, has occasioned 
irreparable damages among the branches. Thus much for 
trees. Lord Stawell has lately sent me such a bird, sprung 
and shot in his coverts, as I never saw before, or shall again. 
I pronounced it to be a mule, bred between a cock pheasant, 
and a pea-hen. 

You say wood-cocks in their passage strike against light- 
houses on your coast : a gentleman tells me, that at Penzance 
sea-fowls frequently dash in the night against windows 
where they see a light. My well is 63 feet in depth ; yet 
in very dry seasons, as last autumn, it is nearly exhausted : 
yet you would be surprised to see how few inches of rain 
falling will replenish it again. How do rains insinuate 
themselves to such depths ? The rains this winter have been 
prodigious! In November last 7 inches; in December 
6 inches. The whole rain at Selborne in 1790 was 32 
inches. Sure such thunder, and lightning and winds have 
never fallen out within your observation in one winter! 
Had I known You 30 years ago, I should have been much 
pleased ; because I would have gone to have seen you ; and 
perhaps You might have been prevailed on, when all our 
timber was standing, to have returned the visit. In the 
year 1746 I lived for six months at Thorney in the Isle 
of Ely, to settle an executorship, and dispose of live stock : 
there I lost nine oxen by their eating yew, as mentioned 
in my book. I hope you will write not long hence. With 
the truest respect and esteem I remain. 

Your most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

The dark butterfly which you saw was the papilio urticce : 
it is often more early than the yellow papilio rhamni. 
At this moment the Barometer stands somewhat below 
28*5 in. ; the rain this day has been very great from 
the S.E.! 


To B. Marsham. 

Selborne, Feb. 25th, 1791. 

Dear Sir, — It was elegantly remarked on our common 
friend, and my quondam neighbour Doctor Stephen Hales, 
by one who has written his character in Latin, that — 
" scientiam philosophicam usibus humanis famulari jussit." 
The observation was just, and the assertion no inconsiderable 
compliment : for undoubtedly speculative enquiries can bear 
no competition with practical ones, where the latter profess 
never to lose sight of utility. 

As I perceive You loved the good old man, I do not know 
how I can amuse You better than by sending you the follow- 
ing anecdotes respecting him, some of which may not have 
fallen within your observation. His attention to the inside 
of Ladies' tea-kettles, to observe how far they were incrusted 
with stone (to;phus lehetinus Linnsei) that from thence he 
might judge of the salubrity of the water of their wells — 
his advising water to be showered down suspicious wells 
from the nozle of a garden watering-pot in order to dis- 
charge damps, before men ventured to descend ; his directing 
air-holes to be left in the out-walls of ground-rooms, to 
prevent the rotting of floors and joists; his earnest dis- 
suasive to young people, not to drink their tea scalding hot ; 
his advice to water-men at a ferry, how they might best 
preserve and keep sound the bottoms or floors of their 
boats ; his teaching the house-wife to place an inverted tea- 
cup at the bottom of her pies and tarts to prevent the 
syrop from boiling over, and to preserve the juice; his 
many though unsuccessful attempts to find an adequate 
succedaneum for yeast or barm, so difficult to be procured 
in severe winters, and in many lonely situations; his 
endeavour to destroy insects on wall fruit-trees by quick- 
silver poured into holes bored in their stems; and his 
experiments to dissolve the stone in human bodies, by, as 


I think, the juice of onions; — are a few, among many, of 
those benevolent and useful pursuits on which his mind was 
constantly bent. Though a man of a Baronet's family, and 
of one of the best houses in Kent, yet was his humility 
so prevalent, that he did not disdain the lowest offices, pro- 
vided they tended to the good of his fellow creatures. The 
last act of benevolence in which I saw him employed was, 
at his rectory of Faringdon, the next parish to this, where 
I found him in the street with his paint-pot before him, and 
much busied in painting white, with his own hands, the tops 
of the foot-path posts, that his neighbours might not be 
injured by running against them in the dark. His whole 
mind seemed replete with experiment, which of course gave 
a tincture, and turn to his conversation, often somewhat 
peculiar, but always interesting. He used to lament to my 
Father, how tedious a task it was to convince men, that 
sweet air was better than foul, alluding to his ventilators : 
and once told him, with some degree of emotion, that the 
first time he went on board a ship in harbour at Portsmouth, 
the officers were rude to him ; and that he verily believed he 
should never have prevailed to have seen his ventilators in use 
in the royal navy, had not Lord Sandwich, then first Lord of 
the Admiralty, abetted his pursuits in a liberal manner, and 
sent him down to the Commissioners of the dock with 
letters of recommendation. It should not be forgotten that 
our friend, under the patronage of Sir Joseph Jekyll, was 
instrumental in procuring the Gin-act, and stopping that 
profusion of spirituous liquors which threatened to ruin the 
morals and constitutions of our common people at once. 
He used to say, that the hogs of distillers were more brutal 
than the hogs of other men; and that, when drunk, they 
used to bite pieces out of each other's backs and sides! 
With due respects I remain 

Your most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 


I did myself the honour of writing to you very lately 
about trees, and other matters. This winter continues wet 
and mild : wet springs are bad for Selborne. My crocus's 
make a fine show. 

During the spring and early summer of this year 
many relations were entertained at Selborne. On 
June 23rd their host visited Mr. Edmund Woods 
at Godalming ; and records that he "went to see 
the village of Compton, where my father lived more 
than sixty years ago, and where seven of his children 
were born. The people of the village remember 
nothing of our family." The 7th of July found him 
at South Lambeth, when he noted the contents of 
"a fruit-shop near S. James," viz. "black cluster 
grapes, pine apples, nectarines, and Orleans plums." 

" July 12th. On this day my Bro. Benjn. White began to 
rebuild his house in Fleet Street, which he had entirely pulled 
to the ground. His grandson, Ben. White, laid the 1st brick 
of the new foundation, and then presented the workmen with 
five shillings for drink. Ben., who is 5 years old, may prob- 
ably remember the circumstance hereafter, and may be able 
to recite to his grandchildren the occurrences of the day." 

So man proposes. This Benjamin White died 
young, and the publishing business did not remain 
long in the White family. 

The following letter affords the first evidence of 
the writer's really serious illness : — 


1791 HIS ILLNESS 233 

To Benjn. White. Selborne, July 23rd, 1791. 

Dear Brother, — It is full time to make our proper acknow- 
ledgements for all your favours, and good offices which we 
experienced at your house for so long a time ; and especially 
as we are assured that you will be pleased to hear that we 
got safe to our journey's end. My gravel, I thank God, 
did not return in consequence of my journey, and my 
feverish disorder has partly left me : so that I hope to have, 
for a time, a respite from my sufferings. The showers of 
Monday 18th availed us as far as Wimbledon-common ; but 
afterwards the dust became very troublesome. When we 
came to this place we found that this hill-country had lately 
enjoyed many refreshing showers ; and that the gardens and 
fields were much benefited thereby ; though the former 
months had been so very hot and dry, that at an average 
the farmers did not get more than half a crop of hay. I 
am ashamed to tell you what a blunder I made at Cobham 
by paying the Clapham driver four shillings more than his 
due. This fellow pothered me, by insisting that his master 
was to have ISs. instead of 17s. and would have pers waded 
me that I always paid 18s. from Cobham to S. Lambeth. 
At length I laid down a guinea, and reckoning from 17s. 
paid him five more to make 22s., which was due for the 
journey, and his attendance the Friday before. So that 
I paid him 26s. instead of 22s. ; besides two shillings which 
I gave him as driver. The money that I paid him was one 
guinea and two half-crowns, as he must well remember. Of 
this mistake I was not conscious till we were some way out 
of Cobham. 

Mrs. Edmund White has advanced my nephews and nieces 
to the number of 58. 

y obliged and affectionate brother. 

Wheat looks well, and the Hops at this place are in a 
promising way. I return Mr. B. White many thanks for 
his letter of July 21st. 


From the Naturalist's Journal — 

"[1791] July 30." [Mrs.] Ben. White writes that "my 
father shot in his own garden at S. Lambeth a Loxia 
mrvirostra, or Crossbill, as it was feeding on the cones of 
his Scotch firs. There were six, four cocks and two hens." 

To B. White, senr. Selborne, Dec. 8, 1791. 

Dear Brother, — I am to thank you for the tin gutter 
stove pipe &c. which seem to have come safe : but I have 
as yet employed no workman to put them up, or examine 

Be pleased to show this to my nephew Ben. White and he 
will be so kind as to repay you £1 12s. Od laid out for the 
spouts above mentioned which, I trust, will save my front 
wall. I have half a mind to build me a good light closet 
to my bedchamber and under it a kind of pantry, and store 
room for the kitchen ; both of which would much improve 
my house : but whether at my time of life I shall have 
resolution to set about such a jobb, I much doubt. 

D"^ Chandler talks, some times, as if he should not con- 
tinue a great while longer at this place; now should he 
remove some time hence, you might, I should suppose, have 
the choice of a roomy old house and some acres of land, 
where you might amuse yourself till something better 
offered. You would then become our neighbour indeed. 

You have, I find, paid the eight guineas for the mare, 
which will, I hope, prove a good bargain, and perform a 
good deal of moderate work. Poor Marlow was buried 
this evening: Tanner still keeps in bed. 

We are glad to hear that your house in town goes on 
so well. The boys are well. 

Mrs. J. White joins in respects. 

Y"^ loving brother, 

Gil. White. 


Eain in Oct. 6.49 : in JSTovr. 8.16 ! From the 13th of 
Novr. to the 19th both inclusive, viz. in one week, the rain 
was 5.10 ! ! There was thunder two nights. I have just 
fixed a white cross, and capped the Hermitage with a new 
coat of thatch, so that to us below it becomes a very- 
picturesque object. Hale's eldest daughter has eloped from 
her wretched husband ; and went, it is said, with a married 
man, who has children grown men and women. 

The Hermitage mentioned in the last letter was, 
no doubt, the new Hermitage, situated close to the 
Bostal, immediately opposite Gilbert White's house. 
A small, but yet perfect, zigzag path through the trees 
leads up to where it stood from a wicket gate in the 
little park, which looks as though it might have 
existed in the Naturalist's time. 

To R. Marsham. Selborne, near Alton, 

Deer. 19, 1791. 

Dear Sir, — Your letter,* which met me so punctually in 
London, was so intelligent, and so entertaining, as to have 
merited a better treatment, and not to have been permitted 
to have lain so long unnoticed ! 

That there is no rule without an exception is an observa- 
tion that holds good in Natural History: for though you 
and I have often remarked that Swifts leave us in general 
by the first week in August : yet I see by my journal of this 
year, that a relation of mine had under the eaves of his 
dwelling house in a nest a young squab swift, which the 
dam attended with great assiduity till September 6th, and 

* Of July 8th, 1791. It commences, "My thanks are greatly due to you 
for the favour of your pleasing letter of the 8th of June." This letter is 
unfortunately missing, though possibly it still exists in some collection of 


on October 22nd, I discovered here at Selborne three young 
martins in a nest, which the dams fed and attended with 
great affection on to November 1st, a severe frosty day; 
when they disappeared; and one was found dead in a 
neighbour's garden. The middle of last September was 
a sweet season ! during this lovely weather the congregating 
flocks of house martins on the Church and tower were very 
beautiful and amusing! When they flew off all together 
from the roof, on any alarm, they quite swarmed in the air. 
But they soon settled again in heaps on the shingles ; where 
preening their feathers, and lifting up their wings to admit 
the rays of the sun, they seemed highly to enjoy the warm 
situation. Thus did they spend the heat of the day, pre- 
paring for their Migration, and as it were consulting when 
and where they are to go! The flight about the church 
consisted chiefly of house martins, about 400 in number: 
but there were other places of rendezvous about the village, 
frequented at the same time. The swallows seem to delight 
more in holding their assemblies on trees. Such sights 
as these fill me with enthusiasm ! and make me cry out 

" Amusive birds ! say where your hid retreat, 
When the frost rages, and the tempests beat ! "* 

We have very great oaks here also on absolute sand. 
For over Wolmer forest, at Bramshot place where I visit, 
I measured last summer three great hollow oaks, which 
made a very grotesque appearance at the entrance of the 
avenue, and found the largest 21 feet in girth at five feet 
from the ground. The largest Sycamore in my friend's 
court measures 13 feet. His edible chestnuts grow amazingly, 
but make (for some have been felled) vile shaky, cupshaky 
timber. I think the oak on sands is shaky, as it is also 

* A quotation from 'The Naturalist's Summer Evening Walk,' appended 
to Letter XXIV. to Pennant. 


on our rocks, as I know by sad experience the last time 
I built. The indented oaken leaf which you gathered 
between Rome and Naples was the quercus cerris of Linnaeus. 
The yellow oak which you saw in Sussex escaped my notice. 

Richard Muliman Trench Chiswell, Esq., of Portland 
Place, and M.P., tells a friend of mine in town that he 
has an Mm in Essex for which he has been bid £100. It 
is long enough, he says, to make a keel ungrafted for a 
man-of-war of the largest dimensions. As he expressed 
a desire of corresponding with me, I have written to him, 
and desired some particulars respecting this amazing tree. 

You seem to wonder that Willughby should not be aware 
that the Fern-owl is a summer bird of passage. But you 
must remember that those excellent men, Willughby and 
Ray wrote when the ornithology of England, and indeed the 
Natural History, was quite in its infancy. But their efiforts 
were prodigious ; and indeed they were the Fathers of that 
delightful study in this kingdom. I have thoughts of send- 
ing a paper to the R. S. respecting the fern-owl ; and seem 
to think that I can advance some particulars concerning 
that peculiar migratory, nocturnal bird, that have never 
been noticed before. The rain of October last was great, 
but of November still more. The former month produced 
6 in. 49 hund., but the latter upwards of 8 in. : five and J of 
which fell in one week, viz. from Nov. 13th to the 19th both 
inclusive ! You will, I hope, pardon my neglect, and write 
soon. 0, that I had known you forty years ago ! 

I remain, with great esteem, 

Your most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

My tortoise was very backward this year in preparing 
his Hybernaculum ; and did not retire till towards the 
beginning of December. The late great snow hardly reached 
us, and was gone at once. 



Mr. Churton arrived on December 23rd to spend 
his usual Christmas visit at Selborne, leaving again 
early in January. 

ry narker. 

Feb. 18th, 1792 

Kain at Selborne 

in 1791. 


. 673 


. 464 


. 159 


. 113 


. 133 


. 91 


. 556 


. 173 


. 173 


. 649 


. 816 


. 493 


Dear Niece, — I herewith send you an account of the last 
year's rain, which was very great, and in particular in 
November, when there fell from the 13th to the 19th both 
inclusive about 510. We were surprized to hear of the vast 
snows, and severe weather that you experienced in December 
because all the while we had little snow, and no frost of 
any continuance. We condole with you on the loss of old 
Mrs. Barker ; who yet seems to have been a happy woman : 
for after a blameless life, spent in affluence and comfort 
among affectionate relations, she departed this life in peace 
at the good old age of 90 and upwards. I have disposed 
of your mother's guinea with much satisfaction among such 
old people as seemed to want it most. Old Dewye, and 
wife, are alive, but almost childish ; and old Geo. Tanner ; 


but he has been confined to his bed for three months. 

Charles Etty did not come home in his own ship (in which 

he went out second mate) because it was said that he broke 

his leg at Madras the very evening before the ship was to 

have sailed. Poor dear Caroline Bingham was a most 

amiable girl and a fine figure: but she dyed suddenly as 

soon as she left this place, to the great sorrow of her 

parents ! they have several more children. D' Chandler 

is in London settling the concerns of his brother; he was 

a clergyman in Surrey, and has left a daughter grown-up. 

Mrs. Chandler looks a little as if she was intending to 

encrease her family not long hence. The death of my good 

friend Mr. Mulso is a sad loss to his children : where his 

daughters are to live we have not heard. My brother 

Benjamin, we hear, begins to think seriously of relinquishing 

his business to his sons ; and meditates a retreat into Hants 

for the remainder of his life, intending to leave S. Lambeth. 

Perhaps he may settle at Marelands, a beautiful seat between 

Alton and Farnham, late the residence of Mr. Sainesbury, 

Uncle to Mrs. Edmund White, and Agent to Lord Stawell, 

L^ Salisbury, the Marquis of Downshire, &c., &c. This 

gentleman dropped suddenly out of his chair, and was dead 

in a moment, on the eve of his birthday, while his wife was 

preparing an elegant entertainment for his friends the day 

following. Mr. S. was a man of an excellent character, and 

beloved by every body. Mr. Clement, very fortunately, is 

to succeed his friend in his agencies for Lord Stawell and 

Mrs. Beckford: these employs will make a very handsome 

addition to Mr. Clement's income, and will give him credit 

and reputation in this neighbourhood. Mrs. J. White desires 

to join in best respects to all your family, and to friends at 

Whitwell and Stamford. 

I remain 

Y"^ loving uncle, 

Gil. White. 


We have enjoyed lately sweet summer weather : but last 
night a most severe frost came on, with snow, and Thermo- 
meter at 21° ! Newton friends lay here last night. 

Marelands house and farm belong to L*^ Stawell. 

To B, Marsham. Selborne, Mar. 20th, 1792. 

Dear Sir, — Yon, in a mild way, complain a little of 
Procrastmation : but I, who have suffered all my life long 
by that evil power, call her the Dcemon of Procrastination ; 
and wish that Fuseli, the grotesque painter in London, 
who excells in drawing witches, daemons, incubus's, and 
incantations, was employed in delineating this ugly hag, 
which fascinates in some measure the most determined and 
resolute of men. 

