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John Claudius Loudon


LOUDON, JOHN CLAUDIUS.—This eminent improver of our gardening and agriculture, was born at Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, on the 8th of April, 1783. His father was a respectable farmer, who resided at Kerse Hall, near Gogar, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh: his mother was only sister of the mother of Dr. Claudius Buchanan, so well known by his philanthropic labours in behalf of the Hindoos, and his work entitled "Christian Researches in Asia." Even when a child, John Claudius Loudon evinced that taste in gardening for which he was afterwards so distinguished; and his chief pleasure at that time was to lay out, and make walks and beds in a little garden which his father had given him. He was early sent to Edinburgh for the benefit of his education, where he resided with his uncle; and besides studying botany and chemistry, he learned Latin, and afterwards French and Italian, contriving to pay the fees of his teachers by the sale of his translations from the two last-mentioned languages. Being placed at the age of fourteen under the charge of a nurseryman and landscape gardener, he continued his studies in botany and chemistry, to which he added that of agriculture, at the university of Edinburgh; while to obtain as much time as possible from the duties of the day, he was wont to sit up two nights during each week, a practice that grew into a habit, and which he continued for years during his subsequent studies.

In 1803, when he had now reached his twentieth year, and obtained a considerable reputation in landscape gardening, Loudon went up to London, carrying with him numerous letters of introduction to some of the first landed proprietors in England. On entering the great metropolis, the tasteless manner in which the public squares were laid out caught his observant eye: their gloomy trees and shrubs were planted as if the places had been designed for church-yards rather than haunts of recreation. As the solitary voice of a stranger would have been unheard upon such a prevalent evil, he had recourse to the press, and published an article, entitled "Observations on Laying out the Public Squares of London," in the Literary Journal, in which he recommended the Oriental plane, almond, sycamore, and other lighter trees, instead of the lugubrious plantings that had hitherto been in vogue. The advice gradually prevailed, and the effect is to be seen in the cheerful, graceful aspect of our public squares in London, as well as over the kingdom. He now became an author as well as practical workman, and his pen went onward with little intermission for forty years, until his life terminated. His first publication, which appeared in 1804, was entitled, "Observations on the Formation and Management of Useful and Ornamental Plantations." In the following year he published "A Short Treatise on some Improvements lately made in Hothouses;" and in 1800, "A Treatise on Forming, Improving, and Managing Country Residences; and on the Choice of Situations, appropriate to every Class of Purchasers." As Loudon was an excellent artist, this work was enriched with thirty-two copperplate engravings of landscape scenery, drawn by himself.

A disaster which soon after befell him, and under which the activity of others would have been paralyzed, only opened up for Loudon a wider range of action. In consequence of travelling upon a rainy night on the outside of a coach, and neglecting afterwards to change his clothes, so severe an attack of rheumatic fever ensued that he was obliged to take lodgings at Pinner, near Harrow. Here, during the days of convalescence, he had an opportunity of observing the cumbrous, wasteful, and unskilful modes of farming pursued in England, and so much at variance with those which were beginning to be put in practice in his own country. With Loudon, to see an evil was to labour for its removal, and persist until it was removed. For the sake of giving practical illustrations of his proposed amendments, he induced his father to join with him in renting Wood Hall, near London, where their operations were so successful, that in 1807 he was enabled to call public attention to the proof, in a pamphlet entitled "An Immediate and Effectual Mode of Raising the Rental of the Landed Property of England, &c., by a Scotch Farmer, now farming in Middlesex." This excellent work introduced him to the notice of General Stratton, by whom he was induced to farm Tew Park, a property belonging to the General in Oxfordshire. On moving to this new locality, Mr. Loudon did not content himself with reaping the fruits of his superior farming; anxious that others should share in the benefit, he established an academy or college of agriculture on the estate of Tew Park, where young men were instructed in the theory of farming, and the best modes of cultivating the soil; and anxious to diffuse this knowledge as widely as possible, he published, in 1809, a pamphlet, entitled, "The Utility of Agricultural Knowledge to the Sons of the Landed Proprietors of Great Britain, &c., by a Scotch Farmer and Land-Agent."

In this way, while Loudon was generously doing his uttermost to be the Triptolemus of England, and teaching the best modes of increasing and eliciting the riches of its soil, his own success was a practical comment upon the efficacy of his theories; for, in 1812, he found himself the comfortable possessor of 15,000. This was enough for one who had a higher aim in life than mere money-making, and to fit himself more effectually for that aim, he resolved to improve his mind by travel. Accordingly, he resigned his profitable farm, and in March, 1813, commenced his travels on the continent, visiting the principal cities of Germany and Russia. Short though this tour was, for he returned to England in the following year, it was associated with a variety of interesting adventures, of which he published a full account, illustrated by sketches from his own pencil. On returning to London, he found that the greater part of his property had disappeared, from the faithlessness of the investments to which it had been intrusted, and thus he had to begin the world anew. He returned to his original occupation, that of landscape gardening, on which he resolved to produce an extensive work; and for the improvement of his knowledge on this subject, he made, in 1819, a tour of France and Italy. Three years after the work appeared, under the title of "The Encyclopaedia of Gardening;" and such was the high reputation it acquired, that its author was reckoned the first horticulturist of his day. Of this work a second edition appeared in 1824, containing great alterations and improvements. Encouraged by the success that attended it, Loudon commenced another equally copious, and upon the same plan, which appeared in 1825, entitled "The Encyclopaedia of Agriculture." In 1826 he commenced the "Gardener’s Magazine," the first periodical that had ever been devoted to horticultural subjects. In 1828 he commenced the "Magazine of Natural History, which was also the first periodical of the kind.

In 1829 he published the "Encyclopaedia of Plants," which was less his own work than any of its predecessors, as he claimed nothing of it beyond the plan and general design. During the two years that followed, he was chiefly employed in producing new editions of his Encyclopaedias of Agriculture and Gardening, and of these, the first was almost wholly re-written, and the latter entirely so. But these occupations, although so laborious, were not his sole nor even his chief task at the time, for he was also closely engaged with the "Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm, and Villa Architecture,"—so closely, indeed, that himself and Mrs. Loudon used to sit up the greater part of every night employed upon it, never having more than four hours’ sleep, and drinking strong coffee to keep themselves awake. It would have been hard, indeed, had such labour been in vain; and therefore it is gratifying to add, that this was not only one of the most useful, but also most successful of all his works, and is still a standard authority upon the subject. His next, and also his greatest work, which would of itself have been sufficient for any ordinary lifetime, was his "Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum," in which he gave an account, with pictorial illustrations, of all the trees, wild or cultivated, that grow in Great Britain. This production, which was published in 1838, at his own risk, was so unsuccessful, that after paying artists and other persons engaged in it, he found himself in debt to the amount of 10,000 to the printer, stationer, and wood-engraver, while the sale of such a splendid publication was so slow, that there was no prospect that it would ever pay its own expenses.

Up to this period Loudon had been one of the most prolific of authors, while all that he had written, he had written well. Nothing, indeed, could exceed his indomitable resolution, unless it might be the philanthropic spirit by which it was animated. Independently of the subjects which we have enumerated, he wrote several minor productions, supplemented his own works from time to time, and was a contributor to Brande’s "Dictionary of Science." Even, also, while the pressure of these numerous avocations was at the greatest, he was discharging the office of editor to four separate periodicals, all of them established by himself, and which he superintended at one and the same time. All this suggests the idea of a frame of iron, and a constitution impervious to human weaknesses and wants, as well as the most unflinching energy of purpose. But our wonder is heightened when we find that, during the greater part of these labours, poor Loudon was an invalid and a cripple. The rheumatic fever with which he was attacked in 1806, ended in an anchylosed knee, and a contracted left arm. Thus he continued till 1820, when, while employed in compiling the "Encyclopaedia of Gardening," he had another severe attack of rheumatism, that compelled him to have recourse in the following year to Mohammed’s Baths, at Brighton. Here he submitted to the rough process of shampooing; but this remedy, so available in many cases like his own, was too much for his feeble bones: his arm broke so close to the shoulder, that it could not be set in the usual manner; and in a subsequent trial, it was again broken, and this time so effectually, that in 1826 amputation was found necessary. But a general breaking up of the system had also been going on, by which the thumb and two fingers of the left hand had been rendered useless, so that he could only use the third and little finger. Yet though thus so maimed and mutilated, as apparently to be unfit for anything but the sick-chamber or a death-bed, the whole energy of life seemed to rally round his heart, and be as ready for fresh encounters as ever, so that his work went on unchecked and unabated; and when he could no longer write or draw, he had recourse to the services of the draughtsman and amanuensis.

We have already mentioned the ill success of Loudon’s "Arboretum Britannicum." This was the heaviest blow of all, and tended to accelerate the disease that terminated in his death; but still, come what might, he resolved that to the last he would be up and doing. Accordingly, as soon as the above-mentioned work was finished in 1838, he began the "Suburban Gardener," which was published the same year, and also his "Hortus Lignosus Londonensis;" and in the year following he published his edition of "Repton’s Landscape Gardening." In 1840 he undertook the editorship of the "Gardener’s Gazette," and in 1842 he published his "Encyclopaedia of Trees and Shrubs." During the same year he finished his "Suburban Horticulturalist;" and, in 1843, appeared his last work, on "Cemeteries." Disease in the lungs had been meanwhile going on for three months, from which he endured much suffering, until his life and labours were terminated together on the 14th of December, 1843, in the sixty-first year of his age. Few men have written so much under such depressing circumstances as John Claudius Loudon, or whose writings were so well adapted to the purpose for which they were produced; and while their practical character and utility have been universally acknowledged, they are pervaded throughout with an earnest desire to improve the character and elevate the standing of those classes whose occupations are connected with gardening and agriculture. Add to this that "he was a warm friend, and most kind and affectionate in all his relations of son, husband, father, and brother, and never hesitated to sacrifice pecuniary considerations to what he considered his duty."

