Imagens das páginas
PDF

serves some trees which date from the years'1150 and 1200. Such is the Roman orange tree, already spoken of, and which is said to have been planted by St. Dominic.

Ferraris tells us that it has sour fruit, (atrium pomorum,) and that the rejeton or sprout of it, existing still, is of this species ; " for I have myself examined and tasted the fruit."

This opinion, as to the acidity of the orange, is also confirmed by all remaining to us of our ancient writers relating to this tree.

To the testimony of De Vitry is added that of Simon Januarius, Silvaticus, Specialis, Falcandus, and many others.

Nicolas Specialis, in his history of the siege of Palermo, calls it the tree of sour apples (acripomorum arbores); and Hugo Falcandus, in his history of Sicily, describes it in the following manner: Videos ibi, et lumius acetosilate sua condieiuliscibis idoneas,el aranyias acetoso nihilominus humore plenas interins, qua magis pulehritudine sua risum oblectant quam ad Mud utiles rideantur.

Finally, from the tenth to the fifteenth century, we find not a single passage in history which can relate to the sweet orange; and writers who have made mention of this tree, (the orange), directly or indirectly speak of it as a kind of sour fruit more agreeable to sight by its beauty, than to taste, by its juice.

Nevertheless, the sweet orange has existed since many centuries in China. All travellers certify to this fact; and the large sylvan groves of them found in Japan, Cochin-China, in the vicinity of Canton, and in the Pacific islands, prove that this plant originated there.

We cannot reasonably believe that this species has been obtained by a careful culture in countries so little civilized, and in savage isles where the vegetable kinedom shows only the traces of simple nature. Neither can we admit that the sweet orange is the type of a species, the degradation of which, by neglect, has originated the bigarade or sour orange.

This phenomenon (of which no other vegetable offers a single specimen) should have had, necessarily, results very different from those given to us by history, and by the actual condition of these plants in various parts of the world.

Extraordinary culture could affect only individuals submitted to its action; but in wild places the orange tree itself would always be preserved in its natural state, and nothing could have caused the type to disappear entirely. For, if individual trees abandoned to^naturehad degenerated to the point of presenting a difference so great as that existing between the sweet and sour oranges, these two species would surely have been found mingled in the fields, and show a gradation of debasement, or amelioration, proportionate to the state of culture, richness of soil, and influence of climate.

But, on the contrary, all data given us by history upon this matter unite to convince us that these two species of orange trees, as well as the two species of citron trees, created separately by Nature, have existed a long time isolated, and have each had a father-land. The citron is found only in Media.

Travelling botanists have also recognized the fact that in parts of India where one meets the

orange in an indigenous state, the citron is there only by culture.

The lemon did not pass into Persia, Syria, and Egypt until after the Arabs had extended their conquests beyond the Indus nnd the Ganges into regions before unknown, or separated from Western Asia by their political state, their man ners, and their religion.

The bigarade appeared shortly before the lemon, and probably it was not found indigenous; by the side of the sweet orange, as in that case the sweet fruit would surely have been preferred; at least it would have been associated with'the bigarade, and would have followed it very soon into the regions where it has been propagated.

Yet we have seen that the sweet orange tree was still unknown in Europe at the close of the fourteenth century, and it seems not to have been cultivated until towards the middle of the fifteenth century.

It is not easy "to determine the different regions where the species were placed originally by nature. Luxury and civilization have mingled them in a way to make them appear indigenous in all hot countries, where their culture is cotemporary with the establishment of agriculture, and the civilization of the inhabitants.

It is only by visiting as a philosopher the interior of countries least cultivated, that one could find the trees in that sylvan and isolated state, which we call natural.

The most reliable data, however, succeed in supplying us with proof that this species has existed a long time only in the southern provinces of China, and upon the coasts and isles of the Pacific.

The Indians, in fact, call this fine species by the name of China orange, and I have remarked that at Amboyna and Banda, where it is very common, they acknowledge that to China they owe the choicest and sweetest varieties. (See Rumphius.) It is there, certainly, that all travelers meet with the sweet-fruited orange as an indigenous plant; it is from thence, according to tradition, that it passed into India; it is from thence that recently have been received the greater number of the singular varieties now cultivated at the Moluccas, in India, and in America. It is known in all these countries under the name of China orange, and it was also by this name known in Europe before the crowd of varieties spread from one district to another, and taking the name of the region whence they came, had confounded the nomenclature of the Hesperides.

