Friday, 20 March 2015

The Naval Timber Controversies: poor Billington

In 1825, William Billington published a report on his experiments in Royal tree plantations with a long title that I nevertheless give in full, because it lists all the issues that later became topical in the Naval Timber 'Wars:'

A series of facts, hints, observations and experiments on the different modes of raising young plantations of oaks, "for future navies," from the acorn, seedling, and larger plants, shewing the difficulties and objections that have occurred in the practical part; with remarks upon the fencing, draining, pruning, and training young trees; a clear and copious statement of the early and great profits and advantages which may be derived from plantations of mixed and various trees, by care and attention, and the contrary effects from negligence. Also how trees are retarded or accelerated in growth by the management of young plantations. With hints and experimental remarks upon fruit trees. The whole derived from actual experience on a most extended scale. (London: Baldwin, Cradock & Joy)

 

William Withers, an attorney at Holt in Norfolk, seems to have misconstrued the very first sentences of Billington's report in his letters to Sir Walter Scott (1828) and Sir Henry Steuart (1829)— letters that fuelled the Naval Timber Controversies (see here). I therefore also give the first sentence of the introduction and of the main text of Billington (1825) here, because they contain the hint at the hierarchy and whom Billington blamed for the failures at Dean Forest plantations.

>>Having been appointed, by the late Lord Glenbervie, surveyor-general of his majesty's woods and forests, to superintend the enclosing, fencing, draining and planting of Dean Forest, [...]<< (Billington 1825, Introduction)

>>The Planting of Dean-Forest, in the county of Gloucester, commenced in the year 1809; the work was contracted for by Messrs Drivers, land and timber surveyors, Kent-road, near London, and executed by their agent, Mr Amos Sleed.<< (Billington 1825, p. 1)
Withers since called Billington the surveyor-general, although it should have been clear enough that this has been 1st Baron Sylvester Douglas Glenbervie and Billington only a labourer subordinate to Mr Amos Sleed, who had been contracted by the land surveyors Driver, who in turn had been hired by Glenbervie. Moreover, Withers's misrepresentations amounted to such an extent that Billington felt forced to publish another book called:

Facts, observations, &c. being an Exposure of the Misrepresentations of the author's treatise on planting, contained in Mr. Withers's letters to Sir Walter Scott, Baronet, and to Sir Henry Steuart, Baronet,; with remarks on Sir Walter Scott's essay on planting, and on certain parts of Sir Henry Steuart's Planter's Guide. (Billington 1830)

This Exposure is a long lamentation about his envious former superior officer, the slandering Mr. William Withers, and the haughty Sir Henry Steuart. The part about the former boss trying to thwart him is rather obscure, but the first sentence of the main text seems to hold the hint at the identity of that boss:
>>It might not be amiss before I enter upon the main subjects, to state my reason for presuming to become an author. I had the misfortune, (if misfortune it may be called,) to be envied by a superior officer, because I happened to know more about my business than he did, and possess a little more zeal and anxiety for the real "benefit of the public." Consequently, through that hateful vice—envy, he thwarted me in every endeavour to promote the success and welfare of the plantations under my charge; and from that first cause, though not in his lifetime, I was finally requested (I could say something more,) to retire from my employment in the Royal Forests. Not satisfied with heaping every indignity and insult upon me, for anxiously exerting all my powers for the success of the plantations and the "public benefit," and it being very visible the plantations were making rapid progress under my management, as regards economy, profit, and quick growth; which in spite of all the obstacles thrown in my way could not but be acknowledged by his superiors.
When I found my representations and zealous endeavours for improvement should not be listened to, and that I should have no merit for bringing them into that promising state as described in my publication, but that those who thwarted me were to have the merit of my labour, discoveries, and real improvement. I had no other resource, in justice to myself, to prevent such a robbery, as I may justly term it, but to make it known to the Public, and to call the attention of the Commissioners by that means, (as all my other endeavours had failed,) to pursue the course I had so earnestly recommended, not only for the "benefit of the public," but their own true honour. For it has since been candidly and honourably acknowledged to me by a son of the person who was the cause of it, that he knew my system was right, and had no doubt the Commissioners would adopt it in a little time after I was removed, expressing his surprise at their conduct.<< Billington (1830, p. 2f)
From Billington's account of his superiors, the superior officer trying to thwart Billington should have been Amos Sleed. Billington was probably forced to plant trees by simply putting them into holes and leaving them to their fate, even where he thought otherwise. This method happened to be the main target of Withers's attacks (see previous post), and he referred to it as the Scotch system. Withers advocated, instead, the preparation of the ground by trenching, manuring, and weeding. While poor Billington agreed that this was the best method, he had not only been forced to employ the opposite (Scotch) method, but was now also fiercely attacked by Withers as the main culprit for huge losses the Royal Dean Forest. In his Letter to Sir Walter Scott, Withers wrote:
>>I will not confine myself to Norfolk for illustrations fo your [Sir Scott's] favourite Scotch style of planting, but will give you a specimen of its effects in a distant part of the kingdom; exhibiting at the same time the injurious system which prevails in our public forests, and affording a specimen of that capacity of those under whose superintendence they are placed. I am enabled to do this from the publication of a Mr. Wm. Billington, which has just fallen into my hands, but which bears the date of 1825. It appears that he was appointed 'Surveyor-general of Dean Forest in the year 1810;'<< (see here, p. 41)
Here, Withers misattributed the position of Lord Glenbervie to Billington and in the following put all blame on Billington. Billington's introduction raised expectations in Withers to have found a comrade-in-arms, who would assist him in the "demolition of the Scotch system;" but found that exactly that system of expending no care whatsoever on tree saplings had been employed in Dean Forest for years. Thinking this was of Billington's design, Withers turned to attacking him:
>>although I cannot cite his authority in favour of good plating, I can hold him up as an example of that which is bad, and produce his 'facts and experiments' as evidence of the complete failure of your [Scott's] style of planting.<< (see here, p. 41)
This prompted Billington to defend himself by publishing the above mentioned Exposure of  the Misrepresentations. Before that he records his disagreement with Sir Walter Scott, who thought Mr. Pontey's doctrines on pruning were indisputable (Billington 1830, p. 5). But then he goes into defence:
>>To ridicule and expose the above opinion of Sir Walter, Mr. Withers has taken the liberty to cull from my book, certain passages to prove, as he flatters himself, the fallacy of that opinion; at the same time holding me up to ridicule, and endeavouring to bring me into contempt for the conduct of others, over whom I had no control; but has scrupulously omitted to notice those parts that told against his system. A more ungentlemanly and unfair attack cannot be conceived, both as it regards myself, and that important national subject, but it is Attorney like! as it is too much the practice of his profession in their anxiety to gain the cause, (no matter whether right or wrong,) by tactic and distorting facts, and holding out their opponent to ridicule, and endeavouring by artifice to make the "worse appear the better reason."<< (Billington 1830, p. 6)
>>Mr. Withers makes another very ungentlemanly allusion to what I have said on the necessity of light to trees, not seeming to understand any thing himself of the nature of light, as respects its necessity to vegetation; he immediately puts his friends in requisition to help him, and he appears to have "many friends," and a very bungling job they have made of it; but in this case I will state his own words:—"The notion entertained by this gentleman, that trees derive their growth principally if not entirely from light, and not from soil, is really too absurd to deserve any thing in the shape of an argument to refute it. If this were so, trees having equal light would grow as fast upon ordinary land as upon that of the very best quality, and single trees would grow much faster than those in groves and woods, though the contrary in both cases is known to be the fact."<< (Billington 1830, p. 9)

