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History of Early American Landscape Design

Humphry Marshall

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Humphry Marshall (October 10, 1722-1801), an American botanist and plant dealer, was the author of an early American botanical imprint, Arbustum Americanum, and established a botanic garden at his home in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

History

Despite a rudimentary education that ended at the age of twelve, Humphry Marshall developed considerable expertise in the science of botany. He was the eighth child of English Quaker immigrants who established a farm near the west branch of the Brandywine River in Pennsylvania. Having spent his early life in agricultural labor and as an apprentice to a stone mason, Marshal assumed responsibility for the family farm around 1848[1] It was then that he began to collect and study indigenous plants and to acquire books that would advance his knowledge of botany, such as John Gerard's Herball and John Quincy's Lexicon Physico-medicum.[2] He erected a greenhouse in 1764 (view text) and, made other improvements following his father's death in 1767 when he inherited a large section of the estate. He was actively engaged in shipping native plants and seeds to Europe. William Millikan was apparently collecting specimens for botanist Humphry Marshall,

He began to built his own house of stone house in 1773, with a small observatory on the second floor to accommodate his interest in astronomy.


Texts

  • Millikan, William, June 10, 1765, letter from New Marlborough, North Carolina, to Humphry Marshall (Ridlon 1907: 636) [3]
As to the pine Cones if any Comes to Perfection I shall I believe take Care to send some Or buy Other Seed or plant that I Can procure. As to the Carolina pines I remain at a Loss about it yet,— there is a flower that Resembles the Garding pink but I am Doubtfull Whether it is the Right."
  • Fothergill, John, March 2, 1767, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 495)[4]
"I received thy kind letter, as well as the box of seeds, and the duplicate it contained. I think myself much indebted to thee, and shall endeavour, as occasions may offer, to show that I am not insensible of thy kindness, nor ungrateful. I knew not whether anything would be more acceptable to a botanist, than [Philip] MILLER'S 'Gardeners Dictionary, which I hope thou will receive with this; and if thou art possessed of one before, dispose of it, and accept the produce as an acknowledgment for thy kindness.

"As it may suit thy other concerns, I should be glad if thou would proceed to collect the seeds of other American shrubs and plants, as they fall in thy way ; and if thou meets with any curious plant or shrub, transplant it at a proper time into thy garden, let it grow there a year or two; it may then be taken up in autumn, its roots wrapped in a little moss, and laid in a coarse box, just made close enough to keep out mice, but not to exclude the air.

"If thou knows of any plant possessed of particular virtues, and that is known by experience to be useful in the cure of diseases, this I should be glad to have in particular, both the parts used, and seeds of the same."


  • Fothergill, John, May 18, 1767, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington, 1849: 497)[4]
"Thou will see by the inclosed, that it was wrote a considerable time ago, to acknowledge the favour of thy collection of seeds. I was at that time prevented from sending it, and the more discouraged, as I could not get MILLER'S Gardener's Dictionary, which is still out of print. I have sent, however, an abridgment of this work, not long since published, which I hope will prove acceptable ; though this is not intended as a compensation for thy trouble, but merely as an acknowledgment.

"If thou will continue thy farther care in collecting American seeds, and inform me in what manner I can, with most advantage to thyself, compensate thy care and labour, it will be an additional satisfaction."


  • Fothergill, John, October 29, 1768, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 497-98)[4]
"I am greatly obliged to thee for several parcels of curious seeds, birds, and insects. I...have been searching, in vain, for...the list of books thou mentioned as being acceptable to thee.

"I have sent by our friend, John Hunt, who is returning to Pennsylvania, a small pocket-glass for viewing flowers, and ten guineas in consideration of thy time and trouble, in collecting these things for me.....

"As it may fall in thy way, I should be glad thou would continue thy care in collecting for me such seeds and plants as I have not hitherto received from thee; and I think it would be worth while to sow a part of all the seeds thou gathers, in thy own garden, or some little convenient spot provided for the purpose. There are many curious seeds that lose the property of vegetation by a sea-voyage. The plants thus raised by seed at home, might be removed from the bed they were sown on, the second autumn, or spring following, into boxes of earth, and sent to us in the spring, so as to arrive here in the third or fourth month, and would then succeed very well.

"I doubt not but many of our gardeners would be glad to purchase such boxes, containing assortments of new and curious plants, at a considerable price, and sufficient to pay for the care and pains in raising them.

"There is a curious water plant, the Colocasia, that grows in some deep waters in the Jerseys, perhaps in your province likewise.... I should be glad thou would endeavour to send some both ways [wrapped in moss and put in tub of mud]; and the ripe seeds likewise, put into a wide-mouthed bottle filled with mud, and covered over with leather.

"There is a kind of Dogwood, whose calyx is its greatest beauty; it chiefly grows in Virginia, whether with you I know not. I want a few plants of it."


  • Fothergill, John, January 25, 1769, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 499-500)[4]
"Before this time I hope thou hast received a pretty long letter by our friend JOHN HUNT, to whose care I also committed ten guineas, and a small glass for viewing the flowers of plants.