You do not, I find, seem to assent to my story respecting 
Mr. Chiswell's elm. There may be probably some mis- 
apprehension on my side. I will therefore allow Mr. Ch. 
that privilege which every Englishman demands as his 
right, the liberty of speaking for himself. "In regard to 
my tree," says he, " it is a Wych Mm, perfectly strait, and 
fit for the keel of the largest man of war. The purveyor 
of the navy offered my late Uncle £50 for it, although 
it would have cost as much more to have conveyed it to 
Portsmouth; and he would have run all risque of sound- 
ness. It grows about eleven miles from Safron Walden, in 
a deep soil, and near 30 from Cambridge, the nearest place 
for water-carriage. I will measure it next summer." He 
adds, " I have been, and am a considerable planter ; and 
have been honoured with three gold medals from the Society 
of Arts," &c. Thus far Mr. Ch. 

As I begin to look upon You as a Selborne man, at least as 
one somewhat interested in the concerns of this place ; I wish 
that you could see * The sixth Report of the Commissioners 
appointed to enquire into the state, and condition of the 
Woods, Forests, &c. of the Crown,' &c. This Report was 


printed February, 1790; though never published: but dis- 
tributed among the members of the house of commons from 
some of whom you may borrow it, as I have done. This 
curious survey will inform you, from the best authority, 
of all the circumstances respecting the advantages, usages, 
abuses, &c. of our Forest of Alice Holt, and Wolmer. Here 
you will see, that the Forest now consists of 8,694 acres, 
107 of which are in ponds; that the present timber is 
estimated at £60,000 ; that it is almost all of a size, and 
about 100 years old; that it is shamefully abused by the 
neighbouring poor, who lop it, and top it as they please ; 
that there is no succession because all the bushes are 
destroyed by the commoners around ; that your old favourite 
Oak, the Grindstone Oak, is estimated at 27 loads of timber ; 
that the peat cut in Wolmer is prodigious ; in the year 1788 
in one walk 942 loads ; and in another walk the same year 
423 loads, besides heath and fern; and in the same year 
935,000 turves; &c. &c. &c. Lord Stawell is the Lieu- 
tenant, or Grantee, whose lease expires in 1811, as I have 
said in my book. That Nobleman did me the honour to 
call on me a morning or two ago, and sat with me two 
hours: he brought me a white wood cock, milk white all 
over except a few spots. 

My friend at Bramshot place,* where I measured the 
great pollard oaks, and Sycamore last summer, has got 
a great range of chestnut-paling ; I shall tell him what 
Mr. Kent says respecting timber of that sort. The rain 
with us in 1791 was 44 in. 93 hund. : upwards of 8 inches 
of which fell in November ! the rain of the present year has 
been considerable. Our indications of spring this year are 
thus: Jan. 19 winter-aconite blows: Jan. 21 Hepaticas blow. 
Jan. 29. snowdrop blows : 31 Hasels : Feb. 4 Crocus b. 13. 
hrimstone hutterfly ; 21. yellow wagtail appears. 26. Humlle 

* Near Liphook. The friend was a Mr. Kichardson, whom he sometimes 
visited for a day or two. 
VOL. II. — R 


hee: March 16. daffodil blows, and Apricot: 19. peaches, and 
nectarines. I have read BosweWs Johnson with pleasure. 
As to Bishop Home I knew him well for near 40 years : he 
has often been at my House. Stillingfleet, I see, wrote his 
Calendar of Flora at your house : He speaks in high terms 
of the hospitable treatment that he experienced at Stratton. 

Wonderful is the regularity observed by nature ! I have 
often remarked that the smallest willow wren (see my Book), 
called here the Chif-chaf from its two loud sharp notes, is 
always the ^rs^ spring bird of passage, and that it is heard 
usually on March 20 : when behold, as I was writing this 
very page, my servant looked in at the parlour door, and 
said that a neighbour had heard the Chif-chaf this morning!! 
These are incidents that must make the most indifferent look 
on the works of the Creation with wonder ! 

My old tortoise lies under my laurel hedge, and seems as 
yet to be sunk in profound slumbers. You surprise me, 
when You mention your age : your neat hand, and accurate 
language would make one suppose you were not 50. 

I remain, with true esteem, 

Y"* most obliged servant, 

Gil. White. 

When Mr. Townsend avers that the Nightingales at Valez 
sing the winter through, I should conclude that he took 
up that notion on meer report; because I had a brother 
who lived 18 years at Gibraltar, and who has written an 
accurate Nat. Hist, of that rock, and its environs. Now 
he says, that Nightingales leave Andalusia as regularly 
towards autumn as other Summer birds of passage, A pair 
always breeds in the Governor's garden at the Convent. 
This History has never been published, and probably now 
never will, because the poor author has been dead some 
years. There is in his journal such ocular demonstration 
of swallow emigration to and from Barbary at Spring, and 



fall, as, I know, would delight you much. There is an 
Hirundo hiherna, that comes to Gibraltar in October and 
departs in March ; and abounds in and about the garrison 
the winter thro'. 

On April 4tli Gilbert White went to Oxford. All his 
life he had had little reason to complain of his health, 
which appears to have been excellent ; and there is 
nothing to show that he had any reason to suppose 
that, when he returned to Selborne on April 17th, he 
had said good-bye to the common-room at Oriel for 
the last time. Such was, however, the case, since in 
the following spring he was not well enough to leave 
home for Oxford. 

In May, 1792, he received a visit from his niece, 
Mrs. B. White, junr., and her son Tom, and in July 
the Provost of Oriel and Mrs. Eveleigh came. 
Mr. Churton came again at this time. 

To R Marsham. Selborne, Augst. 7, 1792. 

Dear Sir, — While all the young people of this neighbour- 
hood are gone madding this morning to the great last day's 
review at Bagshot ; I am sitting soberly down to write to 
my friend in Norfolk ; almost forgetting, now I am old, the 
impulse that young men feel to run after new sights ; and 
that I myself, in the year 1756, set-off with a party at two 
o' the clock in the morning to see the Hessian troops re- 
viewed on a down near Winchester.* While I was writing 
the sentence above, my servant, and some neighbours came 
down from the hill, and told me that they could not only 
hear the discharges of the ordnance and small arms, and see 

• This journey was made on October 5tli and 6th, 1756, with his brother 


the volumes of smoke from the guns; but that they could 
also, they thought, smell the scent of the gun-powder, the 
wind being N.E. and blowing directly from the scene of 
action at Wickham bushes, tho' they are in a direct line 
more than twenty miles from hence. 

As I had written to you as long ago as March, I began 
to fear that our correspondence was interrupted by indis- 
position; when your agreeable letter of July 14th came in, 
and relieved me from my suspense. You do me much 
honour by calling one of your beeches after my name. 
Linnaeus himself was complimented with the Linncea 
horealis by one of his friends, a mean, trailing, humble 
plant, growing in the steril, mossy, shady wilds of Siberia, 
Sweden, and Russia ; while I am dignified by the title of 
a stately Beech, the most beautiful, and ornamental of all 
forest trees. The reason, I should suppose, why your trees 
have not encreased in growth, and girth this summer is the 
want of heat to expand them. I have not this year mea- 
sured my firs in circumference, but they have, I see, many 
of them, made surprising leading shoots. My account of 
the Fern-owl, or Eve-jarr was prevented by Madam Pro- 
crastination, who, a jade, lulled me in security all the spring, 
and told me I had time enough, and to spare, till at last 
I found that the R. S. meetings were prorogued till the 
autumn ; against which I hope to be ready : and as I have 
got my materials, trust that when I do set about the 
business "verba baud invista sequentur." By all means 
get a sight of the sixth Beport of the Commissioners, &c., 
it will entertain you, and furnish you with much matter, 
and many anecdotes respecting Selborne, of which I could 
have availed myself greatly had they been printed before 
I published my work. My book is gone to Madras, and 
several to France, and one to Switzerland, and one copy 
is going to China with Lord Macartney : but whether some 
Mandareen will read it, I know not. We have a young 


gentleman here now on a visit, the son of our late Vicar 
Etty, who assures me, that at Canton he has seen the 
Chinese reading English books; and has heard them con- 
verse sensibly on the manners, and police of this kingdom. 
The Chif-Chaf of this village is the smallest willow-wren 
of my History. Once I had a spaniel that was pupped 
in a rabbit burrough on the verge of Wolmer forest. 
Though I have long ceased to be a sportsman, yet I still 
love a dog; and am attended daily by a beautiful spaniel 
with long ears, and a spotted nose and legs, who amuses 
me in my walks by sometimes springing a pheasant, or 
partridge, and seldom by flushing a woodcock, of late 
become with us a very rare bird. Remember the story 
of Pylades and Orestes ; and do not say that exalted friend- 
ship never existed among men.* Chif-Chaf, the first bird 
of passage, was heard here March 20th : Swallow was seen 
March 26th: Nightingale^ and Cuckoo April 9fch: House- 
martins April 12th : Bedstart April 19th : Swift April 14th : 
Fern-owl heard May 19th: Fly-caicher, the latest summer 
bird, May 20th. We have experienced a very black wet 
summer, and solstice ; but none of those floods and devasta- 
tions mentioned in the newspapers ! Indeed we know no 
floods here, but frequent rains. Yet in warm summers we 
have as fine melons, and grapes, and wall-fruit as I have 
ever seen. July at an average produces the most rain of 
any English month. This last measured 5 in. and 15 h. 
Pray, good Sir, procure better ink; your's is so pale, that 
it often renders your neat hand scarcely legible ! I am now 
offering my intelligent young neighbours sixpence for every 
authentic anecdote that they can bring me respecting Fern- 
owls, and will give you the same sum for the same informa- 
tion. As I was coming over our down after sun-set lately, 
a cock bird amused us much by flying round and settling 

* In his last letter Marsham had told a touching story of the affection of 
one dog for another. 


often on the turf. As he passed us, he often gave a short 
squeak, or rather whistle. We were near his nest. These, 
like other birds of passage, frequent the same spots. There 
are always three pairs on our hill every year. Did you 
know Sir John Cullum of your part of the world ? He was 
an agreeable, worthy man, and a good antiquary. I was 
also well acquainted with your late good Bishop Home : he 
has often been at my house. I concur with you most 
heartily in your admiration of the harmony and beauty 
of the works of the creation ! Physico-theology is a noble 
study, worthy the attention of the wisest man ! Pray write. 
Our swifts have behaved strangely this summer: for the 
most part there were but three round the church, except 
now and then of a fine evening, when there were 13. They 
seem to be all gone. House-martins leave Gibraltar by the 
end of July. I conclude with all due regard. 

Y"^ Humble Servant, 

Gil. WHiTE||t 

To R. Marsham. ^. 

Selborne, November 3, 1792. 

Dear Sir, — An extract from the Natural History of 
Gibraltar by the late Eeverend John White. 

"In the first year of my residence at Gibraltar which 
was 1756, it appeared extraordinary to me to see birds of 
the Swallow kind very frequent in the streets all the winter 
through. Upon enquiry I was told that they were Bank 
Martins : and having at that time been but little conversant 
in Natural History, they passed with me as such for some 
years without any farther regard. At length, when I had 
taken a more attentive survey of the physical productions 
of this climate, I soon discovered these birds to be none of 
the common British species described by authors ; and I 
farther found that they were never seen in Gibraltar through 
the whole course of the summer, but constantly and in- 


variably made their first appearance about the 18th and 
20th, and once as early as the 12th of October and remained 
in great abundance until the beginning of March. 

"These phaenomena awakened and alarmed my curiosity 
as events entirely new and unheard of among the body of 
Ornithologists, and induced me to be particularly exact and 
attentive in my observations on every part of their conduct. 
Early in the autumn vast multitudes of these martins con- 
gregate in all parts of the town of Castillar, which is situate 
on the summit of a precipice most singularly lofty and 
romantic, about 20 miles north of Gibraltar. Hence it may 
be inferred that they build and breed on the inland moun- 
tains of Andalusia and Grenada. But on the approach of 
winter, when their summer habitations become bleak and 
inhospitable, (for all those mountains are then usually 
covered with snow) they retreat to these warm shores, and 
remain there till the snow is gone next spring. A few are 
always to be seen about our hill by the middle of October 
shifting round to all sides of the rock at times to avoid the 
wind. November 2nd, 1771, 1 saw several, with some young 
ones among them sitting in groupes, on the cliffs, where the 
old ones came and fed them." 

Thus have I, for your amusement, according to promise, 
sent you an extract concerning this new, and unnoticed 
swallow, which my Brother, with great propriety, in his 
work has called Hirundo hyen^alis\ and has given several 
particulars concerning it, and a description of it, too long 
for the compass of a letter. 

Permit me just to hint to you, that I wrote to you some 
time ago in answer to your last letter, which gave me much 

I forgot to mention in the extract, that these winter 
Swallows usually leave Gibraltar about the beginning of 
March, unless deep snows (as is sometimes the case, and 
was particularly so in 1770 and 1772) fall in Spain about 


that time; and then they linger there till the latter end 
of the month. 

Surely my dear Sir, we live in a very eventful time, that 
must cut-out much work for Historians and Biographers! 
but whether all these strange commotions will turn out to 
the benefit or disadvantage of old England, God only knows ! 
We have experienced a sad spring, summer, and autumn: 
and now the fallows are so wet, and the land-springs break 
forth so frequently, that men cannot sow their wheat in any 
comfort. Our barley is much damaged; and malt will be 

Have you read Mr. Arthur Young's 'Travels through 
France ' ? He says (p. 543), when speaking of the French 
clergy — " One did not find among them poachers, or fox- 
hunters who having spent the morning in scampering after 
hounds, dedicate the evening to the bottle, and reel from 
inebriety to the pulpit." Now, pray, who is Mr. Young ; is 
he a man of fortune, or one that writes for a livelihood? 
He seems to reside in Suffolk, near Bury St. Edmund ; so 
probably you can tell me somewhat about him. 

Pray do wood-peckers ever damage, and bore your timber- 
trees ? not those, I imagine, of your own planting, but 
only those that are tending to decay. I had a brood this 
year in my outlet hatched, I suspect, in the bodies of some 
old willows. My dissertation on the Caprimidgus is almost 

I remain, with all due respect, and esteem. 

Your most obedient and obliged servant, 

Gil. White. 

On November 10th Benjamin White quitted South 
Lambeth, and came to reside at his house Mareland, 
near Farnham. 


To the Bev. E. Churton. 

Selborne, Nov. 15, 1792. 

Dear Sir, — As your own account of the bad state of your 
health, written to D"^ Chandler, gave us much concern, so in 
proportion your late cheerful letter to Mrs. Chandler afforded 
us no small satisfaction. I sit down now to invite you 
to spend part of your Xtmass holidays with us. But as 
your usual time of vacation, when divided into two parts, 
will be little or nothing, we hope you will be able to extend 
your furlow. You have of late years paid me a compliment 
for varying my phrases of invitation ; but all those terms of 
words are exhausted, and I have now nothing left but the 
plain, honest assertion of wishing to see you, as often and 
as long as you can make it agreeable and convenient to 

I return you my best thanks for your quotation from 
Aristotle, of which I hope to avail myself soon; and for 
a correct copy of the inscription on the tomb of the great 
Mr. Ray. It is pleasant to hear that friends to Genius are 
still to be found, who, at periods, are ready to repair and 
beautify the monument of departed worth, nor suffering 
it to be effaced with weeds and filth. However his works 
will be, as the inscription says, the most lasting monument 
of his fame. Every time you come, I have been provided 
with a new book for your inspection. In some respects you 
will think Mr. Arthur Young^s 'Journey in France' repre- 
hensible; and will not always subscribe to his politics. 
However the writer is a man of observation, and has a 
curious chapter on Climate. In three summers he threaded 
every corner of that vast kingdom, and made an excursion 
through the Pyrenees to Barcelona, and another over the 
Alps and Apennine to Turin, Venice, Florence, &c. Mr. 
Young, I fear, is no friend to us parsons. Mr. Marsham has 
just sent me a long letter; but he complains of infirmities. 


Mrs. J. White joins in good wishes ; and desires respects to 
the Provost, when you see him; and to the Cox family, 
D'^ Nowel, &c. &c. With all due regard I remain, 

Yours affectionately, 

Gil. White. 

Take care of your health, and don't study too hard. 
When the shell of your House is compleat, insure it. 
A friend of mine at Salisbury has just had a house, not 
quite finished, burnt to the ground. It was to have cost 
£4,000 ! 

To E. Marsham, Selborne, Novr. 20, 1792. 

Dear Sir, — Our last two letters seem as if they had 
crossed each other on the road ; but whether they conversed 
when they met does not appear. 

If you have got the Certhia muraria, or true WalUcreeper, 
you are in possession of a very rare and curious bird. For 
in all my researches here at home for 50 years past, and in 
all the vast collections that I have seen in London I have 
never met with it. No wonder that the great Mr. Willughby 
is not very copious on the subject, for he acknowledges fairly 
that he had not seen it; though he supposes it may be 
found in this island. The best person I can refer you to is, 
D"" John Antony Scopoli, a modern, elegant, foreign Natural- 
ist, born in the Tyrol, but late deceased in Pavia, where he 
was professor of Botany. This curious, and accurate writer 
was in possession of one in his own Museum, and gives the 
following description of his specimen in his 'Annus primus 
historico-naturalis' : "that its bill is somewhat longer than 
its shanks, slender, and somewhat bent ; that the tongue 
is bifid; and the feet consisting of three toes forward and 
one behind." Again he adds, "that the upper part is 
cinerous, the throat whitish; the abdomen, wings in part, 
tail and feet, black : the wings at their base, and the quill 


feathers at their base on one side reddish." " It was taken 
in Carniola." " It is the size of the common Creeper* or 
Certhia familiaris : its nostrils oblong ; tail cinerous at the 
point; the first four quill feathers distinguished on the 
inner side by two white spots." He concludes thus, — 
"Migrat solitario sub finem autumni; turres et muros 
oedium altiorum adit; araneas venatur; saltitando scandit; 
volatu vago et incerto fertur volucris muta." You are sure, 
I trust, that your bird is not the Sitta Europcea, or 

I have written so soon, that you may examine your bird 
well again, before the specimen decays. Your Lady's turkey- 
hen is a most prolific dame ; and must, I think, lay herself 
to death. You persist, very laudably in your curious ex- 
periments on trees. Whenever you recommend my book, 
which begins to be better known, you lay me under fresh 
obligations. I am writing my account of the Fern-owl, and 
endeavouring to vindicate it from the foul imputation of 
being a Cajprimulgiis. My letter will make a fierce appear- 
ance with a quotation from Aristotle, and another from 
Pliny: but whether the R. S. will read it: or whether 
afterwards they will print it, I know not. 