We have already made a passing allusion in this memoir to Mrs. London, by whose aid he was materially benefited when aid was most needed. To her he was married in 1831, and in her he found a fellow-student and literary cooperator, as well as a domestic companion and comforter. Her works, which also were numerous, were chiefly connected with her husband’s favourite departments of gardening and botany; and these she endeavoured to simplify and recommend to the attention of her own sex, a labour of love in which she was highly successful. She and one daughter survived Mr. Loudon, of whom she has written an affectionate and truthful biography.


Loudon's Legacy to Gardners
An article from Tait's Edinburgh Magazine


ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE AND WRITINGS of JOHN CLAUDIUS LOUDON
From his book
Self Instruction for the Young Gardner

John Claudius Loudon was born on the 8th of April, 1783, at Cambuslang, in Lanarkshire, the residence of his mother’s only sister, herself the mother of Dr. Claudius Buchanan (the author of a work entitled Christian Researches in Asia), whose labours in India, in attempting to convert and instruct the Hindoos, have made his name celebrated iu the religious world. Mr. Loudon was the eldest of a large family; and his father, who was a farmer, residing at Kerse Hall, near Gogar, about five miles from Edinburgh, being a man of enlightened mind and superior information, was very anxious that he should have every possible advantage in his education. Strange to say, however, Mr. Loudon, when a boy,' though fond of books, had an insuperable aversion from learning languages, and no persuasions could induce him to study Latin and French, though his father had a master from Edinburgh purposely to teach him the latter language. At this early period, however, a taste for landscape-gardening began to show itself, as his principal pleasure was in making walks and beds in a little garden his father had given him; and so eager was he to obtain seeds to sow in it, that, when a jar of tamarinds arrived from an uncle in the West Indies, lie gave the other children his share of the fruit, on condition of his having all the seeds. While yet quite a child, he was sent to live with an uncle in Edinburgh, that he might attend the classes at the public schools. Here he overcame his dislike to Latin, and made extraordinary progress in drawing and arithmetic. He also attended classes of botany and chemistry, making copious notes, illustrated with very clever pen-and-ink sketches. Still he could not make up his mind to learn French, till one day, when he was about fourteen, his uncle, showing a fine French engraving to a friend, asked his nephew to translate the title. This he could not do; and the deep shame and mortification which he felt, and which he never afterwards forgot, made him determine to acquire the language. Pride, however, and a love of independence, which was ever one of his strongest feelings, prevented him from applying to his father to defray the expense; and he actually paid his master himself, by the sale of a translation which he afterwards made for the editor of a periodical then publishing in Edinburgh. He subsequently studied Italian, and paid his master in the same manner. He also kept a Journal from the time he was thirteen, and continued it for nearly thirty years; writing it for many years in French, in order to familiarise himself with the language.

Among all the studies which Mr. Loudon pursued while in Edinburgh, those he preferred were writing and drawing. The first he learned from Mr. Paton, afterwards father to the celebrated singer of that name; and strange enough, I have found* an old letter of his to Mr. Loudon, sen., prophesying that his son John would be one of the best writers of his day — a prophecy that has been abundantly realised, though certainly not in the sense its author intended it. Drawing was, however, his favourite pursuit: and in this he made such proficiency, that, when his father at last consented to his being brought up as a landscape-gardener, he was competent to take the situation of draughtsman and assistant to Mr. John Mawer, at Easter Dairy, near Edinburgh. Mr. Mawer was a nurseryman, as well as a planner (as the Scotch call a landscape-gardener); and, while with him, Mr. Loudon learned a good deal of gardening generally, particularly of the management of hothouses. Unfortunately, Mr. Mawer died before his pupil was sixteen; and for three or four years afterwards Mr. Loudon resided with Mr. Dickson, a nurseryman and planner in Leith Walk, where he acquired an excellent knowledge of plants. There he boarded in Mr. Dickson’s house; and, though remarkable for the nicety of his dress, and the general refinement of his habits, his desire of improvement was so great, that he regularly sat up two nights in every week to study, drinking strong green tea to keep himself awake; and this practice of sitting up two nights in every week he continued for many years. While at Mr. Dickson’s, he attended classes of botany, chemistry, and agriculture; the last under Dr. Coventry, who was then Professor of Agriculture in the University of Edinburgh, and he was considered by that gentleman to be his most promising pupil.

In truth, it has been highly gratifying to me, while turning over family papers to obtain what particulars I could of my husband’s early life, to find continually, in old copy and account books, letters which had been no doubt treasured up by his mother, from different persons under whom he had studied, "bearing the most honourable* testimony to his proficiency in the various branches of his education, and particularly noting his unwearied perseverance in making himself thoroughly master of whatever he undertook. Mr. Loudon was not a man of many words, and he was never fond of showing the knowledge he possessed; but it was astonishing how much he did know on every subject to which he had turned his attention.

In 1803 he first arrived in London. The following day he called on Mr. Sowerby, Mead Place, Lambeth, who was the first gentleman he visited in England; and he was exceedingly delighted with the models and mineralogical specimens, which were so admirably arranged as to give him the greatest satisfaction from his innate love of order; and he afterwards devised a plan for his own books and papers, partly founded on that of Mr. Sowerby, but much more complete.

As he brought a great number of letters of recommendation to different noblemen and gentlemen of landed property, many of them being from Dr. Coventry with whom he was a great favourite, he was soon extensively employed as a landscape-gardener; and his journal is filled with accounts of his tours in various parts of England. It is curious, in turning over his memoranda, to find how many improvements suggested themselves to his active mind, which he was unable, from various circumstances, to carry into effect at the time, but which, many years afterwards, were executed either by himself or by other persons, who, however, were unaware that he had previously suggested them. Throughout his life similar occurrences were continually taking place; and nothing was more common than for him to find persons taking the merit to themselves of inventions which he had suggested years before. When this happened, he was frequently urged to assert his prior claim; but he always answered, that he thought the person who made an invention useful to the public had more merit than its original contriver; and that, in fact, so long as the public were benefited by any invention of his, it was perfectly indifferent to him who had the merit of it. There never lived a more liberal and thoroughly public-spirited man than Mr. Loudon. He had not a single particle of selfishness in his disposition, and in all his actions he never took the benefit they would produce to himself into consideration. When writing a book, his object was to obtain the best possible information on the subject he had in hand; and he was never deterred from seeking this by any considerations of trouble or expense.

That these feelings influenced him from the time of his first arrival in England may be traced in every page of his Journal; and that they continued to influence him to the last day of his life was only too evident to every one around him at that mournful period.

When Mr. Loudon first arrived in London, he was very much struck with the gloomy appearance of the gardens in the centre of the public squares, which were then planted almost entirely with evergreens, particularly with Scotch pines, yews, and spruce firs; and, before the close of the year 1803, he published an article in a work called The Literary Journal, which he entitled, cc Observations on laying out the Public Squares of London.” In this article he blamed freely the taste which then prevailed, and suggested the great improvement that would result from banishing the yew's and firs (which always looked gloomy from the effect of the smoke on their leaves), and mingling deciduous trees with the other evergreens. Pie-particularly named the Oriental and Occidental plane trees, the sycamore, and the almond, as ornamental trees that would bear the smoke of the city; and it is curious to observe how exactly his suggestions have been adopted, as these trees are now to be found in almost every square in London.

About this time he appears to have become a member of the Linnean Society, probably through the interest of Sir Joseph Banks, to whom he had brought a letter of introduction, and who, till his death in 1820, continued his warm friend. At the house of Sir Joseph Banks Mr. Loudon met most of the eminent scientific men of that day, and the effect produced hy their conversation on his active mind may be traced in his Journal. Among many other interesting memoranda of new ideas that struck him about this period, is one as to the expediency of trying the effects of charcoal on vegetation, from having observed the beautiful verdure of the grass on a spot where charcoal had been burnt. He appears, however, to have thought no more at that time on the subject, or to have forgotten it, as, when he afterwards wrote on charcoal, he made no allusion to this fact.

Tn 1804, having been employed by the Earl of Mansfield to make some plans for altering the Palace Gardens at Scone in Perthshire, he returned to Scotland and remained there several months, laying out grounds for many noblemen and gentlemen. While thus engaged, and while giving directions for planting and managing woods, and on the best mode of draining and otherwise improving estates, several ideas struck him, which lie afterwards embodied in a book published in Edinburgh by Constable and Co., and by Longman, Hurst, Pees, and Orme, in London. This, then, was the first work of Mr. Loudon’s presented to the public through the Messrs. Longman, with whom he continued to transact business of the same nature for nearly forty years. The book alluded to was entitled Observations on the Formation and Management of Useful and Ornamental Plantations ; on the Theory and Practice of Landscape- Gardening, and on gaining and embanking Land from Rivers or the Sea. As this was his first separate work, and as it is now comparatively little known, it may be interesting to copy a few sentences from the Introduction; which -will show how strongly his mind was, even in his youth, imbued with the subject of his profession, though he was then apparently disposed to treat it in a different style from what he did in after years.