"I have just received thy last collection of seeds, and the box of plants that accompanied it; both were very acceptable, and the plants came in as good condition as possible.

"By this opportunity I have sent two glasses of the value thou desires; and if these are not satisfactory, either in size or shape, please to dispose of them, and give me proper dimensions, and I will take care that they shall be sent. In respect to the seeds and plants to be sent in future, please to keep this general order in view, viz.: To send me any new plant that occurs to thee, that thou hast not sent to me before; and of the more curious flowering plants or shrubs, I shall always be glad to receive duplicates of the plants, when occasion offers. The Magnolias, Kalmias, Rhododendrons, &c, are always acceptable....

"Please to remember to raise a few of all the curious plants whose seeds occur to thee, and send here, and some of the seeds likewise, together with any account thou can collect of their real virtues and uses.

"I believe JOHN BARTRAM'S son had directions from me, through our late friend, P. COLLINSON, to make me a collection of drawings, together with an account of all your land Tortoises. If, therefore, anything upon this subject occurs to thee, or thou meets with any new kind, please to send them to him.

"It is very admirable that you abound with many plants, many animals, altogether unknown in other parts of the globe, not dissimilar in temperature. Golden rods, Asters, Lychnoideas, Sunflowers, you have more than all the world besides. Tortoises, I think, likewise, and some other animals, are peculiarly abundant with you."


  • Fothergill, John, March 15, 1770, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 501-02)[4]
"Dr. FRANKLIN will send all the instruments thou requests, for which I shall pay him, cheerfully. Some of the books thou desires are, at present, out of print; but I shall get and send the rest as soon as I can....

"I doubt not but you have many curious herbaceous plants yet unnoticed: struck with the greater objects of shrubs and trees, these humbler ones have been overlooked. Get a complete collection of these into some corner of thy garden, and send us a few roots, as thou art able to propagate them. There are few trees in your parts, and not many shrubs, which we have not in our gardens. We have many herbaceous plants, likewise; but I dare say, a very small number of those that are natives of your parts of America. Look carefully after some Ferns for me; as also bulbous plants, as they flower early, for the most part: and all sweet-scented or showy flowers, or such as are of known efficacy in the cure of some diseases.

"Thy account of the long-lived Tortoise is very agreeable; and I am much obliged to thy correspondent, BARTRAM, for some curious drawings. He has a very good hand; and I shall be glad to receive from him all his works, and satisfy him for his trouble, when he informs me how much I am indebted to him."


"Immediately on the Receipt of your Letter, I ordered a Reflecting Telescope for you which was made accordingly. Dr. Fothergill had since desired me to add a Microscope and Thermometer, and will pay for the whole....

"I thank you for the Seeds, with which I have oblig’d some curious Friends."


  • Fothergill, John, February 11, 1771, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 504)[4]
"As I have now got most of the common American plants in plenty, I would not give thee the trouble of sending more seeds or plants, of the kinds I have received from thee, except such as I may hereafter desire to make up for my defects. Any new kinds, either plants or seeds, will be very acceptable."


"I am much obliged by your kind present of curious seeds. They were welcome gifts to some of my friends."


  • Fothergill, John, April 23, 1771, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 505-06)[4]
"In the insect box I have put up a little tract, tending to show in what manner plants may be best conveyed to Europe, and insects collected. There is, likewise, a small Botanical Dictionary, and an introduction to a translation of some of LINNAEUS'S works, which I thought would not be wholly useless to thee, or unacceptable.

"If thou wants any further helps, that I can give thee, let me know, and I shall supply them as far as I can.

"I am not yet in possession of a living root of your great Water Lily, or Colocasia. I could wish to have a large one taken up in autumn, well wrapped up in moss, and sent as early as may be convenient, or else soon in the spring...
"I am now in possession of the common North American plants; but there are new discoveries made every day. Early spring flowers of any kind, or plants or shrubs that are either useful or curious in their appearance, will be acceptable; and I shall not value the things I receive merely by their quantity, but their worth, when viewed in the light I have described. A curious Fern is as acceptable to me as the most showy plant....

"I am economist enough to save the covers of my letters, instead of throwing them into the fire. I give them to my gardener to wrap his seeds in ; some of them I have thrust into the empty box, for the like purpose.

"If I should omit sending thee the future translations of LINNAEUS'S work, put me in mind of it."