With all good wishes for your health, and prosperity 

Your obliged, & humble servant, 

Gil. White. 

The history of the Fern-owl was, however, never 
completed. Nothing shows the Selborne Naturalist's 
general knowledge of ornithology better than the 
way in which he recognised from description the 
Wall Creeper shot at Stratton, though he had never 
seen the bird. 

* This is a slip of White's pen. Scopoli's words {op. cit., p. 51) are, 
' Statura sittce,' that is, the size of the Nut-hatch, which is nearly true. — A. N. 


To Mrs. Barker. 

Selborne, Jan. 2, 1793. 

Dear Sister, — While Mrs. J. White is employed in knitting, 
and Mr. Churton in reading and writing, I sit down, as 
I have usually done at this season of the year, to send 
Mr. Barker the quantity of rain, and you some account 
of our welfare. Ned White,* you may have heard, is 
settled with a banker in London, where he gives satisfaction, 
and is allowed £50 per ann. Gil. White* has been so 
unfortunate as to lose his Master, an attorney at Bath, by 
death, after he had served 3 years ; and what was worse, the 
man dyed insolvent. By this untoward accident the poor 
young man has been thrown out of employ for three or four 
months: but, by the interest of friends, was reinstated in 
business yesterday with a gentleman at Petersfield,f where 
he is to stay three years more without premium ; but must 
pay for his board. The first premium, £200, is all lost! 
Mr. and Mrs. B. White have lately been with us for a few 
days, and both seemed very well. Poor Nanny Woods's new- 
husband is in a dangerous decline. Much used to be said 
of his bad health for some time past; and therefore it is 
a pity that the match took place ! D"" Chandler keeps 
improving the parsonage-house, and therefore, I conclude, has 

* Sons of Henry White. 

t His uncle Gilbert giving £50 towards this arrangement. 


no thoughts of moving. He has taken off an entry from 
the hall, and has made the rest of that room into a good 
parlor. Much was the damage that we sustained by the 
late sad wet summer and autumn in our hay, our fallows, 
our corn, and our forest fuel, which lies rotting in the moors 
of Wolmer. Our brick-burner, after he had payed duty for 
a large cargo of bricks and tiles, never could get them dry 
enough for burning. My fruit never ripened, and especially 
my grapes. The year 1782, part of which you spent here, 
was some how less distressing, though the rain was then 
upward of 50 in., as you may see by my book. Your grand- 
son, I hope, will thrive, and become as honest and good 
a man as his grandfather and father. Mrs. J. White 

thanks you for late kind present.* add, that 

there is a probability [that her son ?] may soon be married : 

* fortune remain unsettled with the father, 

matters at present remain uncertain. Should this match 
take place, it has the appearance of a very respectable con- 
nection. The family lives near Sarum,-|- and a coach is kept : 
and the lady, it is said, and her sisters are accomplished, and 
musical. Mr. Churton was lately presented by Brazenose 
Coll. to one of their best livings, the rectory of Middleton 
Cheney in Northamptonshire, but near Banbury, which he 
hopes will neat him £400 per ann. He is obliged to rebuild 
part of the house. Mr. Churton joins with us in all the 
good wishes of the season. 

I remain, 

Yours affectionately, 

Gil. White. 

Old G. Tanner is still in bed : yesterday the widow of 
James Carpenter was buried aged 93. I will bestow your 
charity in a proper manner, and return you thanks for it. 

* Letter imperfect. t At Downton. 




To B. Marsham. 

Rain ir 

1 1792. 


Inch. Hund 

6 ... 7 


1 ... 68 


6 ... 70 


4 ... 8 
3 ... 
2 ... 78 



5 ... 16 
4 ... 25 


5 ... 53 

5 .. 55 


1 ... 65 


2 ... 11 



Selborne, Jan. 2, 1793. 

Dear Sir, — My best thanks 
are due for your kind letter of 
December 21st, to which I shall 
pay proper attention presently. 
But I shall first speak of the 
margin of this, which contains 
the rain of last year, which was 
so remarkably wet, that you may 
be perhaps glad to see what pro- 
portion the fall of water bears to 
that of other uncomfortable, un- 
kindly years. The rain in 1782, 
as you see in my book, was 52 
inches ; in 1789, 42 inches ; and 
in 1791, 44 inches : yet these wet seasons had not the bad 
influence of last year, which much injured our harvest; 
damaged our fallows ; prevented the poor from getting their 
peat and turf, which lies rotting in the Forest ; washed and 
soaked my cleft beechen wood, so that it will not burn; it 
prevented our fruits from ripening. The truth is, we have 
had as wet years, but more intervals of warmth and sunshine. 
I am now persuaded that your bird is a great curiosity, 
the very Certhia muralis, or Wall-creeper^ which neither 
Willughby nor Ray ever saw ; nor have I, in 50 years atten- 
tion to the winged creation, ever met with it either wild, or 
among the vast collections that I have examined in London. 
It seems to be a South Europe bird, frequenting towns and 
towers and castles: but has been found, but very seldom 
indeed, in England. So that you will have the satisfaction 
of introducing a new bird of which future Ornithologists 
will say, " found at Stratton in Norfolk by that painful, and 
accurate Naturalist, Robert Marsham, Esq." You observe 
that Scopoli does not take notice that the hind-claw is about 


double the length of the fore-claws: but Linnaeus corrobo- 
rates your remark by saying "Ungues validi, praesertim 
posticus." You seem a little to misunderstand Scopoli re- 
specting the spots on the inner side of the quill feathers: 
by the inner side he does not mean the under side of the 
wing next the body ; but only the inner or broader web of 
the quills, on which those remarkable spots are found, as 
appear by the drawing. I am much delighted with the 
exact copies sent me in the frank, and so charmingly 
executed by the fair unknown, whose soft hand has directed 
her pencil in a most elegant manner, and given the speci- 
mens a truly delicate, and feathery appearance. Had she 
condescended to have drawn the whole bird, I should have 
been doubly gratified ! It is natural to young ladies to wish 
to captivate men : but she will smile to find that her present 
conquest is a very old man. 

My best thanks are due for all your good offices respecting 
my work, and in particular for your late recommendation to 
the Duke of Portland. 

You did not in your last, take any notice of my enquiries 
concerning wood-pecherSy whether they ever pierce a sound 
tree, or only those that are tending to decay. I have 
observed that with us they love to bore the edible chest- 
nuts ; perhaps because the wood is softer than that of oak. 
They breed in my outlet, I think in old willows. You have 
not told me anything about Arthur Young. You cannot 
abhor the dangerous doctrines of levellers and republicans 
more than I do ! I was born and bred a Gentleman, and 
hope I shall be allowed to die such. The reason you have 
so many bad neighbours is your nearness to a great factious 
manufacturing town. Our common people are more simple- 
minded and know nothing of Jacobin clubs. 

I admire your fortitude, and resolution ; and wonder that 
you have the spirit to engage in new woods, and plantations ! 
Our winter, as yet, has been mild, and open, and favourable 


to your pursuits. Pray present my respects to your Lady, 
and desire her to accept of my best wishes, and all the com- 
pliments of the season, jointly with yourself. I have now 
squirrels in my outlet ; but if the wicked boys should hear 
of them, they will worry them to death. There is too 
strong a propensity in human nature towards persecuting 

and destroying ! 

I remain, with much esteem, 

Yours, &c., Gil. White. 
To the Bev. B. Churton. 

[Endorsed by Mr. Churton, " The last from my dear Friend."] 

Selborne, Jan. 26, 1793. 

Dear Sir, — Had you staid only one day longer with us, 
you would have seen J. White* and his bride, late Miss 
Louisa Neave, who, having been married at Downton near 
Sarum by Mr. Lear, set off immediately for this place. We 
have good reason to be pleased with our new relation, who 
is sensible, intelligent, and in her carriage much of a gentle- 
woman. She is a nice needlewoman and also a proficient in 
music, and can shoulder a violin, out of which she brings a 
good tone, but could find no one to accompany her. Though 
her husband is in stature one of the sons of Anak, yet he 
has made choice of a little wife, who, we all agree, in her 
profile resembles Miss Reb. Chace, but exceeds her in her 
make and turn of person. 

I am much obliged to you for the Latin translation of the 
Caprimulgus^ which will be useful, but have lost my advocate 

* The reader may perhaps care to learn something of the later career of 
Gilbert White's nephew and former pupil, " Gibraltar Jack." His first wife 
died in the East Indies in 1802. In 1809 he married his cousin Elizabeth, 
daughter of Henry White, of Fyfield, Hants, and died at her brother's 
house at Blakesley, Northants, on June 30th, 1821. He was buried in 
Maidford Church, where a monument in the chancel, erected by his widow, 
testifies to his talents and labours in his profession, and states that after 
settling at Salisbury " he continued some years " there. ' ' He then passed 
some years in the East Indies, and his life was afterwards varied by many 
trying scenes and circumstances in different countries." He left no issue. 


with the E.S. ; for on my applying to Mr. Barrington, who 
used to present my papers, he writes me word that he has 
no longer any interest with that society, but that he will 
endeavour to find a member that shall present my disserta- 
tion. This circumstance, as you may imagine, is not so 
pleasant as when I had a friend who was often one of the 
Council, and ready to abet my compositions. 

There is, indeed, a curious coincidence of opinions between 
Mr. Lewis and the Stagyrite ! for which I cannot advance a 
better reason than what you have mentioned yourself. Yet 
can I not call that di foolish bird which knows the times and 
the seasons, and conducts its migrations over seas and 
continents with such accuracy and success, and, impelled by 
all the feelings of a-ropyri and affection, is ready to repell 
intruders, and by menaces to defend to the best of its power 
its callow and helpless young ! 

I have told you sometimes of an old physician at South- 
hampton, D"^ Speed, who used to go over once every year, in 
May, to the Isle of Wight, for which period the people used 
to reserve their ailes. For these last two winters my coughs 
have been kept till your arrival, and then became so bad 
that without your kind assistance I could not have con- 
tinued my duty. When you left me I had some dread 
about the ensuing Sunday; but, thanks be to God, my 
infirmity ceased on the Saturday, and has not been bad 
since. As soon as your letter came we turned to my peer- 
age book, but could find no traces respecting Lord Malms- 
bury ; so I conclude that his creation was subsequent. 
Possibly before now you may have recovered your stray 
idea, that has wandered away, or lay snug in some corner of 
your memory. 

Mrs. J. White joins in best respects and wishes to you 

and all friends. Yours sincerely, 

Gil. White. 
Sad work in France ! ! 

VOL. II. — s 


Those who reside in the neighbourhood of the 
beautiful common, which lies above and includes 
the w^ell-known Hanger, at Selborne ; and even those 
who have only visited it, will be interested in the 
attempt to inclose, and therefore to destroy it, as 
far as the public are concerned ; which is described 
in the following letter from one of the sons of 
Benjamin White, senior. The Mr. Fisher mentioned 
seems to have been an attorney of the baser sort, 
who regarded property as potential costs. 

From his nephew James White. 

Fleet Street, London, 

Sunday, Feb. 12th, 1793. 

Dear Sir, — In conversation with Mr. Fisher the other 
day, he told me that the scheme of the Selborne Inclosure 
is at an end. Now, as you are interested in this, I hope 
you will excuse my communicating to you Mr. Fisher's and 
my own sentiments. Mr. Fisher told me that the Inclosure 
Scheme was one of his own and not dictated to him by 
Magdalen College. That it was undertaken by him under 
an idea that they were more interested in it than has since 
turned out. He says that he had formed a plan and 
drawn an Act of Parliament for this purpose, but that you 
told him, some time last Summer, that you had in your 
possession a copy of a Decree in the Court of Chancery, 
made in your grandfather's time, which decreed that the 
Wood and Commons and other Waste Land in the Manor 
belonged to the Tenants and not to the Lords of the Manor. 
In consequence of this information from you, he says he 
shall not pursue his scheme, because, if this is the fact, 
the benefit which the College will receive from an Inclosure 


will not be sufficient to engage them in the expence and 
trouble which an act of this nature always occasions. 
Finding this, he has not acquainted the College of his 
intentions, so that the Fellows and other persons interested 
under the College, have not ever been officially acquainted 
that such a Scheme was ever in agitation. I believe if 
the plan had been pursued, that Mr. Fisher would have 
been more benefited by it than the College, which must 
convince every one (and I am sure it does me) that he is 
a Man of a meddling disposition, and has the interest of 
his own pocket more at heart than that of his Employers. 
He told me that though, in consequence of your informa- 
tion, he has given up the scheme, yet he means, when 
he next goes to Selborne, to ask you for a sight of this 
Decree, and that if he should find it anyways different from 
his present ideas, he shall revive it. Now, in consequence 
of this intelligence from Mr. Fisher, and to prevent this 
business being revived, I trust you will excuse my giving 
you a hint. If you will take the trouble to look into the 
Decree, and if it is what Mr. Fisher from conversation with 
you, supposes it to be, there can be no objection to shew 
it him when he asks to see it, but if there should be any 
thing in it which is different from his present ideas, or 
would induce him to revive this business, I think that you 
would wish to evade shewing him any thing which may, 
in the event, occasion much trouble and expence both to 
yourself and all the other copyholders of Selborne. To 
convince you (if it is wanted) that Mr. Fisher is a man 
of a meddling disposition, he acknowledged to me that 
he had been urging four different Inclosures of the same 
nature as Selborne, and intended to bring them forward 
this Session of Parliament, but that not one of them would 
be entered into on account of something similar to the 
reason which prevents his Scheme at Selborne. I am glad 
in saying that Chalgrove is one of them, which is put 


off this Session, but, I fear, it will be revived the next. 
Mr. F. told me that, upon enquiry, he finds that the major 
part of the copyholders at Selborne are very poor, which 
alone would make him very cautious. This alone sufficiently 
convinces me of his Motive. I wished to have waited on 
you to have personally informed you of the above, but could 
not find time during my last short visit in Hampshire. I 
beg my respects to Mrs. White, and 

I am, J)^ Sir, 
Your very obliged and affectionate Nephew, 

James White. 

The writer of the above letter subsequently 
entered the army, and died a captain in the 82nd 
Eegiment, in 1796, at Port-au-Prince, S. Domingo. 
That the inclosure scheme would be resented and 
resisted by Gilbert White is certain ; and he may 
be supposed to have had other grounds than that 
of the resulting expence, mentioned in the letter 
next printed ; an inference which is confirmed by 
the following entry made in 1789 by him in one 
of the Selborne Church Kegisters : — 

" Be it remembered that there had been from time imme- 
morial an undisputed bridle road from the east corner of 
the north field, across Bushy plot and along the south end 
of Norton mead and the north end of Yfremead, and across 
the seven acres into the hollow stony lane leading to 
Norton farm — till about the year 1770, when Sir Simeon 
Stuart at the instance of farmer Young, then his tenant 
at Norton farm, ordered the abovesaid road to be shut 
up and so deprived the neighbourhood of the advantage 
of that way : but now, in 1787, Mr. Hammond senior, 



aged 81, of Newton great farm, but till late of Little 
Ward-le-ham, demanded a passage for himself and horse, 
of which he and others have made use the summer thro': 
nor has farmer Kichard Knight, the present tenant of 
Norton farm, made any objection to what has been done. 
The Stuart family always used to put up the wicket gates 
of this road, and keep them in repair. This account was 
written by Gilbert White, an ancient inhabitant and native 
of Selborne, on Sept. 22nd, 1789. 

" Witness my hand, 

"Gil. White." 

To Benjn. White, senr. 

Selburne, Feb. 19th, 1793. 

Dear Brother, — Mrs. J. White and I return you and 
Mrs. White many thanks for your kind invitation for the 
25 th of this month : but should be glad to defer our visit 
to the Monday following, if convenient, viz. March the 
4th, when, if well and able, and with permission, we will 
wait on you. I propose to stay with you, if convenient, 
one Sunday; but Mrs. J. White will proceed on to town, and 
so return to Mareland before I leave you. Thanks for your 
hint about the enclosure, of which Mr. F. wants to make 
a jobb: and to bring in a bill on the copyholders of 3 or 
£400, to pay which many of us must mortgage all we 
possess. . . . 

My neighbours have at last agreed to stint their beechen 
wood, and to come to one cord for each copy: had they 
used such moderation 20 years sooner, that fuel would 
never have been exhausted. The crews of French privateers 
now land, and plunder, as they did in Queen Anne's wars. 
We rejoice to hear that my nieces have better health. 
Mrs. J. White joins in respects. 

Y^ loving brother, 

Gil. White. 


The shadows of life were now getting very long 
with the old Philosopher at Selborne. On March 4th, 
1793, he left home for the last time on the proposed 
visit to his brother Benjamin at Mareland, Bentley, 
near Farnham. The thoughts of the old man, so 
near the end of his life, reverted to his childhood's 
days, when he made this entry in the Naturalist's 
Journal, which, as usual, travelled with him : — 

" March 10. The sweet peal of bells at Farnham, heard 
up the vale of a still evening, is a pleasing circumstance 
belonging to this situation, not only as occasioning agreeable 
associations in the mind, and remembrances of the days of my 
youth, when I once resided in the town * : but also by bring- 
ing to one's recollection many beautiful passages from the 
poets respecting this tuneable and manly amusement, for 
which this island is so remarkable. Of these none are more 
distinguished, and masterly than the following : — 

' Let the village bells as often wont, 
Come swelling on the breeze, and to the sun 
Half set, ring merrily their evening round. 
■X- -if * * -x- 

It is enough for me to hear the sound 
Of the remote, exhilarating peal. 
Now dying all away, now faintly heard. 
And now with loud, and musical relapse 
In mellow changes pouring on the ear.' " 

"'The Village Curate.'" 