“Various are the vegetable productions which this earth affords. Blades of grass spring up every where, and clothe the surface with pasture; groups of shrubs arise in some places, and diversify this uniform covering; but trees are the most striking objects that adorn the face of inanimate nature. If we imagine for a moment that the surface of Europe were totally divested of wood, what would be our sensations on viewing its appearance ? Without this accompaniment, hills and valleys, rivers and lakes, rocks and cataracts, all of themselves the most perfect that could be imagined, would present an aspect bleak, savage, and uninteresting. But, let the mountains be covered with wood, and the water shaded by trees, and the scene is instantly changed: what was before cold and barren, is now rich, noble, and full of variety. In travelling through a naked country, a whole unvaried horizon is comprehended by the eye with a single glance; its surface is totally destitute of intricacy to excite curiosity and fix attention; and both the eye and the mind are kept in a state of perpetual weariness and fatigue. But, in a wooded country, the scene is continually changing; the trees form a varied boundary to every thing around, and enter into numberless and pleasing combinations with all other objects; the eye is relieved without distraction, and the mind fully engaged without fatigue. If we examine even a tree by itself, the intricate formation and disposition of its boughs, spray, and leaves, its varied form, beautiful tints, and diversity of light and shade, make it far surpass every other object; and, notwithstanding this multiplicity of separate parts, its general effect is simple and grand.

“But wood is not only the greatest ornament on the face of our globe, but the most essential requisite for the accommodation of civilised society. The implements of agriculture, the machinery of manufactures, and the vehicles of commercial intercourse, are. all made of timber; nor is there an edifice or superstructure of almost any denomination, in which this material does not form the principal part.

“Wood is more particularly valuable in Great Britain, where the existence and prosperity of the empire depends upon the support of a numerous shipping, emphatically called its c wooden walls.’

“From the universal utility, and the unrivalled beauty of wood, it may reasonably be supposed to have been assiduously cultivated in all improved countries; and, accordingly, we find trees were planted, and the growth of timber encouraged, by every polished nation. To this subject, as to all other parts of rural economy, the Homans paid great attention; and the writings of some of their most celebrated authors contain many excellent observations and precepts on the culture and management of timber and ornamental trees.” (p. 20.)

“But, independently of the beauty and profit of wood, the pleasure attending the formation and management of plantations will be a considerable recommendation to every virtuous mind. We look upon our young trees as our offspring; and nothing can possibly be more satisfying than to see them grow and prosper under our care and attention; nothing more interesting than to examine their progress, and mark their several peculiarities. As they advance to perfection, we foresee their ultimate beauty; and the consideration that we have reared them raises a most agreeable train of sensations in our minds; so innocent and rational, that they may justly rank with the most exquisite of human gratifications. But, as the most powerful motives to planting are those which address themselves to the interest of the individual, I proceed to consider it more particularly in this point of view.” (p. 23.)

The work is divided into sections, in one of which, in particular, on the principal distinctions of trees and shrubs, are some very interesting observations, which show how well their author was acquainted with the characteristics of trees and shrubs even at that early period of his life. Before Mr. Loudon left Edinburgh, he published another work, entitled A short Treatise on some Improvements lately made in Hothouses. This was in 1805; and the same year he returned to England. On this second voyage to London, he was compelled by stress of weather to land at Lowestoffe; and he took such a disgust at the sea, that he never afterwards travelled by it if it was possible to go by land. He now resumed his labours as a landscape-gardener; and his Journal is filled with the observations he made, and the ideas that suggested themselves of improvements, on all he saw. Among other things, he made some remarks on the best mode of harmonising colours in flower-gardens, which accord, in a very striking manner, with the principles afterwards laid down by M. Chevreul in his celebrated work entitled De la Loi du Con-traste simultane dcs Coideurs, published in Paris in 1839. Mr. Loudon states that he had observed that flower-gardens looked best when the flowers were so arranged as to have a compound colour next the simple one, which was not contained in it. Thus, as there are only three simple colours, blue, red, and yellow, he advises that purple flowers, which are composed of blue and red, should have yellow next them; that orange flowers, which are composed of red and yellow, should be contrasted with blue; and that green flowers, which are composed of blue and yellow, should be relieved by red. He accounts for this on the principle that three parts are required to make a perfect whole; and he compares the union of the three primitive colours formed in this manner with the common chord in music; an idea which has since been worked out by several able writers. He had also formed the plan of a Pictorial Dictionary, which was to embrace every kind of subject, and to be illustrated by finished woodcuts printed with the type.

In 1806 Mr. Loudon published his Treatise on forming, improving, and managing Country Residences, and on the Choice of Situations appropriate to every Class of Purchasers. With an Appendix containing an Enquiry into the Utility and Merits of Mr. Repton’s Mode of showing Effects by Slides and Sketches, and Strictures on his Opinions and Practice in Landscape-Gardening. Illustrated by Descriptions of Scenery and Buildings, by References to Country Seats and Passages of Country in most Parts of Great Britain, and by 32 Engravings.

This work was much more voluminous than any of the preceding ones, and it was ornamented by some elegant copperplate engravings of landscape scenery, drawn by himself, which, in 1807, were republished, with short descriptions, as a separate work.

During the greater part of the year 1806 Mr. Loudon was actively engaged in landscape-gardening; and towards the close of that year, when returning from Tre-Madoc, in Caernarvonshire, the seat of IV. A. Madocks, Esq., he caught a violent cold by travelling on the outside of a coach all night in the rain, and neglecting to change his clothes when he reached the end of his journey. The cold brought on a rheumatic fever, which settled finally in his left knee, and, from improper medical treatment, terminated in a stiff joint; a circumstance which was a source of great annoyance to him, not only at the time when it occurred, but during the whole of the remainder of his life. This will not appear surprising, when it is considered that he was at that period in the prime of his days, and not only remarkably healthy and vigorous in constitution, but equally active and independent in mind. While suffering from the effects of the complaint in his knee, he took lodgings at a farm-house at Pinner, near Harrow; and, while there, the activity of his mind made him anxiously enquire into the state of English farming. He also amused himself by painting several landscapes, some of which were exhibited at the Royal Academy, and by learning German, paying his expenses, as he had done before when he learned French, by selling for publication a pamphlet which he had translated by way of exercise. In this case, the translation being of a popular work, it was sold to Mr. Cadell for 15/. He also took lessons in Greek and Hebrew. The following extract from his Journal in ,1806 will give some idea of his feelings at this period : — “Alas! how have I neglected the important task of improving myself! How much I have seen, what new ideas have developed themselves, and what different views of life I have acquired since I came to London three years ago ! I am now twenty-three years of age, and perhaps one third of my life has passed away, and yet what have I done to benefit my fellow men?”

Mr. Loudon, during the length of time he was compelled to remain at Pinner, became so interested respecting English farming, and s so anxious that the faults he observed in it should be corrected, that he wrote to his father, stating the capability of the soil, and the imperfect state of the husbandry, and urging him to come to England. It happened that at this period the farm called Wood Hall, where he had been staying so long, was to be let, and Mr. Loudon, senior, in consequence of the recommendation of his son, took it, and removed to it in 1807. The following year Mr. Loudon, who was then residing with his father at Wood Hall, wrote a pamphlet entitled An immediate and effectual Mode of raising the Rental of the Landed Property of England; and rendering Great Britain independent of other Nations for a Supply of Bread Corn. By a Scotch Farmer, now farming in Middlesex. This pamphlet excited a great deal of attention ; and General Stratton, a gentleman possessing a large landed estate, called Kew Park, in Oxfordshire, having read it, was so much interested in the matter it contained, that he offered him a portion of his property at a low rate, in order that he might undertake the management of the rest, and thus introduce Scotch farming into Oxfordshire.

The farm which Mr. Loudon took from General Stratton, and which was called Great Tew, was nearly eighteen miles from the city of Oxford, and it contained upwards of 1500 acres. “The surface,” as he describes it, “was diversified by bold undulations, hills, and steeps, and the soil contained considerable variety of loam, clay, and light earth, on limestone and red rock. It was, however, subdivided in a manner the most unsuitable for arable husbandry, and totally destitute of carriage roads. In every other respect it was equally unfit for northern agriculture, having very indifferent buildings, and being greatly in want of draining and levelling.” At this place he established a kind of agricultural college for the instruction of young men in rural pursuits; some of these, being the sons of landed proprietors, were under his own immediate superintendence; and others, who were placed in a second class, were instructed by his bailiff, and intended for land-stewards and farm-bailiffs. A description of this college, and of the improvements effected at Great Tew, was given to the public in 1809, in a pamphlet entitled The Utility of Agricultural Knowledge to the Sons of the Landed Proprietors of England, and to Young men intended for Estate-Agents; illustrated by what has taken place in Scotland. With an Account of an Institution formed for Agricultural Pupils in Oxfordshire. By a Scotch Farmer and Land-Agent, resident in that County. In this pamphlet there is one passage showing how much attached he was to landscape-gardening, an attachment which remained undiminished to his death; and how severely he felt the misfortune of having his knee become anchylosed from the effects of the rheumatic fever before alluded to. The passage, which occurs in the introductory part of the work, is as follows: — “A recent personal misfortune, by which the author incurred deformity and lameness, has occasioned his having recourse to farming as a permanent source of income, lest by any future attack of disease he should be prevented from the more active duties and extensive range of a beloved profession 011 which he had formerly been chiefly dependent.”