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Naval Timber Controversies


In 1826, William Withers Jun. of Holt, Norfolk, published A Memoir on the Planting and Rearing of Forest-Trees. Therein he proposed that the same care should be given to forest trees as to other cultivated plants. In particular, he advocated the trenching and manuring the ground before planting and keeping the ground free from weeds for the first years, until the trees were large enough to maintain themselves. He argued that the returns would by far outweigh the expenses for this care, because the alternative was often a complete loss of the lower expenses for "merely digging holes and putting in the trees, and then  leaving them to their fate" amongst weeds and other plants.
"THE principal object of the present memoir is, to communicate to the Society [for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture, and Commerce] the results of several experiments on manuring land for forest-trees; to demonstrate the absolute necessity of deeply ploughing or trenching it previous to planting; and of keeping it clean, and free from weeds, for some time afterwards." (Withers 1826, p. 5)
Withers (1826, p. 11) thought that the weeds rob the ground of a portion of food that would otherwise serve the tree saplings. He recounted the following cautionary tale of a neighboring Admiral Windham's misfortune:
"Some Scotchmen persuaded him that neither trenching, ploughing, nor cleaning was necessary: that just to raise a flag, by making a triangular incision, and putting in a seedling plant, and pressing it down with the foot, was quite sufficient to raise in quick time a flourishing and valuable plantation; and that, as to the grass and weeds, they would keep the trees warm and also keep out the drought—they would in fact be a source both of heat and moisture: and all this was to be done for three pounds ten shillings an acre. Most gentlemen are disposed to listen to any proposal for doing work cheaply: accordingly the Scotchmen were employed, and planted the forty acres. But the plantation is a total failure. The trees (that is, such of them as are alive) are almost entirely choked up with grass and weeds,a nd are literally worth nothing. The sum of three pounds ten shillings an acre, amounting altogether to one hundred and forty pounds, is therefore as completely thrown away, as if it had been cast into the sea." (Withers 1826, p. 22)
Later, Withers seems to have called this the Scotch system or pitting system, which irked many Scotch planters, as opposed to his system or the trenching system.

The following year Sir Walter Scott published an essay On Planting Waste Lands (Quarterly Review of October 1827) that was only formally a review of Mr. Monteath's The Forester's Guide and Profitable Planter. In truth, it stood on its own legs and mentioned Monteath only rarely. One does not get much of an idea of Monteath's book, but a very good idea of Scott's opinions.
     Whereas Withers mainly had the returns on investment of individual proprietors in mind, Scott took a very large scale point of view. He was concerned with the fate of the nation, its sources for naval timber also, and started by reviewing why a lot of land that was now wasteland had lost its forests. He made out several causes. For example, land had become marshy because trees that had fallen into streams, which would otherwise drain the land, had not been removed. Likewise, goats and sheep were left to graze on the wasteland. His remedies were equally large-scale, meant to be extensive and bring the forests back to these wastelands at the lowest possible expenses. In this context, he thought that it would not be necessary to prepare the ground intensively, except for draining and fencing, in order to let nature bring the forest back on its own. We'd now probably think of it as providing the circumstances for a natural succession towards forest to occur.
"We may now be expected to say something of the preparation of the soil, by cropping, fallowing, and burning, or otherwise, as is recommended in most books on the subject of planting. There can be no doubt that all or any of these modes, may be, according to circumstances, used with the utmost advantage, especially so far as concerns the early growth of wood. Every plantation, therefore, which the proprietor desires to see rush up with unusual rapidity, ought to be prepared by one of these methods, or, which is best of all, by deep trenching with the spade. But the expense attending this most effectual mode limits it to the park and pleasure-ground, and even the other coarser modes of preparation cannot be thought of, when the object is to plant as extensively and at as little expense as possible. It may be some comfort to know that, as far as we have observed, the difference betwixt the growth of plantations, where the ground has been prepared, or otherwise, supposing the soil alike, and plants put in with equal case, seems to disappear within the first ten or twenty years. It is only in its earlier days that the plant enjoys the benefit of of having its roots placed amongst earth which has been rendered loose and penetrable: at a certain period the fibres reach the sub-soil which the spade or plough has not disturbed, and thus the final growth of the tree which has enjoyed this advantage is often not greater than that of its neighbour, upon which no such indulgences were ever bestowed." (see p. 30 in this collection of Scott's Prose)
Again one year later, Withers answered with A Letter to Sir Walter Scott, bart., exposing certain fundamental errors in his late Essay on planting, and containing observations on the pruning and thinning of woods, and maxims for profitable planting (London: J. Shalders, 1828). Unfortunately, I did not get hold of it yet. Withers probably pointed out that the trees would still fail and be choked by weeds, no matter what drainage and fencing may effect, and that he had shown by experiment that the effects of his treatment were by no means as temporary as Sir Scott supposed. 

This letter irked Sir Henry Steuart. He perceived a lack of courtesy in it and took the opportunity of the 2nd edition of his Planter's Guide (1828) to criticise Withers in turn. The main criticisms of Steuart were: firstly, simply digging a hole and putting a sapling in was not a Scotch invention and that Withers 'system' was old—ancient even—and not his invention; secondly, bringing back the forest on the large-scale required more extensive (less intensive) means; and, thirdly, quickly grown wood was not hard enough for naval timber.  