“I have also Sent thee a small Box of Seeds that I had Left after packing a few for Dr. Fothergill but I was in So much hast that I omitted Drawing a list of them. They are Chiefly Lapt up in paper and the Name wrote on With my pencil. My Book of observation on the Sun is Like Wise in the Box. And as thou Signifies it Would be some Pleasure to thee to Serve me in Some Small matters I Should take it kind of thee and as a favour if itt Should lay in thy Way to promote a corrispon[dence] between me and Some of the Seeds men or Nursery men in and about London or any Country Gentlemen that is Curious in Making Collections of our American Vegetables or Simples as I am Pretty Well acquainted With the most Sorts that Grows in our Parts of the Country having been in the practice of Collecting a few Seeds for this many years for my Cousin John Bartram, and Within this four or five Years have Sent Some Boxes of plants and Seeds to Dr. Fothergill; I think I Could afford to Collect Boxes of Young plants of the most of our Common trees and Shrubs as Well as Seeds at a little Lower rate than they are Commonly Done for, if thou Should meet With any Such Gentlemen that Should have a mind to try me for a season or two, and they Would Please to Send their orders, I Should Endeavour to Comply With them.

"Be Pleased to favour me So much after thou hast opened and perused My book of observations to present them to the royall Society in My Name."


  • Parke, Thomas, July 5, 1772, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 525)[4]
"I have taken some pains to oblige thee, in endeavouring to recommend thee to some seedsmen, &c., in England; but fear I have had but poor success, as yet. I shall, however, continue to make inquiry, and if any should choose to employ thee, I shall immediately acquaint thee."


  • Fothergill, John, November 1772, letter from Cheshire to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 508-10 [4]
"We save all the earth, and even the moss, from America, throw it upon some vacant border, and cover it with a little earth, that even if a few casual seeds should be in it, we may save them.

"Our spring was late and unfriendly to plants, so that many were but just showing themselves above ground when I came away (about two months ago) ; but my gardener writes to me, that they are in a very prosperous condition, and some never seen in England before. Under a north wall, I have a good border, made up of that kind of rich black turf-like soil, mixed with some sand, in which I find most part of the American plants thrive best.... It is acknowledged by the ablest botanists we have, that there is not a richer bit of ground, in curious American plants, in Great Britain: and for many of the most curious, I am obliged to thy diligence and care.... I have an Umbrella Tree, above twenty feet high, that flowers with me abundantly, every spring. The small Magnolia, likewise, flowers with me finely. I have a little wilderness, which, when I bought the premises, was full of old Yew trees, Laurels, and weeds. I had it cleared, well dug, and took up many trees, but left others standing for shelter. Among these I have planted Kalmias, Azaleas, all the Magnolias, and most other hardy American shrubs. It is not quite eight years since I made a beginning; so that my plants must be considered but as young ones....

"Amongst the rest of the plants, which thou had sent me, was the Claytonia, of which there is not, I believe, another plant in England: a new species of Serapion; and a most curious Adianrum. Other things will show themselves, I doubt not, to both our satisfaction....

"If the ships are not all sailed for your port, I propose to send some books by them, which I hope may prove acceptable. And in the mean time, I shall be glad thou may now and then be picking up one little addition or another, to the stock of plants thou hast already furnished me with.

"The Tetragonotheca, a native of your Province, but known chiefly, I believe, to JOHN BARTRAM, is no longer in England. I write to him by this opportunity, to request a root or two, if he can procure them, or a few seeds. If they fall in thy way, please to add them to the rest. I had a plant of the great American Nymphaea [Nelumbium], from W. YOUNG. It put out leaves, and the appearance of a flower; but did not flourish. I should be glad of another root, if it could be easily obtained....

"I know not whether J. BARTRAM or any of his family continue to send over boxes of seeds as usual. He collected them with much care, and they mostly gave satisfaction. W. YOUNG has been very diligent, but has glutted the market with many common things; as the Tulip trees, Robinias, and the like. But, contrary to my opinion, he put them into the hands of a person who, to make the most of them, bought up, I am told, all the old American seeds that were in the hands of the seedsmen here, and mixed them with a few of W. YOUNG'S, to increase the quantity. Being old and effete, they did not come up; and have thereby injured his reputation. I am sorry for him; have endeavoured to help him; but he is not discreet."


  • Fothergill, John, February 6, 1773, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 510-11) [4]
"I must desire thee still to proceed in thy vegetable researches, as it falls in thy way.... Bulbous roots of all kinds are easily conveyed. The Orchis, likewise, may be easily sent.... Don't forget the Fern tribe. This is a very pleasing part of the creation.

"I have sent the second part of LINNNAEUS and shall not omit the rest, as they are published. I have also sent a few numbers (all that are yet published), of a very useful work for young botanists, now carrying on here. There are three plates to each plant, and one sheet of description. The coloured plates make the price high; and the whole, when finished, will come to upwards of 15 guineas. These will not be half the money ; and in respect to use, are as valuable as the whole. I shall continue to send them to thee, as they come out, which is very slowly....

"We have got the true Tea Plant, at length, in England. We are endeavouring to propagate it, and hope we shall succeed, not to as to raise it as a commodity, but merely, in this country, as a curious article. It would thrive in Virginia and Maryland extremely well. I propose to send thee a pretty good account of it, wrote by an acquaintance of mine."


"I received the box of seeds you were so good as to send me, the beginning of last year, with your Observations on the Spots of the Sun.* The seeds I distributed among some of my friends who are curious : please to accept my thankful acknowledgments for them.....

