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Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets   By: (1620-1706)

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[Illustration: Joannes Evelyn Arm^r]




Author of the Kalendarium


Published by the Women's Auxiliary ,



Printed in the United States of America

Publisher's Note

This edition of Acetaria is a faithful reprint of the First Edition of 1699, with the correction of a few obvious typographical errors, and those noted in the Errata of the original edition. Whereas no attempt has been made to reproduce the typography of the original, the spirit has been retained, and the vagaries of spelling and punctuation have been carefully followed; also the old style S [s] has been retained. Much of the flavour of Acetaria is lost if it is scanned too hurriedly; and one should remember also that Latin and Greek were the gauge of a man of letters, and if the titles and quotations seem a bit ponderous, they are as amusing a conceit as the French and German complacencies of a more recent generation.

Foreword to Acetaria

John Evelyn, famous for his "Diary," was a friend and contemporary of Samuel Pepys. Both were conscientious public servants who had held minor offices in the government. But, while Pepys' diary is sparkling and redolent of the free manners of the Restoration, Evelyn's is the record of a sober, scholarly man. His mind turned to gardens, to sculpture and architecture, rather than to the gaieties of contemporary social life. Pepys was an urban figure and Evelyn was "county." He represents the combination of public servant and country gentleman which has been the supreme achievement of English culture.

Horace Walpole said of him in his Catalogue of Engravers, "I must observe that his life, which was extended to eighty six years, was a course of inquiry, study, curiosity, instruction and benevolence."

Courtiers, artists, and scientists were his friends. Grinling Gibbons was brought to the King's notice by Evelyn, and Henry Howard, Duke of Norfolk, was persuaded by him to present the Arundel Marbles to the University of Oxford. In London he engaged in divers charitable and civic affairs and was commissioner for improving the streets and buildings in London. He had charge of the sick and wounded of the Dutch War and also, with the fineness of character typical of his kind, he remained at his post through the Great Plague. Evelyn was also active in organizing the Royal Society and became its first secretary.

In the country he spent his time studying, writing and in developing his own and his brother's estates. He translated several French books, one of them by Nicolas de Bonnefons was entitled "The French Gardener; instructions how to cultivate all sorts of fruit trees." Evelyn undoubtedly knew another book of de Bonnefons called " Les Delices de la Campagne ." Delights of the country, according to de Bonnefons, consisted largely in delights of the palate, and perhaps it was this book which suggested to Evelyn to write a cookery garden book such as Acetaria. He also translated Jean de la Quintinie's "The Compleat Gardener." His "Sylva, or a discourse of Forest Trees" was written as a protest against the destruction of trees in England being carried on by the glass factories and iron furnaces, and the book succeeded in inducing landowners to plant millions of trees.

The list of Evelyn's writings shows a remarkable diversity in subject matter. There was a book on numismatics and translations from the Greek, political and historical pamphlets, and a book called "Fumifugium or the inconvenience of the Aer and Smoke of London dissipated," in which he suggests that sweet smelling trees should be planted to purify the air of London. He also wrote a book called "Sculpture, or the History of Chalcography and Engraving in Copper."

Living in the country and cultivating his fruits and vegetables, Evelyn grew to be an ardent believer in vegetarianism and is probably the first advocate in England of a meatless diet... Continue reading book >>

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