" There is a glade cut thro' the covert of the Holt oppo- 
site these windows, up to the great Lodge. To this opening 
a herd of deer often resorts and contributes to enliven and 
diversify the prospect, in itself beautiful and engaging. 

"Mar. 14. Took a walk in the Holt up to the lodge; 

* If by "the town" the writer meant **a town," the supposition that he 
was at school at Farnham, mentioned supra vol. i. p. 29, is without any 


no bushes, and of course no young oaks : some Hollies, and 
here and there a few aged yews : no oaks of any great 
size. The soil wet and boggy." 

"Mar. 15. On Friday last my brother and I walked 
up to Bentley Church, which is more than a mile from his 
house and on a considerable elevation of ground. From 
thence the prospect is good, and you see at a distance 
Cruxbury hill, Guild down, part of Lethe hill. Hind-head, 
and beyond it the top of one of the Sussex downs. There 
is an avenue of aged yew-trees up to the church : and 
the yard, which is large, abounds with brick-tombs covered 
with slabs of stone : of these there are ten in a row, 
belonging to the family of the Lutmans. The church 
consists of three ailes, and has a squat tower containing 
six bells. From the inscriptions it appears that the in- 
habitants live to considerable ages. 

"There are hop-grounds along on the north side of the 
turnpike road, but none on the south towards the stream. 
The whole district abounds with springs. 

"The largest spring on my brother's farm issues out of 
the bank in the meadow, just below the terrace. Somebody 
formerly was pleased with this fountain, and has, at no 
small expence bestowed a facing of Portland stone with 
an arch, and a pipe, thro' which the water falls into a 
stone bason, in a perennial stream. By means of a wooden 
trough this spring waters some part of the circumjacent 
slopes. It is not so copious as Well-head." 

The next day the visitors returned to Selborne. 

To Benjamin White. Selburne, Mar. 21st, 1793. 

Dear Brother, — It begins to be full time for us to return 
our best thanks to you, and Mrs. White, for the kind 
reception which we experienced at Mareland. The day 
on which we left you proved so wet a one, that the country 


was quite drenched with water, so that in our clays the 
farmers can neither plow, sow, nor delve. A wet March 
is very unfavourable to this district, and to all strong soils, 
so as to occasion a failure of crops. We must therefore hope 
that the remainder of the spring will prove more dry, and 

Timothy the tortoise came forth on the 15th instant, and 
has appeared almost every day since. We have planted out 
your cauliflowers in rich ground. 

My cucumbers thrive, but are not so forward as yours: 
my crocus's make still a gay show, so as even to attract 
the attention of your granson Glyd, * who, looking at 
them, cries, " Pretty ! " 

Mrs. J. White joins in respects to you and family. 
D'* Chandler sets off for London to-morrow. Mr. Marsham, 
from whom I have just heard, does not, I find, much like 
Arthur Young. your loving brother, 

Gil. White. 

Eichard White called here this morning, and looked stout 
and jolly. 

On April 6th the Naturalist's Journal records the 

last search for torpid swallows : — 

"On the 6th of last October I saw many swallows 
hawking for flies around the Plestor, and a row of young 
ones with square tails, sitting on a spar of the old ragged 
thatch of the empty house. This morning D"^ Chandler 
and I caused the roof to be examined, hoping to have found 
some of those birds in their winter retreat : but we did not 

* Glyd White, the only one of Benjamin White, junior's, children who 
attained majority, took his M.A. degree at Oriel College in due course. 
He subsequently became Curate-in-charge of Ewelme, near Wallingford, 
of which Canon Payne Smith (subsequently Dean of Canterbury) was the 
Rector, in whose house at Christ Church he died in 1869 from the effect of 
an accident, at an advanced age. Mrs. Benjamin White, junior, died at 
Ewelme in 1833. 



meet with any success, tho' Benham searched every hole 
and every breach in the decayed roof. 

"April 9th. Thomas Knight, a sober hind, assures us 
that this day on Wish-hanger Common between Hedleigh 
and Frinsham he saw several Bank martins playing in and 
out, and hanging before some nest-holes in a sand-hill, where 
these birds usually nestle. This incident confirms my 
suspicions, that this species of Hirundo is to be seen first 
of any ; and gives great reason to suppose that they do not 
leave their wild haunts at all, but are secreted amidst the 
clefts, and caverns of these abrupt cliffs where they usually 
spend their summers. The late severe weather considered, 
it is not very probable that the birds should have migrated 
so early from a tropical region thro' all these cutting 
winds, and pinching frosts: but it is easy to suppose that 
they may, like bats and flies, have been awakened by the 
influence of the sun, amidst their secret Icdebrm where they 
have spent the uncomfortable foodless months in a torpid 
state, and the profoundest of slumbers. There is a large 
pond at Wish-hanger which induces these sand martins to 
frequent that district. For I have ever remarked that they 
haunt near great waters, either rivers or lakes. 

"April 12. The nightingale was heard this harsh evening 
near James Knight's ponds. This bird of passage, I observe, 
comes as early in cold cutting springs as mild ones ! 

" April 29. I have seen no Hirundo yet myself. 

" May 1. There is a bird of the blackbird kind, with white 
on the breast, that haunts my outlet as if it had a nest there. 
Is this a ring-ouzel ? If it is, it must be a great curiosity ; 
because they have not been known to breed in these parts. 

" May 5. Cock redstart. House-martin appears. 

"May 7-11. James Knight has observed two large field- 
fares in the high wood lately, haunting the same part, as 
if they intended to breed there. They are not wild. A 
nest of this sort of bird would be a great curiosity! 


" M[issel] thrushes do not destroy the fruit in gardens like 
the other species of tuTd% but feed on the berries of misseltoe, 
and in the spring on ivy berries which then begin to ripen. 
In the summer, when their young become fledge, they leave 
neighbourhoods, and retire to sheep walks, and wild commons. 
The magpies, which probably have young, are now very raven- 
ous, and destroy the broods of missel-thrushes, tho' the dams 
are fierce birds and fight boldly in defence of their nests." 

To Dr. Loveday. 

[At Williamscote, near Banbury]. 

Selborne, May 11th, 1793. 

Dear Sir, — I sit down to return you my sincerest, though 
tardy thanks as the editor of Doctor Townson's * Discourse 
on the Evangelical History,' etc. which gave me much satis- 
faction ; and came the more apropos, as it arrived in Passion 
week. There is a discernment in all D"^ Townson's writings 
almost peculiar to himself. 

Yet must not the Biographer go without his due share of 
praise; he having discovered much piety and gratitude in 
what he has written. I had not the happiness of knowing 
D*" Townson, who, I doubt not, was a most engaging man : 
but I will bear testimony to the truth of what is said 
respecting your excellent father. The world can ill spare 
such valuable characters, because few such are left behind to 
supply their place. 

When you and your Lady visit D"^ Chandler and Lady, 
you will I hope afford us as much of your company as is 
consistent with your engagements over the way at the Par- 
sonage. D"^ and Mrs. Chandler are in London : Mrs. Chandler 
has lost by death, within these ten weeks, two maiden sisters, 
and a grandmother. With my best respects to your lady, 

I remain 

Your obliged, and most humble servant, 

Gil. White. 


Do you know D** Percy, Bishop of Dromore ? Among 
several entire strangers I have lately received a letter from 
him expressing his approbation of my Natural History in 
terms that I must not repeat. 

Give my respects to the Eector of Middleton,* and tell 
him I hope he will come and see us not long hence. 

Dr. Loveday appended this note : — 

"N.B. — The truly ingenious and worthy writer died at 
Selborne on June 26th, 1793, aged 73, Senior Fellow of 
Oriel College." 

The Naturalist's Journal continues — 

"May 12-18. The fern owl, or churn owl returns, and 
chatters in the Hanger. 

"Sowed in the three -light annual frame African and 
French marrigolds, China asters, pendulous Amaranths, 

" A man brought me a large trout weighing three pounds, 
which he found in the waste current at the tail of Bins pond, 
in water so shallow that it could not get back again to the 
Selborne stream. 

" Took the blackbird's nest a second time ; it had squab 

"Set the second Bantam hen over the saddle cupboard 
in the stable with eleven dark eggs. 

" A solitary hen red-start in the garden. 

" Timothy travels about the garden. 

" Made rhubarb tarts, and a rhubarb pudding, which was 
very good. 

" May 22. Nep. Ben. White, and wife came. 

"[May] 28. The season is so cold, that no species of 
Hirundines make any advances towards building and breeding. 

* Mr. Churton. 


" [May] 29. Brother Benj" and Mrs. White, and Mary 
White, and Miss Mary Barker came. 

"June 2. Bro. Benj" and I measured my tall beech 
in Sparrow's hanger, which, at 5 ft. from the ground, girths 
6 ft. 1 inch, and three quarters. 

"[June] 7. Mrs. Clement and children came.' 

"[June] 14. Mr. John Mulso* came. 

" [June] 15. Mr. J. Mulso left us." 

The following letter written on this day (June 
15th), probably the last ever written to anyone by 
Gilbert White, concludes his correspondence with 
Marsham ; which, interesting as it is to all naturalists, 
is especially interesting to admirers of the Selborne 
Naturalist as showing that he retained to the very 
close of his life as fresh an intellect, and wrote with 
as keen a relish as ever upon his favourite subject : — 

To B. Marsham. Selborne, June 15th, 1793. 

Dear Sir, — From my long silence you will conclude that 
Procrastination has been at work and perhaps not without 
reason. But that is not all the cause : for I have been 
annoyed this spring with a bad nervous cough, and a 
wandering gout, that have pulled me down very much, and 
rendered me very languid, and indolent. 

As you love trees, and to hear about trees, you will not 
be displeased, when you are told that your old friend the 
great Oak in the Holt forest is, at this very instant, under 
particular circumstances. For a brother of mine, a man of 
Virtu, who rents Lord Stawell's beautiful seat near the 
Holt, called Mareland, is at this very juncture employing 

* The Rev. John Mulso, Vicar of South Stoneham, near Southampton ; 
the eldest son of Gilbert White's old friend John Mulso, Canon of Winchester. 


a draughts-man, a French Eefugee, to take two or three 
views of this extraordinary tree on folio paper, with an 
intent to have them engraved. Of this artist I have seen 
some performances ; and think him capable of doing justice 
to the subject. These views my Brother proposes to have 
engraved, and will probably send a set to you, who deserve 
so well of all lovers of trees, as you have made them so 
much your study, and have taught men so much how to 
cultivate and improve them. I have told you, I believe, 
before, that the great Holt Oak has long been known in 
these parts by the name of the grind-stone Oah^ because 
an implement of that sort was in old days set up near 
it, while a great fall of timber was felled in its neighbour- 

After a mild, wet winter we have experienced a very 
harsh, backward spring with nothing but N. and N.E. 
winds. All the Uirtmdines except the sand-martins were 
very tardy; and do not seem even yet to make any 
advances towards breeding. As to the sand-martins they 
were seen playing in and out of their holes in a sand- cliff 
as early as April 9th. Hence I am confirmed in what I 
have long suspected, that they are the most early species. 
I did not write the letter in the ' Gentleman's Magazine ' 
against the torpidity of swallows: nor would it be con- 
sistent with what I have sometimes asserted, so to do. As 
to your recent proof of their torpidity in Yorkshire, I long 
to see it. But as much writing is sometimes irksome, 
cannot you call in occasionally some young person to be 
your amanuensis ? 

There has been no such summer as this, so cold and 
so dry, I can roundly assert, since the year 1765. We have 
had no rain since the last week in April, and the first two 
days in May. Hence our grass is short, and our spring-corn 
languishes. Our wheat, which is not easily injured in 
strong ground by drought, looks well. The hop-planters 


begin to be solicitous about their plantations. Here I shall 
presume to correct (with all due deference) an expression 
of the great philosopher D"^ Derham. He says in his 
Physico-theology " that all cold summers are wet": whereas 
he should have said most. 

Have You seen Arthur Young's ' Example of France a 
warning to England ' ? it is a spirited performance. The 
season with us is unhealthy. 

With true esteem, 

I remain, Y*" obliged servant, 

Gil. White. 
The letter ends with ominous words. 

Saturday, June 15th, is the last day on which any 
observation occurs in the Journal, though the days 
of the month were filled up for the following week 
ending June 22nd. 

On June 10th the Curate of Selborne had been 
well enough to officiate at the funeral of a young 
girl ; when, as in the case of the last entries in the 
Journal, there is little or no sign of illness to be 
seen in the handwriting of the record in the burial 

It became necessary, however, to send for Mr. 
Webb, the doctor at Alton, on June 17th, and from 
this date he visited his patient every day ; finding 
him, according to Mr. Bell's account, which was 
apparently made on the authority of a nephew 
of the Naturalist, in much suffering, borne with 
exemplary patience, and with the consolations of 
religion. That there was some pain during the 
closing days is confirmed by the occurrence of 



"anodyne draughts" in Mr. Webb's account, which 
happens to be in the writer s possession. Some time 
previously the bed had been moved into the old 
family parlour on the first floor, at the back of the 
house ; and the last scene the Naturalist's dying eyes 
must have looked upon was his garden and fields, 
with the trees, many of which he had himself 
planted, and beyond them the beautiful beech- 
crowned Hanger. 

On June 25tli a visit both in the morning and 
evening was paid. 

On the 26th an express messenger was sent to 
Salisbury for Dr. John White. He posted to 
Selborne at once, but can hardly have found his 
uncle alive ; since on the latter day the White family 
lost its amiable head ; Selborne a highly respected 
neighbour ; and the world a singularly observant and 
original naturalist. 

What is the happy life? It is a true, if trite, 
saying that few men attain their ideal of a career 
in life ; or, having attained it, realise that it is 
the ideal career. But the man who lay dead at 
Selborne, fascinated from boyhood by the study of 
Nature, had longed for life and leisure in his wild, 
woodland, native country — not from any merely 
indolent wish to shirk the responsibilities of life, to 
cope with which he was by character and attainments 
amply equipped — of him it may be truly said that 
he had realised his ideal, and as much as any man 
had lived a happy life. 


With characteristic good sense Gilbert White had 
objected, in Letter V. of his 'Antiquities of Selborne,' 
to " the improper custom of burying within the body 
of the church/' though so many of his kindred were 
laid in the chancel at Selborne. His will directed 
as follows : — 

" And lastly to close all I do desire that I may be buried 
in the church yard belonging to the parish Church of Selborne 
aforesaid in as plain and private a way as possible without 
any pall bearers or parade and that six honest day labouring 
men respect being had to such as have bred up large 
families may bear me to my grave to whom I appoint the 
sum of ten shillings each for their trouble." 

Mr. Taylor paid his curate the compliment of a 
visit to Selborne to bury him, the funeral taking 
place on July 1st. 

By his will Gilbert White bequeathed £100 to 
Oriel College *'as a small acknowledgement for the 
many favours I have received from that Society for 
near a half a century past." Legacies were left to 
his nephews and nieces : to his brother Benjamin 



he bequeathed his (copyhold) ''dwelling-house and 
appurtenances known formerly by the name of 
Wakes." His sister-in-law, who had for some years 
resided with him, received £200, the household 
goods and furniture, and a small annuity ; and to 
his friend the Eev. Ralph Churton was left a valuable 
copy of Bishop Tanner's 'Notitia Monastica.' The 
rest of his library was divided between his nephews, 
John White, surgeon, and the Rev. C. H. White, 
son of the Rev. Henry White. '' My old servant 
Thomas Hoar" was not forgotten. 

When the Provost of Oriel heard of the death 
he wrote to Benjamin White, senior, ''Your son 
Edmund was so kind as to inform us of your and 
our great loss. Your brother's death was, I will 
assure you, most sincerely regretted by the College 
and will long continue to be so." A little later he 
wrote again to acknowledge the receipt of the legacy 
to Oriel College, "We shall take care that your 
Uncle's kind remembrance of us shall not be for- 
gotten. His memory will ever be respected by his 
Oxford friends, and dear to those of his own College ; 
at least I am sure it will ever be so to your very 
faithful and obedient servant, J. Eveleigh." 

A letter, signed "A Southern Faunist," dated 
11th July, 1793, appeared in the 'Gentleman's 
Magazine ' : — 

" A sigh escapes me on the demise of that most excellent 
man, accurate historian, diligent naturalist, and elegant 

VOL. II. — T 


writer, the Rev. Gilbert White. I hope a monument will 
be erected to his memory in the church he has so pleasingly 
described, in which I conclude he is interred." 

The members of his family placed the now well- 
known tablet to their relative's memory outside the 
north wall of the chancel, in proximity to the grave, 
which was marked by a headstone, bearing the 
initials ** G. W." and date of death, '* 26 June, 

" In the fifth grave from this wall are interred the Remains of 

the Revd. Gilbert White, m.a., 

Fifty years Fellow of Oriel College in Oxford, 

and Historian of this his native parish. 

He was the eldest son of John White Esquire Barrister-at-Law 

and Anne his wife, only child of 

Thomas Holt, Rector of Streatham in Surrey. 

Which said John White was the only son of Gilbert White 

Formerly Vicar of this Parish. 

He was kind and Beneficent to His Relations 

Benevolent to the Poor 

And deservedly respected by all his Friends and Neighbours. 

He was born July 18th, 1720, O.S. 

And died June 26th 1793. 

Nee bono quicquam mali evenire potest. 

Nee vivo, nee mortuo." 

In 1810 this monument, together with one to 
Benjamin White the elder, was removed for the sake 
of better preservation into the chancel. Unfortu- 
nately, presumably because the chancel wall next 
the graves was fully occupied with tablets to the 
White and Etty families, they were placed on the 
side furthest from the graves ; so that the indication 
given in them of the position of the latter is now 


misleading, and has constantly puzzled those ad- 
mirers of the Naturalist's graceful writings, who, 
when on a pilgrimage to Selborne, never omit to 
seek out the grave of Gilbert White. 