Withers promptly answered with A letter to Sir Henry Steuart, bart., On the improvement in the quality of timber, to be effected by the high cultivation and quick growth of forest-trees (Holt: J. Shalders, 1829). He started by pointing out an inconsistency between Sir Scott, who thought that the effect of prepared vs. unprepared ground on trees would vanish within a few years and Sir Steuart, who claimed that the wood of the trees in manured ground would be of no use to the navy because of their fast growth. Surprisingly, Withers does not seem to catch the idea that fast grown wood is of less density and therefore not as hard as slow grown wood. Likewise, Steuart misses the argument that helping tree saplings past the critical age is better than letting them perish and thus wasting money, where a bit extra investment could reap huge returns. Thus the controversy quickly degraded into scholars beating opposite strawmen, talking at cross-purpose and mud slinging ad hominem.

Add to this controversy about the effects of trenching, manuring, and weeding on trees, and its suitability for large-scale foresting, the further ones about pruning etc and you will get a hunch of the veritably mess that arboriculture was in during the first half of the 19th century.

At this point, Patrick Matthew (1831) entered the fray with his On Naval Timber and Arboriculture. The biggest part of Matthew's book, however, is the part where he discussed/criticised the doctrines of these scholars as well as others (e.g., Monteath, Billington, Withers, Scot, Steuart; Loudon).

I think that the naval timber controversies, as I have called them, must be thoroughly understood before solid conclusions about Matthew's anticipation of natural selection and the origin of species can be drawn.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Matthew (1831) spliced Steuart's (1828) quote of Loudon (1806)

As already shown in a previous post, Matthew (1831. On Naval Timber and Arboriculture) re-quoted a long passage in which Steuart (1828. The Planter's Guide) quoted Loudon (1806. A Treatise on Forming, Improving, and Managing Country Residences. Vol. 2). I have, there, highlighted the strange fact, that Matthew (1831, p. 295-298) did not transport all the changes that Steuart (1828, p. 400-403) introduced in quoting Loudon (1806, p. 502-505).

This is not all that is odd about Matthew's re-quote. He did not only revert to Loudon's original usage at times, suggesting that he knew the original, but Loudon's work is also sprinkled with insights about natural selection and the effects of culture on domesticated varieties that seem highly relevant to the idea of natural selection (see here).

Now we come to what Steuart (1828) had to offer and that Matthew (1831) did not cite, because he did not simply re-quote the whole Loudon quote in Steuart, but spliced it.
    Notice, first, that the passage in which Steuart (1828) quotes Loudon (1806) is an endnote. That is, on page 118f Steuart (1828) criticises what Mr Pontey (1806) has written on pruning in The Forest Pruner; or Timber Owner's Assistant. This criticism contains an asterisk referring to a footnote at the bottom of the page, which in turn refers to a Note III at the end of the book. Here is that passage from the main text of Steuart (1828, my highlight):
 >>In this view, it will be perceived, that judicious Pruning is a work of far greater nicety and difficulty, than is generally believed, and that it should not be permitted, unless under the superintendence of some scientific person. It is true, it has been shown (and, I think, satisfactorily, by the ingenious Mr. Pontey), that severe pruning must augment the actual weight of the stem, and, as he specifically argues, the value of the tree. But great doubts may be entertained, whether, in some cases, this writer, meritorious as he is, may not have proceeded on an erroneous principle in his theory; and that his practice in pruning has been carried [page-break, 118/119] to a hight sanctioned by neither science nor experience.*
Branches, besides giving to Trees both beauty and nourishment, serve to balance them properly; and by throwing themselves out on every side, aid the Tree in withstanding the wind, in whichever way it may blow. Most Trees, if not prevented by adverse circumstances, have, at first, a leading shoot, which tends perpendicularly upwards, and is invested with a preeminence over the other branches. Having reached the height, which the soil and situation admit, the central shoot loses its preeminence. The sap, required to give it superior vigour, seems then to fail, and it gradually disappears among the other shoots. Meanwhile, the plastic powers of the Trees soon multiply the branches of the top, which gradually obtain a rounded form, and becomes what the nurserymen call "clump-headed. [...]
* Note III.<<    (Steuart 1828, p. 118f)
The term plastic powers is highlighted, because certain plagiarism-theorists think that Darwin stole his use of the term plastic in relation to the traits of organisms from Matthew (1831). Steuart (1828, p. 119, see also 54, 85, 192, 198) proves that the term was probably as widespread among scholars as selection

