This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A sketch of the history of Thomas Hamilton, Earl of Haddington, recounts his love of tree planting, and the fact of the publication of a book "on Forest Trees," composed mainly of letters from his pen to his grandson. He is shown to be one of the most sagacious and enterprising of rural gentlemen, in the improvement of his domain, but loved the pleasure of the hunt too well. His wife took upon herself the fancy that trees could be planted and made to grow, and the author thus recounts the way she came to carry out her will:
"When I came," he says, "to live here (Tyningham), there were not above fourteen acres set with trees. I believe that it was a received notion, that no tree would grow here on account of the sea air and the northeast wind; so that the rest of our family, who had lived here, either believed the common opinion, or did not delight in planting. I had no pleasure in planting; but delighted in horses and dogs, and the sports of the field; but my wife did what she could to engage me to it, but in vain. At last she asked leave to go about it herself, which she did, and I was much pleased with some little things which were well laid out and executed. These attracted my notice, and the' Earl of Mar, the Marquis of Tweedale and others, admired the beauty of the work and the enterprise of the lady."
After her ladyship had succeeded in rearing several ornamental clumps, she proposed to enclose and plant the moor of Tyningham, a waste common of about three hundred Scotch acres. The Earl agreed to her making the experiment, and, to the surprise of every one, the moor was speedily covered with a thriving plantation, that received the name of Binningwood. His lordship was tempted, by the success of these trials, to enter himself, with great eagerness, into the plan of sheltering and enriching the family estate by plantations. He planted several other pieces of waste land, enclosed and divided his cultivated fields with strips of wood, and even made a tract along the seashore, called the East Links, which had always been regarded as a barren sand, productive of the finest firs.
" And thus," says Mr. McWilliam, in his ingenious and useful * Essay on the Dry Rot and Cultivation of Forest Trees,' •' did her ladyship, to the honor of her sex, and benefit of her lord and her country overcome the prejudices of the sea and the barren moor being pernicious; and of horses and dogs being the best amusement for a nobleman; converting a dashing son of Nimrod into an industrious planter, a thoughtless spendthrift into a frugal patriot."
Thus can good wives in every station,
On man work miracles of reformation,
And were such wives more common, their husbands would endure it,
However great the malady, a living wife can cure it.
And much their aid is wanted; we hope they'll use it fairish,
While barren ground, where wood should be, appears in every parish.