Notwithstanding the desponding feelings expressed in this paragraph, Mr. Loudon appears from his memorandum books to have been still extensively engaged in landscape-gardening, as there are memoranda of various places that he laid out in England, Wales, and Ireland, till the close of 1812. Before this period he had quitted Kew; and finding that he had amassed upwards of 15,000/. by his labours, he determined to relax his exertions, and to gratify his ardent thirst for knowledge by travelling abroad. Previously, however, to doing this, he published two works: one entitled Hints on the Formation of Gardens and Pleasure-Grounds, with Designs in various Styles of Rural Embellishment: comprising Plans for laying out Flower, Fruit, and Kitchen Gardens; and the Construction and Arrangement of Glass Houses, Hot Walls, and Stoves; with Directions for the Management of Plantations, and a Priced Catalogue of Fruit and Forest Trees, Shrubs, and Herbaceous Plants; the whole adapted to Villa Grounds from one Perch to One Hundred Acres in Extent: and the other, Observations on laying out Farms in the Scotch Style adapted to England.

The first of these works I have no copy of, and have never seen ; but the second is now before me, and it contains many interesting particulars respecting the farm of Great Tew rented by himself, and those of Wood Hall and Kenton Lane rented by his father. From this work it appears, that, though Mr. Loudon, senior, enjoyed but a few months5 health after settling at Wood Hall, which he entered upon at Michaelmas, 1807, his death taking place in December, 1809, the estate was so much improved, even in that short period, that it was let after his death for a thousand pounds a year, being three hundred pounds a year more than he had paid for it. It also appears that Mr. Loudon entered on the farm at Great Tew at Michaelmas, 1808, and left it in February, 1811; General Stratton paying him a considerable sum for his lease, stock, and the improvements he had effected.

The Continent, after having been long closed to English visitors, was thrown open in 1813 by the general rising against Napoleon Bonaparte, and it presented an ample field to an enquiring mind like that of Mr. Loudon. Accordingly, after having made the necessary preparations, he sailed from Harwich on the 16th of March. He first landed at Gottenburg, and was delighted with Sweden, its roads, its people, and its systems of education; but he was too impatient to visit the theatre of war to stay long in Sweden, and he proceeded by way of Memel to Konigsberg, where he arrived on the 14th of April. In this country he found every where traces of war: skeletons of horses lay bleaching in the fields, the roads were broken up, and the country houses in ruins. At Elbing he found the streets filled with the goods and cattle of the country people, who had poured into the town for protection from the French army, which was then passing within two miles of it; and near Marienburg he passed through a bivouac of 2000 Russian troops, who in their dress and general appearance looked more like convicts than soldiers. The whole of the valley between Marienburg and Dantzie he found covered with water, and looking like one vast lake; but on the hills near Dantzie there was an encampment of Russians; the Cossacks belonging to which were digging holes for themselves and horses in the loose sand. These holes they afterwards covered with boughs of trees, stuck into the earth and meeting in the centre as in a gipsy tent; the whole looking, at a little distance, like a number of huts of the Esquimaux Indians. He now passed through Swedish Pomerania; and, on approaching Berlin, found the long avenues of trees leading to that city filled with foot passengers, carriages full of ladies, and waggons full of luggage, all proceeding there for protection; and forming a very striking picture as he passed through them by moonlight.

He remained at Berlin from the 14th of May to the 1st of June, and then proceeded to Frankfort on the Oder. Here, at the table d’hote, he dined -with several Prussian officers, who, supposing him to be a Frenchman, sat for some time in perfect silence: but, on hearing him speak German, one said to the other, “He must be English;” and, when he told them that he came from London, they all rose, one springing over the table in his haste, and crowded round him, shaking hands, kissing him, and over-whelming him with compliments, as he was the first Englishman they had ever seen. He then proceeded through Posen to Warsaw, where he arrived on the 6th of June.

Afterwards he travelled towards Russia, but was stopped at the little town of Tykocyn, and detained there three months, from some informality in his passport. When this difficulty was overcome, he proceeded by Grodno to Wilna, through a country covered with the remains of the French army, horses and men lying dead by the road-side, and bands of wild-looking Cossacks scouring the country. On entering Kosnow three Cossacks attacked his carriage, and endeavoured to carry off the horses, but they were beaten back by the whips of the driver and servants. At Mitton he Avas obliged to sleep in his britzska, as every house was full of the wounded; and he was awakened in the night by the cows and other animals, of which the inn yard was full, eating the hay which had been put over his feet to keep them warm. He reached Biga on the 30th of September, and found the town completely surrounded by a barricade of waggons, which had been taken from the French. Between this town and St. Petersburg, while making a drawing of a picturesque old fort, he was taken up as a spy; and, on his examination before the prefect, he was much anmsed at hearing the comments made on his note-book, which was full of unconnected memoranda, and which puzzled the magistrates and their officers excessively when they heard it translated into Russ.

Mr. Loudon reached St. Petersburg on the 30th of October, just before the breaking up of the bridge, and he remained there three or four months; after which he proceeded to Moscow, where he arrived on the 4th of March, 1814, after having encountered various difficulties on the road. Once, in particular, the horses in his carriage being unable to drag it through a snow-drift, the postilions very coolly unharnessed them and trotted off, telling him that they would bring fresh horses in the morning, and that he would be in no danger from the wolves, if he would keep the windows of his carriage close, and the leather curtains down. There was no remedy but to submit; and few men were better fitted by nature for bearing the horrors of such a night than Mr. Loudon, from his natural calmness and patient endurance of difficulties. He often, however, spoke of the situation he was in, particularly when he heard the howling of the wolves, and once when a herd of them rushed across the road close to his carriage. He had also some doubts whether the postilions would be able to recollect where they had left the carriage, as the wind had been very high during the night, and had blown the snow through the crevices in the curtains. The morning, however, brought the postilions with fresh horses, and the remainder of the journey was passed without any difficulty.

When he reached Moscow, he found the houses yet black from the recent fire, and the streets filled with the ruins of churches and noble mansions. Soon after his arrival news was received of the capture of Paris, and the entrance of the allied sovereigns into that city; but the Russians took this intelligence so coolly, that, though it reached Moscow on the 25th of April, the illuminations in honour of it did not take place till the 5th of May. He left Moscow on the 2d of June, and reached Kiev on the 15th. Here he had an interview with General Rapp on account of some informality in his "passport. He then proceeded to Cracow, and thence to Vienna; after which he visited Prague, Dresden, and Leipsic, passing through Magdeburg to Hamburg, where he embarked for England, and reached Yarmouth on the 27th of September, 1814.

During this long and interesting journey Mr. Loudon visited and took views of nearly all the palaces and large rural residences in the countries through which he passed; and he visited all the principal gardens, frequently going two 01* three days’ journey out of his route, if he heard of any garden that he thought worth seeing. He also visited most of the eminent scientific men in the different cities he passed through; and was elected a member of the Imperial Society of Moscow, the Natural History Society at Berlin, the Royal Economical Society at Potsdam, and many others. I have often wondered that on his return home he did not publish his travels; as the Continent was then, comparatively, so little known, that a a narrative of what he saw, illustrated by his sketches, would have been highly interesting. Business of a very unpleasant nature, however, awaited him, and probably so completely occupied his mind as to leave no room for any thing else.

I have already mentioned that when Mr. Loudon went abroad he had a large sum of money lying unemployed in his banker’s hands; and with this he was induced, I know not how, to embark in mercantile speculations, and underwriting ships at Lloyd’s. As he knew nothing of business of this nature, it is not surprising that his speculations turned out badly; and for more than twelve months he was involved in pecuniary difficulties. I am unable to give all the details of his sufferings during this period, as it was a subject he never spoke of, and the allusions to it in his memorandum books are by no means explicit. It appears, however, that, after having made several fruitless journeys (including one to Paris in 1815) in the hope of recovering some part of the property, he was compelled to submit to the loss of nearly the whole; and that his health was very seriously injured by the anxieties he underwent.

About this time (1816) his mother and sisters left the country; and he, having determined that in future they should reside with him, took a house at Bayswater called the Hermitage, which had a large garden annexed. His health was now seriously impaired, but his mind always seemed to acquire additional vigour from the feebleness of his body; and, as he was unable to use so much exertion as he had formerly done in landscape-gardening, he amused himself by trying experiments relating to the construction of hothouses, and by having several of different kinds erected in his garden.

In August, 1815, a paper had been published in the Transactions of the Horticultural Society, by Sir George Mackenzie of Coul, “ on the form which the glass of a forcing-house ought to have, in order to receive the greatest possible quantity of rays from the sun.” This form Sir George conceived to be that of a globe; but, as it seemed impracticable to make a hothouse globular, he proposed to make the roof the segment of a circle. Air. Loudon appears to have been very much struck with this paper; but he saw faults in the plan which he thought might be amended, and he tried houses with curvilinear roofs of various kinds, in order to ascertain which was the best. He also tried a house with what he called ridge and furrow glazing; a plan what has since been carried out on a magnificent scale by Mr. Paxton, in the Duke of Devonshire’s splendid conservatory at Chatsworth. While these houses were in progress, he wrote a work entitled Remarks on the Construction of Hothouses, &c., which was published in 1817. Shortly afterwards he invented a new kind of sash-bar, of which he gave a description, together with sketches of the hothouses, and details of their construction, in a quarto pamphlet entitled Sketches of Curvilinear Hothouses, &e., which was published in 1818. The profits of this bar he was to have shared with the ironmonger by whom it was sold; but, I believe, he never reaped any pecuniary advantage from it. He also published, in folio, another work, in the same year, entitled A Comparative View of the Common and Curvilinear Modes of roofing Hothouses.