The Note III at the end of the book begins at page 396 and starts with enumerating the different effects of pruning and specifying what is wrong about Pontey's doctrine of pruning. In particular, he criticised that Pontey erred in believing that the sap flows only oneway from the roots up the tree, and that every side-branches cut away means more sap for the stem. Steuart (1828, p. 398) packed his devastating criticism into a rhetoric question and wonders why Loudon (1806) seems to have been the only one so far to criticise Pontey's ill advice on pruning, which feeds into a first quote from the "Encyclop. of Gardening" (which can be found at page 1104 in the first edition of 1822):
>>If such be the principles of science, on which this systems of Pruning is founded, there is little wonder, that it should prove erroneous, when applied to practice. What should we think, in the present day, of a scientific Agriculturist, who was unacquainted with the Chemical affinities? or of an astronomer, who assumed as the basis of a new system, that the Sun and Planets moved round the Earth? Yet it is singular, that the ingenious author of the Encyclopedia [sic, the title spells Encyclopaedia] of Gardening (himself a skilful Phytologist), is almost the only writer of note, who has ventured to cast doubt on this rash system of Pruning; or to observe the vast difficulty and delicacy, that attended so scientific an operation.
"The great importance (says he) of the Leaves of Trees must never be lost sight of. In attending to these instructions, their use is not, as Pontey asserts, "to attract the sap," but to elaborate it, when propelled to them, and thus form the extract or food taken in by the plant, into a fluid analogous to blood, and which is returned, so formed by the Leaves, into the inner bark and soft wood. It must be a very nice point, therefore, to determine the quantity of branches or leaves, that should be left on each Tree; and, if no more are left than what are just necessary then, in the case of accidents to them from insects, the progress of the Tree will be doubly retarded.<< (Steuart 1828, p. 398)
The passage that Steuart put in italics must not be misconstrued; nice here means complicated. Steuart (1828, top of p. 399) ends his damning verdict by calling Pontey's doctrine an utter fallacy and contradiction in terms, before he plunges into the next long quote from Loudon, this time on the effects of culture on plants. Here's what Steuart (1828) said between the middle of his page 399 and the last third of his page 400:
>>Perhaps there is no other author of the present time, who has written more judiciously on the effects produced on Wood by means of Culture; of which Pruning necessarily forms an important part, that the ingenious author of the Encyclopedia [sic] of Gardening: And I feel the more particular satisfaction in appealing to min, in this place, as I have above had occasion to differ from him on another point respecting wood. In a meritorious Treatise, which came out in 1806, I mean "On the Forming and Improving of Country Residences," and which I have already noticed (at p. 360) in the terms it deserves, he has an interesting article "on the Effects of Culture of Trees, in regard to characteristic beauty, and Timber produce."
"It is remarkable," he observes, "that this subject has never specifically engaged the attention of those, who have written on Planting. The Effects of Culture on other vegetables is so great, as always to change their appearance, and often, in a considerable degree, to alter their nature. The common Culinary vegetables, and cultivated grasses assume so different an appearance in our fields and gardens, from what they do in a state of wild nature, that evena [sic] botanist might easily be deceived, in regard to the species. The same general laws operate upon the whole kingdom of vegetables; and thence it is plain, that the effects of culture on Trees, though different in degree, must be analogous in their nature. ** [These asterisks probably indicate an omission of a long sentence on Steuart's part.]
"It may be proper to observe, that I, by culture, do not mean merely the operations on the soil, or even on the form of the form of the Tree, but every thing that tends to remove it from its natural state, in order to accelerate vegetation. I consider also, that a Tree is in a natural state, whenever it has sprung up fortuitously, and propagates itself without aid from man, whether it is in crowded forests, woody wastes, or in scattered groups on hills or commons. Now, it is known to everyone, in the least conversant with vegetable economy, that, in all herbaceous vegetables, and even in shrubs of considerable size, the effect of removal to an improved soil, climate, and situation, is to expand the parts of the whole vegetable; that the effect of removing, or cutting part of the vegetable above ground, is to expand those parts which remain; that the effect of removing any of the parts under ground, or of removing the whole vegetable into a colder climate, and a less congenial soil and situation, is to contract or consolidate the whole. This, were it necessary, could be illustrated in a thousand instances, from the commonest vegetables: But I only notice further at present, that this takes place more or less, in degree corresponding with the rapidity of the growth of the vegetable and its duration."
After a good deal of illustration and discussion, which is all admirable, and highly deserving of the phytologist's and planter's notice, he concludes as follows.<<
Thereafter, Steuart (1828, p. 400-403) continues to quote Loudon (1806, p. 502-505) on the effects of pruning on trees, which Matthew (1831, pp. 295-298) chose to re-quote and to criticise (Matthew, 1831, pp. 298-308).

Whatever Loudon (1806, p. 502-505) has written in this passage must be seen in the context of his earlier criticism against Pontey's doctrine of simply pruning up a tree leaving the stem without any side-branches (only top branches). It must also be seen in the context of what Loudon has said on the effects of culture on plants.
    One important point, here, is that Matthew cannot have been ignorant of this context, because Steuart (1828) fully transported it in the pages immediately preceding the ones that Matthew chose to criticise. Nevertheless, Matthew manages to produce the impression that Loudon was as mad a pruner as Pontey (for the sake of contrast, Matthew gets a different font).
"We differ from the author of the Encyclopaedia of Gardening here, even in limine, in his assumption, that pruning is of a corresponding nature with culture, in increasing the annual circles of the wood. Culture, if judiciously executed, increases these annual circles; but common pruning up (which, from the general bearing of the language, we suppose is meant), nine times out of ten diminishes them" (Matthew (1831, p. 299)
Compare this with what Steuart (1828, p. 118f) has said on his own behalf against severe pruning and what he has quoted Loudon (Steuart 1828, p. 398) to have said: that the importance of leaves for the trees must never be lost sight of, that leaves produce the food for trees, and that pruning must therefore be a difficult operation that should not be overdone. In particular, if a tree is pruned up to leave the minimum of what he can tolerate, an accidental further loss, for examples through insects, will "doubly retard" the tree (see second quote given above).
   Against this background, Matthew's suggestion that Loudon advocated common pruning up, leaving no side-branches on the stem but only top branches, that would injure the tree, is highly dubious.

Next, Matthew manages to produce the impression that Loudon thought that trees would grow best in their natural situation, when in fact Loudon said the main effect of culture was to enlarge all parts of the cultivated plant, no matter whether it was a tree, shrub, grass, or other vegetable (see also here). [The idea that trees grow best in their natural locations was, however, a tenet of Steuart—not Loudon—who believed in the providence of a creator having adapted all creatures to their circumstances in the best possible way.] Nevertheless, Matthew claims that Loudon thinks the opposite, or simply mixes Steuart and Loudon up, and criticises this strawman thus:
"Our author's next implied assumption, that a tree produces best timber in a soil and climate natural to it (we suppose by this is meant the soil and climate where the kind of tree is naturally found growing), is, we think, at least exceedingly hypothetical; and, judging from our facts, incorrect. The natural soil and climate of a tree, is often very far from being the soil and climate most suited to its growth, and is only the situation where it has greater power of occupancy, than any other plant whose germ is present." Matthew (1831, p. 302)
Compare this with what Loudon said on the effect of culture on plants (that it enlarges all the plant's parts) and what he also said, through Steuart did not quote it, on natural selection (see here), and it will be clear why many contemporaries of Matthew regarded his book as poor scholarship. He was either ignorant or pretended to be ignorant of what the scholars he criticised had truly written. It takes no wonder that such a book should have fallen on many deaf ears and that his idea of natural selection transforming species should have been lost on many a reader. 

The following illustrates what has been transported via citation from Loudon over Steuart to Matthew (blue boxes and arrows), and what the reader must assume to be original to Matthew (orange boxes), if (s)he did not know better.
This simplistic image must not be mistaken to indicate plagiarism on Matthew's side. Firstly, Steuart believed in a benign Creator, who adapted all creatures to their circumstances in the best possible way. He therefore had no use for Loudon's idea of natural selection and consequently did nottransport it. Secondly, Matthew (1831) later (not on page 308) combined natural selection with the transformation of species in a way that Loudon did not. He therefore probably regarded his idea as way different from Loudon's run-of-the-mill version. Natural selection was not just in the air, as many unread Darwinists keep repeating, but in print in many places (see here). Matthew naturally saw no need to cite Loudon for this.
   To create the impression that Loudon has been a rampant pruner and believed that plants grew best in their natural locations, however, has been poor scholarship.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Goats with a 'Friday'—Mosquito Indian "Will" (1681-84)

What happened so far?

1. Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)J has been anticipated by Joseph Townsend's Dissertation on the Poor Laws (1786).  Townsend also recounted a true story of an ecological interaction between goats and dogs on an island of Juan Fernández in the Pacific Ocean (see here).