In every case it is clearly demonstrated that the original climate of the sweet-fruited orange tree was not that of the bigarade tree, and that each of the four species of the genus citrus had a country whence they have been brought by the industry and luxury of man.

This fact, which we could prove also respecting other genera of plants, is it not an effect of a general Taw of Nature? Is it not a principle followed by Providence in the distribution of all beings? The Creator has made the genera for the earth, and the aperies for the climates.

He has spread equally over all the globe, the greatest number of vegetables; but He has origmally modified them into many differing species, according to the various climates where they should live.

Man, alone, has disturbed this distribution. King of Nature, he has assembled under the same sky a crowd of differing beings, which were not assigned to live together. He has thus enriched the climate inhabited by himself, and has assimilated to his system of society the animals and vegetables.

But all this has taken place by degrees, and is the result of a long course of ages. We shall now inquire regarding the time and manner of naturalizing the sweet orange tree in Europe.

Aut. V.—Observations upon the Acelimation of the Sweet OrangeOpinions of Various WritersExamination of their Opinions.

It is certainly difficult to follow the history of the transmigration of ordinary plants, which spread themselves slowly and in times of obscurity; but it is surprising that we lind no traces of the passage of the orange tree of sweet fruit, which, because of its qualities and the epoch at which we suppose if must have been brought to Europe, ought to have been an object for the admiration of gardeners, and the observation's of botanists.

This investigation presents nevertheless, a crowd of difficulties.

An opinion, prevailing amoug the greater part of writers, has attributed this acquisition to the Portuguese. Valmont de Bomare, in his Dictionary of Natural History, gives details so precise upon this fact, that for a long time I believed it to be incontestable.

He says that at Lisbon, in the Count St. Laurent's garden, there exists the first tree Irom which have come all the orange trees now ornamenting tho gardens of Europe.

Valmont de Bomare, and the other writers who have reported this fact, speak of the orange iu general; but I think their expressions should be received as applying only to the sweet orange —it would be unreasonable to connect them with the bigarade. This naturalist cites no authority to sustain his assertion, and it appears as if taken from the Dictionary of Trevoux, who is also silent with respect to the source whence he obtained it.*

It seems that the name of Portugal, applied generally to the sweet orange, bus accredited the opinion respecting the origin of this tree. But we must observe first, that this name was not known in Europe till about the middle of the seventeenth century, and that previous to that time this species was known under the simple name of orange douce, (sweet orange.) Secondly, that from the use made of this name among writers, or among the people of the country where it is received, we see clearly that they have given it only to a variety carried, perhaps, by the Portuguese into Europe, and which may be the red-fruited orange. Indeed, iu Arabia even, they use the name of Portugal to designate

* The oranges of China art thu~ named, because those we saw for the first time had been brought thence. The first and only tree from which it is said they all come, is still preserved at Lisbon, in the house of Count St. Laurent; and it is to the Portuguese that we arc indebted for this excellent fruit. For that reason they arc also called oranoes of Porlvgat—Dtcr. or Tusvoux, .vht. OaAXeut.

a sort of orange, just as they use the name of /to/.>/ to express two kinds of citron trees. We have but to read Nicbuhr's Voyage to Arabia, where in remarking these denominations, he says it is believed that the Arabs received from Europe one species of orange and two of citrons. (Niebuhr, bk. 1, sec. 30.) Apparently} the orange of which he speaks is the narendj Bortughal, and the citrons are the Idalia Iloelu, and the Idalia Maleck, of the Flora jEgyptiaeo-Arabiea of Forskal.

The opinion of Bomare has been shared not only by Hunter in his voyage to China, and by the most of European writers upon agriculture, but also by learned botanists, such as Loureiro. (See first volume of Memoriat de Lisboa, page 152.) And I have read, not without surprise, m the Jiotanique Historique of Madame de Genlis.that we can even name the person to whom we owe the acquisition of the orange (Jean de Castro).

Assertions thus positive give to the opinion of Bomare an air of truthfulness, which seems to render it unassailable; but having brought together the dates of the various proofs which I have collected for and against this opinion, 1 have seen that it is in contradiction to well established facts, and thtis deprived of foundation.