He now seems to have determined on devoting his time principally to his pen; and he began to collect materials for the well-known Encyclopcedia of Gardening. It is probable that the first idea of this work had occurred to him while he was travelling, from the great number of gardens he had seen, and the various modes of gardening that he had found practised in different countries. At any rate, he determined to commence his work with a history of gardening, and a description of the gardens of various countries; introducing illustrative drawings engraved on wood and printed with the text, this being, I believe, the first time any engravings, except mere outlines, had been printed in that manner. It was necessary, in order to complete his plan, that lie should see the gardens of France and Italy, in the same manner as he had seen those of the North of Europe; and, for this purpose, he determined to set out on another tour, though his health was at that time so very indifferent, that one of his friends, who saw him at Dover, told him he looked more fit to keep his bed than to set out on a journey. Mr. Loudon, however, was not easily deterred from any thing that he had resolved upon, and he proceeded by way of Calais and Abbeville to Paris, where he arrived on the 30th of May, 1819. After seeing every thing deserving of notice in Paris, and becoming acquainted with many eminent men there, from the letters of introduction given to him by his kind friend Sir Joseph Banks, he left on the 10th of June for Lyons; in the Botanic Garden of which city he saw for the first time a living plant of the Vallis-neria, which had not then been introduced into England, and which he had only seen in a dry state in the Hortus Siccus of Sir Joseph Banks. From Lyons he Avent to Avignon, and then he visited the celebrated fountain of Vaueluse. Afterwards he proceeded to Marseilles, and thence to Nice, from which city he sailed in a felucca for Genoa.

During the whole of his tour through France he visited the gardens every where, and made memoranda of every thing that he thought would be useful for his intended work. He also made sketches of all the principal places, as he had previously done in the North of Europe.

Before leaving Genoa he procured a collection of orange trees, which he sent to England for his greenhouse at Bayswater. He also saw, for the first time, slate boxes used for orange trees, in the garden of Signore di Negre, near Genoa. In this city, also, he first met with his friend Captain Mangles; and, joining him and Captain Irby, they travelled together along the shores of the Mediterranean, leaving Genoa on the 6th of July in a felucca for Leghorn, where they arrived on the 8th, and thence proceeded through Pisa to Florence. During the whole of this tour Mr. Loudon’s Journal is entirely filled with descriptions of the gardens he visited, observations on the different modes of culture he saw practised, and various remarks on the habits of plants. One of the latter, which appears to me worth recording, is, that he found Skxifraga crassifolia killed by a very slight frost in Florence; though it will bear a considerable degree of cold in more northern climates. From Florence he went to Borne, and thence to Naples; after Avhieh he visited Pompeii and Herculaneum, returning through Borne to Florence on the 21st of August. In these cities he visited all that is generally considered worth seeing; and, of course, did not neglect his favourite gardens.

About this period he saw for the first time a specimen of the trick often practised by the Italian gardeners, which is called by the French Greffedes Charlatans. This consists in taking the pith out of the trunk and branches of an orange tree, and dexterously introducing through these a rose tree, or any other plant which it is wished shall appear to have been grafted on the orange. Care is taken not to injure the roots of either; and, if put cautiously into the ground, both will produce leaves and flowers.

The next place he visited was Bologna, near which he passed a day or two with an Italian family who were enjoying the pleasures of the vintage. He then went through Ferrara to Venice; the first part of the road to which was bordered by hedges, in which were vines laden with grapes hanging from tree to tree. At Deux Ponts, he embarked in a boat, and found the canal nearly all the way to Venice full of beautiful aquatic plants, among which was the Vallisneria. He was very much struck with the imposing view that he first obtained of Venice, including the grand square of St. Mark, with its winged lion on a granite column. He also remarked the freshness and brilliancy of the paintings ; and he noticed that the Post-office at Venice was built upon immense piles of logwood. The whole of the first night that he passed in Venice he was unable to sleep, from the number of persons that were singing in parties in the streets. The following morning he hired a gondola, and went through the city, with which he was exceedingly delighted; for, as he says, emphatically, f It is impossible to know what Italian architecture and Italian paintings really are, without seeing those at Venice.” Before leaving this splendid city, he procured a living plant of the Vallisneria, which he placed in a little tin can containing water, and carried himself, when he was travelling, lest any harm should happen to it.

The next place he visited was Padua, where he saw the celebrated Botanic Garden. The road from this to Vicenza was bordered with hedges of i^iblscus syriacus. He had now entered upon the district where silk is chiefly produced, and found on each side of the road vast plantations of white mulberry trees. Thence he proceeded to Milan; after which he visited the splendid gardens of Monza, with which he was most exceedingly delighted. He found here square pots universally used for the plants in the greenhouses, in order to save room ; and the tubs of the orange and lemon trees sunk in the ground, to keep the plants moist. He found the tuberoses most luxuriant, and scenting the air. The Botanic Garden at Milan is small but well filled. On leaving Milan he visited the Borromean Isles; but thought the beauty of Isola Bella somewhat exaggerated.

The little can containing the Yallisneria had occasioned him a great deal of trouble during his journey through the North of Italy; and he found it still more difficult to take care of while he was crossing the Simplon into Switzerland, as he was obliged to perform the journey on a mule. However, to use his own expression, he nursed it as carefully as he would have done a child, and the Yallisneria was in perfect health when he arrived at Geneva on the 13th of September, 1819. Here he visited the Botanic Garden, and formed an acquaintance with the late Professor De Candolle. He afterwards visited Basle; saw the establishment of M. Fellenberg, and proceeded through Strasburg to Paris, where he only slept one night, and then set off for Belgium. The one night that he passed at Paris proved unfortunately fatal to the Yallisneria. The inn he went to happened to be crowded when he arrived, and he was placed in a very small bedroom, that was so hot and close he fancied his poor plant looked drooping. To revive it, he opened the window, and placed the tin can on the window-sill, taking great care to secure it that it might not fall. In the morning, however, though the tin can remained, the plant was gone; and he was never able to ascertain what had become of it, though he supposed it had been carried off by sparrows.

At Brussels he found the Botanic Garden in those days nothing ; but lie liked the park and the promenade on the ramparts, to which the Botanic Garden has since been removed. At Ghent, he was also much pleased with the Botanic Garden, and with the generally luxuriant appearance of the plants in the private gardens near the town.

In Bruges and Ostend he found little to see ; and he returned to Bayswater on the 9th of October.

As soon as he reached home, he began the Encyclopaedia of Gardening, at which he worked with little intermission till it was finished, though he was suffering severely at the time from chronic rheumatism in his right arm; the pain from which became at length so intolerable, that in 1820 he was compelled to call in medical aid; and, being recommended to try Mahomed’s vapour baths, he went down to Brighton for that purpose. Here, notwithstanding the extreme torture he suffered from the shampooing and stretching, he submitted to both with so much patience, that they were continued by the operators till they actually broke his right arm so close to the shoulder as to render it impossible to have it set in the usual manner, and consequently it never united properly, though he continued to use his hand to write with for several years.

In 1822 appeared the first edition of the Encyclopaedia of Gardening; a most laborious work, remarkable both for the immense mass of useful matter it contains, and for the then unusual circumstance of a great number of finished wood-engravings being printed with the text, instead of being in separate pages. This book had an extraordinary sale, and fully established the literary fame of its author.

In the early part of the year 1823 he wrote a work entitled The different Modes of cultivating the Pine-apple, from its first Introduction to Europe to the Improvements of T. A. Knight, Esq., in 1822.

About this time also a little work was published anonymously, called The Greenhouse Companion, which, I believe, was written, either entirely or in part, by Mr. Loudon : but it must have been by a wonderful exertion, if he did write it; as during the whole of the year 1823 he suffered most excruciating pain, not only from his right arm, the bone of which had never properly united, and to retain which in its place he was compelled to wear an iron case night and day, but from the rheumatism which had settled in his left hand, and which contracted two of his fingers and his thumb, so as to render them useless. It is, however, worthy of remark, and quite characteristic of Air. Loudon, that, at the very time he was suffering such acute bodily pain, he formed the plan of his houses in Porchester Terrace, Bayswater, and superintended the building of them himself, rising at four o’clock every morning, that he might be on the spot when the workmen came to their work.

In 1824 a second edition was published of the Encyclopaedia of Gardening; in which the work was nearly all rewritten, and very considerable additions were made to it. In the following year, 1825, Encyclopaedia of Agriculture was written and published. These extensive and laborious works following closely upon each other, in Mr. Loudon’s state of health, speak strongly as to his unparalleled energy of mind. When, shortly after, his right arm was broken a second time, and he was obliged to submit to amputation, though he gave up landscape-gardening, it was only to devote himself more assiduously to his pen. He was, however, now no longer able to write or draw himself, and he was compelled to employ both an amanuensis and a draughtsman. Still, though he had only the use of the third and little finger of his left hand, he would frequently take a pen or a pencil, and make sketches with astonishing vigour, so as fully to explain to his draughtsman what he wished to be done.