Among the many distinguished men who have 
made the Selborne pilgrimage was the late James 
Kussell Lowell, who happened to be staying in the 
neighbourhood with Lord Selborne in 1880, when 
he wrote the following verses for his host : — 

" To visit Selborne had been sweet 
No matter what the rest might be ; 
But some good genius led my feet 

Thither in such fit company, 
As trebled all its charms for me. 

" With them to seek his headstone grey, 

The lover true of birds and trees. 
Added strange sunshine to the day. 

My eye a scene familiar sees. 
And Home ! is whispered by the breeze. 

" My English blood its right reclaims ; 
In vain the sea its barrier rears ; 
Our pride is fed by England's fame. 

Ours is her glorious length of years ; 
Ours, too, her triumphs and her tears." 

The writer of this biography is doubly disqualified 
from composing what is called an ''appreciation" 
of Gilbert White's life and work ; because he happens 
to be a relative, and because he is no naturalist. 
Yet no person of ordinary intelligence can peruse 
*The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne' 
without forming some estimate of its author's 


abilities and position in the literature of natural 

The question is frequently asked, "Why has this 
book, alone among books of its class on natural 
history, lived ? Why does it even still appeal to 
so many men of so differing tastes and posi- 
tions in life? Why is it constantly republished? 
One reason may be that it is written in a style 
which may be called a model of clear unaffected 
English. Its author did not, as a boy and young 
man, enjoy the benefit of any instruction in facts 
of science ; instruction which would in our time be 
dignified with the name of a scientific education; 
but his reasoning faculties were strengthened and 
improved by the study of the classical languages, 
which not only introduced him to the noblest 
literature, but also taught him to be logical and 
careful in thought, and accurate in statement. 

To criticise the book in the light of modern know- 
ledge would be absurd. Yet the thought has often 
occurred to the present writer, when reading it, that 
Gilbert White was no unworthy forerunner of that 
greatest of naturalists of our time, who is said to 
have changed the thoughts of men. Perhaps when 
the former wrote "the two great motives which 
regulate the proceedings of the brute creation are 
love and hunger " ^ we may not find in this even the 
germ of Darwin's great theory of sexual and natural 
selection ; but " protective mimicry " is clearly in- 

* Vide * The Natural History of Selborne,' Letter XI. to BarriDgton. 


dicated in the history of the stone-curlew,^ whose 
young "are withdrawn to some flinty field by the 
dam, where they skulk among the stones which are 
their best security ; for their feathers are so exactly 
of the colour of our grey-spotted flints." And in 
the well-known remarks upon the work and use of 
earthworms t the philosopher of Selborne did some- 
thing more than "throw out hints, in order to set 
the inquisitive and discerning" philosopher of Downe 
to work at a paper, which much resembles a " good 
monography of worms," and was read by him be- 
fore the Geological Society, just sixty years after the 
former had written his letter to Daines Barrington. 
The popularity of the book undoubtedly owes 
much to its subject. Outdoor life is ever sought 
after by Englishmen, and perhaps on the principle 

" There's not a joy the world can give 
Like that it takes away," 

this book of outdoor life loses nothing from the 
fact that we are becoming more and more a nation 
of townsmen. As an illustration of this feeling, a 
well-known London solicitor, the late Mr. Edward 
Tylee, told the present writer that, when he left a 
country home as a youth and came to work in a 
London ofiice, the only alleviation of the great 
change from his country life was reading ' The 
Natural History of Selborne' at breakfast-time. 

* Op, cit., Letter XVI. to Pennant. 

t Op. cit, Letter XXXV. to Barrington. 


But the great glory of the book is that it has 
stimulated so many young people to make a profit- 
able use of their powers of observation, and, by 
studying the natural objects around them, to live 
happier and fuller lives. As a typical instance 
of this there are two men in the county of Kent, 
whom circumstances have placed as tradesmen in a 
small town and village respectively. Each of them 
has ennobled a life of commerce, and enriched 
scientific knowledge by his devotion, the one to 
the geology of the Tertiary strata near Sheerness 
and to marine zoology ; and the other to an ex- 
haustive study of the very rude flint implements of 
early man on the plateau of the North Downs, to 
which he was the first to draw attention. These 
gentlemen have stated to the present writer that 
when young men their thoughts were led to observe 
matters of interest in their locality by ' The Natural 
History of Selborne'; thus fulfilling, as doubtless 
very many others have done, the aspiration of 
Gilbert White, expressed in the Preface to his book, 
that he might have "induced his readers to pay a 
more ready attention to the wonders of Creation." 

How far Gilbert White deserves to be called a 
great naturalist may be the subject of argument, of 
doubt; but there can be none that to have taught 
his countrymen how and what to observe is to have 
done a very great thing. 


It is greatly to be regretted that, though Thomas 
White urged his brother to sit for his picture, no 
portrait or sketch of any kind was ever made of him. 
It is known, however, that he was five feet three 
inches in stature, and slender in person. He is said 
to have possessed a very upright carriage and a 
presence not without dignity. If he resembled his 
brothers, his features were regular, his complexion 
fair, and his eyes brown. The expression of his 
countenance was intelligent, kindly, and vivacious. 
In default of any portrait we can only 

Not on the picture, but the book," 

in which, indeed, its writer's thoughts and character 
are clearly mirrored. 

The youngest of those who knew Gilbert White 
has long been dead, and but little is on record of his 
habits. But it is known that he was in every sense 
of the word a gentleman ; kind and courteous in 
manner, and liberal in pocket to his poorer neigh- 
bours ; and he is still spoken of in Selborne as 
having been especially devoted in his attention to 
his sick parishioners. Perhaps his most prevailing 
characteristic was caution — not, however, unmixed 
with candour — which, indeed, is amply apparent 
in some of the letters now printed for the first 
time ; and shrewd practical common sense, which 
does not always accompany studious habits, was not 
wanting in his case. 


These pages will have been written to little 
purpose if they have not made abundantly evident 
the affection which Gilbert White bore to his native 
village. Indeed, the same may be said of his 
brothers, though circumstances sent them early afield. 
Thomas, as soon as he was enabled, by the inherit- 
ance of a considerable property, to retire from 
business in 1777, constantly visited at Selborne ; 
where, as has been mentioned, he acquired pro- 
perty. His copy of his brother's book, which has 
descended to his great-grandson, the writer of this 
memoir, has printed across its cover the following 
quotation from Guarini's ' II Pastor Fido,' act ii. 
sc. 5 : — 




"Dear happy groves, the true abode of solitary and silent 
awe, of repose and peace. how willingly would I return 
to see you again ! " 

Benjamin, as has been seen, came to reside in 
the neighbourhood of his old home ; and Henry, 
who created a duplicate of some of the Selborne 
amenities for himself at Fyfield, was often at Sel- 
borne, his native place. 

Nor has Selborne forgotten the man who made 
her name a household word. 

Many memorials to her Historian are there to 


be seen. About fifty -eight years ago a village school 
was built in his memory, and recently water from 
the perennial spring, ''Well Head," has been laid 
on to the village street as a memorial of the 
centenary of his death — a work in which he would 
surely have taken great interest. At the centenary 
meeting in 1893 the question of erecting a statue 
of the Naturalist was debated, but the idea was 
negatived. Perhaps it was thought, 

" Si monumentum requiris, circumspice." 

The name of his native village has indeed given 
a title to one who was worthy of honour ; but while 
the name of Selborne remains there is no need of 
a statue to cause it to be for ever associated with 
a good man and a distinguished Naturalist — with 
Gilbert White. 

The brothers of Gilbert White living at his death 
did not very long survive him. Benjamin died at 
his residence, Mareland, in March of the following 
year, 1794. He was buried near his brother at 
Selborne. Thomas died in February, 1797, and was 
buried at Harlow, Essex, near which place he owned 
a manor and estate.^ 

Thomas Hoar, the Naturalist's faithful old servant, 
died in April, 1797, at the ripe old age of 83. 
Another who may be called a member of the house- 

* The grave marked ** T. W." near Gilbert White's is that of a son of his 
nephew and niece, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin White, who died in boyhood in 


hold, Timothy, the tortoise, is said to have died 
in the spring of the year following his owner's 
death. His shell is now to be seen in the British 
Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Eoad. 

The fortunes of the publishing firm were not so 
successful under Benjamin and John White as in 
their father's time. The former died in 1821, and 
the latter, who lived at Selborne, in a house (now long 
pulled down) which he built in the grounds of " The 
Wakes," had serious losses from the defalcations of 
a manager, the business being ultimately sold. The 
last of the family to reside at Selborne was Mary, 
the only daughter of Benjamin White, senior, who 
remained unmarried. She occupied *'The Wakes" 
for many years ; latterly with a niece, Georgiana, 
daughter of her brother, John White ; dying, in 

1839, while on a visit to her nephew, the Rev. 
Herbert White, Vicar of Warborough, Oxfordshire, 
whence she was brought to Selborne for burial. 

The house then stood empty for some time in a 
neglected state. It was put up to auction in July, 

1840, by the celebrated George Robins, who described 
its attractions and association with Gilbert White in 
his usual florid style. It was ultimately purchased 
in 1844 by the late Professor Bell, who carefully 
and judiciously preserved every memorial of Gilbert 
White. He found it necessary to add one more 
room to the west end of the house, which was done 
in complete harmony with the existing part. Since 
his death in 1880 the property has more than once 




Is now associated with the History of England, and the interest excited by this Sale will necessarily bo 

materially increased in public estimation by a delightful renoiniscence, that it was within the hallowed 

walls of the rroperty under consideration that 



Achieved all his fame, thus giving an eclat to 

That hath, for many a long year, placed it high in favourable opinion. Miss Mitford, in her delightful 
" Village," must have had Selborne throughout in her mind's eye, and the composer of the feeble attempt 
that is to follow, is not insensible to his inadequacy to do it justice. It is not intended to go at length 
into the history of a Village which owes so much of its fair fame to the talented Gentleman under review. 
It would fill a folio volume only to extract the varied panegyrics so justly paid to his great literary re- 
search. His first edition of '' The Natural History and 


Is a work destined, from the great simplicity of its style, the calm benevolence of its spirit, and the close 
observation evinced in every page, to be the most popular of any publication that has followed or pre- 
ceded it. There is a worthy divine who has located in our delightful Village for many a long year (the 
Rev. W. Cobbold). The Purchaser of this famed Property will find in him an invaluable Neighbour. 

The Property includes, first, the Abode of the gifted person already alluded to. The Residence, in itself, 
has very little pretensions to the honour thus awarded to it ; but the situation is so indescribably beauti- 
ful, that it will not be doubted a successor will soon create anew, by tact and judgment, all its acquire- 
ments in the olden times. It is in the centre of the Village, and most unpretending in its outward 
character. It is to the scene of loveliness in the rear that especial attention is directed — there is 
a delightful little Park, beautifully studded with Timber, grouped in the most picturesque ibrni. 
A Hanging Wood, of superlative beauty, is in direct communication with the Park. The ascent 
is of fearful height, but there are easy paths to enable even a timid adventurer to ascend without 
difficulty ; and, when the task is accomplished, the splendid Panorama from above will compensate ten- 
fold for the labour that has been induced. 

" See Selborne spreads her boldest beauties round, 
The varied valley, and the mountain ground. 
Wildly majestic." 


Which approximate upon the Park, form from this summit one of the most incomparable views that 
England, all over, can produce — the Panorama is one of extraordinary beauty, variety, and extent, over- 
looking Farnham and Guildford to the Hogsback. 

The Purchaser of this Lot will be entitled to all the Fixtures belonging to the Vendors (except the Stone Pedestal in 
the garden, and the Book-case in the Dining-room of the ancient family abode). 

The Purchaser of this Lot will also be entitled to the customary allowance of Cord Wood and Faggots, from Selborne 
Hill, and which has usually consisted of four Cords and a half of Wood, and four hundred and a half of Fagxots, annu- 
ally; and also to such customary right as the Vendors possess to turn out Sheep and Beasts on Selborne Common, in 
respect of Twelve Common Rights. 


JULY 25, 1840 

[To face p. 282, Vol, 11. 


changed hands, the house has been greatly enlarged, 
and the old part of it materially altered. 

It is so long since 'The Natural History and 
Antiquities of Selborne ' appeared, that the book has 
now a history of its own, and therefore a short 
account of the earlier editions may be given. 

The only complete edition published during the 
author's lifetime was the first, of 1789. This was 
issued at the price of one guinea, in boards. In 
1792 a curiously compressed translation was pub- 
lished in Berlin, a fact which sufficiently attests the 
early success of the book. 

In 1795 B. and J. White issued *A Naturalist's 
Calendar with Observations in various branches of 
Natural History, extracted from the papers of the 
late Rev. Gilbert White, m.a., of Selborne, 
Hampshire, Senior Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. 
Never before published.' This consisted of extracts 
from the unpublished manuscript and journals of 
the Naturalist, edited by Dr. Aikin, 8vo ; and also 
in large paper, 4to, probably for binding with the 
original book. 

In 1802 J. White issued 'The Natural History of 
Selborne ' (omitting * The Antiquities ') together 
with the 1795 publication, in two volumes, 8vo. 

In 1813 a very handsome edition of the original 
book was issued by White, Cochrane, and Co., in 4to, 
at the price of two guineas and a half. This is 
printed on much better paper than the first edition. 


It contains all the original plates, and, in addition, 
one of a view of "The Wakes " and of a picture placed 
over the Communion table in Selborne Church by 
Benjamin White, senior. Some copies of this edition 
were issued in large paper, with the plate of the 
picture mentioned coloured, at five guineas. 

In 1822 and 1825 what were practically reprints 
of the 1802 edition were published. Since the latter 
date the editions have been very numerous, and need 
not be here referred to. 

A few short extracts from some of the earlier 
notices of Gilbert White's book may be of interest. 

From a memoir of Dr. Aikin, by L. Aikin, 1823, 

vol. ii. p. 194 — 

" This picture is equally natural with the former, and has 
the additional merit of furnishing new images to the fancy. 
It was from such a mature and deliberate study of Nature, 
that Mr. White of Selborne derived that store of curious 
observation which he has presented in the most entertaining 
miscellany of Natural History that was ever composed." 

From the * St. James' Chronicle,' October 6th, 

"Mr. Phillips' late publication entitled 'Pomarium 
Britannicum ' will be found perhaps the most pleasant book 
extant on this interesting subject, partaking in a great 
degree of that charm which has conferred lasting popularity 
on Mr. White's ' Natural History of Selborne.' . . . ." 

From a memoir, by Archdeacon Churton, of Dr. 
Chandler, prefixed to a republication of the latter's 
' Travels in Asia Minor ' — 


"... [Gilbert White's] History of his native parish of 
Selborne, Hants, which having since been published in more 
than one edition, and finding an encomiast in every reader, 
needs not here be commended." 

From the ' Retrospective Eeview/ vol. xiv. p. 3 — 

" It has been well remarked that to De Foe's * Eobinson 
Crusoe ' we owe more gratitude for that persevering energy 
of adventurous spirit which has and for ever we trust will 
animate our navy, than to any other cause whatever. We 
believe the fact, and to White's 'Natural History of Sel- 
borne,' by parity of reasoning, we feel inclined to assign the 
merit of that increasing attachment to the study of natural 
history which, since his day, has been making such rapid 
strides. But as De Foe was indebted to another for his 
invaluable fiction, so to the work before us ['The Philo- 
sophical Correspondence of Eay and Willughby'] we may 
ascribe the origin of Mr. White's more popular performance. 
True it is, that the lively and natural style of the latter must 
ever prove a formidable rival to its venerable precursor. . . ." 

From the ' Quarterly Review,' January, 1828 — 

" White's delightful work is no longer shut up in a quarto. 
It is most pleasing to witness the exertions made by eminent 
writers of our time to produce food for the juvenile mind. 
Shall we be pardoned for observing that 'The Natural 
History of Selborne' ought to have a place among the 
household books of every English family ? " 

From the 'Quarterly Review,' April, 1829, review 

of ' The Journal of a Naturalist'* — 

"We believe very few books on the subject of Natural 
History have met with such unqualified praise from those 

* Published anonymously by Murray, 8vo, 1829, but known to be by 
J. L. Knapp, of Alveston, in Gloucestershire. 


to whom the contemplation of the various objects of nature 
can afford rational amusement, as * The Natural History of 
Selborne/ by the Rev. Gilbert White. The author of the 
little volume, with the modest title, now before us, admits 
that, in the collection of his own materials, he had this 
interesting book in his eye ; that the perusal of it early 
impressed on his mind an ardent love for all the ways and 
economy of nature ; and that he was thereby led to the 
constant observance of the various rural objects with which 
he was surrounded." 

So far the earlier notices of Gilbert White's book 
established and confirmed his fame. The cult of 
Gilbert White and Selborne may, however, be said 
to have commenced in earnest with the publica- 
tion of an article in ' The New Monthly Magazine,' 
1830, part ii. pp. 564-570, by an anonymous 
writer. This contains a vivid description of the 
village of Selborne and the Hanger, from whence, 
"seated in an arbour which has been formed about 
half-way up" (what Gilbert White called the new 
Hermitage), the traveller contemplated Gilbert 
White's house and grounds. 

The chapter in which Mr. Jesse "^ quotes this 
interesting notice of Gilbert White concludes with 
some lines which were addressed to the wife of a 
nephew of the Naturalist by her father, Mr. G. 
Tahourdin, upon what he terms 

" The shades of old Selborne so lonely and sweet." 
* Fide 'Gleanings in Natural History,' 2nd series, 1834. 


