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ANTIQUARIAN BOOK

Catalogus Stirpium, &c. Or, A Catalogue of Plants.

DEERING (Charles).

DEERING (Charles).

Catalogus Stirpium, &c. Or, A Catalogue of Plants Naturally growing and commonly cultivated in divers Parts of England, More especially about Nottingham. Containing, the most known Latin and English Names of the several Plants, the Tribe they belong to, the Time of their flowering, and of those which are either Officinals, or otherwise of any known Efficacy, such Virtues are briefly mentioned as may be depended upon. With an English Index. To which is added, for the Benefit of the English Reader, a general Distribution of Plants, according to Mr. Ray, an Explanation of some Botanical and Physical Terms, and an Alphabetical List of Plants in Flower for every Month in the Year, together with short Directions when to gather any Parts of them.

First Edition. 8vo. [180 x 109 x 23 mm]. [10]ff, 231, [11], 6, [4], 24 pp. Bound in contemporary calf, neatly rebacked preserving the original panels of the spine and black label, tooled and lettered in gilt, plain endleaves and edges. (Tips of the corners worn).
Nottingham: Printed for the Author, by G. Ayscough, and sold by C. Rivington, at the Bible and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard, London, 1738.

Henrey 620.

A very good copy. The dedication leaf is a cancel. The upper corner of the front flyleaf has been torn away, with the removal of an inscription. There is a charming early ink stamp on the front pastedown lettered "Dr. Oldershaw" within a decorative border.

This is the sole edition, and the work is relatively rare, with ESTC recording 13 locations in the UK, a copy at Staatsbiblothek Zu Berlin and five in the USA (Library Company of Philadelphia, Lloyd Library and Museum, New York Botanical Garden, W.A. Clark Memorial Library, University of Oklahoma).

George Charles Deering (c.1695-1749), medical doctor and student of botany, was a native of Dresden. In the 1720s he practised in London, moving to Nottingham in 1735. In the preface he advocates the pursuit of field botany as a means of obtaining fresh air and exercise. For a gentleman it is the most "agreeable Interposition between the Bottle and Books". For ladies "the Exercise would prove beneficial to them in preventing the many Disorders to which their Sex makes them Subject". "Even Tradesmen would find their Account in spending Part of that Time they set aside for their Relaxation, in Conversation with the Vegetable Tribes".

The work contains about 850 entries of plants, with the names arranged in alphabetical order, with localities recorded and descriptive details including medicinal properties and uses. The first entry is for "Abies", or the "Common Firr", "Pitch Tree", and "Spruce Firr" - "The young Tops of this tree make an excellent Antiscorbutic either infused or boiled in Beer or Wine. Experience has sufficiently confirmed their Efficacy in that Distemper in our American Plantations, where the Inhabitants used to be severly afflicted with it, who since they have taken to brewing a Kind of Liquor of Molasses, in which they boil the young Firr-Tops in the room of Hops, they are very little troubled with the Scurvey, and many of our Sailors whose Diet on board Ships makes them subject to it, have had Reason to commend that Liquor. This Tree yields two rosinous Substances, a thin liquid Sort, which comes forth from the young Firrs, and is known in the Shops by the Name of Strasburg Turpentine, and a dry Substance resembling Frankincence, to which it is not unlike in Quality".

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