The Portuguese did not reach China until 151b. Jean de CasLro, born in 1500, could not return from his first voyage until about 1520. Therefore, if the orange were carried from China by the Portuguese, and specially by Jean de Castro, this species should not have appeared in Europe until after the years 1518 or 1520, a fact impossible to prove.

It would be more probable to suppose it brought from Iudia by the Portuguese, who penetrated there in 1408. In this case it might he possible for the Count de St. Lament to have in his garden the first tree seen in Europe. But this hypothesis, whatever appearance of truth it may have, can becombatted with success.

Vasco de Gama, who first doubled the Cape of Good Hope in 1408, said, iu his relation of his voyage, arranged by a Florentine who was in his vessel, thai iu India there were many orange trees, but all with sweet fruit—Souri melaraneic assai, ma tattle doki. Ramus, bk. 1, p. 121.

It does not seem, from these expressions, that the sweet orange was to him an unknown species; they would appear to denote solely that the bigarade, then very common in Europe, was not cultivated there.

It would be very astonishing, supposing the sweet orange a species unknown among us, if this navigator had not made a remark upon it, and, if he brought the first seed of it to Europe, that he said not a word of it in his relation.

All vo3-agers of that epoch are equally silent. I have not "found a single word to indicate this fact in any of the original voyages collected by Ramusio, nor in any of the cotemporaneous histories, which I have read attentively. On the contrary, I have remarked that none of these travellers showed surprise at sight of this fruit, as they did on seeing many others.

lint thai which radically destroys this hypothesis is, that we have data to prove the fact of the general cultivation of the sweet orange in the south of Europe before this time.

We find a crowd of writers at the beginning of the sixteenth century who treat of the sweet orange, and not one among them regards it as a new species. They all speak of it as a very ancient tree, whose origin was unknown.

I shall cite Matioli, who printed his translation of Dioscorides in 1540,'and who could not have been ignorant of the origin of this species, if it dated from the beginning of this century. His successful study of plants, and the earnest researches he made upon this subject, do not permit us to presume that he could make a mistake in a matter so important and so new. We might say the same of Augustin Gallo, his cotemporary, who enlarges upon the culture of the orange and chiefly of those at Salo, on Lake Garda.

This author speaks also of the orange tree of sweet fruit as a species known since time immemorial.*

Navagero, Venetian Ambassador to Charles Fifth, published his Spanish voyage in 1525. He therein describes the prodigious trees of the Iluerta del Bei (kitehen garden of the King) at Seville, which may still be seen, and which are all of sweet fruit.

But nothing proves more strongly how this species was spread in Europe, about the beginning of the sixteenth century, than Leandro Albert i's voyage to Italy. This learned monk, who wrote in 1523, speaks largely of immense plantations of orange, lemon, and citron trees, which he saw in Sicily, Calabria, upon the borders of the river Salo, in Liguria, aud in many other places.

He expressly says that a great number of varieties were cultivated, chiefly of sweet fruit.f

If the tree owned by the Count St. Laurent were the first to appear in Europe, would it have been possible to propagate it so promptly, and in such abundance, that in twenty-five years it should people the most distant countries with thousands of trees?

At first one would suppose if this species ha,d been brought from India by the Portuguese, they would have followed the easiest method— that of bringing the seed and sowing it at Lisbon. But if we presume that it came as a plant, the hypothesis would then present a crowd of difficulties, rendering it nearly impossible.

Voyages from India were, at that time, very long and very dangerous, being made in small vessels inferior to those in use now.

Crossing the equator was but little favorable to the preservation of vegetables, and the desire of gain, which exclusively occupied those navi

* Gallo did not publish his work on agriculture till 1569, but he speaks of the sweet orange as of a plant whose culture dated from time immemorial, and says that at Salo the old cultivators of ninety years of age could not remember the planting of the trees existing in his time. I have remarked the same in works of physicians, and chiefly in the narrations of voyagers.

t Leandro Alberti, who travelled in Italy in 1583, speaks of the sweet orange tree in a very precise manner, which leaves no room for doubt. "We sec there," speaking of Salerno, "citrons, lemons, and orange trees of all the species. Some have sweet, some have sour fruit, and, Hnallv, others, producing fruits of a medium taste." Votei, agrextine, e <li Imzzo mpore. (p. 192).