The writer cannot more fitly bring this memoir 
of his kinsman to a conclusion than by quoting, by 
permission, the following pleasing verses, embody- 
ing as they do a present-day appreciation of the 
place and its Historian, which appeared in ' The 
Speaker' of June 17th, 1893, entitled — 


" Ghosts of great men in London town 
Confuse the brains of such as dream, 
But here betwixt this hanging down 
And this great moorland, waste and brown, 
One only reigns supreme. 

" In Wolmer Forest, old and wide, 
Along each sandy pine-girt glade 
And lonesome heather-bordered ride, 
A gentle presence haunts your side, 
A gracious reverend shade. 

" And as you pass by Blackmoor grim, 
And stand at gaze on Temple height, 

Methinks the fancy grows less dim : 

Methinks you really talk with him 
Who once was Gilbert White. 

" For yonder lies his own true love, 
His little Selborne, dreaming still, 
The shapely * Hanger ' towers above. 
Girt with its beautiful beech grove. 
Like some old Grecian hill. 

"And there th' abrupt and comely 'Nore' 
Guards that wild world of bloom and bird 
Where his clear patient sense of yore 
Conned sights and sounds, which ne'er before 
Sweet poets saw or heard. 


" And here, hard by, the nightingale 
For the first time in springtide sang, 
While Gilbert listened ; here the pale 
First blackthorn flowered, while down the gale 
The cuckoo's mockeries rang ! 

" And there rathe swallows would appear. 
To whirl on high their last gavotte ; 

And there the last of the great deer 

Fell on a winter midnight clear, 
'Neath a * night-hunter's ' shot. 

** We know it all ! Familiar, too, 

Seems this quaint hamlet 'neath the steeps — 
House, 'Pleystor,' church, and churchyard yew. 
And the plain headstone, hid from view. 

Where their historian sleeps. 

*' 'Twas just a century gone by 

They laid the simple cleric here : 
Th' old world was in her agony. 
And ' Nature ! Reason ! ' was the cry 
In that historic year. 

" But ! another nature 'twas 

That ruled him with her magic touch, 
A mistress of delightful laws. 
Whom still we learn to love because 

We love her servant much ! " — Victor Plarr. 




Adanson, Michel, *Histoire Natur- 

elle de Senegal,' I. 188 7iote. 
Adee, Dr., his history of "Waverley, 

II. 167. 
Aikin, Dr., 'The Natural History 

of the Year,' I. 288. 
Aikin, L., On 'The Natural History 

of Selborne,' II. 284. 
Alauda arvensis, skylark, I. 215. 
Amyand, Mr., I. 323 note. 
Anderson, Rev. James, II. 217. 
Andrews, Mr., I. 33. 
Arnold, General B., an American 

general, II. 60 note. 
Arundo donax, experiments on, I. 

Atkinson, Rev. Dr., Master of Clare 

Hall, Cambridge, II. 19. 


Badcock, Mr., II. 212 note. 

Balguy, Dr., refuses a bishopric, II. 

Banks, Sir Joseph, I. 159, 229 ; his 
voyage, 160; return, 161, 202, 
203 ; voyage to Iceland, 207 ; his 
museum, 210. 

Barker, Sir Abel, I. 23, 62. 

Barker, Mrs., letters from Gilbert 
White, I. 272 et seq. 

Barker, Mary, letter from Gilbert 
White, II. 92. 

Barker, Samuel, I. 8 ; letters from 
Gilbert White, 190 et seq. ; ad- 
mitted a pensioner of Clare Hall, 
Cambridge, II. 19 ; on the climate 
of Zarizyn, 155, 158 ; his proposed 
marriage, 158. 





Barker, Thomas, I. 20, 31 ; his 
marriage, 23, 62 ; taste for natural 
history, 115 ; letter from Gilbert 
White, 225 ; his activity, II. 102, 

Barrington, Honourable Daines, I. 
156 ; letters from Gilbert White, 

169 et seq. ; Fellow of the Royal 
Society, 169 ; his ' Miscellanies,' 

170 ; ' Fauna Britannica,' 262. 
Basingstoke Grammar School, I. 29 ; 

Holy Ghost Chapel, old ruin of, 

Basingstoke, Whites of, I. 5. 

Bassat, Mr., I. 224. 

Bassingham living, I. 243. 

Battle, Dr., I. 128. 

Battle, Miss Anna, I. 128 : her 
marriage, 138. 

Battle, Miss Catharine, her copy of 
the 'Invitation to Selborne,' I. 
64 ; her little journal, 129-38 ; 
marriage, 138. 

Battle, Miss Philadelphia, I. 128; 
her marriage, 138. 

Baverstock, Mr., I. 268. 

Beardmore, Dr. Scrope, on the value 
of the 'Natural History of Sel- 
borne,' II. 191. 

Beauclerk, James, Bishop of Here- 
ford, I. 53. 

Beech trees, II. 221, 223, 227. 

Beer, method of brewing, II. 163. 

Bell, Mr., his edition of 'The Natural 
History and Antiquities of Sel- 
borne,' I. 49 note, 54, 64, 68, 69, 
72 note, 76, 101, 126, 153, 161, 
177; II. 138, 184 ; purchases "The 
Wakes," II. 282. 

Bentham, Dr. , Tutor of Oriel College, 

I. 33, 82, 159. 
Bentley Church, II. 263. 
Binstead Church, inscription in, II. 

Birds, of Gibraltar, I. 182, 198, 203, 

205, 207 ; sense of colour in, II. 

71 ; nests, 166 ; mode of preserving, 

200, 203 ; migration, 219. 
Bisk or bisque, meaning of the term, 

II. 165 note. 
Blackburn living, I. 209. 
Blanchard, Mr., his journey in a 

balloon, II. 134. 
Blunt, Miss Anne, II. 158 note. 
BosweU, James, 'The Journal of a 

Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel 

Johnson,' II. 151 note. 
Bristol, Hot Well at, I. 74, 84. 
Bristowe, Dr., Vicar of Selborne, I. 

66, 90 ; his death, 95. 

Brown, Mr. Edward, I. 42 note, II. 

Brown, Peter, *New Illustrations of 

Zoology,' I. 302. 
Bullfinch, change of colour, I. 225. 
Burbey, attempted burglary on his 

sho]), II. 35. 
Burgoyne's Light Horse embark for 

North America, I. 323. 
Burney, Dr., his 'Tour through 

Europe,' I. 280. 
Butcher, Mr., I. 321. 
Butcher-birds, or Lanius collurio, 

their nest, II. 166, 183. 

Calendar of Flora and the Garden, 
I. 147. 

Call, Sir John, I. 138. 

Call, Mrs., II. 123. 

Calves, fatal disorder in, II. 209. 

Camden, Lord Chancellor, I. 158. 

Campbell, Dr. John, his ' Political 
Survey of Great Britain,' I, 246. 

Canal, projected, from Chertsey to 
Alton, II. 69. 

Cane, Basil, I. 93. 

Cane, Rev. W. H., I. 15. 

Carnatic, the, at the Isle of Loanda, 
IL 35. 

Certhia muraria, or Wall-creeper, II. 
250 254. 

Chair,' Mr. 'Dc, I. 66. 

Chandler, Dr. R., style of his 
'Travels,' I. 319; his" help in the 
'Antiquities of Selborne,' II. 9, 21, 
29 ; opinion of John White's book, 
16, 32 ; in France, 155 ; at RoUe, 
168 ; in Brussels, 211 ; at Clapham, 
213 ; Selborne, 216; journey from 
Rolle, 217. 

Chapone, Mr., I. 55 ; his marriage, 
38, 118. 

Chapone, Mrs., the posthumous 
works of, I. 55 ; death of her 
husband, 121 ; ' Letters on the 
Improvement of the Mind,' 146, 
218 ; at Selborne, 150 ; sale of her 
books, 279. 

Charles II, , his coronation, I. 10. 

"Charlton in Wilts," I. 175. 

Chelsum, Dr. , on ' The Natural His- 
tory of Selborne,' II. 184. 

Chertsey to Alton, proposed canal 
from, II. 69. 

Chestnut trees, timber of, II. 224, 
228, 236. 

Chif-chaf, date of its arrival, II. 242, 



Chilgrove, I. 21. 

Chipping Norton, I. 66. 

Chiswell, R. M. T., size of his elm 
tree, 11. 237, 240. 

Cholderton living, I. 144, 159. 

Christian Malford, I. 60. 

Chnrton, Rev. Ralph, I. 50; II. 38 ; 
letters from Gilbert White, 38 et 
seq. ; invitations to Selborne, 49, 
59, 70, 249 ; at Selborne, 166 ; on 
the history of Waverley, 167 ; the 
Index to * The Natm^al History of 
Selborne,' 208, 213 ; the distemper 
Puckeridge, 208 ; ' worrybrees,' 
209 ; the disorder hyant, 209 : 
presented to the living of Middle- 
ton Cheney, 253; on 'The Natm-al 
History of Selborne,' 284. 

Clark, Andrew, ' Colleges of Oxford,' 

I. 37, 102. 

Clarke, Dr. John, elected Provost of 
Oriel, I. 157 ; his death, II. 76. 

Clement, Mrs., II. 78. 

Clutterbuck, Rev. R. H., 'Notes on 
the Parishes of Fyfield,' etc., I. 
64 note, 323 note. 

Coccus vitis-viniferce, II. 144. 

Coggs, Whites of, I. 4 note, 8. 

Collins, William, I. 38 ; his history, 

II. 62-65. 
Compton, I. 18 ; II. 232. 
Cooper, Miss, I. 23. 

Cornwallis, Lieutenant-General the 
Hon. Edward, Governor of Gib- 
raltar, I. 209, 301. 

Cotile rupestris, the rock or crag 
martin, I. 180 note. 

Cowdray House, I. 52. 

Creech, Thomas, II. 49 note. 

Crocus, verses on, II. 91. 

Croke, Jenny, I. 72. 

Cromhall living, I. 154, 245. 

Crondall village, lottery ticket at, 
II. 152. 

Curtis, William, the botanist and 
entomologist, I. 224 note, 281 note, 
on the sexuality of mosses, 313. 


Darwen, the curacy of, II. 5. 
Davis, Thomas, his memoirs on 

plays and players, II. 115. 
Daw, swiftness of, II. 2. 
Derham, Mr., II. 27. 
Devonshire, birds of, I. 253. 
Dog, mad, recipe for curing the bite 

of a, II. 111. 
Dorchester Church, II. 100. 
Dormer, Lady Coterel, II. 211, 213. 

Drury, 'Illustrations of Natural 

History,' I. 189 note. 
Ducarrel, Dr., II. 65. 
Dugdale, his 'Monasticum Angli- 

canum,' I. 8. 
Durley, curacy at, I. 76. 


East Allington, I. 60. 

East Harting, I. 18. 

Easton Rectory, I. 325. 

Edwards, Mr., his proposed canal 
from Chertsey to Alton, II, 69. 

Elmer, Mr., his picture of the hybrid 
bird, II. 226. 

Emys orbicularis, the fresh -water 
tortoise, II. 50 note. 

Etty, Mr., I. 115, 118, 123; pre- 
sented to the living of Whit- 
church, 158 ; his illness, II. 117 ; 
death, 118. 

Etty, Mrs., I. 118, 128 ; her illness, 
320 ; death of her husband, II. 
119 ; in London, 196. 

Etty, Mr. Charles, of Priestlands, 
II. 119 note. 

Etty, Mr. Charles, his ship the 
Duke of Kingston, II. 90, 93, 
176 ; tortoises, 124. 

Eveleigh, Dr. John, elected Provost 
of Oriel College, II. 76; on the 
death of Gilbert White, 273. 

Ewelme, II. 264 note. 

Falcon, a peregrine, size and weight, 

n. 88. 

Faringdon, parish of, I. 123. 

Farnham, Whites of, I. 6. 

* Fauna Calpensis,' fate of the work, 

II. 66. 
"Faunist, A Southern," on the death 

of Gilbert White, II. 273. 
Fern-owl, or Eve-jarr, internal con- 
struction, I. 289 ; imputations 

against, II. 205, 224 ; food, 225 ; 

paper on, 237, 244. 
Ferrers, Henry, of Badisley Clinton, 

L 4. 
Fisher, Mr., his Selborne Inclosure 

Scheme, II. 258. 
Fishes, of Gibraltar, I. 208; sleep 

of, II. 57. 
'Flora Selborniensis,' I. 151. 
Fly-catcher, Stoparola, I. 330 notCy 

observations on, II. 146. 
Ford, Anne, I. 16. 
Ford, Sir Edward, of Up Park, I. 16 




Ford, Sir William, I. 16. 

Forster, J, R., his catalogue of 
British insects, I. 193; 'New 
Genera of Antarctic Plants,' 302, 
307, 311 ; Doctor's degree at Ox- 
ford, 317 ; ' Observations in a 
Voyage round the World,' II. 67. 

Frewen, Mr., presented to the living 
of S. Mary's, Oxford, I. 93; 
Rector of Cromhall, his death, 

Frogs, copulation of, II. 219, 222. 

Fuller, his History of the Worthies 
of England, I. 8 note. 

Fyfield living, I. 123 ; II. 193. 

Garden Kalendar, diary of daily 
events, I. 62 ; entries in, 26, 69, 
78, 87, 96, 97, 109, 116, 117, 119, 
120, 122, 123, 125, 128, 139, 143, 
145, 150, 155. 

Gassendi, extract from, II. 90. 

Gauler, Mr., his house, II. 109. 

' Gentleman's Magazine,' I. 1, 20, 50, 
161; II. 62, 105, 112, 140, 142 
note, 191, 273. 

Gibbon, Edward, I. 69 ; his history 
of the Roman Empire, 304, 325. 

Gibraltar, birds and insects of, I. 
182, 198, 203, 207; the Quail, 
183 ; fishes, 208 ; extract from the 
Natural History of, on Martins, 
II. 246. 

*' Gibraltar Jack," 1. 172. (See White, 
Dr. John.) 

Gibson, Mr., Rector of Bishop's 
Waltham, I. 76. 

Gifford, Walter, of Chillington, I. 4. 

Ginkgo, or Salisburia adiantifolia, 
II. 176. 

Glendale, Viscount, I. 16 note. 

Gore FaiTO, I. 42. 

Gough, Richard, his edition of Cam- 
den's 'Britannia,' II. 196 note, 

Grass, experiments with, II. 162. 

Grey, Lord, of Werke, I. 16 note. 

Grey, Ralph, I. 16 note. 

Grimm, Mr., I. 288 ; opinions on his 
work, 289 ; views of Selborne, 320, 
324, 326, 328 ; II. 3. 

Grindstone Oak, II. 241, 269. 

Gunner, Rev. J. E., Bishop of Dront- 
heim, I. 168 note. 


Haggitt, Mr., his illness, II. 215. 
Hale Mr., 1.255 

Hales, Dr. Stephen, Rector of Faring- 

don, I. 63; 'Vegetable Statics,' 

307 ; ' Hpemastatics,' II. 79 ; anec- 
dotes of, 230. 
Halliday, Mr. F. A., I. 281. 
Hambledon, I. 255. 
Hampshire, the Whites of, I. 2. 
Hampton, Mr., I. 19. 
Hampton, Goody, the weeding 

woman, II. 69. 
Harleian MSS., I. 3, 4 note. 
'Harvest Scene, A,' verses on, II. 

Hawkley Hanger, landslip at, I. 247. 
Hearn, Thomas, on an election of 

Fellows at Oriel College, I. 36; 

on the disputes at Oxford, 228. 
Helebore, two species of, I. 148. 
Henley, Sir Robert, I. 91 note, 125, 

127 note. 
Hill, Mr., I. 267. 
Hinton, Mr., I. 242. 
Hirundin^es, British, monography on 

the, I. 250. 
Hirundo hyherna, I. 183 ; hyemalis, 

II. 247 ; riparia, I. 328 ; rupes- 

tris, I. 180 note. 
Hoar, Thomas, I. 64 ; his death, II. 

Hodges, Dr. Walter, Provost of 

Oriel College, report of his death, 

I. 83 ; death, 91. 
Holiburn School, I. 249 note. 
Holt, Anne, I. 16. 
Holt, Rev. Thomas, I. 16, 19. 
Holt, Mr. Thomas, I. 19 ; his death, 

41 ; will,. 42, 301, 303, 308. 
Holt, Mrs., I. 16. 
Holt- White, Algernon, I. 50. 
Holt- White, Thomas, I. 15; II. 72 

Holt oak, size, II. 221, 223 ; views 

of, 269. 
Hops, crop of, II. 132; suggestions 

for planting, 169. 
Horses, nits on, I. 267. 
Hounsom, John, his marriage, II. 72 

Hubert, Mr., I. 82. 
Hudson's ' Flora Anglica,' I. 147. 
Hunger ford, Lord, I. 3. 
Huxham, Dr., on the amount of 

rain at Plymouth, II. 86. 
Hyant, fatal disorder in calves, II 

Hyde, Benjamin, I. 16. 

Iceland, volcanic eruption in, II. 103 
Inglefield, Sir Thomas, I. 3. 



Insects of Gibraltar, I. 183. 
Isaac, Rev. Baptist, I. 15. 
Isaac, Baptist, I. 70. 

'St. James' Chronicle,' on 'The 

Natural History of Selborne,' 

II. 284. 
Jardine, Major, II. 215. 
Jenner, Mr., his account of the 

cuckoo, II. 227. 
Jesse, Mr., his edition of 'The 

Natural History of Selborne,' I. 

54, 89 ; * Gleanings in Natural 

History,' II. 125, 286. 
Johnson, Dr., his journey through 

the western isles, I. 277, 280 ; life 

of Collins, II. 62. 
Juncus effusus, use of, I. 329. 

Kent, William, landscape gardener, 
I. 87. 

Keppel, Admiral the Hon. A., his 
trial by court-martial, II. 34 note. 

• Kitty's Farewell,' I. 139. 

Knapp, J. L., on 'The Natural His- 
tory of Selborne,' II. 285. 

