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This distribution will be better understood by a glance at the annexed plan, on which the general bearing and form of the ornamented grounds will be seen at once, than could be expected from any written description. They have been judiciously planted, and ornamented with alcoves, statues, obelisks, and termini at appropriate places; while around are to be seen some fine specimens of the cedar, lime, elm, plane, oak, fir, beech, and sycamore. The abele, or white poplar, flourishes here in great luxuriance,
insomuch that Professor Martyn, in his elaborate edition of Miller, says,“ The finest abeles I ever were in Buckinghamshire, at Hartwell, near Aylesbury, the seat of the late excellent Sir William Lee, Bart. They are remarkably tall, with the cleanest bole imaginable.”
And several of the other trees are remarkable, as may be seen by the measurements of some in the year 1849, which I have thus tabulated :
Besides these forest trees, there are also growing the Spanish chesnut, the alder, the spruce, the birch, and the bay, or classical laurel : the Portuguese laurel likewise luxuriates in such profusion as to seem to be no longer a stranger in the locality. Miller remarks, that in his time this splendid evergreen had not long been cultivated in England; and that he had not seen any higher than ten or twelve feet. At Hartwell they have now grown to a height of twenty-five and thirty feet, with branches extending to ninety or one hundred in circumference, and clean stems of two and two-and-a-half feet, containing about ten cubic feet of timber. As to the common laurel, it flourishes as freely as if it were indigenous; and is perhaps of a longer standing in England than it is usually held to be. Thus Miller dates the introduction from Constantinople about the year 1578; but certainly Skelton, in the “ Crowne of Lawrell,” uses it as a familiar image more than eighty years before that time. In his dream of the garden with “ensanded” alleys, fountain, fishponds, and turf banks, he says he cast his eye
“Where I saw growyng a goodly lawrell tre
Enuerdured with leaves, continually grene."
There are also various specimens of the large tree-box from twenty to twenty-five feet high; and some fine hawthorns, more symmetrical than are usually met with in this county; several of them are upwards of thirtyfive feet in height, containing from fifteen to twenty cubic feet of timber, and spreading from thirty-three to forty feet in diameter in their heads or branches.
The trees in general are tastefully disposed in clumps and groves, forming a very paradise for numerous legions of noisy gregarious rooks, which perform their morning and evening flights with singular regularity—save in the breeding time— committing their audacious robberies or making reparation, according as they feed on grain or grubs : and these depredations are ever carried on at a great distance from home.
When I first visited Hartwell, in 1828, there was a fine old walnut-tree standing in great majesty; it was about twenty-one feet in circumference,
and might contain four hundred cubic feet of timber; and people computed that the wide-spread branches shaded half an acre of ground. It was supposed to be two hundred years old, and had long been the pride of the neighbourhood : but the roots decaying with age, it died in 1832. Dr. Lee, however, resolved to let it stand and decay in situ, and there it was blown down during a sharp gale of wind in the beginning of the year 1835 : its appearance just before the catastrophe is shewn on the vignette at the end of this chapter. This noble sylvan object--for which Sir George Lee had refused 1001. offered by the musket-stock makers in the late war with France—had been greatly admired by the before
mentioned Professor Martyn, of the University of Cambridge, who was on terms of strict friendship with all the Hartwell family; and Sir William Lee, who soon discovered his merit, had presented him with the living of Little Marlow. It will therefore not be out of place to insert a letter, equally interesting and well written, which this amiable botanist addressed to Dr. Lee on the launch of his great work, and accompanying a presentation copy in four handsomely-bound folio volumes :
Pertenhall, Jan. 8th, 1823.
MY DEAR SIR,
Wishing to leave some memorial of our friendship-of your kindness to me—of my gratitude to your Uncle—of my regard to your Father-of my esteem for your Mother-- and my respect for Sir William Lee, and all your family, I have taken the liberty of sending you a copy of my edition of Miller's Dictionary, the editing of which chiefly employed twenty years of my life. I request you to give it a place in your library; and I have sent it to Colworth * rather than London, the subject of the book being adapted to the country. If, when you cast your eyes on it, you will sometimes bestow a thought on me, it will be flattering to, my dear Sir,
Your sincere friend
and obliged humble servant,
The home-domain has numerous beauties, and having been embellished by all the accessories that wealth and taste could confer, the eye meets with varying declivities and meadows; and the rill that would have stolen unseen away, has been cherished into an expanse of water. To be sure, he who has stood on a cliff, and seen the swelling waves furiously bursting among the rocks on which he stood, then rushing, foaming, and whirling into every creek and crevice with deafening roar; or he who has enjoyed the magnificence of mountain scenery, among cliffs and dells of striking wildness and grandeur, may profess indifference to a landscape which would better suit the pencil of Hobbema or Cuyp, than that of Salvator or Poussin. But surely rich plains, with occasional uplands, breathing placidity and repose, redolent of all the charms of judicious cultivation and the cheerfulness of civilisation, in a country blessed with uniform fertility, and yielding in every part of it something for the use and gratification of man, may be both studied and enjoyed. The horizon around affords views of great variety, equal however in interest, though differing materially in their display. The rising grounds to the north, and the bold range of the Chiltern Hills on the south, give an ever-pleasing finish to the landscape; objects, in regular succession, conduct the eye uninterruptedly from the immediate fore-ground, to the extreme distance, in harmonious colouring and perspective: while the farms, grazing herds, and flocks of sheep, give to them that kind of moral interest, which constitutes so large a portion of all the pleasing impressions which are produced by natural objects. From a considerable experience in varied scenery, I venture to assert, that the gratification of rambling among mountain-chains is, or ought to be, less durable than the contemplation of the characteristics forming
* A seat in Bedfordshire also belonging to Dr. Lee, and remarkable for the beauty of its grounds.
“ Hartwell's green retreats," as Lord Byron has poetically designated them.
They have, to be sure, been invaded at intervals — happily few and far between — by the capriciousness of fashion, between which and taste the relationship is but spurious. From descriptive hints in the early “terriers” of the estate, it seems that Hartwell was once a well-wooded and well-stocked emporium of game of all kinds; and it afterwards was cleared into numerous plots and interminable avenues, with woody spaces between. At length with