He expresses himself in like manner in his description of Lignna, the river Salo, and Calabria, observing that one could walk by the side of orange gardens for more than two miles of road. He regards them, however, as plants known there since timo immemorial, and of which the eultnre was widely spread.

gators, while hindering their search for objects of taste, would scarcely dispose them to snare with a tree the provision of water, so precious and so necessary for all concerned in voyages uncertain and dangerous.

Spite of all these obstacles, I would still admit that the spirit of curiosity of these adventurers might urge them to transplant into Europe, across so many dangers, a tree of India.

All these suppositions, however, will not dissipate the difficulties which we meet in reconciling this hypothesis with facts which I am about to point out.

It was necessary tb give to this plant a certain number of years before the Count ef St. Laurent (who was, I will assume, disposed to give grafts of it to all the world) could multiply it in his garden, and in the gardens of Lisbon. Afterwards time was necessary for some plants to pass into Liguria, to increase there, and from thence to be propagated in Sicily, in Naples, in Sardinia, and upon the shores of Lake Garda. It is, finally, needful to accord a certain number of years to these grafts for growth, and for sufficient increase to form those magnificent groves which, in 1523, covered the gardens of (Italy. All these operations could not have taken place m an interval of twenty-five years—an insufficient time lor propagating any plant whatever in any single country.

But I would still suppose the possibility of this propagation. There still remains another problem to solve. How could such rapid and prodigious growth escape the knowledge of so many cotemporaneous agricultural writers, who must have witnessed it, as well as of the botanists who flourished at this time, and of the many intelligent travellers who have gathered the smallest"details upon the culture of these trees, and concerning the countries which they have overrun?

We cannot admit such progress in the propagation of the sweet orange without assuming that the cultivators of all countries had a passion for multiplying it, as well as good fortune in transporting it, added to a profound knowledge of the best manner of grafting, and the most reasonable methods of cultivating it, as well as a general knowledge of commerce.

All these circumstances should have made it a noticeable plant, and rendered it an object of attention to botanists and writers of the time.

We are forced, then, to conclude that the sweet orange tree was taken to Europe long before the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope, and consequently could not have been introduced by the Portuguese, much less by Jean de Castro.

But how did it come into Europe t This is the question with which we are about to occupy ourselves.

Art. VI.—Transmigration of the Sweet-fruited Orange Tree Conjectures upon the Time of this Ecent.

The Crusades have enriched Western Europe with the most of the Asiatic plants, acclimated by the Arabians in the different countries under their dominion, during the best days of their power.

But these warlike apostles, who, during the early centuries of their Hegira, had formed colonies so numerous in the region beyond the Indus, were stopped in their career of conquest, and maintained with these countries a commerce only proportioned to the luxury of the West. I This luxury was itself very limited in centuries when the people lived with a simplicity of manners natural to those scarcely emerged from barbarism.

Europeans knew very little of the productions of Asia, except the manufactures of Syria and Persia, which were as yet introduced only among the great. The people, who were then either slaves or soldiers, bad but very few wants.

It was not until after the first religious enterprises in Palestine that the Europeans, who had. made great advances towards civilization, and who, during their conquests, had acquired a taste for the merchandise of the Indies, sought with avidity the productions of that rich country.

The small amount of trade which, up to that time, had connected Europe with Asia, was carried on in the Caspian sea by the natives of the country, and in the Red sea and in Syria by the Arabs.

Europeans, just bi-giuning to turn their attention in this direction, would buy the few articles of which they felt need in the markets of these people, and on hard conditions.

Difference in religion, and consequently in manners and ideas, rendered it nearly impossible for them to penetrate into the regions of the East. The Arabs, masters of these means of intercourse, not being stimulated by emulation or competition, measured their speculations but by the sales they could make in Europe.'

Shorn of their ancient power, and forced, by lack of vessels, by the nature of the country, and by the insufficient police among them, to voyage by caravans, they would buy their merchandise only in the markets of India, where it was carried by the natives.

The Crusades brought about a revolution in the commercial system of these regions. By augmenting among the people of the West the love of luxury and of opulence, they indirectly multiplied the business relations and the industry of all concerned in gratifying these desires.

They opened to Europeans the entrance to Asia, and thus furnished to an active, enterprising people the means of knowing and of extending the trade of India.