"As to procuring you a Correspondence with some ingenious Gentelman here, who is curious, which you desire, I find many who like to have a few Seeds given them, but do not desire large Quantities, most considerable Gardens being now supply’d like Dr. Fothergill’s, with what they chuse to have; and there being Nursery-men now here, who furnish what Particulars are wanted, without the Trouble of a foreign Correspondence and the Vexations at the Customhouse."


  • Fothergill, John, June 28, 1774, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 512)[4]
"I... am obliged to thee for thy kind intention of looking out for a few more plants for me.

"I hope the glasses came safe, and were agreeable to thy orders. I intended them as a compensation for thy endeavours to serve me, and shall readily do what further thou may think needful, as an equivalent. I have sent two more numbers of MILLER'S botanical work; and a treatise on Coffee, with an excellent coloured plate. Nothing more of LINNAEUS'S is yet translated; when it is, I shall not fail to send it.

"I shall hope to receive, by the autumn ships, some little addition to my garden, as it may occasionally fall in thy way. I have most of your usual plants ; but there are divers still unnoticed. I hope I have a plant of your large Nymphaea; but, for all that, I should be exceedingly glad to have another. If seeds are sent, be kind enough to crack the shells of some of them before they are put into the mud they should be sent in. I find the shells are so hard, that they will not give way to the embryo plant without this aid, at least in this country.

"Look carefully after your Ferns. You have a great variety. I have more American Ferns than most of my acquaintance ; but I know you must have more, and various Polypodies, likewise. I am reckoned to have the best collection of North American Plants of any private person in the neighbourhood. I am obliged to thee for many of them."


  • Fothergill, John, August 23, 1775, letter from Cheshire to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 513-15)[4]
"I am much obliged to thee for several very kind letters, and a box of plants, amongst which are some new Ferns, and a few other rare plants. For these, and many others, I am still in thy debt, but, at present, without any opportunity of repaying thee....

"At present, I cannot expect anything, as all intercourse between America and Britain will be cut off, and I am afraid for a long time. Be attentive, however, to increase thy collection at home, by putting every rare plant thou meets with in a little garden, and as much like their natural situation, as to shade, dryness or moisture, as possible. For instance, most of the Ferns like shade and moisture; these may be planted on some north border, where the sun shines but little except in the morning; and so of the rest.
"My garden is about five miles from London, warm and sheltered, rather moist than dry ; and I have the satisfaction of seeing all North American plants prosper amazingly. There are few gardens in the neighbourhood of London, Kew excepted, that can show either so large or so healthy a collection....

"Many of thy plants are there in good perfection....

"The instruments are all sent by Dr. Franklin."


  • Bond, Thomas, November 3, 1779, letter to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 537)[4]
"I received your botanic collection for our friend [the French Minister] Mr. GERARD, which I am certain, from the list, will be a very agreeable present to a man who will not only prize them duly, but will show a grateful acknowledgment for them. They shall be sent to him in your name, with great care, by the first opportunity."


  • Bond, Thomas, October 26, 1780, letter to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 538)[4]
"Mr. MARBOIS, has apply'd to me in behalf of the Marshal NOAILLES, and the Royal Garden at Paris, to enter into a commerce of exchange of such trees, plants, &c., as would be a mutual advantage and improvement, in the natural productions of Europe and America.

"They do not desire botanical curiosities; but such things only as would enrich France, — such as Pines, Oaks, Hickories, Poplars, Persimmons, Magnolias, &c., and wish to have a parcel of the nuts sent as soon as possible—for planting next spring."


  • Bond, Thomas, November 20, 1780, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 538-39)[4]
"Your two letters and botanic collection came safe to hand; but not being at home, I missed a wished-for opportunity of writing to you, and sending the list of seeds which our new correspondents Desire to have sent them. It has been in my possession some time, from not seeing any person going directly to your neighbourhood. I think it would be best for you to come up yourself, and hear what Proposals the Minister of France and Mr. MARBOIS have further to make ; the catalogue being very large, and will give you much trouble to collect.

"I perceive by your last letter, 'tis your inclination to send this box to our former friend, Mr. GERARD, on the generous plan of reciprocal correspondency. This I highly approve, and shall ship it this week ; and make no doubt he will make a very useful exchange for us and the public."


  • Bond, Thomas, December 2, 1780, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 539)[4]
"I received last night your letter and box, which I shall inform the Chevalier of, and know his pleasure about it. The collection, though small, is valuable and curious. I wish to keep up a correspondency in Europe, on a small scale, and solely with a view of furnishing each country, reciprocally, with such things as may be useful. This I hope you will enable me to do. As the other is a very large affair, and will cost you much trouble, you ought to be well paid for it. I had not time to translate the direction, about the manner of preserving the seeds: you must, therefore— when you have perused it— send it again; or rather bring it and I will introduce you to the Minister."


