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AMONG the English counties, Cambridgeshire had been long known as peculiarly favourable to botanic studies. Ray, our great English botanist, (who began his researches at Cambridge,) long since remarked this; but it was not till the year 1763, that any plan was formed for a botanic garden.
Ray, besides making inquiries in this county, had very early perambulated great part of England in search of plants. In 1660, he published his catalogue of plants that grow about Cambridge a, and three years after, an appendix. In 1685, Mr. Dent, an apothecary of Cambridge, added to Mr. Ray's catalogue, a great many more. He was succeeded in the same walk, by Mr. Martyn, Miller, and Israel Lyons. The fasciculus plantarum of the latter was printed in 1763, as a specimen of a larger work. But after Ray, there were only titular professors of botany. Nothing was seriously done till the time of Mr. Martyn, who read lectures, and perambulated the county: and on his leaving Cambridge, Dr. Heberden gave lectures on Botany in reference to medicine, as already has been shewn.
• Fasciculus Plantarum circa Cantabrigiam nascentium, 1660.
But in the year 1763, Dr. Walker, vice-master of Trinity College, with the assistance of Mr. Miller of Chelsea, formed a regular establishment. A mansion was bought, formerly a monastery of St. Augustine, of which there are still some remains, with a garden and five tenements in Pembroke lane, on the south-east side of the town, for 16001. These premises were given in trust to the University, for a public botanic garden, and Dr. W..left by will the chancellor trustee; in his absence, the vice-chancellor, the master of Trinity College, the provost of King's College, the master of St. John's College, and the professor of physic, and their successors, for the time being, were appointed inspectors and governors, with full powers to regulate and arrange the new institution.
A botanical garden is a great ornament to a seat of learning ; always useful, too, as a place of research and curiosity to students. With respect to this garden, it abounds, as may be expected, with a great variety of foreign, as well as aquatic and indigenous plants, with trees of our own country, as well forest trees, as aquatic and mountain; but, principally of beautiful, curious trees of foreign growth : those of peculiar distinction are of American origin, some derived from the East and West Indies, others from Botany Bay: the last introduced were brought from Greece and Egypt, and more northern climes, by Dr. Clarke and Mr. Cripps. This garden is understood, too, to be kept in excellent order, though there are at present, no regular lectures given in that science for which solely it was instituted-botany. But the old house has been long since removed, new buildings have
a This is said merely in a way of statement, not of censure.
There may be reasons for the omission, with which I am not acquainted.
been erected in its place, two lecture-rooms been built, and every provision made, suited to the purpose of giving lectures in botany and chemistry: and as for the former the garden itself presents a sort of natural apparatus, so, for the latter, an appropriate one has been provided on the spot by the University: here lectures are given in mineralogy, experimental philosophy, and chemistry. Here too, are delivered the experimental lectures of Mr. Farish, of which mention has already been made.
Who loves a garden loves a green-house too.
I shall not describe the green-house. An account of its order, economy, and varieties,
foreigners from many lands, They form one social shade, as if convened By magic summons of the Orphean lyrea.
belongs to the botanist, and there is a copious catalogue of the contents of this garden, by the late botanical gardener, Mr. Donn.
It is obvious to observe, that the impression made upon the mind, on contemplating such a spot as this, is not connected with that pleasing science, called landscapegardening, so well illustrated, as before observed, by Monsieur d'Ermenonville, and Mr. Mason. In the latter case, the pleasure depends on design, (for it is a species of painting,) on detail, the fitting of parts to each other, and to the face of the country; to the effect of perspective, of proper distances, and the influence of lights and
* Cowper's Description of a Green-house, in book iii. of the Task.
shades. Nor does it arise from any stateliness, or magnificence, by which art combines with nature, to form the majestic, extended park,
where over-head upgrow
nor does it arise from a mere diversity of tints, nor the agreeable variety of odorous sweets, as in a flower-garden. A university botanic-garden combines the gratifications of sense with those of association and intellect: and in reference to its more peculiar object, resembles the closet of a student, which comprehends the productions of genius in every climate. . This is the more habitual feeling. Occasionally walking in such a garden, composed of trees, and plants, and flowers, of different countries, and different growth, resembles conversing with people of all climates and languages; as the delight experienced in a plain English garden, does a conversation with a more intimate friend. And this must suffice for the Botanic Garden.
Art thou, young student, the child of fancy? Then, may'st thou indulge it in yon Botanic Garden.
It is a rural seat, of various hue.
Thou may’st occasionally choose, perhaps, to adopt the theory, and borrow the language of one of your predecessors, a Cambridge-poet, and to say with him, “Whereas, P. Ovidius Naso, a great necromancer, in the famous
court of Augustus Cæsar, did, by art poetic, transmute men, women, and even gods and godessés, into trees and flowers, I will undertake, by similar art, to restore some of them to their original animality, after having remained prisoners so long in their respective vegetable mansions":" And if criticism authorizes poetry to give to “airy nothings a local habitation and a name,” Who shall say thou art not justified in giving to the vegetable tribes animal existence, and by an easy, regular ascent, to endue them with delicate passions, and to confer, on them pretty, feminine names?
And thus far is general in reference to the University, Here, perhaps, I might descend still lower, from generals to particulars : for, what concerns the admission and examinations of youth, when entering a college, and the course of studies, pursued by undergraduates; as well as the exercises in the public schools and senate-house, previously to the taking of degrees, together with the ceremonies to be performed, the prizes to be obtained, the honours to be conferred, and the subscriptions to be required; and, again, the different orders and ranks of graduates, and the various officers of the University, with their habits, duties, fees, and emoluments; nor less the defects in some offices, with the improvements which might be made in them; these particulars, I allow, might all find their proper place in an University-history professing minuteness : but my history does not, and cannot admit of it. Besides, there are distinct accounts, where such subjects are separately handled, and exclusively considered : and, I believe--for they are drawn up by official, at least by college men, with critical correctness and professional
a Proem to Darwin's Botanic Garden.