Your Lordship’s Most Humble
and Most Obedient Servant,
* * * * *
The Favourable Entertainment which the Kalendar has found, encouraging the Bookseller to adventure upon a Ninth Impression, I could not refuse his Request of my Revising, and Giving it the best Improvement I was capable, to an Inexhaustible Subject, as it regards a Part of Horticulture; and offer some little Aid to such as love a Diversion so Innocent and Laudable. There are those of late, who have arrogated, and given the Glorious Title of Compleat and Accomplish’d Gardiners, to what they have Publish’d; as if there were nothing wanting, nothing more remaining, or farther to be expected from the Field; and that Nature had been quite emptied of all her fertile Store: Whilst those who thus magnifie their Discoveries, have after all, penetrated but a very little Way into this Vast, Ample, and as yet, Unknown Territory; Who see not, that it would still require the Revolution of many Ages; deep, and long Experience, for any Man to Emerge that Perfect, and Accomplish’d Artist Gardiner they boast themselves to be: Nor do I think, Men will ever reach the End, and far extended Limits of the Vegetable Kingdom, so incomprehensible is the Variety it every Day produces, of the most Useful, and Admirable of all the Aspectable Works of God; since almost all we see, and touch, and taste, and smell, eat and drink, are clad with, and defended (from the Greatest Prince to the Meanest Peasant) is furnished from that Great and Universal Plantation, Epitomiz’d in our Gardens, highly worth the Contemplation of the most Profound Divine, and Deepest Philosopher.
I should be asham’d to acknowledge how little I have advanced, could I find that ever any Mortal Man from Adam, Noah, Solomon, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Dioscorides, and the rest of Nature’s Interpreters, had ever arriv’d to the perfect Knowledge of any one Plant, or Vulgar Weed whatsoever: But this perhaps may yet possibly be reserv’d for another State of Things, and a _longer Day; that is_, When Time shall be no more, but Knowledge shall be encreas’d.
We have heard of one who studied and contemplated the Nature of Bees only, for Sixty Years: After which, you will not wonder, that a Person of my Acquaintance, should have spent almost Forty, in Gathering and Amassing Materials for an Hortulan Design, to so enormous an Heap, as to fill some Thousand Pages; and yet be comprehended within two, or three Acres of Ground; nay, within the Square of less than One (skilfully Planted and Cultivated) sufficient to furnish, and entertain his Time and