  • Bond, Thomas, March 16, 1781, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 539)[4]
"Mr. GERARD...desires we would continue our correspondency. He sent us two boxes of curious seeds.... Another may be expected every day. Mr. WHARTON tells me, the King of France examined every article of our collection, and was extremely pleased with it. This is a very respectful and may be a very useful correspondency. Let us support it with the patriotic spirit it deserves. I have a prospect of adding to it greatly, via Pittsburg."


  • Lettsom, John Coakley, letter to Humphry Marshall, c. March 1781 (Darlington 1849: 541) [4]
"I received thy letters dated the 19th and 29th of October, and November 10th, with some shrubs, and afterwards various seeds.

"I think full half the shrubs are now in a thriving state, and many of the seeds are above ground. For these last I am still indebted to thee five guineas.

"I have sent thee some books, &c, which I hope will arrive safe, and meet with thy free acceptance....


  • Bond, Thomas, July 12, 1781, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 540)[4]
"There lately arrived here, after a series of misfortunes, a young Swede gentleman, by name of GUSTAVUS FREDERIC HILLMAN, a regular bred physician, a good naturalist and botanist, and was bred under LINNAEUS. He appears to me to be a man worthy and learned, and may be of great use in this country, in many respects. I think he might be of service to your neighbours, as a physician, and to you, in your botanic collections. As you have a large house and small family, if it was not inconvenient to you to let him have lodgings with you, for a short time, I am persuaded you would be much pleased with his acquaintance; and it would be a great gratification to a very distressed, but worthy character. If he has not a favourable answer from you soon, he will be obliged to re-embark for Europe."


  • Bond, Thomas, August 24, 1781, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 540-41)[4]
"I find a letter I wrote you, some time since, concerning Mr. HILLMAN, was not come to hand. He is since engaged in the Pennsylvania Hospital.

"Several of the botanic plants GERARD sent, have grown, but the greater part failed. There is one very fine plant of the Jalap. The Gentian did not grow. The garden seeds mostly grew; some of them are an acquisition. I wrote to Mr. MARTIN, about the seeds you mentioned, but have not received an answer.....

"I think it will be best to make another collection for our friend GERARD. I will write to him for more seeds, to be put up more carefully."


  • Parke, Thomas, September 5, 1782, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 528)[4]
"The bearer, WILLIAM HAMILTON, Esq., intending to pass through part of Chester County, is desirous of being introduced to my friend MARSHALL'S acquaintance. His knowledge of Botany and Natural History— his taste for cultivating the many curious productions of America, united to his very amiable character— will, I am confident, gain him a welcome reception at Bradford."


  • Lettsom, John Coakley, February 28, 1784, letter from London to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 542-43)[4]
"Thy very obliging letter, with the present of the seeds, came safe, for which I return many thanks.

"I have wrote to Dr. [Thomas] PARKE by this opportunity, and desired him in my name, to make some compensation for thy trouble for the same, and for such as thou choose to send me by the subsequent opportunities.

"I have not yet introduced many exotics into my grounds. I have a few Magnolias, Kalmias, and Evergreen Oaks; but, as I have devoted a large space of ground for American shrubs and trees, duplicates will not be disagreeable to me. Seeds I shall take the best care of; but shrubs, and trees growing, fruit-trees, and any others, will be full as acceptable as seeds, where they can be sent but both shall receive a hospitable reception at my villa of Grove Hill.

"The major part of Dr. Fothergill's hot and green house plants I purchased; but I had no Americans, which were in general in his ground; and this leaves me more open to receive duplicates. I should wish to have some little information respecting soil and growth, though ever so short."


  • Marshall, Humphry, October 4, 1785, letter from West Bradford to John Coakley Lettsom Darlington 1849: 544- )[4]
"I must acknowledge myself much obliged to thee, for getting my thermometer repaired, and sending me the several books thou hast. But, instead of LINNAEUS'S Genera Plantarum, translated into English by COLIN MILNE, thou hast sent the Lichfield publication, which I had sent me before by my friend BARCLAY....

"The box is filled up with some other articles, as per catalogue inclosed, being a few seeds, nuts, &c, not dried much— which, if they don't mould, will come over in perfection; and if they do, they may vegetate, perhaps, better than if dried."


  • Parke, Thomas, April 27, 1785, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 529)[4]
"W. HAMILTON has sent a number of curious flowering shrubs and fruit trees, to be transplanted at his seat on the Schuylkill; and his gardener informs me, the most of them are healthy, and appear likely to live.

"I have lately received a letter from my friend, Robert Barclay, dated in December last, wherein he requests I would apply to thee to send him a collection of seeds of such herbaceous plants as were in thy list of the year 1783. He adds, if they could be sent in March, by some safe conveyance, he should be glad to have them forwarded; but, as his letter did not reach me in time, I expect it will not do to forward them before next fall. However, I leave it to thy better judgment, — and request thee to collect the seeds, and send them when thee thinks the season will be most favourable."


