The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 1: Gardens and Governments

Gardening prospers in a free society

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I. Gardening as affected by different Forms of Government and Religion 948. Gardening, in all its branches, will be most advantageously displayed where the people enjoy a degree of freedom. The final tendency of every liberal government or society is to conglomerate property in irregular masses, as nature has distributed all her wealth; and this irregularity is the most favourable for gardening as a necessary, convenient, and elegant art. A mixed or partly representative government and a commercial people may be reckoned a case highly favourable to the arts ; of which Holland Genoa, and Venice, formerly, and this country at present, may be adduced as examples. Under mixed governments, where there is a representative body, and a first or executive magistrate, his taste will naturally have considerable influence on that of the people; as in Charles the Second's time in England : unless, as sometimes happens, the king or executive officer's taste is behind, that of the people ; in which case, if the people be free and enlightened, the arts of design and taste will, as they ought, become a republic, governed by its own laws. This last state has in some degree taken place in England since the accession of the Brunswick line, a fine illustration of which is given by Eustace (Tour, vol. i. p. 608.), in comparing the taste exhibited in the royal palaces built or altered by this race, with that displayed in the residences of private English gentlemen since the revolution.