Although Acetaria is a book of directions for gardening and cooking, it is not the least didactic but is written in a discoursive style and with a leisureliness and in a rhythm suited to the slow pace of a horse trotting through the winding lanes of the English countryside. As we read, we can almost see the butler bringing a fragrant pudding to the family assembled around the dining table in the wood-panelled room. Or again we can almost smell the thyme, mint, and savory growing in tidy rows in the well-tilled and neatly ordered garden of John Evelyn.
Helen M. Fox
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[Illustration: Facsimile of Title Page of First Edition]
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To the Right Honourable
Lord High-Chancellor of England,
and President of the Royal-Society.
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The Idea and Plan of the Royal-Society having been first conceiv’d and delineated by a Great and Learned Chancellor, which High Office your Lordship deservedly bears; not as an Acquisition of Fortune, but your Intellectual Endowments; Conspicuous (among other Excellencies) by the Inclination Your Lordship discovers to promote Natural Knowledge: As it justifies the Discernment of that Assembly, to pitch upon Your Lordship for their President, so does it no less discover the Candor, yea, I presume to say, the Sublimity of your Mind, in so generously honoring them with your Acceptance of the Choice they have made.
A _Chancellor_, and a very Learned Lord, was the First who honoured the Chair; and a no less Honorable and Learned Chancellor, resigns it to Your Lordship: So as after all the Difficulties and Hardships the Society has hitherto gone through; it has thro’ the Favour and Protection of its Presidents, not only preserv’d its Reputation from the Malevolence of Enemies and Detracters, but gone on Culminating, and now Triumphantly in Your Lordship: Under whose propitious Influence, I am perswaded, it may promise it self That, which indeed has hitherto been wanting, to justifie the Glorious Title it bears of a ROYAL SOCIETY. The Emancipating it from some Remaining and Discouraging Circumstances, which it as yet labours under; among which, that of a Precarious and unsteady Abode, is not the least.