"I had it in contemplation to mention to thee for thy approbation, or sentiments thereon, a proposal that I had made, last winter, to my cousin, WM. BARTRAM, and nephew, Dr. MOSES MARSHALL, of taking a tour, mostly through the western parts of our United States, in order to make observations, &c, upon the Natural productions of those regions; with a variety of which, hitherto unnoticed, or but imperfectly described, we have reason to believe they abound; which, on consideration, they at that time seemed willing to undertake, and I conceive would be so still, provided they should meet with proper encouragement and support for such a journey; which they judge would be attended with considerable expense, for the transportation of their collections, &c, and for their subsistence during a period of fifteen or eighteen months, or more, which would at least be necessary for the completion of the numerous observations, and objects they would have to make remarks on, and collect. Should such proposals be properly encouraged, I apprehend they would engage to set out early in the spring, and throughout their journey make diligent search and strict observation upon everything within the province of a naturalist; but more especially upon Botany, for the exercise of which there appears, in such a journey, a most extensive field; for, from accounts of our western territories, they are said to abound with varieties of strange trees, shrubs, and plants, no doubt applicable to many valuable purposes in arts or manufactures, and to be replete with various species of earths, stones, salts, inflammable minerals, and metals (the many uses of obtaining a knowledge of which is sufficiently obvious); remarks, experiments, &c, upon every of which they propose making; as also to make collections, and preserve specimens, of everything that may enrich useful science, or amuse the curious naturalist; to the conducement of which, they would willingly receive and observe any reasonable instructions that might facilitate their discoveries, or direct their researches.

"I have taken the freedom to mention these proposals to thee knowing that thou was always ready and willing to promote any useful knowledge and science, for the use of mankind ; and if, on consideration of the premises, thou should approve thereof, thou may communicate them to the members of the Philosophical Society, or any other set of gentlemen, that would be willing or likely to encourage such an undertaking. Perhaps Congress, or some of the members, might promote their going out with the surveyors, when they lay out the several new states.

"I have ordered my nephew, the Doctor, to present thee with one of my Catalogues of the Forest Trees of our Thirteen United States; which I hope thou'll accept of, for thy perusal."


  • Parke, Thomas, June 18, 1786, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 529)[4]
"A young gentleman being about to sail for London, from whence he intends to go to Edinburgh to finish his medical education, is desirous of taking a box of seeds of the most curious flowering shrubs, &c., to present to the Professor of Botany in that University.... He is willing to pay £5 for the collection, and expects to have a sample of the most curious, particularly of the Franklinia.


  • Lettsom, John Coakley, August 10, 1788, letter to Humphry Marshall, (Darlington 1849: 548)[4]
"The plant described by thee, and designed to honour my name, is a species of Polygala, and is, I believe, a new one....

"Perhaps thou may send me some plants, at the fall of the leaf; and it is necessary that I should compensate thee; and therefore, I give thee the liberty of drawing upon me for ten pounds sterling.

"I wish a healthy plant of Ginseng could be sent with the plants."


  • Parke, Thomas, October 10, 1788, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 530)[4]
"I intended to have sent thee a copy of [Thomas] WALTER'S Flora Caroliniana but find one is already thy property, by direction of Doctor LETTSOM."


  • Parke, Thomas, May 18, 1789, (Darlington 1849: 531)[4]
"R. BARCLAY writes me that he is much pleased with the plants received, which, with W. BARTRAM'S drawing of the Franklinia, arrived in good order. The botanists in England will not, however, allow it to be properly named. BARCLAY says he shall want some plants from thee in the fall; and wishes to know whether the Cranberry plant cannot be sent to England, to be propagated."


"Thine, dated 10th of August, with several books, came safe to hand.

"With this, I send a small box of plants the list of contents inclosed which I hope will not prove unacceptable; though there is little of novelty in the collection to recommend it, except the Azalea, which I believe is yet rare.

"I had discovered my error, with regard to the small plant sent thee last year, and might sooner have done it, had I been careful. However, it has gone but to thyself, except lately, by the name

of Polygala, to SIR JOSEPH BANKS.

"The Plumed Andromeda, of BARTRAM, is the Cyrilla. The Franklinia, I believe, is a species of Gordonia.

"I am much pleased with WALTER'S Flora, which appears to be well executed. Every addition to botanical knowledge will always prove acceptable."


  • Lettsom, John Coakley, February 2, 1789 (Darlington 1849: 549)[4]
"I write now to acknowledge the receipt of thy letter of November last, and to add that yesterday the box was safely landed; and, on a cursory inspection, the plants contained seem healthy.

"At the expense of much labour and money, I have brought some fine bog earth on my premises which your countrymen thrive best in; and I hope soon to possess an ample collection of them.

"I am obliged to thee for thy intention of increasing my Americans, as opportunity may offer. [John] FRASER, to whom a few of us in London subscribed an annual sum, has not answered our expectations. His catalogue, enclosed, are the seeds and plants of his own property. His subscribers, at least I— had very few indeed."


  • Parke, Thomas, April 20, 1790, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 531)[4]
"I apply' d to J. B. for the plants thee mentioned. I could not procure the whole number ordered, but, as a great favour, obtained some of each sort, with a few of some he calls a new species, as per his account inclosed.

