The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment Xxxvi. Harestreet. Of Quantity And Appropriation.

Repton's Cottage in Harestreet 3

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The propensity for appropriation and exclusive enjoyment is so prevalent, that, in my various intercourse with proprietors of land, I have rarely met with those who agreed with me in preferring the sight of mankind to that of herds of cattle, or the moving objects in a public road, to the dull monotony of lawns and woods. Of these few, I cannot resist mentioning one venerable nobleman, who enjoyed health, cheerfulness, and benevolent feelings, more than eighty years, retaining to the last his predilection for the scenery of a garden, rather than that of a park; and who used, at his villa, on Ham Common, to enjoy the sight of the public passengers from his garden-seat, surrounded by roses. To this rare instance of benevolence in the noble Viscount Torrington, may be added that of his friend and cotemporary, the late Duke of Portland, who gave leave to all persons to pass through the park at Bulstrode, and even encouraged the neighbouring inhabitants to play at cricket on the lawn. How different is this from the too common orders given at the gates and lodges of new places, recently purchased by strangers, and only visible to themselves and their own inmates! For the honour of the country, let the parks and pleasure-grounds of England be ever open, to cheer the hearts, and delight the eyes, of all who have taste to enjoy the beauties of nature. It was, formerly, one of the pleasures of life to make tours of picturesque inquiry; and to visit the improvements in different parts of the kingdom: this is now changed to the residence at a watering-place, where the dissipation of a town life is cultivated in a continual round of idle, heartless society; without that home which formerly endeared the life of a family in the country. And, after all, the most romantic spot, the most picturesque situations, and the most delightful assemblage of nature's choicest materials, will not long engage our interest, without some appropriation; something we can call our own; and if not our own property, at least, it may be endeared to us by calling it our own home.