2. Townsend's source for that dog-goat story was the account of the French Geodesic Mission by Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa (1758) translated into English as A Voyage to South America (see here).

3. In 1740 the crew of George Anson (1748) caught some goats with slit ears (see here). They concluded that the goats must have been marked by Alexander Selkirk, a pirate who has been cast away there from 1704 to 1708. That would mean twice the life expectancy usually given for goats, unless—of course—others who have been on the island after Selkirk continued his ear marking habit.

4. Privateer Woodes Rogers (1712. A Cruising Voyage Round the World) rescued Alexander Selkirk. He began his voyage with two ships, the Duke and Dutchess of Bristol, in 1708 and finished in 1711.

Before Selkirk, in 1681, a Mosquito Indian called William or Will has been left on the island because his ship, commanded by William Dampier, has been chased away by Spanish pirate hunters. Three years later Will was picked up again. Dampier was no longer captain, but happened to be on the ship as a member of the crew anyway. John Masefield collected and edited the accounts of William Dampiers voyages and published them in 1906. 
"We presently got out our Canoa and went ashore to see for a Moskito Indian, whom we left here when we were chased by 3 Spanish ships in the year 1681, a little before we went to Arica; Capt Watlin being then our Commander, after Capt. Sharp was turned out.
This Indian lived here alone above three years, [...] He saw our ship the day before we came to an Anchor, and did believe we were English, and therefore kill'd 3 Goats in the Morning, before we came to an Anchor, and drest them with Cabbage, to treat us when we came ashore." Masefield (1906, p. 112)

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Goats with a Robinson Crusoe—Alexander Selkirk (1704-08)

What happened so far?

1. Joseph Townsend's Dissertation on the Poor Laws (1786) anticipated Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) and also recounted a true story of an ecological interaction between goats and dogs on an island of Juan Fernández in the Pacific Ocean (see here).

2. Townsend's source for that dog-goat story was the account of the French Geodesic Mission by Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa translated into English as A Voyage to South America (see here). Given that Townsend's story was based on real observations of real processes on a real island, we can take it as data and interpret it as a case of predator-prey selection without being Whiggish. That is, we do not need to interpret what Townsend or Ulloa thought about that dog-goat story or made of it. The case stands for itself and is, if anything, a case of directional selection exerted by a population of feral dogs on a population of feral goats.

3. Before the dogs were introduced to the island, the goats were easy to catch and served as provision for privateers and buccaneers. One privateer, who has been marooned on the island in 1704, was Alexander Selkirk. He lived there for four years and four months. Sometimes he caught more goats than he needed, and slit their ears before letting them free again. Thirty-two years later, George Anson arrived at the island with his ship Centurion. The goats were no longer easy to catch, because the dogs had already been introduced, but Anson's crew still caught many goats with slit ears (see here). That would be about twice the life expectancy usually given for goats, unless—of course—someone else has been on the island after Selkirk and continued his ear marking habit.

Now, sea captain and privateer Woodes Rogers (1712. A Cruising Voyage Round the World) tells us how they rescued Alexander Selkirk. They began their voyage with two ships, the Duke and Dutchess of Bristol, in 1708 and finished in 1711. They let a boat ashore the island that is now called Robinson Crusoe Island (formerly Más a Tierra). After a while they got concern that their men may have been captured by Spaniards and signalled them to return: The narrative continues:
"Immediately our Pinnace return'd from the shore, and brought abundance of Craw-fish, with a Man cloth'd in Goat-Skins, who look'd wilder than the first Owners of them. He had been on the Island four Years and four Months, being left there by Capt. Stradling in the Cinque-Ports; his name was Alexander Selkirk a Scotch Man, who had been MAster of Cinque-Ports, a Ship that came here last with Capt. Dampier, who told me that this was the best Man in her; so I immediately agreed with him to be a Mate on board our Ship." (Rogers 1712, p. 124-125)
"[...] he kept an Account of 500 [goats] that he kill'd while there, and caught as many more, which he mark'd on the Ear and let go. When his Powder fail'd, he took them by speed of foot;" (Rogers 1712, p. 126-127)
Later sailors had great difficulty in catching any goats (see links to earlier posts given above), and this was not only due to the agility of Selkirk compared with theirs, but also to selective pressure exerted by the released dogs on the goats.

P.S.: Here's the title page from Daniel Defoe's first edition of the novel about Robinson Crusoe. The fact that Crusoe is clothed in fur, which would have been unnecessary on the tropic island in the novel, has sometimes been taken to indicate that the widely publicised story of Selkirk was at least one source of inspiration for Defoe.
Public Domain, copyright expired, also in the US


Friday, 6 March 2015

More observations on dogs and goats from the 16th century

This post descends from discovering in an earlier post (see here) that Malthus (1798. Essay on the Principle of Population) had an anticipator in Townsend (1786. Dissertation on the Poor Laws by a well-wisher to mankind) and from realising that Townsend's example of a case of natural selection was based on a real observation (see previous post) on an island of the Juan Fernández archipelago made by Don Antonio de Ulloa (1758. Voyage to South-America by Don George Juan and Don Antonio de Ulloa, both captains of the Spanish Navy. Vol. II. London: Davis & Reymers).

The whole story now seems to turn into a series of prequels with interesting ecological observations made by preceding explorers. This post will be about the expedition of George Anson (1748. A Voyage Round the World in the years 1740 to 1744. London: John and Paul Knapton) compiled by Richard Walter, the chaplain of his Majesty's ship in that expedition, the Centurion. This expedition came before that of Juan and Ulloa but after the privateer Alexander Selkirk has been cast away there in 1704. After his rescue, Selkirk's story probably became one source of inspiration for the Robinson Crusoe novel. The two main Islands of Juan Fenrández are now called Alejandro Selkirk (formerly Más Afuera), though Selkirk never was on this island, and Robinson Crusoe Island (formerly Más a Tierra) respectively.

