Or a Discourse on Forest-Trees, and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty's Dominions; As it was Deliver'd in the Royal Society the xvth of October, MDCLXII, Upon Occasion of Certain Quaeries Propounded to that Illustrious Assembly, by the Honorable the Principal Officers, and Commissioners of the Navy. To which is Annexed Pomona: Or, an Appendix Concerning Fruit-Trees in Relation to Cider, The Making and Several ways of Ordering it. Published by Express Order of the Royal Society. Also, Kalendarium Hortense: Or, Gard'ners Almanac, Directing what he is to do Monethly, throughout the Year.London: printed by Jo. Martyn, [J. Macock], and Ja. Allestry, printers to the Royal Society, and are to be sold at their shop, 1664 Stock Code: 87758
The Royal Society's first official publicationFirst edition of Evelyn's most celebrated book and famously the first book to be printed by order of the Royal Society, which had been founded four years previously. During the 1640s and 1650s production of glass and iron increased rapidly and the wood used to fire the furnaces and factories was not being replaced by fresh planting. This led to a serious shortage of wood from which the Navy could construct ships. Evelyn appealed to the king for a concerted campaign of reforestation and claimed in his preface that he had induced landowners to plant many millions of trees.
Alexander Hunter, who edited five editions of Sylva in the 18th and early 19th centuries, wrote in his preface that "soon after the publication of the Sylva... the Spirit for Planting increased to a high degree; and there is reason to believe that many of our ships, used in the last war... were constructed from Oaks planted at that time."
The appendix Pomona includes a collection of five contributions on the making of cider by other writers: John Beale, Sir Paul Neile, John Newburgh, Doctor Smith, and Capt. Taylor.
First editions of Evelyn's Sylva are usually found either recently rebound or in poor condition, and usually rebacked - copies in this condition are far from common.
Three parts in one volume, quarto (284 x 186 mm). Early 19th-century half calf, brown morocco label, spine tooled in blind with gilt rules, marbled paper sides, all edges speckled brown, marbled endpapers. First and third titles printed in red and black, first title with the engraved arms of the Royal Society.
Two woodcut illustrations in the texts, woodcut historiated initials.
Without the errata leaf at the end. Old ink correction to one letter on title page, small round paper label to upper front joint, contemporary to binding. Binding rubbed, short split to head of front joint, title page and facing license leaf a little soiled, light waterstaining to most foremargins. An excellent copy.
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