During the time that he was suffering so severely from the pain in his arm, he found no ease but from taking laudanum; and he became at last so habituated to the use of this noxious potion, that he took a wine-glassful every eight hours. After the amputation of his arm, however, he wished to leave off taking it, as he was aware of its injurious effects upon his general health; and he contrived to cure himself by putting a wine-glassful of water into his quart bottle of laudanum every time he took out a wine-glassful of the potion, so that the mixture became gradually weaker every day, till at last it was little more than water; and he found he had cured himself of this dangerous habit without experiencing any inconvenience.'

In 1826 he established The Gardener's Magazine, the first periodical devoted exclusively to horticultural subjects. This work was always Mr. Loudon’s favourite, and the organ through which he communicated his own thoughts and feelings to the public. It was originally undertaken principally for the benefit of gardeners in the country, in order to put them cf on a footing with those about the metropolis; ” but it soon became the universal means of communication among gardeners, and was of incalculable benefit to them. It also became a source of great pleasure to amateurs of gardening, and was no doubt the means of inspiring a taste for the pursuit in many who had before been indifferent to it. “ In an art so universally practised as gardening, and one daily undergoing so much improvement,” Mr. Loudon observes, “a great many occurrences must take place worthy of being recorded, not only for the entertainment of gardening readers, but for the instruction of practitioners in the art.” (Gard. Mag. vol. i. p. 1.) That this work met the wants of a large class of readers is evident from four thousand copies of the first number having been sold in a few days ; and from the work having continued popular for nineteen years, and, in fact, till its close at the death of its conductor.

The Gardener's Magazine first appeared quarterly, afterwards it was published every two months, and finally every month. The second number of this work contained an attack on the London Horticultural Society, the affairs of which were then notoriously ill managed, though before the publication of The Gardener's Magazine no one had ventured to complain of them publicly. In the same number appeared an article on the ' Self-education of Gardeners;” in which Mr. Loudon began those earnest exhortations to gardeners to improve themselves, and those efforts to put them in the way of self-improvement, which he continued almost to the last hour of his life. He also, in this second number, gave a plan for the improvement of Kensington Gardens, and suggested the erection of “small stone lodges with fireplaces at the principal garden gates, for the comfort of the door-keepers in winter,” as before that time the door-keepers had no shelter but the alcoves; and he proposed that at least once a week a band should play in the Gardens, and that the public should be able to obtain the convenience of seats, as in the public gardens on the Continent. In the third number of the Magazine he began a series of articles on cc Cottage Economy; ” and invited young architects to turn their thoughts to the erection of cottages, as well for labourers as for gardeners, which should be not only ornamental enough to please the gentlemen on whose grounds they were to be erected, but comfortable to those who were to live in them. These hints were followed up by many gentlemen : and I think I never saw Mr. Loudon more pleased than when a highly respectable gardener once told him that he was living in a new and most comfortable cottage, which his master had built for him; a noble marquess, who said that he should never have thought of it, but for the observations in Mr. Loudon’s Gardener’s Magazine, as they made him consider whether the cottage was comfortable or not, and that, as soon as he did so, he perceived its deficiencies. The fact is, that the greater part of the nobility and landed proprietors are, I believe, most anxious to make those around them as comfortable as possible, and only require their attention to be properly directed to the subject. In the fourth number of the Gardener''s Magazine the subject of the reform of the Horticultural Society was resumed ; and it was continued in the succeeding numbers till 1830, when the desired result was at length effected.

Both in the early volumes of The Gardeneds Magazine, and in the Encyclopaedia of Gardening, Mr. Loudon had strongly advocated the necessity of having garden libraries; and in the second volume of The Gardener's Magazine he gave a list of books he considered suitable for a garden library, in which he included the Encyclopaedia of Plants and the Hortus Britannicus; works then written, though they topk so long in printing that they were not published till two or three years afterwards. It is very gratifying to find that numerous garden libraries were established in different parts of the country, in the course of two or three months after they were first suggested in The Gardener's Magazine; and that several letters appeared, from working gardeners, on the advantages and improvement which they had received from the books they thus obtained access to.

In the year 1827 Mr. Loudon suggested the idea of planting some public walk according to the natural system, and naming the trees in the way that has lately been done in Kensington Gardens. The same year the first notices were inserted of Horticultural Societies offering premiums for the production of certain vegetables, flowers, and fruits; a plan which has since been earned to a very great extent.

In the year 1828 The Magazine of Natural History was begun, being the first work of its kind; and this work, though not quite so successful as The Gardener's Magazine, was very popular, and has had numerous imitators. Towards the close of this year Mr. Loudon paid another visit to the Continent, to obtain information for a new edition of the Encyclopedia of Agriculture. After traversing France, he proceeded through Strasburg to Munich and Stuttgard; he afterwards visited Heidelberg and Carlsruhe, and returned by Metz to Paris, and thence to England. In The Gardener's Magazine for 1828 he began to give an account of this tour; and he continued it through several of the succeeding volumes, interspersing the descriptions of the various places he saw with a mass of valuable reflections on various subjects, which he conceived would be useful to gardeners. In the following year, 1829, he suggested the idea of having breathing zones, or unoccupied spaces half a mile broad, at different intervals around London; and in the next article to this he first suggested the idea of making use of the manure now carried to waste by the common sewers, a plan which has since engaged the attention of many talented persons, and which, probably, will at no very distant period be carried into effect. Another plan suggested by him about this period was for establishing national schools, or, as he termed them, parochial institutions for education. In the same volume is a suggestion for the establishment of a gardeners’ fund for the relief of the widows and families of deceased gardeners.

About this time Mr. Loudon formed his first acquaintance with me. My father died in 1824; and, finding on the winding up of his affairs that it would be necessary for me to do something for my support, I had written a strange wild novel called The Mummy, in which I had laid the scene in the twenty-second century, and attempted to predict the state of improvement to which this country might possibly arrive. Mr. Loudon chanced to see the review of this book in the Literary Gazette, and, as among other things I had mentioned a steam-plough, it attracted his attention, and he procured the work from a circulating library. He read it, and was so much pleased with it, that he published, in The Gardener's Magazine for 1828, a notice of it under the head of “Hints for Improvements;” and he had from that time a great desire to become acquainted with the author, whom he supposed to be a man. In February, 1830, Mr. Loudon chanced to mention this wish to a lady, a friend of his, who happened to be acquainted with me, and who immediately invited him to a party, where she promised him he should have the wished-for introduction. It may be easily supposed that he was surprised to find the author of the book a woman; but I believe that from that evening he formed an attachment to me, and, in fact, we were married on the 14th of the following September.

Immediately after our marriage, Air. Loudon began to rewrite the Encyclopaedia of Gardening, which was published in the course of the year 1831. On the 1st of October, 1830, he published the first part of a work, in atlas folio, entitled Illustrations of Landscape-Gardening and Garden Architecture; but, from tlie very expensive nature of the work, and the limited number of subscribers, he found it necessary to discontinue it, and it did not proceed beyond the third part, which appeared in 1833. In the beginning of the year 1831 he had an application to lay out a botanic garden at Birmingham, and he agreed to do it merely on the payment of his expenses. On this occasion I accompanied him; and, after spending about six weeks in Birmingham, (which, though it is my native town, I had not seen for several years,) we made a tour through the North of England, visiting the lakes in Cumberland and Westmoreland. It was at Chester that we saw a copy of Mr. Paxton’s Horticultural Register, the first rival to The Gardener's Magazine, which at the time we were married produced 7507. a year; but which gradually decreased from the appearance of the Horticultural Register, till the period of Mr. Loudon’s death, immediately after which it was given up.

After visiting the beautiful scenery in Westmoreland and Cumberland, we passed through Carlisle, and entered Scotland by way of Longtown and Langliolme. It happened that there was a fair at the latter place, and the town was so exceedingly full that they not only could not give us a bed, but we could not even find a place to sit down. We had a four-wheeled phaeton with only one horse, and, as we had travelled from Carlisle that day, the animal was very much tired; it was also a serious annoyance to us, after having entered Scotland, to have to return twenty miles into England, as we were told we must do, Longtown being the nearest place where we were likely to obtain accommodation for the night. Fortunately for us, Mr. Loudon, having heard that Mr. Bell, who resided at Woodhouselee, only a few miles from Langholme, had a fine collection of -American plants, determined to call there, and ask permission to see them. We did so; and, when Mr. Bell heard how we were situated, lie most hospitably insisted on our staying at Woodhouselee all night, though we were wholly strangers to him.