The passage on goats and dogs begins at page 169, with an account of an unintended capture-release-recapture experiment started by Selkirk:
"It remains now only that we speak of the animals and provisions which we met with at this place. Former writers have related, that this Island abounded with vast numbers of goats, and their accounts are not to be questioned, this place being the usual haunt of the buccaneers, and privateers, who formerly frequented those seas. And there are two instances; one of Musquito Indian, and the other of Alexander Selkirk a Scotchman, who were left by their respective ships, and lived alone upon this Island for some years,and consequently were no strangers to its produce. Selkirk, who was the last, after a stay of between four and five yeas, was taken off the place by the Duke and Duchess Privateers of Bristol, as may be seen at large in the journal of their voyage: His manner of life, during his solitude, was in most particulars very remarkable; but there is one circumstance he relates, which was so strangely verified by our own observation, that I cannot help reciting it. He tells us, among other things, as he often caught more goats than he wanted, he sometimes marked their ears and let them go. This was about thirty-two years before our arrival at the Island.Now it happened, that the first goat that was killed by our people at their landing had his ears slit, whence we concluded, that he had doubtless been formerly under the power of Selkirk. This was indeed an animal of a most venerable aspect, dignified with an exceeding majestic beard, and with many other symptoms of antiquity. During our stay on the Island, we met with others marked in the same manner, all the males being distinguished by an exuberance of beard, and every other characteristick [sic] of extreme age.
But the great number of goats, which former writers described to have been found upon this Island, are at present very much diminished: For the Spaniards being informed of the advantages which buccaneers and privateers drew from the provisions which goat-flesh here furnished them with, they have endeavoured to extirpate the breed, thereby to deprive their enemies of this relief. For this purpose, they have put on shore great numbers of large dogs, who have encreased apace and have destroyed all the goats in the accessible part of the country; so that there now remain only a few amongst the craggs and precipices, where the dogs cannot follow them. These are divided into separate herds of twenty or thirty each, which inhabit distinct fastnesses, and never mingle with each other: By this means we found it extremely difficult to kill them; and yet we were so desirous of their flesh, which we all agreed much resembled venison, that we got knowledge, I believe, of all their herds, and it was conceived, by comparing their numbers together, that they scarcely exceded two hundred upon the whole Island." (Anson 1748, p. 169-171)

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Predator-prey selection between dogs and goats observed in 1758

Joseph Townsend (1786/1817, pp. 44-45) narrated the story of an island of the Juan Fernandes Archipelago with a goat population, that served pirates for provisioning, and the trial of the "Spaniards" to exterminate the goat population by introducing dogs to that island. The dogs did not exterminate the goats, however, because they selected the goats to change their behaviour (see here). The reference that Townsend gave for his story was rather cryptic: "Ulloa, B. ii. C. 4" 

Searching for Ulloa + Juan Fernandes, however, I could retrieve the source. It is: A Voyage to South-America by Don George Juan and Don Antonio de Ulloa, both captains of the Spanish Navy. Vol. II. London: Davis & Reymers (1758).

Chapter 4 of Book 2 begins at page 222 and is titled: "Account of the Islands of Juan Fernandes: Voyage from those islands to Santa Maria, and from thence to the Bay of Conception."

It includes the goat-dog story as follows:
"The islands of Juan Fernandes, which, on account of their situation, belong to the kingdom of Chili, are two. [...] Here are many dogs of different species, particularly of the greyhound kind; and also a great number of goats, which it is very difficult to come at, artfully keeping themselves among those crags and precipices, where no other animal but themselves can live. The dogs owe their origin to a colony sent thither not many years ago, by the president of Chili and the vice-roy of Peru, in order totally to exterminate the goats; that any pirates, or ships of the enemy might not here be furnished with provisions. But this scheme has proved ineffectual, the dogs being incapable of pursuing them among the fastnesses where they live, these animals leaping from one rock to another with surprising agility. Thus far indeed it has answered the purpose; for ships cannot now so easily furnish themselves with provisions here, it being very difficult to kill even a single goat." Juan & Ulloa (1758, p. 222 [...], 223-224)
P.S.: By the way, Alexsander Selkirk has been marooned on one of the Juan Fernandes islands for four years, in 1704. He could still catch goats for his survival. After his rescue, he became the likely inspiration for the novel Robinson Crusoe.
 
Below is a map of the islands. Isla Alexander Selkirk is the smaller one (formerly called Más Afuera). Ironically Alexander Selkirk has never been on this island. The larger one is now called Isla Robinsón Crusoe (formerly Más a Tierra) because Alexander Selkirk's story, who has been cast away on this island for more than 4 years, is believed to have inspired the novel by William Defoe:


Thursday, 26 February 2015

If Darwin plagiarised Matthew, by Whiggish standards, then Matthew plagiarised Loudon

[Updated 12.03.2015: Loudon's Treatise came in two volumes. Interesting passages from volume 1 are added. 13.03.2015: Added a natural theology statement of Loudon (1806, Vol. 1, p. 192). 15.03.2015: Further relevant passages on the effects of culture on plants.]
 
Some folks believe that Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace plagiarised Patrick Matthew, because the latter formulated the idea that species may be transformed by natural selection already in 1831 in his book On Naval Timber and Arboriculture.

Matthew (1831) also criticised the works of other scholars of arboriculture without making bones about it. In one case, however, he packaged his criticism of John Claudius Loudon in the form of criticising a long quote by Henry Steuart of Loudon (1806. A treatise of forming, improving, and managing country residences. Vol 2, pp. 502-505). Matthew introduced his re-quote and criticism of this passage as follows (for the sake of contrast to quotes Matthew gets a different font): 
"We shall finish our remarks on Sir Henry's work by making some observations upon a quotation made by Sir Henry Steuart from A Treatise on the Forming and Improving of Country Residences by the Author of the Encyclopaedia of Gardening etc.— an author who combines talent successful industry and enlightened benevolence in no common degree We are sorry to appear before this author whom we have long esteemed in opposition yet we regret the less as we consider him one of the few who prefer accuracy and truth to an old opinion and whose name stands too high to be affected by a casual misconception." (Matthew 1831, p. 295)
As you can see, Matthew refers to the "Author of the Encyclopaedia of Gardening" rather than simply giving his name, Loudon. This is quite strange, because Matthew was, otherwise, very outspoken and did not fear to openly criticise other scholars. In a previous post, I have already shown the further peculiarity that Matthew did not transport all the changes, which Steuart has taken the liberty to introduce into his quotation of Loudon. Sometimes Matthew reverted to the original usage of Loudon. This suggests that Matthew's re-quote was a dummy, and that Matthew did have Loudon's original at his disposal. 

Anyway, let's see what Matthew might have found, if he had checked Loudon's original.


1. Loudon's Treatise of 1806
Volume 1
Loudon first defines the properties of vegetables in an ecological manner and then claims that one can predict the nature of soils from the environmental 'properties' (or requirements) of the plants naturally growing in them (my highlights):
"3. The Properties of Vegetables.—By this is meant their place of growth, their natural soil, exposure, climate, longevity, time of flowering, &c. It is discovered by observation, and ought to be recorded in all complete descriptions of vegetables. It is of great utility to agriculturists, by enabling them to adopt proper modes of cultivating useful plants, or destroying pernicious ones, and also to discover the soils and plants reciprocally adapted to each other." Loudon (1806, Vol. 1, p. 189).
"With respect to discovering the nature of soils by the properties of plants, it can be done with greater certainty by this than by any other branch of science." Loudon (1806, Vol. 1, p. 190)
He then continues to give examples of plants that indicate wet soils, frequent flooding and other things related to soils.