"Did thee not promise some seeds for Lord SUFFIELD? If a few could be sent him, I think he would be pleased ; and as the plants cannot go till the fall, it would manifest an attention to his orders."


  • Baron de Beelen Bertholf, October 12, 1791, letter to Humphry Marshall [9]
"I am very much oblige to you for the maple and lombardy poplar trees, which you sent forward to me by the negro man."


  • Parke, Thomas, April 29, 1795, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry Marshall (Darlington 1849: 531-32)[4]
Sir JOHN MENZIEWS wishes to improve his grounds, in Scotland, by mixing such of the American forest trees with the native Pines of Great Britain, as are likely to agree with the soil and climate; and desires a collection of such trees as can be got in Pennsylvania, or rather, that an assortment of seeds may be sent him by the first opportunity. He also wishes a small assortment of apples, pears, and peaches, of the best grafted or inoculated kinds, in trees of two or three years old."


  • Parke, Thomas, October 19, 1796, letter from Philadelphia to Humphry and Moses Marshall
I have received a letter from ROBERT BARCLAY, which contains the following paragraph: —

"'Pray desire H. and M. Marshall to send me a box of plants for my friend T. KITT, of Norwich, who is well versed in plants, and will be pleased with a nice collection, mixed as usual with herbaceous; remembering to add several Kalmias, Azaleas, &c., and everything new or curious.'"


"My first object, after my arrival in America, was to form an acquaintance with all those interested in the study of Botany….

"I next visited the old established gardens of Mr. Marshall, author of a small "Treatise on the Forest-Trees of North America." This gentleman, though then far advanced in age and deprived of his eye-sight, conducted me personally through his collection of interesting trees and shrubs, pointing out many which were then new to me, which strongly proved his attachment and application to the science in former years, when his vigour of mind and eye-sight were in full power. This establishment, since the death of Mr. Marshall, (which happened a few years ago,) has been, in some respects, kept up by the family but is now very much on the decline, only a few old established trees being left as a memento of what formerly deserved the name of a respectable botanic garden."


  • Anonymous, May 10, 1828, history of Humphry Marshall's botanic garden, ("Chester County Cabinet of Natural Science", 1828: 302-03[11]
"In the year 1774, the late Humphrey [sic] Marshall established his Botanic Garden, at Marshallton: he applied himself very diligently to the improvement of the place, and to the collection of plants, especially such as were indigenous to the United States. The Garden soon obtained a reputation; and for many years before the death of Mr. Marshall, it had become an object of curiosity to men of science: Mr. Frederick Pursh informs us, that it was the first place of a Botanical character visited by him, after his arrival in America. After the decease of Mr. Humphrey Marshall, in the year 1801, we believe that no improvements were made in the garden, and since the death of Doctor Moses Marshall, in 1813, the Botany of the place seems to have been entirely neglected. But it still exhibits many interesting relics, as pine and fir trees— the willow leaved and English oaks, the Kentucky nickar tree, the buckeye, and several species of magnolia. The trees we have mentioned, with various interesting shrubs and herbaceous plants, which survive the general ruin, are memorials of the interest which was formerly taken in the garden by its venerable founder....

"The science of plants was his favourite study, and before he established his botanic garden, at Marshallton, he had cultivated one on a smaller scale, on the plantation now occupied by Joshua Marshall. In 1785, he published the Arbustum Americanum, or catalogue of American Forest Trees and Shrubs, in which he was assisted by his nephew, the late Doctor Moses Marshall, who was a botanist of considerable merit, and, at the request of his uncle, had travelled through many of the States, in search of American plants."


  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel, 1836, description of visits to Marshallton in the summer of 1802 and 1804(1836: 15, 22)[12]
"On our return to Germantown I studied all the plants of that locality, describing them all minutely. I went also fishing and hunting, and described the birds, reptiles, fishes, &c. An excursion to Westchester was taken with Col. F. [Forrest] to see MARSHALL'S Botanic garden, and we returned by Norristown. We visited also BARTRAM'S Botanic garden and several other places....

"I went to see again Mr. Marshall at Westchester, and visited with him the singular magnesian rocks, where alone grow the Phemeranthus or Talinum teretifolium."


"CAROLINIAN SOLANUM…. This is a vile, pernicious weed; and extremely difficult to subdue, or eradicate. It is believed to have been introduced by the late Humphrey [sic] Marshall, into his Botanic Garden at Marshallton, — whence it has spread around the neighborhood; and strongly illustrates the necessity of caution, in the introduction of mere Botanical curiosities into good agricultural districts.

"MARRUBIUM-LIKE LEONURUS....This foreign has probably escaped from the Botanic Garden of the late HUMPHREY [sic] MARSHALL, and bids fair to become extensively naturalized in the surrounding country.

"M. LUPULINA, L. …. This is an introduced plant; and not generally naturalized in this County. I am not certain that I have observed it, except in the vicinity of the late Humphrey [sic] Marshall’s Botanic Garden."