From the first the colonies of Christians in Palestine gave facilities for penetrating into those countries, and afterwards the reciprocal want of articles of merchandise to which they were accustomed, added to the love of gain, of which they had tasted the advantages on both sides, maintained among these peoples ties and relations, even amidst the difficulties and fetters presented by the differences in religion, and by political rivalries.

We therefore behold a crowd of adventurers going into the interior of Asia, and on their return to Europe spreading knowledge of those lands and their productions.

The obstacles to, and dangers of, these voyages were very great; but what cannot be done by the human soul possessed with a thirst for gold and passion of discovery?

Often it was necessary to become Mahometans in order to be accepted in the caravan, and it was only in caravans that the Arabs themselves could pass from the Mediterranean sea to the Indian ocean.

They were exposed to an infinity of dangers of every sort, for these voyages offered such, whether they traversed Arabia to Mecca and Aden, or the route of the Persian gulf by Asia Minor, or, finally, that of the Red sea, the most perilous and difficult.

But the enthusiasm for voyaging so filled the minds of Europeans that they would brave all dangers to penetrate into these regions, and the adventures of Marco Polo, Nicolas de Conti, Jerome of Santo-Stefano, and many others, are monuments of the courage and obstinacy of these adventurers. (It is surprising that Marco Polo, who reached China and/India, has never spoken of the orange tree. 1 have carefully read the relation of his voyage, and found but one place where he speaks of the pomme de paradin, which is, perhaps, the Adam's apple. But it is necessary to observe that this adventurer did not write during his voyage. He could not have done so in those countries, and if he could have written, it would have been impossible to save his manuscript and bring it to Europe. We know that in order to earry his wealth he reduced it to precious stones, which he sewed into the folds of his tunic. Besides, we know that his narration was written at Genoa whilst he was a prisoner, and where, in recounting his adventures, be managed to obtain consideration, which sweetened his captivity. He had not, even then,narrated them except in the societies of Venice, where they did not give an unreserved belief to all offered them of the marvellous. They called him, derisively, Marco Milioni, because" of his continual description of riches. We need not, then, be astonished by his forgetting to speak of the orange tree, which he certainly saw in his travels.)

During a long time the adventurers were led only by the spirit of commerce; but finally there was allied to a desire of gain the taste for discoveries, and that passion for plants and foreign arts which have enriched Europe with the secret of glass-making and silk stuff manufactures; with ranunculuses, lilies, Arabian jasmine, and many other flowers, brought into our gardens in the course of the fifteenth century. (Every one knows the great progress in the study of plants made in Europe during the fifteenth century. We have but to consult the learned work of Sprengel, upon the history of botany, to see the lHrge number of plants which passed from Asia into. Europe at this epoch. I shall confine myself to citing here one fact, little known, which goes to show the passion of the people of the Occident for the vegetation of the Orient. We read in a little Italian treatise on flowers, printed in Tuscany towards the close of the sixteenth century, that the jasmine of Arabia (nyctanthes sambac, L.), carried from the East to the Medicis, was not cultivated except in the gardens of the Villa Castello, at Florence, where it was guarded jealously as a plant peculiar to this pleasure house. In truth, the plant has not long been elsewhere than in those gardens, Probably it passed finally, either by complainHnce or fraud, into special gardens, ftnfl the Genoese, who first acclimated it in Ligurin, have since spread it through Europe. It is still from the seedsmen of Nervi that are procured nil the plants cultivated in the rest of Liguria, in Piedmont, in Lombardy, nud in France. This plant is called in the treatise Jasmin du Gime (Gelsemino del Oime) a name still preserved in Tuscany. The Genoese call it gemelhi, probably a corruption of Oime. It is impossible for me to learn the origin of this name.)

With such a taste for plants, and having so intimate and active relations with Asia, they saw, doubtless, the sweet-fruited orange tree; and the abundance, as well as superiority of its fruit, would arouse the desire to enrich with it. the European gardens. It was, surely, no longer necessary to penetrate into China or the archipelago of Sooloo to find it. It is probable that this plant was spread over India by reason of the progress there made in agriculture and the arts. This progress was, necessarily, the effect of the trade which commerce with Europe had opened to the industry of this country.