On the occasion of writing about animals in agriculture, a statement revealing his natural theology slips in, odd though it is, as it also reveals that he regards humans as animals:
"Even a very slight general knowledge of the human frame will excite our wonder and awe at the contrivance of the whole, and confirm and establish the mind in the natural sentiment of Deity." Loudon (1806, Vol. 1, p. 192)
Later he expands the idea of an ecological correlation between soils and plants to suggest a similar correlation between, say, plants and insect species or even races of man and regions of the globe. Without Whiggish retrospective, this passage simply stands as an observation about the natural assembly of plants and animals, that may have inspired scientifically minded readers to get all sorts of ecological ideas, but likewise may have inspired faithful readers to wax about providence. We cannot tell, but have to record the predecessors:
"The arrangement universal in nature is what will be most pleasing to general admirers. Its principles are perfectly simple; being nothing more than this, "that one kind of objects, beauties, or characters, always prevails in one place; and that when another succeeds, it is generally done in a gradual manner, the interval between them being composed of characters or beauties irregularly blended together." This is beautifully illustrated throughout all nature, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral. It may be observed, as I shall afterwards shew (see Planting), in the trees of natural forests, no less than in the grasses and mosses which form a carpet upon the surface; and it is intimately connected with a similar arrangement which takes place in the soil, both with regard to quality, variation of surface, and moisture. It is equally observable in the animal creation, from the several varieties of man which inhabit different quarters of the globe, to the numerous species of insects or reptiles, which have each their particular habitats in plants or trees, or particular kinds of surfaces and local climates. It has hitherto been totally neglected, as most of nature's laws have been in this branch f science; while in its place is substituted, by custom and ignorance, a mode of arrangement totally inconsistent with nature or good taste" Loudon (1806, Vol. 1, p. 331f)
The quotation marks seem to indicate that Loudon quoted someone else. However, I could not find any indication to a possible source in the vicinity of that passage.

Volume 2

The context of the passage quoted by Steuart and re-quoted by Matthew (1831) is a section on the effects of culture on trees:
"Book I, Sect. III: OF THE EFFECTS OF CULTURE ON TREES; IN REGARD TO  CHARACTERISTIC BEAUTY AND TIMBER PRODUCE
It is remarkable, that this subject has never specifically engaged the attention of those who have written on planting. The effects of culture on other vegetables is so great, as always to change their appearance, and often in a considerable degree to alter their nature. The common culinary vegetables, and cultivated grasses, assume so different an appearance, in our fields and gardens, from what they do in a state of wild nature, that even a botanist might easily be deceived in regard to the species. The same general laws operate upon the whole kingdom of vegetables; and thence it is plain, that the effects of culture upon trees, though different in degree, must be analogous in their nature. It is true, that we are as yet possessed of no great number, either of experiments or observations, to enable us to determine, with minute accuracy, the precise extent of these effects; but still a person practically conversant with the subject, who shall pay attention to what he may observe taking place in different parts of the country, and who possesses a sufficient knowledge of the vegetable kingdom and physiology to reason from analogy, may deduce such general consequences as will suggest important practical rules." Loudon (1806, Vol. 2, p. 492) 
Well, that already sounds familiar to those who know Matthew's point about the effects of domestication on trees. Loudon then goes on to discuss the various effects of culture, including pruning, on the trees, not only with regard to timber quality, but also to aspects of beauty (garden and landscape design). 

At page 516, his idea of a correlation between soils and plants is explicated once more for trees in forests:
"Now, as the properties of soils and situations are various, this naturally leads to a corresponding variation of the species of tree also; and this variation at once produces ornament and utility. Now, in natural forests, such an arrangement actually takes place. Thus in one part, we find the oak as the principal tree; [...] The arrangement goes on thus throughout the whole forest; and if the soil were examined, it would be found to vary correspondingly with the trees. Where the oak abounds, it will be found deep and good; dry where the beech prospers, and moist where the alder prevails." Loudon (1806, Vol. 2, p. 516)
Later, however, Loudon (1806, Vol. 2, p. 561) cautions against overdoing pruning and recommends thinning as preferable. He compares thinning to a natural process of selection:
"Natural woods, sown by birds or the winds upon different kinds of surface and various sorts of soil, spring up at different times, and of different degrees of thickness and vigour. Hence it is easy to conceive, that those in favourable circumstances will soon overtop the rest; and, if they do not kill, will at least weaken them so much as not to be affected by them, until at last the strongest trees find sufficient room. Thus, though nature be slow in her operations, yet she accomplishes her purpose in the most complete manner. Artificial thinning is only assisting nature [...]" Loudon (1806, Vol. 2, p. 564)
Compare this with the passage ending Matthew's criticism of Loudon:
"The use of the infinite seedling varieties in the families of plants, even in those in a state of nature, differing in luxuriance of growth and local adaptation, seems to be to give one individual (the strongest best circumstance-suited) superiority over others of its kind around, that it may, by overtopping and smothering them, procure room for full extension, and thus afford, at the same time, a continual selection of the strongest, best circumstance-suited, for reproduction. Man's interference, by preventing this natural process of selection among plants, independent of the wider range of circumstances to which he introduces them, has increased the difference in varieties, particularly in the more domesticated kinds; and even in man himself, the greater uniformity, and more general vigour among savage tribes, is referrible to nearly similar selecting law—the weaker individual sinking under the ill treatment of the stronger, or under the common hardship." Matthew (1831, p. 307f) 
That means: Matthew picked a short passage, namely pages 502-505 from Loudon (1806, Vol. 2), out of its context and criticised it for what it said about pruning. That is already biased, because Loudon had not only the quality of timber in mind, but also the esthetic appearance of a tree. Loudon could recommend pruning for changing the overall habitus of a tree, where Matthew could not. 

But to end his criticism of that re-quoted passage of Loudon with a formulation similar to what he could have found a mere 50 pages further downstream in the very same book so criticised would, according to current (and therefore Whiggish) standards, be judged grossly negligent if not dishonest. All that was still lacking from Loudon (1806) was the idea that natural selection could transform species. 

