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Showing posts from January, 2011

planting trees

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I went to help with the tree planting at the new Heartwood Forest in Hertfordshire, owned by the Woodland Trust, and which will become the largest new native forest in England.

William Cobbett wrote about tree planting in his treatise, The Woodlands (1825). Cobbett was concerned with 'improvement', and in the extract below talks about the benefits of plantations for the creation of property and profit. This sentiment is against the current debates about the Forestry Commission's decision to sell their forests. I do like, however, his castigation of Dr Johnson for saying that planting a tree made him think of dying, because the tree would outlive him. While planting the saplings, I thought that this is their very purpose.

p.20 -



p.22 -

eighteenth century fireworks

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I wanted to know what 'sky rockets' in eighteenth century England were. I keep coming across references to them in spies' reports of the supposed 'general risings' planned in  1798-1802 and 1812.

For example, Major Yates, stationed in Manchester, informed Lord Lowther on 4 May 1812:

“A plan according to the old system in Ireland was formed of stopping the Mail Coaches and their non-arrival was to be the signal of Revolt. For the last four nights they have been escorted by Dragoons some miles to the south of Stockport. Last Friday is supposed to have been intended for a General Rising. Sky Rockets had been observed thrown up from Stockport from some nights preceding, but that night a Blue Light of a circular Form was seen, and it is conjectured that was a signal not to rise...” Cumbria RO, D/LONS/L1/2/131
See also 'The Politics of Sky Battles in Early Hanoverian Britain',  by Vladimir Jankovic, Journal of British Studies, 41:4 (2002)

Here's a link to a Ja…