Passed, from country to country, the sweet orange would take the place of the bigarade in those fine climates where that had been first transported, and would offer its delicious fruit to the people of Hindostan, the fertile valleys of Persia, Hyrcania, and perhaps of Syria.

From these places, already better known, the Europeans would transport it to the southern portions of the Occident.

The analogy existing between the sweet orange and bigarade, might assure these navigators of the possibility of naturalizing it in their native country; while the superior quality of its fruit would tempt their appetites, as well as their desire of gain.

But who among these adventurers was in best condition to project and execute this enterprise?

The Genoese and the Venetians, among Europeans, had then the closest relations with those countries, and the flourishing state of their marine offered more facility lor executing this transport. But the Venetians had not, in their lagoons, a climate suited to the culture of the agrumi. They could not, therefore, see in this fruit an object of speculation, whilst, on the contrary, the Genoese mhabited a district already covered with these trees, whose fruit had become a very important article of trade, employing their agriculture, and feeding their manufacturing and commercial industry. (The Genoese found in the culture of the agrumi a source of industry and gain. They encouraged agriculture by extending the consumption of its products, nourishing their commerce by increasing the trade in sugar, which they brought directly from Asia, and sustained their confectioners, who furnished then the greater part of Europe.)

The Venetians, it is true, had obtained more indulgence and favor in the marts of Egypt, and the influence with the Sultans that their gold, their wares, and their marine had given them, made them almost masters of the Red sea trade.

The Genoese, who were driven off by the jealousy of these rivals, made use of scarcely any other route than that of the Black sea and the Persian gulf. But it is necessary to observe that

this last is the only road by which the plants of India are carried to the coasts of the Mediterranean. It presents more facilities for that gradual progression of culture, which is the easy and natural means for naturalizing in a country the plants of a foreign clime, and the only practical way among people little! civilized, and who followed but liie direct impulses of want.

This route was not intersected by long intervals of desert or of sea—obstacles which always arrest the passage of vegetation and arts—but it offered, ou the contrary, a nearly continuous chain of people and fertile lands, of which the soft and moist climate assisted, beyond calculalation, the progress of agriculture.

In fact it was by this route that the bigarade tree passed from India into Egypt.

Massondi teaches us that this tree hstl begun to be cultivated in Oman, whence it went afterwards to Bassorah, thence to Irak and into Syria. The spaces separating these districts at that time offered no great difficulties. Oman, situated opposite the coast of Hindostan, nearly touched Irak by the chain of Arabian mountains, which are very fertile, and it is not far removed from Bassorah, on the seacoast. Nothing easier than to transport upon a vessel, in a short passage, a plant so long lived, and which sustains itself, perhaps, more than any other without injury, when out of the earth.

Acclimated at Bassorah, the bigarade had nothing worse to cross than very fertile regions, until arrived in Syria, while the fondness of the Arabs of that day for agriculture and for flowers would accelerate its growth.

By this route, also, the orange tree of sweet fruit made its passage into Syria.

Europeans frequented then the markets of this eastern countiy. Florentines, Pisans, Venetians, Sicilians, Spaniards, and French went there continually as traders and as pilgrims; but the Genoese alone, by their commercial and geographi cal position, could best favor this enterprise. Masters of many isles in the archipelago, of Sardinia, and of Corsica, they had a sort of chain of establishments, or colonies, which connected their country to Syria, and they could more easily than any others execute the transport of plants, even the most delicate.

Every one knows to what a point of prosperity were carried the marine and commerce of Genoa, from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries. I shall observe solely that it was to the coast of Syria that this industrious people directed chiefly their vessels and their activity.

The Genoese fleets frequented those passages long before the Crusades (see voyoge of Iugnl phus. Abbot of Croyland, reported by Baronius in 1064, bk. 3, p. 353), and during those famous expeditions it was the Genoese who furnished to the Crusaders the war vessels,the transporis, the instruments, the artists for the construction of machines of war, and the food for the soldiers (justin, p. 28, Paul Emii/k, Gugmelmk De Vitry, and Caffar).

From 1097 to 1108 they sent into Syrjj* 337 galleys, and they had so great influence m the success of the Crusaders that Baldwin accorded to them the famous privilege of 1105, the expressions of which deserve record: "Primi (Genuenses) in e.vercitu Francorum xenunks viriliterprafue

« AnteriorContinuar »