(translated from a. De candolle's geographib BOTANIQUE).

With Remarks by R. Buchanan, Cincinnati, Ohio.

In Europe the limits of vine cultivation on an extensive scale, and for the purpose of wine-making, have retrograded from the northwest towards the southeast during the last few centuries; but before dwelling upon the abandoned limits, we shall trace the existing ones.

Portugal is famous for its vines; but in Spain their cultivation is not universal, being wanting, wholly or in part, in the moist northwestern provinces of Galicia and the Asturias; they are not even habitually cultivated in the comparatively drier mountains of the Asturias, though some intelligent agriculturists have a few acres of vineyards. In the southwest of France, the vineyards are beautiful.

According to the government statistical tables of France, published in 1837, the extent of the vineyards, in 1834, was in the departments -


Loire Inferieure



Morbihan .





The more exact limits are - Southern Brittany, lat. 47° 30', from whence the line is directed eastward to the department of Mayenne, where in 1834 only 304 acres were under vineyards; to the department of L'Eure, 412 acres; of Oise, 834 acres; and of La Somme, 5 1/2 acres. A little wine has been made to the west of this line, as at Caen, Calvados, and even in Jersey, but these are exceptional cases, which do not affect the general accuracy of the result above given. Those departments of France which did not return above 2 1/2 acres of vineyards in 1834 are, in the west, Finisterre, Cotes du Nord, Manche, Orne, Calvados, Seine Inferieure, Pas de Calais et Nord; in the centre, those of La Crease and of Cantal, where the elevation of the land makes the climate too rigorous.

In Belgium, the cultivation of the vine on a grand scale ceases at Argenteau on the Mense (lat. 50° 45'). Descending the Rhine, beautiful vineyards advance as far down as the hills extend, and below Bonn, as these conditions disappear, the vine becomes rare, stopping altogether at Dusseldorf. In Northwestern Germany, Potsdam and Berlin are the extreme limits. In Saxony, vineyards are more frequent up to lat. 51 1/4° - as at Weissenfeld, in Prussian Saxony, and at Meissen, north of Dresden.

This line, extending from the mouths of the Loire to Potsdam (lat. 49 1/4° to 52 1/2°), is throughout its whole extent to the south of that to which the vineyards once attained. Not only are vines now grown here and there to the northward of it, but there are proofs that formerly, towards the close of the middle ages, and for two or three previous centuries, vineyards were numerous to the northwest of these limits.

In Normandy, it is matter of tradition that numerous vines were destroyed in the 14th century by the English/ who, from holding Guienne, were anxious to favor the vine growth of that country. From the 12th to the 13th centuries, a number of maps allude to the Tines of Normandy, Brittany, and Picardy.

Tacitus (Agricola, xii.), speaking of England, says that the soil is fruitful in corn, but not in the olive, vine, and other plants of warm climates; these ripen slowly and quickly sprout, and for the same reason, namely, the humidity of the earth and sky. It is mentioned in many works that the Emperor Probus granted permission to the Britons, as well as to the Gauls, to cultivate the vine; but this proves nothing, for we do not know whether they availed themselves of the permission, and, if so, whether they profited by it. In more recent times, it is known that the vine was cultivated in England. In Strutt's Ancient England, chronicles and facts are quoted in proof of this. The county of Gloucester was famous for its vineyards; according to Bede, Guillaume de Malmesbury, the grapes there were sweeter than any others in England. According to Stow's Chronicle, wine was made in Windsor Park as well as in all other parts of England. In an ancient manuscript of that date, kept at the castle, may be seen the annual cost of the vine plantation, the account (in the time of Richard the Second) of the vines which were grown in great quantities in the Little Park, as well as of the wine made.

A portion of this wine was consumed in the palace, and the rest sold for the king's profit, whilst the duties were paid to the Abbot of Waltham, the incumbent of Old and New Windsor. Strutt gives a figure of an ancient Saxon wine-press. Miller, in the Gardener*s Dictionary, says, in 1768, that though few vines are now grown in England, they were in former times very common. This is proved by the fact that numerous places, in many parts of England, derive their names from this circumstance, and that there are acts to certify the extent of ground allotted for vines to abbeys and monasteries. Miller further mentions the attempts made in the neighborhood of London, and it is well known that even now grapes are grown for curiosity or for pleasure in the South of England. These grapes are not always bad, the wine that has been made is not always detestable; though the Chancellor of the Exchequer has no fear for the result affecting the duty on foreign wines entering England, which yields an enormous revenue.

Analogous facts regarding the retrogression of limits of vine cultivation are presented in the northwest of Germany. Meyen states that in the fourteenth century the vine was introduced into Prussia, and that it was cultivated there long since that epoch. M. J. G. Bujach has published in a Koenigsberg journal an article on the ancient vine culture in Prussia, when that country was under the Teutons. The wine made was acid, and now-a-days would be undrinkable, compared with more southern wines. The climate of the shores of the Baltic, between Dantzig and Koenigsberg, is not very unfavorable to the vine, and we find that even now it is sometimes cultivated there. Lastly M. Streicher assures me that grapes are not grown now near Cracow, though there are localities named after the vineyards which once grew there.