Kramer, G. H., 'Elenchus vegetabi- 
lium et animalium per Austriam 
Inferiorem observatorum,' I. 186 

Landslip at Hawkley Hanger, I. 247. 

Langhorne, his edition of Collins* 
poems, II. 62. 

Lanius collurio, or butcher-birds, 
their nest, II. 166. 

Lathrcea squammaria, its discovery 
in bloom, II. 27. 

Lee, Mr., I. 196. 

Leigh, Dr., his 'Natural History of 
Lancashire,' I. 223. 

Lever, Mr., I. 217, 219, 224, 240, 
251, 256 ; his museum, 262, 279. 

Lightfoot, John, I. 229. 

Linnaeus, his 'Systema Naturae,' I. 
179, 244 note, 262 note, 264 ; corre- 
spondence with John White, 214 ; 
'Species Plantarum,' 294 note; 
' Fauna Suecica,' 299 ; unpopu- 
larity of his method, II. 16, 32 

Lisle, Miss, of Moylscourt, her 
marriage, II. 153 ; appearance, 

Loanda, Isle of, Carnatic takes 
refuge at, II. 35. 
VOL. II. — TJ 2 

Loveday, Mr. John, of Caversham, 

II. 21, 38 ; death, 197. 
Loveday, Dr., letter from Gilbert 

White, II. 266. 
Low, Rev. George, I. 161 note, 275. 
Lowell, J. Russell, his verses on 

Gilbert White, 11. 275. 
Luccombe, Mr. William, I. 242. 
Lucerne, crop of, II. 184. 
Luckin, Rebecca, I. 15. 
Lunardi, Mr. , his ascent in a balloon, 

II. 134. 
Lycoperdon bovista, weight and size, 

II. 130. 
Lyndon Hall, Rutland, I. 23. 


'Magazine, The New Monthly,' 

article on the village of Selborne, 

II. 286. 
Mander, Thomas, I. 46, 48. 
Mareland, II. 239, 248, 262. 
Marsham, Robert, I. 31, 63; his 

letter to Gilbert White, II. 218- 

222 ; on migration of birds, 219 ; 

the annual increase of swallows, 

220 ; size of the Holt oak, 221 ; 

planting trees, 221 ; the last letter 

from Gilbert White, 268. 
Martins, monography on, I. 238 ; at 

Gibraltar, II. 246. 
Martins, Bank, their characteristics, 

n. 2, 265. 
Martins, House, observations on, II. 

20, 58 ; flocks of, II. 236. 
Martins, Sand, early species, II. 269, 
Martins, Winter {Hirundo rupestris), 

I. 180. 
Mason, Mr., extract from his 'English 

Garden,' II. 14. 
Medals, Roman, discovery of, II. 12. 
Meonstoke living, I. 204. 
Merise, a bitter cherry, II. 77, 78. 
'Metamorphosis,' The, I. 50. 
Meteor, view of a, II. 106. 
Middleton, Rev. Conyers, I. 293. 
Miller, his 'Gardening Dictionary,' 

L 48, 77. 
Montagu, Colonel G., II. 197; his 

letters to Gilbert White, 198-200, 

201-4 ; on ' The Natural History 

of Selborne,' 198 ; the note and 

colour of the willow- wren, 199 ; 

mode of preserving specimens, 200, 

203 ; number of species, 201 ; the 

blue pigeon-hawk, 202. 
Moreton Pinkney, curacy of, I. 91, 

Mosses, sexuality of, I. 313. 



Mouse, the harvest, I. 156, 243 note. 
Mulso, Edward, I. 38. 
Mulso, Miss Hester (Mrs. Chapone), 
I. 54, 218 ; her marriage, 38, 118 ; 
on the ' Invitation to Selborne,' 65. 
Mulso, Miss Hester, II. 125 ; letter 
from Timothy the Tortoise, 126-9. 
Mulso, Rev. John, I. 26 ; his friend- 
ship with Gilbert White, 37; 
letters to him, 38 et seq. ; on his 
coach-sickness, 46 ; M.A. degree, 
47; expedition to Cowper's Hill, 
66 ; visit to Devonshire, 60 ; on 
the * Invitation to Selborne,' 64, 
97 ; the zigzag path, 71 ; encomium 
on John White, 79 ; the loan of 
a horse, 80 ; report of Provost 
Hodge's death, 83 ; his marriage, 
88 ; on the Provost's election at 
Oriel, 91 ; the death of Gilbert 
White's father, 98 ; on his reten- 
tion of his Fellowship, 99 ; incum- 
bent of Thornhill, 114; on the 
living of Selborne, 126-8, 140; 
Tortworth, 147 ; on his matri- 
monial intentions, 150 ; appointed 
vicar and rector of Witney, 151 ; 
on the living of Cromhall, 154 ; 
visit to Selborne, 172, 181, 287; 
canon of Winchester and rector 
of Meonstoke, 204 ; on Grimm's 
drawings, 324 ; presented to the 
rectory of Easton, 325 ; on Gilbert 
White's attack of illness, II. 9 ; 
the view of the Hermitage, 21, 22 ; 
antiquities of Selborne, 33, 36, 
83 ; the living of Ufton Nervett, 
36, 37 ; the death of Mrs. Snooke, 
42; of John White, QQ ; of his 
uncle, 71 ; the drawing of the 
Temple, 74 ; opinion of Gilbert 
White's verses, 101, 112, 146 ; the 
death of Mr. Yalden, 143; the 
new library at Oriel College, 165 ; 
on the piiblication of * The Natural 
History of Selborne,' 170, 184 ; 
receives a copy, 189 ; criticism of 
it, 190 ; on the death of Henry 
White, 192; of his wife, 226 ; his 
death, 227. 
Mulso, Rev. John, vicar of South 

Stoneham, II. 268 note. 
Mulso, Thomas, of Twywell, I. 37. 
Mulso, Thomas, his marriage, I. 38, 

118 ; at Selborne, 150. 
Musgrave, Mr. Chardin, I. 58, 74; 
elected Provost of Oriel, 91 ; on 
Gilbert White's retention of his 
Fellowship, 99, 101 ; his death, 

Musgrave, Sir Christopher, I. 91. 
Musgrave, Sir Philip, I. 74, 91. 
Myrmeleon (lion pismier), I. 179. 

* Naturalist's Calendar,' II. 283. 

Naturalist's Journal, entries in, I. 
156, 169, 172, 175, 204, 209, 216, 
231, 235, 242, 252, 278, 282, 291, 
314, 324 ; II. 1, 9, 17, 23, 27, 30, 
42, 50, 58, 65, 67, 71, 73, 75, 84, 
88, 108, 109, 110, 124, 133, 139, 
143, 146, 155, 162, 164, 166, 169, 
171, 183, 187, 197, 207, 218, 223 
note, 226, 234, 262, 264, 267. 

' Naturalist's Summer Evening Walk,' 
poem, II. 112, 195, 236 note. 

'Nature Notes,' extract from, I. 4 

Neave, Miss Louisa, her marriage, 
II. 256. 

Newbury, Sampson, on the birds of 
Devonshire, I. 252-4. 

Newton Valence, I. 19. 

Newton, Prof. , on the fourth edition 
of Pennant's 'British Zoology,' I. 

Nightingales, migration of, II. 242, 

North, Bishop Brownlow, his paper 
of questions to each incumbent, 
II. 174. 

Nuthatch, habit of, II. 67. 

Oak, The Grindstone, II. 241, 269. 
Oak, Holt, size, II. 221, 223 ; views, 

Oaks, size of, II. 228, 236. 
CEstrus bovis, malady occasioned by, 

II. 206, 224; curvicauda, I. 264, 

Oriel College, Oxford, I. 33 ; election 

of Fellows, 36, 89; disputes at, 

228 ; statutes, II. 43. 
Oxford University, contest for the 

Chancellorship, I. 127 note ; claim 

of the city at the coronation of 

Charles II., I. 10. 
Oxfordshire, Whites of, I. 7. 

Pallas, Dr., his 'Travels,' II. 155 

Partridges, Spanish and Barbary, 
difference between, I. 199. 

Pembridge, Sir Fulke, I. 3. 

Pennant, Thomas, letters from Gil- 
bert White, I. 151 et seq. ; various 
editions of his 'British Zoology,' 



152, 162 note, 176 mte, 275, 309 
Fellow of the Royal Society, 152 
his 'Literary Life,' 152, 168 note 
'Synopsis of Quadrupeds,' 192 
note ; genera avium, 208 ; * Voyage 
to the Hebrides,' 256; 'Tour in 
Scotland,' 275. 

Percy, Dr., Bishop of Dromore, IL 

Peregrine falcon, size and weight, 
IL 88. 

Pigeon-hawk, the blue, its habits, 
IL 202. 

Pink, Mr., on seeing a balloon, II. 

Plants, British, discovery of new, I. 

Plot, Dr. Robert, ' The Natural His- 
tory of Oxfordshire,' I. 8, 13 note; 
treatise ' De Origine Fontium,' 
293 ; ' The Natural History of 
Staffordshire,' 298. 

Plymouth, amount of rain at, II. 86. 

Poetry, Gilbert White's conception 
of, I. 269, 282. 

Polygamia frustranea, the Order of, 
IL 20. 

Prescott, Miss, her marriage, I. 38, 

Priestlands, II. 119 note. 

Priestley, his Electrical History, I. 
298, 300. 

Puckeridge, the distemper, II. 206, 
208, 224. 


Quail, the Gibraltar, or Tumix 
sylvatica, I. 183. 

* Quarterly Review,' on 'The Natural 
History of Selborne,' II. 285. 

' Raii Methodus,' I. 77. 
Rainbow, verses on the, II. 94. 
Ramridge, manor-house, II. 109 

Randolph, Mr., Rector of Faringdon, 

IL 133. 
Ransford, Mr., IL 65. 
Rashleigh, John, I. 138. 
Rashleigh, Jonathan, I. 138. 
Ray, his 'Historia Insectorum,' I. 

178, 182; 'Synopsis Methodica 

Avium,' 219 note, 230 ; * Synopsis 

stirpium,' 322 ; inscription on his 

tomb, II. 249. 
Redstart, the grey, I. 182; the 

black, or Muticilla titys, 182 note. 
Reeve, Miss, her visit to Selborne, 

II. 208, 211. 

Rennell, Mr., I. 174. 
'Retrospective Review,' on 'The 

Natural History of Selborne,' II. 

Richardson, Mr., L 38, 65 ; II. 241 

Ringmer, I. 40, 148. 
Ring-ousels, breeding and migration 

of, I. 253. 
Rivers, Thomas, the pomologist, I. 

20 note. 
Robertson, Mr., I. 260, 268. 
Robins, George, II. 282. 
Robinson, Mr., Curate of Golmer, I. 

Roman, Mr., Rector of Faringdon, 

I. 123, 237 ; his death, IL 82. 
Roman medals, discovery of, II. 12. 
Rondelet, his work on Fishes, I. 

204 note. 
Royal and Antiquaries* Societies, 

meetings of the, II. 114. 
Muticilla titys, or black redstart, I. 

182 note. 


Sainesbury, Mr., IL 232. 

Scopoli, Dr. J. A., 'Entomologia 
Carniolica,' I. 178 note; descrip- 
tion of the Wall-creeper, II. 250, 

Scudamore, Thomas, I. 4. 

Seeker, Thomas, Bishop of Oxford, 

Sedge-bird, the, I. 217, 219. 

Selborne, living of, I. 14 ; position 
of the village, 24 ; roads, 24-6 ; 
appearance, 26; "The Wakes," 
28 ; arbour on the hill, 59 ; the 
Hermitage, 59, 96, 320, II. 235; 
construction of the zigzag path, 
71, 96 ; the obelisk, 73 ; curacy 
of, 90 ; improvements at, 95, 109, 
124, IL 187 ; flood, 239 ; Temple, 

II. 9, 99; Priory, 21, 29; Bostal, 
55 ; Down, opening of two tumuli, 
75, 85 ; Highland soldiers quartered 
at, 88, 93 ; amount of rain, 91, 
95, 163, 229, 235, 237, 238, 254 ; 
a strange wedding at, 96; haze, 
104 ; details respecting the parish, 
174 ; trees, 223 ; inclosure scheme, 
258 ; memorials of Gilbert White, 

'Selborne, The Invitation to,' I. 17 
note, 27, 42, 64, 97, 264 note. 

• Selborne, Natural History and An- 
tiquities of,' I. 14, 25 note, 30, 45 
note, 49 note, 54, 96, 176 note, 185 
note, 231 7iote, 238 note, 243 note, 



II. 7 owte, 49 note, 79 note, 109 
note, 140 iiote, 144 tio^c, in the 
press, 171 ; Index, 175 ; errata, 
177 ; publication, 187, 191 ; re- 
ception, 191 ; style of the book, 
276 ; popularity of the subject, 
277 ; value, 278 ; various editions, 
283 ; notices, 284-6. 

Sewell, Rev. "W., Rector of Headley, 
on the discovery of Roman re- 
mains, II. 12-14. 

Shadwell, Dr., on the election to 
Fellowships at Oriel College, I. 37. 

Shaw, Captain, I. 300, 320. 

Shaw, Dr., his 'Travels in Barbary,' 

I. 196, 199. 

Sheffield, W., I. 170 ; letters from, 
187-9 ; on Mr. Banks's museum, 
210, II. 71. 

Shutter, Miss, on board the Carnatic, 

II. 35 ; her marriage, 65. 
Skinner, Mr. R., I. 170, 231 ; letter 

from, 229 ; appointed to the living 
of Basingham, 243. 

Skylark, Alauda arvensis, I. 215. 

Snooke, Henry, I. 15, 70. 

Snooke, Mrs., I. 148; her tortoise 
Timothy, 40, 265; illness, 232, 
273, II. 15 ; death, 41 ; bequests, 

Solander, Dr., I. 160. 

Soper, Richard, I. 12. 

South Warnborough, Whites of, I. 
3 ; the manor-house, 4 ; chancel 
and windows of the Church, 4 ; 
arms of the family, 5. 

Spalding, I. 45. 

•Speaker, The,' verses on Gilbert 
White, II. 287. 

Sphex, the ant-catching, I. 179. 

Spoon-bills, a flock of, I. 281. 

Spoons, apostle, sale of, I. 7 note. 

Stamford, I. 42. 

Stamford, Earl of, I. 328 note. 

Star-sluch, II. 90, 104. 

Stawell, Lord, I. 21 ; his hybrid 
bird, II. 226, 229. 

Stebbing, Mrs., I. 314. 

Stoparola, the spotted or gi-ey fly- 
catcher, I. 330. 

Stuart, Sir S., his claim to the 
Viscountcy of Purbeck, II. 117. 

Sunbury Vicarage, I. 52. 

Swallows, monography on the, I. 
234, 238, 295 ; appearance of, 155, 
163, II. 27; torpidity, II. 183, 
264, 269; migration, II. 219; 
annual increase of, II. 219, 222. 

Swan Hall, I. 8, 12. 

Swarraton, I. 48, 51. 

Swifts, habits of, I, 163 ; breeding, 
258, 260 ; late brood, II. 73 ; late 
appearance, 85, 235. 


Tankerville, Earl of, I. 16 note. 
Tanner, Bishop, 'Notitia Monastica,' 

I. 298. 

Taylor, Rev. C, the new vicar at 
Selborne, II. 120, 121 ; takes 
possession, 134 ; marriage, II. 153. 

Testudo geometrica, II. 124 ; grceca, 

II. 50 ; tessellata, II. 124. 
Thomas, Dr., Bishop of Peter- 
borough, I. 57. 

Thomas, Mr. Moy, his memoir of 
Collins, II. 62. 

Thornhill, incumbency of, I. 114. 

Thorney, I. 41. 

Tichborne, Sir Richard, I. 7. 

Tichborne, Sir Walter, I. 7. 

Tidworth living, I. 114, 123. 

Timothy the tortoise, I. 265 ; diet 
and weight, II. 17 ; at Selborne, 
42, 48 ; experiments on, 50, 54 ; 
lost, 121 ; found, 123 ; letter to 
Miss Hecky Mulso, 126-9 ; ap- 
pearance after the winter, 155 ; 
death, 282. 

Todenham, I. 46, 48. 

'Topographer for the year 1789,' 
review on 'The Natural History of 
Selborne,' II. 194. 

Tortoises, construction of, I. 265 ; 
two finely chequered, II. 124 ; 
their death, 230. 

Tortworth living, II. 149. 

Townson, Dr., his 'Discourses on 
the Gospels,' II. 188; 'Discourse 
on the Evangelical History,' 266. 

Trees, frost on buried, II. 79. 

Trevor, Richard, Bishop of Durham, 
I. 127 note. 

Tringa ochropus, or green sand-piper, 
I. 171. 

Tull, Robin, I. 117. 

Turnix sylvatica, or Gibraltar quail, 
I. 183. 

Twiss, Mr., I. 220, 224, 242. 

Tylee, Mr. Edward, on 'The Natural 
"History of Selborne,' II. 277. 


Ufton Nervett living, I. 158 ; II. 37. 
Uphaven living, I. 209. 
Up Pai'k, races at, II. 131. 

Vapours, rise of, I. 295, 298. 
Viper, a female, I. 290. 




"Wakes, The," I. 28, 125; building 
of the "great parlour," II. 50; 
cost, 51 ; bequeathed to Benjamin 
White, 273 ; purchased by Prof. 
Bell, 282, 

Wall-creeper, or Certhia muraria, 
II. 250, 254. 

Warnford, Mr. John, I. 235, 243. 

Warton, Joseph, I. 29, 38. 

Warton, Rev. Thomas, Headmaster 
of Basingstoke Grammar School, 

I. 29. 

Warton, Thomas, I. 30 ; his second 
volume on the 'History of Englisn 
Poetry,' II. 55 note. 

Wasps, verses on, II. 107. 

Waverley, history of, II. 167. 

Weather, verses on the, II. 112. 

Webb, Dr., I. 220, II. 270. 