The next clay we proceeded through Gretna Green and Annan to Dumfries, in the neighbourhood of which we staid about three weeks, spending part of the time at Close-burn with Mr. Loudon’s very kind friend Sir Charles Mentcath, and part at Jardine Hall with Sir William and Lady Jardine. We afterwards staid at Munches and other seats in Dumfries-shire; and when we entered Ayrshire, the county to which Mr. Loudon’s family originally belonged, he was received with public dinners at Ayr and Kilmarnock. A public dinner was also preparing for him at Glasgow; but while we were staying at Crosslee Cottage, near Paisley, the residence of Archibald Woodhouse, Esq., one of his most highly esteemed friends, he received a letter from Bayswater, informing him of the severe illness of his mother, and her earnest wish to see him. Mr. Loudon was warmly attached to his mother, and as, unfortunately, we did not receive the letter till late at night, for we had been dining in the neighbourhood, we did not go to bed, but packed up every thing so as to be able to set off with daylight the next morning for Glasgow, where we left Mr. Loudon’s man with the horse and carriage, and proceeded to Edinburgh by coach, though we could only get outside places, and it rained ; besides which, Mr. Loudon had never ridden on the outside of a coach since his knee had become stiff, and he could not ascend the ladder without the greatest difficulty. Nothing, however, could stop him in the performance of what he considered his duty, and indeed I believe his eagerness to see his mother overpowered every other feeling, It was also a singular circumstance, that, on his return to Edinburgh after an absence of nearly thirty years, he should be obliged to pass through it almost without stopping ; yet such was the case, as we found on our arrival at the inn that a packet was just about to sail for London, and that if we did not avail ourselves of it wc should be compelled to wait several days. Wc, therefore, hurried down to the pier; and, finding that the captain of the vessel was just going on board, we hired a boat, and were luckily in time to save our passage. We had a very quick voyage, and arrived at Bays-water about half an hour after the letter we had sent from Glasgow to announce that we were coming. Mr. Loudon’s mother was so delighted to see her son, that she seemed partially to revive; so much, indeed, that we had hopes of her recovery. Nature, however, was too far exhausted, and she died about six weeks after our return, in October, 1831.

In 1832 Mr. Loudon commenced his Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm, and Villa Architecture, which was the first work he ever published on his own account; and in which I was his sole amanuensis, though he had several draughtsmen. The labour that attended this work was immense; and for several months he and I used to sit up the greater part of every night, never having more than four hours’ sleep, and drinking strong coffee to keep ourselves awake. The First Additional Supplement to the Hortus Britan-nicus was also prepared and published in 1832.

The great success of the Cottage Architecture, which is perhaps the best and most useful of all Air. Loudon’s works, tempted him to publish the Arboretum Britannicum also on his own account. He had long intended to write a work on the hardy trees of Great Britain; but he did not contemplate the expenses which he should incur by so doing. When, however, the Arboretum was once begun, he found it was impossible to compress it into the limits originally intended; and, in his determination to make the work as perfect as possible, he involved himself in the difficulties which hastened his death. Notwithstanding the immense labour attending the Arboretum, which was published in monthly numbers, Mr. Loudon, in March, 1834, began The Architectural Magazine, the first periodical devoted exclusively to architecture; though, like The Magazine of Natural History and The Gardener's Magazine, it only served as a pioneer to clear the way for others, which afterwards followed in the same course with much greater success.

From the year 1833 to Midsummer 1838 Mr. Loudon underwent the most extraordinary exertions both of mind and body. Having resolved that all the drawings of trees for the Arboretum should be made from nature, he had seven artists constantly employed, and he was frequently in the open air with them from his breakfast at seven in the morning till he came home to dinner at eight in the evening, having remained the whole of that time without taking the slightest refreshment, and generally without even sitting down. After dinner he resumed the literary part of the work, and continued writing, with me as his amanuensis, till two or three o’clock in the morning. His constitution was naturally very strong; but it was impossible for any human powers to bear for any lengthened period the fatigue he underwent. In’1836 he began The Suburban Gardener, which was also published in monthly numbers, so that he had five monthly works going on at the same time. He soon found, however, that three monthly works, besides the Arboretum, were as much as his health would permit him to undertake the management of, and he disposed of The Magazine of Natural History to Mr. Charlesworth. In 1838 he also gave up The Architectural Magazine, and at Midsummer in that year he finished the Arboretum Britannicum. He was now in circumstances that would have discouraged almost any person but himself. His health was very seriously injured, partly by what was supposed to be a liver complaint, and partly by an enormous swelling in his right knee, which some of the most eminent medical men in London supposed to be produced by a disease in the bone. In addition to the large sums in ready money he had paid to the artists and other persons employed during the progress of the Arboretum, he found at its conclusion that he owed ten thousand pounds to the printer, the stationer, and the wood-engraver who had been employed on that work. His creditors, however, did not press him for their money, but gave him a chance of reaping the benefit of his labours at some future time, by consenting to wait till they were paid by the sale of the Arboretum and the Cottage Architecture, upon condition that he placed these works in the hands of Messrs. Longman, to hold for the creditors till the debt was paid.

Notwithstanding the state of his knee, which was now such that he Avas unable to walk without assistance, immediately on the completion of the Arboretum he arranged and published his Hortus Lignosus Londinensis; and in the last number of The Suburban Gardener, Avhieh was finished about this time, he informed the public that he intended to resume his profession of landscape-gardener, and that he would not only go out, but give advice at home, on any plans that might be sent to him. To us, who saw the state of his health, this intimation gave the greatest pain, and we determined to do every thing in our power to prevent the necessity of his exerting himself. Tavo of his sisters learned wood-engraving; and I, having acquired some knowledge of plants and gardens during the eight years I had acted as his amanuensis, began to write books on those subjects myself. In the mean time, he grew so much worse, that Ave had very little hope of his recovery, till he placed himself under the care of William Lawrence, Esq.; Avhen that eminent surgeon took a different view of the case from what had been before entertained, and by his mode of treatment rapidly restored him to health.

In 1839 Mr. Loudon began to lay out the Arboretum so nobly presented by the late Joseph Strutt, Esq., to the town of Derby. In the same year he published his edition of Repton, and his Second Additional Supplement to the Hortus Britannicus. In 1840 he accepted the editorship of The Gardener's Gazette, which, hoAvever, he only retained about a year.

In 1840, Mr. Loudon, having a great desire to examine some of the trees in the Jardin des Plantes, in order to identify some of the species of Cratregus, went to Paris; and, as his health was beginning again to decline, I went with him, taking Avith me our little daughter Agnes, who, from this time, was always the companion of our journeys. We went by way of Brighton, Dieppe, and Rouen, to Paris, ascending the Seine; and we remained in France about two months.

When Mr. Loudon left Scotland so abruptly in 1831, he promised his friends to return the following year, and, indeed, fully intended to do so; but various circumstances occurred to prevent him, and it was not till 1841 that he was able to fulfil his engagement. In the summer of that year, however, soon after the publication of the Supplement to the Encyclopedia of Plants, Mr. Loudon, Agnes, and myself, went from London to Derby, and, after spending a few days with our kind and excellent friend Mr. Strutt, we proceeded through Leeds to Manchester. It rained heavily when we arrived at Leeds; but, Mr. Loudon having determined to visit the Botanic Garden, we went there in a most awful thunder-storm, and the whole of the time we were in the garden the rain descended in torrents. We were all wet, and Ave had no time to change our clothes, as, on our return to the station, we found the last train to Manchester ready to start, and Mr. Loudon was most anxious to proceed thither without delay. When avc arrived at Manchester, he was far from well; but notwithstanding, the next morning, though it still rained heavily, he insisted upon going to the Botanic Garden. Here he increased his cold, and when we returned to the inn he was obliged to go to bed. The next morning, however, he would go on to Liverpool; and, though he was so ill there that when we drove to the Botanic Garden he was unable to get out of the coach, and was obliged to send me to look at some plants he wished to have examined, he would sail for Scotland that night. He was very ill during the voyage, and when we landed at Greenock he was in a high fever. He persisted, however, in going by the railway to Paisley, and thence to Crosslee Cottage, where we had promised to spend a few days with our kind friends Mr. and Mrs. Woodhouse. When Ave arrived there, however, he was obliged instantly to go to bed. A doctor was sent for, and pronounced his disease to be a bilious fever, and for some time his life appeared in great danger.

It was six weeks before he could leave his bed; but as soon as he was able to sit up he became anxious to resume his labours; and, taking leave of our kind friends, we set out on a tour through the South of Scotland, visiting every garden of consequence on our route, and making notes of all we saw. Notwithstanding all he had suffered during his severe illness, and the state of weakness to which he was reduced, he exerted himself to see every thing; and he was never deterred, either by fatigue or wet weather, from visiting every garden that he heard contained any thing interesting. After travelling about a fortnight we reached Edinburgh, but Mr. Loudon only staid one night; and, leaving Agnes and me there, he proceeded on the 13th of August alone to Glasgow, on his road to Stranraer, where he was going to lay out the grounds at Castle Kennedy, for the Earl of Stair.

On the 1st of September he returned to Edinburgh, which of course he found greatly changed since he had resided there thirty-seven years before; and for the next fortnight he had great pleasure in showing me the places he had known when a boy. On the 13th of September, having hired a . carriage at Edinburgh, we set out on our return home by land; and at Newcastle we spent two or three days with our friends Mr. and Mrs. Sopwith, where Mr. Loudon was highly gratified with the arrangement of Mr. Sopwith’s library, which we found a perfect temple of order.

On leaving Newcastle we travelled through Chester-le-Street to Durham, visiting nearly all the fine places in that county, particularly Raby Castle; and afterwards we proceeded to Darlington, where we took the railroad to York. We stayed three or four days in this city, and then we returned to London by the railroad.

In December, 1841, appeared the first number of the Encyclopaedia of Trees and Shrubs, the work consisting of ten monthly numbers. The abridgement of the Ilortud Lignosus Londinensis was published immediately on the conclusion of the Encyclopaedia of Trees and Shrubs; and in May, 1842, appeared the First Additional Supplement to the Encyclopaedia of Cottage Architecture.

