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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by
Harper & Brothers,
In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New York. TO
HONOUR ABLE JAMES TALLMADGE,
LATE PRESIDENT OF TIIE AMERICAN INSTITUTE,
This v ork is dedicated
WITH EVERY FEELING OF RESPECT
N presenting to the public a treatise like the present, it would naturally be expected that the author should state the grounds upon which he rests his claim to attention. With this expectation he most cordially complies. Soon after the publication of his “Sylva Americana," in 1832, at the solicitation, not only of personal friends, but with the expressed wishes of numerous indi
viduals to whom he was comparatively a stranger, he undertook the preparation of a work on the trees of this country, more complete and extensive in its character than had hitherto beea published. With this view, in connection with other pursuits, he extended his researches by travelling and residing for a time in various parts of North and South America, the West Indies, Europe, and Western Africa, where he availed himself of the advantage of not only verifying or correcting the observations which had been made by others on the trees of these countries, but examined them under various conditions in a state of nature, as well as in nurseries and collections of the curious.
In the year 1838, he announced to the public, through a “Memorial praying Congress to adopt measures for procuring and preserving a supply of timber for naval purposes,” (Doc. 241, 25th Congress, 2d Session, Senate, that he had commenced the preparation of a treatise on this subject, setting forth the course he was pursuing and the chief objects of inquiry; but owing to the party strife and political warfare which existed at that period, he regrets to say that no action was taken in the matter beyond referring said memorial to the Committee on Naval Affairs, and ordering it to be printed.
In 1843, at the request of his friends, definite proposals were issued by the author for publishing the work in a popular form, and a large number of wealthy and publicspirited citizens proffered him their aid, to whom he can not here omit to acknowledge his lasting obligations; but, owing to various causes which have unavoidably retarded the publication, it could not with propriety be issued before the present time.
While complying with this request, he has read or consulted the works of all the most judicious authors on the subject, both ancient and modern, with the view of giving a concise account of such trees and shrubs as are cultivated or growing in America, as would interest the general reader, and, at the same time, would prove economical and useful to the artisan, the planter, and to those interested in arboriculture, in a more ex
The pictorial illustrations of this work have either been made directly from drawings after nature, or from accurate delineations already in existence, one figure representing the general appearance of each tree, and another of the leaf, flower, fruit, &c., in order that the descriptions may be better and more clearly understood, and to render their
more certain. The classification he has preferred to adopt is the Natural System, chiefly for the sake of aiding in generalizing on the species and varieties contained in each family or tribe, which is in accordance with the plan adopted by Professor Don, in “ Miller's
Dictionary,” and by Loudon, in his “ Arboretum et Fructicetum Britannicum.” There is one feature, as regards this arrangement, to which the author would call particular attention. It will be perceived that, in various instances, he has reduced the number of species, and even, in some cases, of varieties, which he wishes to be distinctly understood has been done, not only with the object of rendering the classification less complicated, but with an opinion that such analogies do exist; yet he is not by any means desirous to separate assemblages of species, or to alter established names, in
any manner whatever. No one, he conceives, should do this who has not attained an eminent rank as a botanist, to which he has no pretensions. Hence, in most of the cases in which he has assumed a species as a variety, he has given the names as adopted by Michaux, Nuttall, Loudon, or some other botanical writer, in order that the reader may know under what heads such varieties are described in the works of these authors.
The author feels called upon to acknowledge that he is particularly indebted to Mr. J. C. Loudon for a large share of his work, taken from the “Arboretum Britannicum," and to Dr. Thaddeus W. Harris for many valuable extracts from his “ Report on the Insects of Massachusetts injurious to Vegetation;" also to Mr. P.J. Selby for extracts from his beautiful work on “ British Forest Trees,” and to “l'Histoire des Arbres Forestiers de l'Amérique Septentrionale,” par M. F. Andrè-Michaux.
As the preparation of a treatise like the present necessarily requires time to be consummated, and is attended with considerable expense, the author has ventured to issue a volume, by which public opinion may be guided respecting its merits, and a judgment may be formed of the ability or fidelity with which it has been executed. Should the public demand an extension of the work conformably to the plan he has adopted, a supplementary volume will follow, embracing an account of most of the other trees growing in Europe and America, with statements of the sources from which the information will have been derived; copious indexes; a glossary of technical terms employed in the work; and comparative tables of the various kinds of wood, in regard to their strength, durability, value as fuel, and a variety of other useful information respecting timber and trees never before published.
In conclusion, the author requests that his readers will seasonably apprise him of whatever corrections, additions, or suggestions may occur to them, in order that the work may be rendered as complete as possible, and issued without unnecessary delay.
D. J. B. New York, August, 1846.