Wells, Rev. Nathan, I. 60. 

West Dene, curacy at, I. 83. 

Westmoreland, Earl of, I. 127 note. 

Weyhill Fair, II. 109 note. 

Whiston, Mr., I. 20, 70. 

Whitchurch living, I. 158, II. 119. 

White, Ann, I. 281 note. 

White, Anne, I. 23 ; her marriage, 
23, 62. 

White, Benjamin, I. 20 ; publisher, 
20 ; marriage, 74 ; on the republi- 
cation of the 'British Zoology,' 
152 ; his house at S. Lambeth, 306 ; 
death of his wife, II. 34 ; second 
marriage, 160 note ; retires from 
business, 239 ; at Mareland, 248 ; 
death, 281. 

White, Mrs. Benjamin, her marriage, 

II. 145 ; portrait, 154 note ; letters 
from Gilbert White, 147 et seq. 

White, Rev. Charles, Rector of 
Bradley and Swarraton, I. 15, 48 ; 
failing health, 124 ; death, 125. 

White, Rev. Charles Henry, Rector 
of Shalden, II. 193 note ; ordina- 
tion, 197. 

White, Mrs. Charles, her death, I. 

White, Dorothea, I. 15. 

White, Edmund, Vicar of Newton 
Valence, I. 21, 68, II. 97, 143; 
advice from his Uncle on reading 
aloud, 98 ; marriage, 157, 158 

White, Elizabeth, I. 15. 

White, Francis, b.d., I. 13. 

White, Francis, I. 22 ; raamage and 
death, 23. 

White, Francis, d.d., Rector of 
Christian Malford, 60. 

White, Gilbert, I. 13 ; Vicar of Sel- 
borne, 14 ; marriage, 15 ; children, 
15 ; his will, 104. 

White, Gilbert, of Selborne, I. 8 ; his 
ancestors, 8 ; birth, 17 ; brothers 
and sisters, 19-24; early years, 29 ; 
at Basingstoke Grammar School, 
29; taste for natural history, 31, 
115 ; list of books, 31-33; at Oriel 
College, 33; B.A. degree, 34; 
elected a Fellow, 35 ; scliolarship, 
35 ; probationary year, 37 ; friend- 
ship with Mulso, 37 ; at Thorney, 

42, 44 ; his poem, * The Invitation 
to Selborne,' 42; in Essex, 43; 
letters to his father, 43, 44; in 
Lincolnshire, 45 ; coach-sickness, 
46 ; M.A. degree, 47 ; ordained 
Deacon, 47 ; Curate of Swarraton, 
48, 51 ; attack of small-pox, 48 ; 
his portrait, 49; verses on, 50; 
ordained priest, 53 ; his pony 
*' Mouse," 53; habit of saving, 53; 
visits Devonshire, 60; begins the 
Garden Kalendar, 62; Curate-in- 
charge of Selborne, 66, 90, 11. 136 ; 
resigns his Curacy, I. 67 ; Junior 
Proctor at Oxford, 67; Dean of 
Oriel, 70 ; subscriptions for the 
zigzag path, 71 ; the obelisk, 73 ; 
at the Hot Well, Bristol, 74, 84; 
Curate of Durley, 76 ; resigns 
Deanship, 77 ; at Sunbury, 80, 88 ; 
accident to his knee, 81 ; death of 
his grandmother, 83 ; Curate of 
West Dene and Newton, 83, 85, 
93 ; improvements at Selborne, 87, 
95, 108, 119, 124; relations with 
the members of his college, 89; 
Perpetual Curate of Moreton Pink- 
ney, 91, 94 ; unsuccessful candidate 
for the Provost of Oriel, 91 ; death 
of his father, 98 ; question of re- 
taining his Fellowship, 101, II. 

43, 47; attack on his reputation, 
103; pecuniary position, 104-7; at 
Lyndon, 115; Curate of Faring- 
don, 123; inherits "The Wakes," 
125 ; applies for the living of 
Bradley, 125; reason for the re- 
fusal, 127 ; his verses *0n Selborne 
Hanger, a Winter Piece,' 139 ; 
* Kitty's Farewell,' 139; visits 
Fyfield, 143, 257 ; writes verses, 
143; thoughts of matrimony, 144; 
declines the living of Cholderton, 
145 ; suffers from coach-sickness, 
147, 168 ; studies botany, 147, 149 ; 
at Ringmer, 148, 233; 'Flora Sel- 
borniensis,' 151 ; correspondence 



with Pennant, 151 ; discovery of 
the harvest mouse, 155 ; The 
Naturalist's Journal, 156 ; on Sir 
Joseph Banks, 160; opinion of the 
•British Zoology,' 162, 166, 176; 
observations on swallows and 
swifts, 163 ; on the study of 
nature, 165 ; acquaintance with 
Barrington, 169 ; style of his 
family letters, 177; letters to the 
Kev. John White, 178-81 et seq.; 
visit from Mr. and Mrs. Mulso, 
181 ; on specimens from Gibraltar, 
182, 198, 203, 205, 207 ; at work 
on his book, 190, 201, 320, II. 21, 
33, 77 ; letters to Samuel Barker, 
190 et seq.; death of his sister, 
Mrs. "Woods, 198 ; on the safe 
return of Mr. Banks, 202, 203 ; 
the shivering wren and sedge -bird, 
217, 219 ; invitation to his brother, 
222 ; on a bullfinch changing colour, 
225; the disputes at Oriel, 227, 
228; on his levelling work, 234; 
visit to Lancashire, 237; mono- 
graphy on the British Hirundines, 
238, 241, 250, 295 ; the flood at 
Selborne, 239 ; refuses Cromhall 
Rectory, 245 ; on the breeding of 
swifts, 258, 260; on Linnseus' 
letter, 261 ; the CEstrus curvicauda, 
264, 267, 274; construction of 
tortoises, 265 ; conception of 
poetry, 269, 282 ; letters to Mrs. 
Barker, 272 et seq.; on Pennant's 
'Tours,' 275; the 'Fauna Cal- 
pensis,' 276, 279, 286, 291, 299, 
311, II. 6, 18, 32 ; Dr. Johnson's 
'Journey,' I. 277; Grimm's draw- 
ings, 289, 320, 326, 328, II. 3 ; on 
the fern-owl, I. 289, II. 205, 224, 
237 ; a female viper, 290 ; experi- 
ments on Arundo donax, 291 ; on 
the ' murmur electricum,' 294, 307 ; 
the rise of vapours, 295, 298 ; 
letters to Thomas White, 297 et 
seq.; on Mr. Holt's will, 301, 303, 
308; Dr. Forster's 'Antarctic 
Genera,' 307, 311 ; corrects proofs 
of the 'British Zoology,' 309; 
letters to Thomas Barker, 312 ei 
seq.'y on the sexuality of mosses, 
313 ; Berriman's bill, 315 ; at 
Meonstoke, 325 ; the swiftness of 
a daw, II. 2 ; price of his draw- 
ings, 7; illness, 8, 233, 270; his 
new parlour, 9, 11, 27 ; on the 
preceptory of Sudington, 9 ; the 
clergy act, 11 ; on Dr. Chandler's 
opinion of the ' Fauna Calpensis,' 

16, 32 ; purchases John Wells' 
farm, 20 ; visit to South Lambeth, 
23 ; letters to his niece, Mary 
White, 24 et seq.; his weeding 
woman, 25 ; his brother John's 
illness, 25 ; on the Notdbilis visi- 
tatio of the priory, 29 ; declines 
the living of Ufton Nervett, 37 ; 
letters to the Rev. R. Churton, 
38 et seq. ; his deafness, 39 ; death 
of his aunt, Mrs. Snooke, 41 ; ' 
brings away Timothy, 42, 48 ; 
income from his property, 45 ; 
amount of personal property, 46 ; 
value of his Fellowship, 47 ; invi- 
tations to Mr. Churton, 49, 59, 70, 
249 ; experiments on Timothy, 50, 
54 ; his " great parlour " finished, 
50 ; cost, 51 ; on the way to 
Selborne, 53 ; the Bostal, 55 ; on 
the sleep of fishes, 57 ; account 
of Collins, 62-65; death of his 
brother John, 66 ; the proposed 
canal, 69 ; frost on buried trees, 
79 ; amount of rain at Plymouth, 
86 ; effects of music, 89, 92 ; the 
star-sluch, 90, 104 ; amount of 
rain at Selborne in 1782, 91 ; in 
1791, 238; in 1792, 254; his 
verses on the crocus, 91 ; on the 
rainbow, 94 ; advice to his nephew 
on reading aloud, 98 ; Dorchester 
Church, 100 ; the long-continued 
haze, 104 ; a meteor, 106 ; verses 
on wasps, 107 ; on the weather, 
112 ; ' The Naturalist's Summer 
Evening Walk,' 112 ; at the meet- 
ings of the Royal and Antiquaries' 
Societies, 114 ; his journey home 
in snoAvy weather, 116 ; on the 
death of Mr. Etty, 118 ; on nip- 
ping hops, 133 ; a balloon journey, 
134-6 ; interest in road-making, 
139 ; on the death of Mr. Yalden, 
142 ; the lottery ticket of Cron- 
dall, 152; on Mr. Taylor's mar- 
riage, 153 ; the climate of Zarizyn, 
155, 159 ; number of nephews and 
nieces, 156, 159, 180, 233 ; method 
of brewing beer, 163 ; hop planting, 
169 ; his book in the press, 171, 
175 ; details respecting the jjarish, 
174; errata, 177; proofs, 177, 181; 
on the epitaphs of his ancestors, 
181 ; views on the success of his 
book, 184, 185 ; congratulations, 

191 ; death of his brother Henry, 

192 ; on the living of Fyfield, 193 ; 
letters from Colonel G. Montagu, 
198-200, 201-4 ; the oestrus bovis, 



206, 224 ; on the overthrow of the 
French monarchy, 210 ; on Dr. 
Chandler in Brussels, 211 ; his 
return from Rolle, 216 ; corre- 
spondence with R. Marsham, 218 
et seq.; on the annual increase of 
swallows, 222 ; size of trees, 223, 
228, 236; death of his friend 
Mulso, 227 ; anecdotes of Dr. 
Hales, 230; at Compton, 232; 
on swifts, 235 ; flocks of house- 
martins, 236 ; Mr. Chiswell's elm, 

240 ; on the Forest of Wolmer, 

241 ; last visit to Oxford, 243 ; on 
the martins at Gibraltar, 246 ; 
Mr. Young's book, 248, 249 ; the 
Wall-creeper, 250, 254 ; on Dr. 
White's wife, 256 ; letter from his 
nephew James on the inclosure 
scheme, 258 ; leaves home for the 
last time, 262 ; last search for 
torpid swallows, 264 ; on Dr. 
Townson's writings, 266 ; his last 
letter, 268; illness, 270; death, 
271 ; funeral, 272 ; will, 272 ; 
tablet, 274 ; style of his book, 
276 ; popularity of the subject, 
277 ; value, 278 ; his appearance, 
279 ; characteristics, 279 ; affec- 
tion for Selborne, 280 ; memorials, 
281 ; editions of his book, 283 ; 
notices, 284-6 ; verses on, 287. 

White, Glyd, II. 264; Curate-in- 
charge of Ewelme, 264 note. 

White, Henry, of Basingstoke, I. 5. 

White, Henry, of Coggs, I. 12. 

White, Henry, Mayor of Oxford, I. 
13, 14. 

White, Henry, his birth, I. 23; 
marriage, 23 ; at Oxford, 62 ; his 
journal, 64 note, 78 ; election to 
Bishop Robinson's Exhibition, 81 ; 
presented to the living of Tid- 
worth, 114; Fylield, 123; verses 
on 'Daphne's Departure,' 136; 
Vicar of Uphaven, 209 ; his family, 
257, 285; buildings, 258, 285, 
318, II. 5 ; at Selborne, 82 ; on 
the haze, 104 ; Weyhill Fair, 109 
note; the high poor rates, 131; 
the end of a balloon journey, 137 ; 
receives 'The Natural History of 
Selborne,' 187 ; death, 192. 

White, Rev. Herbert, Vicar of War- 
borough, II. 282. 

White, James, I. 22 ; letter to Gil- 
bert White on the Selborne in- 
closure scheme, II. 258-60 ; enters 
the army, 260. 

White, Jenkin, I. 5. 

White, Johannes, I. 8. 

White, Sir John, Lord Mayor of 

London in 1563, I. 4, 7. 
White, John, of Basingstoke, I. 5. 
White, John, of Coggs, I. 4 note, 9. 
White, John, of Farnham, Bishop 

of Lincoln, I. 3, 6. 
White, John, of Haley, I. 13. 
White, John, of Northley, I. 12. 
White, John, of South Warnborough, 

I. 4. 

White, John, Barrister-at-law, I. 15 ; 
marriage, 15 ; retires, 16 ; birth of 
his son Gilbert, 17 ; settles at 
Selborne, 18 ; death of his wife, 
18 ; illness, 79 ; death, 98. 

White, Rev. John, his birth, I. 
21 ; ordination, 22 ; constructs 
the zigzag path at Selborne, 71 ; 
pecuniary position, 104 ; Chaplain 
at Gibraltar, 110 ; on the death 
of his father, 110 ; letters from 
Gilbert White, 178-81 et seq. ; his 
collection of birds and insects, 
182 ; presented to the living of 
Blackbvmi, 209 ; at Selborne, 213 ; 
correspondence with Linnaeus, 214 ; 
letter to T. Pennant on his collec- 
tion, 214-16; his 'Fauna Calpen- 
sis,' 216, 276, 286, 291, 299, H. 6; 
opinions on his book, 16, 18, 32 ; 
his illness, 22, 25 ; death, 66 ; 
fate of his book, 66 ; extract from 
his * Natm-al History of Gibraltar,' 

White, John, * A Voyage to Botany 
Bay,' II. 207. 

White, Dr. John, I. 172 ; his uncle's 
jjupil, 228, 238 ; his letter to 
Samuel Barker on the landslip at 
Hawkley, 247; settles at Alton, 

II. 149 ; his accident, 156 ; at 
Salisbury, 161 ; marriage, 253, 
256 ; later career, 256 7iote. (See 
"Gibraltar Jack.") 

White, Mrs. J., resides at Selborne, 
II. 67. 

White, Rev. Joseph, appointed 
Bampton Lecturer, II. 212 note. 

White, Mary, I. 15. 

White, Mary (Molly), extract of a 
letter from, I. 89, 248, 272, II. 23 ; 
letters from Gilbert White, II. 24 
et seq.; on the new room at Sel- 
borne, 52 ; marriage, 145. 

White, Nanny, her illness, I. 266, 
267, 272, IL 7 ; death, 19. 

White, Rebecca, I. 15. 

White, Rebecca, her birth, I. 21 ; 
marriage, 122. 



White, Richard, of Basingstoke, I, 
5 ; his works, 6. 

White, Richard, Vicar of Basing- 
stoke, I. 12. 

White, Richard, I. 13. 

White, Richard, his character, II. 6. 

White, Robert, of Farnham, I. 3, 6. 

White, Sir Sampson, I. 3, 7, 8, 9 ; 
at the coronation of Charles II., 
10 ; knighted, 11 ; his brothers, 
12 ; marriage, 12 ; death, 13 ; 
sons, 13. 

White, Samson, elected to a Fellow- 
ship at Oriel College, II. 148, 164; 
to an Exhibition, 172. 

White, Sir Thomas, I. 3. 

White, Thomas, of Pernix or Purvile, 
I. 5. 

White, Thomas, on the early history 
of the Whites, I. 1 ; his birth, 
19 ; marriage, 19 ; Fellow of the 
Royal Society, 19 ; contributor to 
the 'Gentleman's Magazine,' 20 
property settled on him by Mr 
Holt, 42 ; letters from, 221, 292 
settles at South Lambeth, 297 
opens two tumuli at Selborne, II 
75, 85 ; his cure for ague, 85 
corrects proofs of his brother's 
book, 182 ; review of 'The Natural 
History of Selborne,' 184, 191 ; his 
death, 281. 

Whitwell Rectory, I. 31. 

Whyght, Alicia, I. 9. 

Whyght, Thomas, I. 9. 

Whyght, William, I. 9. 

Whyte, John le, I. 8. 

Whyte, Richard, of Coggs, I. 9. 

Whyte, Thomas, of Coggs, I. 9. 

Willis, Mr., I. 249. 

Willow- wren, its note, II. 199 : size 
and colour, 200 ; number of species, 

Witney, I. 151. 

Wolmer Forest, frost on buried trees, 

II. 79 ; report on, 241. 
Wood, Anthony a, I. 3, 5 notCj 6, 7. 
Woodeson, Dr., I. 23. 
Woods, Mrs., I. 70 ; her death, 198. 
Woods, Anne, her marriage, II. 72 

Woods, Mr. Edmund, II. 232. 
Woods, Mr. Henry, I. 21, 273, 305 ; 

his marriage, 122. 
Woods, John, I. 21. 
Woods, Nanny, I. 249, 256, 272. 
Wornils or maggots, II. 206. 
•Worrybrees,' II. 209, 211, 235. 
Wren, the shivering, I. 216. 
Wyckhame, William of, * Notdbilis 

visitatio' of Selborne priory, II. 

Wyndham, Penraddock, I. 319. 

Yalden, Miss Anne, I. 21 ; her 

marriage, 74. 
Yalden, Rev. Edmund, I. 74, 84. 
Yalden, Mary, I. 21 ; her second 

marriage, II. 160. 
Yalden, Rev. Richard, I. 19 21 ; 

his death, II. 97, 141 ; illness, 123. 
Yalden, Mr. William, I. 19. 
Yatley, I. 3. 
Young, Mr. Arthur, his 'Travels 

through France,' II. 248, 249. 
Young, Admiral Sir George, I. 138. 

marriage, 88. 
Young, Lady, 11. 123. 

Zarizyn, the climate of, II. 155, 158.