In addition to the works which have been enumerated, Mr. Loudon contributed to several others, such as the Encyclopaedia of Domestic Economy, and Braude’s Dictionary of Science, Literature, and Art. He also wrote the article Planting for the new edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Early in March, 1842, he had an attack of inflammation of the lungs, and, on his recovery, we went down to Brighton for some weeks. We afterwards made a tour through Somersetshire, Devonshire, and part of Cornwall; and, on our return to Exeter, Mr. Loudon went to Barnstaple, in the neighbourhood of which he was about to lay out some grounds for Lord Clinton, sending Agnes and myself back to London. When he returned home, I noticed ‘that he had a slight cough; but, as it was trifling, it did not make me uneasy, particularly as his spirits were good. He now finished his Suburban Horticulturist, which had been begun two years before, but had been stopped on account of his illness in Scotland; and this work was published by Mr. Smith of Fleet Street, all his other works, from the appearance of the Encyclopaedia of Gardening, having been published by Messrs. Longman.

In 1843 his time was chiefly occupied by his work on Cemeteries, with which he took extraordinary pains, and which was very expensive from the number of the engravings. In August we were invited to Derby to pay another visit to Mr. Strutt, but he was too ill to go, and the doctors pronounced his complaint to be a second attack of inflammation of the lungs.

Previously to Mr. Loudon’s illness, I had agreed to write a little book on the Isle of Wight, and to visit it for this purpose. This arrangement I now wished to give up; but his medical men advised us to go, as they thought the air of the Isle of Wight might reestablish his health. Strange to say, up to the time of our leaving home I had no idea that his illness was at all dangerous ; but the fact was, I had seen him recover so often when every one thought he was dying, that I had become accustomed to place little reliance on what was said of his attacks by others. When we reached the Isle of Wight, however, I was struck with a degree of listlessness and want of energy about him that I had never seen before. He became rapidly worse while we were in the island, and most eager to leave it. On our arrival at Southampton, where he was laying out a cemetery, he felt better; and, taking a lodging there, he sent Agnes and myself back to town. In a fortnight I went down to see him, and I shall never forget the change I found in him. The first look told me he was dying. His energy of mind had now returned. He not only attended to the laying out of the cemetery at Southampton; but during his stay in that town he corrected the proofs of the second Supplement to his Encyclopedia of Agriculture, and then went alone to Bath, in spite of my earnest entreaties to be permitted to accompany him. At Bath he inspected the ground for another cemetery, and also the grounds of a gentleman named Pinder, though he Avas obliged to be wheeled about in a Bath chair. He then went, still alone, to Kiddington, the seat of Mortimer Bieardo, Esq., near Enstone, in Oxfordshire; where he was also obliged to be Avheeled round the grounds in a chair. When about to leave Kiddington he appeared so ill, that Mr. Bieardo offered to send a servant with him to town.

Pie returned to Bayswater on the 30th of September, 1843, and at last consented to call in medical aid, though he was by no means aware of his dangerous state. He supposed, indeed, that the pain he felt, which was on the right side, proceeded from an affection of the liver; as both times, when he had inflammation of the lungs, the pain was on the left side. On the 2d of October I went with him to call on Mr. Lawrence, in whom he had the greatest confidence; and that gentleman told him without hesitation that his disease was in his lungs. He was evidently very much struck at this announcement, but, as he had the fullest reliance on Mr. Lawrence’s judgment, he was instantly convinced that he was right; and, I think, from that moment he had no hope of his ultimate recovery, though, in compliance with the wishes of different friends, he afterwards consulted several other eminent medical men, of whom Dr. Chambers and Mr. Richardson attended him to the last.

As soon as Mr. Loudon found that his disease was likely to prove fatal, he determined, if possible, to finish the works he had in hand, and he laboured almost night and day to do so. He first, with the assistance of his draughtsman, finished a plan for Baron Rothschild; then one for Mr. Ricardo, another for Mr. Pinder, and, finally, a plan for the cemetery at Bath. He had also engaged to make some additional alterations in the grounds of Mr. Fuller at Streatham, and he went there on the 11th of October, but he was unable to go into the garden ; and this was the last time he ever attempted to visit any place professionally. He continued, however, to walk in the open air in his own garden, and in the grounds of Mr. Hopgood, nurseryman, at Craven Hill, for two or three days longer, though his strength was fast decreasing; and after the 16th of October he did not leave the house, but confined himself to his bedroom and a drawing room on the same floor. Nothing could be more awful than to watch him during the few weeks that yet remained of his life. His body was rapidly wasting away; but his mind remained in all its vigour, and he scarcely allowed himself any rest in his eagerness to complete the works that he had in hand. He was particularly anxious to finish his Self Instruction for Young Gardeners, which is published nearly in the state he left it, though had he lived it would probably have been carried to a much greater extent. About the middle of November, the medical men who attended my poor husband pronounced his disease to have become chronic bronchitis; and this information, combined with the pressure of pecuniary difficulties, had a powerful effect upon him. He now made an effort that can only be estimated by those who know the natural independence of his mind, and the pain it gave him to ask even a trifling favour. He wrote a letter stating his situation, and that the sale of 350 copies of the Arboretum would free him from all his embarrassments. This letter he had lithographed, and he sent copies of it to all the nobility who took an interest in gardening. The result was most gratifying. The letter was only dated the 1st of December, and he died on the 14th of that month; and yet in that short space of time the noblemen he appealed to, with that kindness which always distinguishes the English aristocracy, purchased books to the amount of 360/. Mr. Loudon had intended to forward similar letters to all the landed proprietors and capitalists; and, though only a few were sent, they were responded to with equal kindness. Our munificent and noble-minded friend Joseph Strutt, Esq., took ten copies; and letters from two of our kindest friends (William Spence, Esq., and Robert Chambers, Esq.), ordering copies of the Arboretum, arrived the very day he died.

This appeal was principally rendered necessary by the pecuniary difficulties I have alluded to, and which, undoubtedly, hastened his death. The debt on the Arboretum, which, as already stated, was originally 10,000., had, by the sale of that book and of the Cottage Architecture, been reduced to 2400/.; but he had incurred an additional debt of 1200/. by publishing the Encyclopaedia of Trees and Shrubs, his edition of Repton, and other works, on his own account, though all his creditors agreed to the same terms, viz. to wait for their money until they were paid by the sale of the works themselves, on condition of Messrs. Longman holding the stock of books in trust, and not paying any of the proceeds of the works to Mr. Loudon till the demands of his creditors were fully satisfied. Unfortunately, however, one of the creditors, the engraver, became a bankrupt, and his assignees began to harass Mr. Loudon for the debt due to them, which was about 1500/., threatening to make him a bankrupt, to arrest him for the sum, &c., I believe they could not have carried their threats into execution without the consent of Mr. Spottiswoode, and Messrs. Smith and Chapman, who were the other creditors, and who behaved most kindly and honourably throughout. But the agitation attendant on the numerous letters and consultations respecting this affair proved fatal to my poor husband.

On Wednesday the 13th of December, 1843, he sent me into London to see the assignees, and to endeavour to bring them to terms, our kind and excellent friend, the late Mr. Joseph Strutt, having promised to lend us money for that purpose. The assignees, however, refused to accept the terms we offered, unless Mr. Loudon would also give up to them his edition of Repton, which he was most unwilling to do, as the debt on that work was comparatively small; and, consequently, he had reason to hope that the income produced by it would be soonest available for the support of his family. He was accordingly very much agitated when I told him the result of my mission; but he did not on that account relax in his exertions; on the contrary, he continued dictating Self-Instruction till twelve o’clock at night. When he went to bed he could not sleep, and the. next morning he rose before it was light. He then told me he had determined to sacrifice his edition of Repton in order to have his affairs settled before he died; adding “but it will break my heart to do so.” He repeated, however, that he would make the sacrifice, but he seemed reluctant to send me into town to give his consent; and most fortunate was it, as, if I had gone to town that morning, I should not have been with him when he died. He now appeared very ill, and told me he thought he should never live to finish Self Instruction; but that he would ask his friend Dr. Jamieson, to whom he had previously spoken on the subject, to finish the work for him. Soon after this he became very restless, and walked several times from the drawing room to his bedroom and back again. I feel that I cannot continue these melancholy details: it is sufficient to say, that, though his body became weaker every moment, his mind retained all its vigour to the last, and that he died standing on his feet. Fortunately, I perceived a change taking place in his countenance, and I had just time to clasp my arms round him, to save him from falling, when his head sank upon my shoulder, and he was no more.

I do not attempt to give any description of the talents or character of my late husband as an author; his works are before the world, and by them he will be judged; but I trust I may be excused for adding, that in his private capacity he was equally estimable as a husband and a father, and as a master and a friend. He was also a most dutiful son and most affectionate brother.

It was on the anniversary of the death of Washington (the 14th of December) that Mr. Loudon died, and he was buried, on the 21st of December, in the cemetery at Kensall Green. When the coffin was lowered into the grave, a stranger stepped forward from the crowd and threw in a few strips of ivy. This person, I was afterwards informed, was an artificial flower maker, who felt grateful to Mr. Loudon for having given him, though a stranger, tickets for admission to the Horticultural Gardens, and who, never having been able to thank Mr. Loudon in person, took this means of paying a tribute to his memory.

You can download the book Self Instruction for Young Gardeners here (pdf)


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