  • Resolution of the Town Council of the Borough of West Chester, Pennsylvania, March 13, 1848 (Darlington, 1849: 492-93)[14]
"Whereas it has been deemed expedient and proper to improve the public Square, on which the upper reservoir connected with the Water-works of the borough is situated, by laying out the same in suitable walks, and introducing various ornamental trees and shrubbery: And whereas it will be convenient and necessary to designate the said Square by some appropriate name; And whereas the late Humphry Marshall of Chester County was one of the earliest and most distinguished horticulturists and botanists of our country, having established the second botanic garden in this republic; and also prepared and published the first treatise on the forest trees and shrubs of the United States, and diffused a taste for botanical science which entitles his memory to the lasting respect of his countrymen:

"Therefore resolved, by the Burgesses and Assistant Burgesses of the Borough of West Chester, in Council assembled, That the public Square, aforesaid, shall for ever hereafter be designated and known by the name of 'The Marshall Square,' in commemoration of the exemplary character, and scientific labours, of our distinguished fellow-citizen, the late Humphry Marshall, of West Bradford Township, Chester County."


  • Darlington, William, 1849, describing Marshallton, estate of Humphry Marshall, West Chester, Pa. (1849: 22, 487-88, 490-91)[15]
"In 1773, the second botanical garden within the British provinces of North America, was established by Humphry Marshall, in the township of West Bradford, Chester County, Pennsylvania, at the site of the present village of Marshallton. Humphry, however, had been previously indulging his taste, and employing his leisure time in collecting and cultivating useful and ornamental plants at his paternal residence, near the Brandywine....

"In 1764, it became expedient to enlarge the dwelling in which he resided with his parents. This addition was built of brick; and the entire work of digging and tempering the clay, making and burning the bricks, and building the walls, was performed by Humphry himself. He also erected a green-house, adjoining the dwelling; which was, doubtless, the first conservatory of the kind ever seen, or thought of, in the county of Chester.

"The Botanic Garden, at Marshallton, was planned and commenced in the year 1773, and soon became the recipient of the most interesting trees and shrubs of our country, together with many curious exotics; and also of a numerous collection of our native herbaceous plants. A large portion of these yet survive, although the garden, from neglect, has become a mere wilderness; while a number of our noble forest trees, such as Oaks, Pines, and Magnolias(especially the Magnolia acuminata), all planted by the hands of the venerable founder, have now attained to a majestic altitude."

"For several years prior to the establishment of the Marshallton Garden, Humphry had been much engaged in collecting native plants and seeds, and shipping them to Europe; but after that event, being aided by his nephew, Dr. Moses Marshall, he greatly extended his operations, and directed his attention with enhanced zeal and energy to the business of exploring, and making known abroad, the vegetable treasures of these United States. The present generation of botanists have but an imperfect idea of the services rendered to the science, by the skill and laborious industry of those faithful pioneers ; but the letters here given, will show that they contributed largely to the knowledge of American plants.

"His sight...was never so entirely lost, but that he could discern the walks in his garden, examine his trees, and recognise the localities of his favourite plants. In tracing those walks with his friends, pointing out the botanical curiosities, and reciting their history, he took the greatest delight to the last."


Images

References

American Philosophical Society web exhibit on Arbustrum Americanum

Humphry and Moses Marshall Papers, 1721-1863, University of Michigan

Notes

  1. Darlington, 485-87
  2. Darlington, 488
  3. Gideon Tibbetts Ridlon, History of the Families Millingas and Millanges of Saxony and Normandy (Lewiston, Me.: The author, 1907), view on Zotero.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 4.27 4.28 4.29 4.30 4.31 4.32 Darlington, 1849,
  5. Benjamin Franklin, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. William B. Willcox (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1973), view on Zotero.
  6. Benjamin Franklin, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. by William B. Willcox (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1974), view on Zotero.
  7. Benjamin Franklin, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, 18, ed. William B. Willcox (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1974), view on Zotero.
  8. Benjamin Franklin, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. by William B. Willcox (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1976), view on Zotero.
  9. Gutowski, 33
  10. Frederick Pursh, Flora Americae Septentrionalis; Or, a Systematic Arrangement and Description of the Plants of North America, 2 vols (London: White, Cochrane, & Co., 1814), view on Zotero.
  11. "Chester County Cabinet of Natural Science," The Register of Pennsylvania, 1 (May 10, 1828), view on Zotero.
  12. Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, A Life of Travels in North America and South Europe, or Outlines of the Life, Travels and Researches of C.S. Rafinesque (Philadelphia: F. Turner, 1836), view on Zotero.
  13. William Darlington, Flora Cestrica: An Attempt to Enumerate and Describe the Flowering and Filicoid Plants of Chester County in the State of Pennsylvania. With Brief Notices of Their Properties, and Uses, in Medicine, Domestic and Rural Economy, and the Arts (West-Chester, Pa.: The author, 1837), view on Zotero.
  14. Darlington,
  15. Darlington

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