Did Matthew not know the rest of Loudon's book? If so, why did Matthew not transport all the changes that Steuart introduced into the quote of Loudon, which Matthew pretended to only re-quote?



2. Loudon's Encyclopaedia of Gardening (1822)
Anyway, Matthew surely knew the Encyclopaedia* of Gardening, for he chose to call Loudon "the Author" of that work. Therefore, I searched the Encyclopaedia of Gardening for passages relevant to the idea of natural selection and the transformation of species. 

The following passages show that everything in Matthew (1831), that is relevant to the idea of evolution through natural selection, has already been present in Loudon's Encyclopaedia of Gardening. Here is Loudon's take on natural selection including, even, a notion of the transformation of species at the end (highlights mine):  
"    465. From the various sources of vegetable reproduction, but particularly from the fertility and dispersion of the seed, the earth would soon be over-run with plants of the most prolific species, and converted again into a desert, if it were not that nature has set bounds to their propagation by subjecting them to the control of man, and to the depredations of the great mass of animals; as well as in confining the germination of their seeds to certain and peculiar habitations arising from soil, climate, altitude, and other circumstances. In order to form an idea of the manner in which these act upon vegetation; imagine that every year an enormous quantity of seeds, produced by the existing vegetables, are spread over the surface of the globe, by the winds and other causes already mentioned, all of these seeds which fall in places suitable for their vegetation, and are not destroyed by animals, germinate and produce plants; then among these plants, the strongest, and largest, and those to which the soil is best suited, developed themselves in number and magnitude so as to choke the others. Such is the general progress of nature, and among plants, as among animals, the strong flourish at the expense of the weak. These causes have operated for such a length of time, that the greater number of species are now fixed and considered as belonging to certain soils, situations, and climates, beyond which they seldom propagate themselves otherwise than by the hands of man." Loudon (1822. "An Encyclopaedia of Gardening, Part II, Book I, Sect. X.) London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Brown and Green, p. 230)
In the second edition from 1824, an additional sentence is added before the first sentence of the above quote: "Though plants are controlled by animals, yet they also control one another." (The passage is § no. 843 at page 186f in this edition).

Concerning the effect of culture on plants, Loudon states:
"The general effect of culture on plants is that of enlarging all their parts; but it often also alters their qualities, forms, and colours: it never, however, alters their primitive structure. [As an example of the latter he mentions that the flowers of potatoes are the same in the Andes and Siberia.] The culinary vegetables of our garden, compared with the same species species in their wild state, afford striking proofs of the influence of culture on both the magnitude and qualities of plants. [Examples from Brassica and others.]
The influence of culture on fruits is no less remarkable. The peach, in its wild state in Media, is poisonous, but cultivated in the plains of Isphahan and Egypt, it becomes one of the most delicious fruits. The effect of culture on the apple, pear, cherry, plum, and other fruits, is nearly as remarkable; for not only the fruit and leaves, but the general habits of the tree is altered in these and other species. [Refers to a book by Sickler which Humboldt praised.]
The influence of culture on plants of ornament is great in most species. The parts of all plants are enlarged, some are numerically increased, as in the case of double flowers; and what is most remarkable, even the colours are frequently changed, both in leaf, flower, and fruit." Loudon (1822, p. 248)
The idea that culture can change everything except primitive structures of plants suggests that Loudon excluded the transformation of species from the range of what humans could effect. In the second edition (Loudon 1824) this passage is spread over §§ 949-953 (pp. 202-203). In both cases, Loudon then discusses the effects of culture on spreading species beyond their natural range.

Here is Loudon's take on how to form new varieties of species including, even, the analogy between artificial selection by humans and the unguided process of selection taking place, as it were, in nature:
"    545. To form new Varieties of Vegetables, it is necessary to take advantage of their sexual differences, and to operate (as already observed) in a manner analogous to crossing the breed in animals. Hence the origin of what is called obtaining new sorts of fruits, as well as by an inverse practice of preserving distinct sorts of annual or biennial plants already obtained. Even this practice is but an imitation of what takes place in nature by the agency of bees and other insects, and the wind; all the difference is, that man operates with a particular end in view, and selects individuals possessing the particular properties which he wishes to perpetuate or improve." Loudon (1822. An Encyclopaedia of Gardening. London: Longman et al., p. 263)
This paragraph is slightly altered and enlarged in the second edition:
"    1013. To form new varieties of vegetables, as well as of flowers and useful plants of every description, it is necessary to take advantage of their sexual differences, and to operate in a manner analogous to crossing the breed in animals. Hence the origin of new sorts of fruits. Even this practice is but an imitation of what takes place in nature by the agency of bees and other insects, and the wind; all the difference is, that man operates with a particular end in view, and selects individuals possessing the particular properties which he wishes to perpetuate or improve. New varieties, or rather subvarieties, are formed by altering the habits of plants; dwarfing through want of nourishment; variegating by arenarious soils; giving or rather continuing peculiar habits when formed by nature, as in propagating from monstrosities—fasciculi of shoots, weeping shoots, shoots with peculiar leaves, flowers, fruits, etc." Loudon (1824. An Encyclopaedia of Gardening. London: Longman et al., p. 216)
The same can also be found as § 1791 in a later edition (1835, p. 463).

Book I of Part II, The Science of Gardening, ends with a passage that has no paragraph number:
"    The whole of gardening, as an art of culture, is but a varied development of the above fundamental practices, all founded in nature, and for the most part rationally and satisfactorily explained on chemical and physiological principles." Loudon (1822. An Encyclopaedia of Gardening. London: Longman et al., p. 263)
This can also be found as § 1016 in the second edition (1824, p. 216) or as §1794 (1835, p. 463).

Much later,** the survival of the best adapted recurs again in Book III, which is on Arboriculture:
"    Sir W. Chambers and U. Price agree in recommending the imitation of natural forests in the arrangement of the species. In these nature disseminates her plants by scattering their seeds, and the offspring rise round the parent in masses or breadths, depending on a variety of circumstances, but chiefly on the facility which these seeds afford for being carried to a distance by the wind, the rain, and by birds or other animals. So disseminated they spring up, different sorts together, affected by various circumstances of soil and situation; and arrive at maturity, contending with other plants and trees, and with the browsing of animals. At last, that species which had enjoyed a maximum of natural advantages is found to prevail as far as this maximum extended, stretching along in masses and angular portions of surface, till circumstances changing in favor of some other species, that takes the prevalence in its turn. In this way it will generally be found, that the number of species, and the extent and style of the masses in which they prevail, bears a strict analogy to the changes of soil and surface; and this holds good, not only with respect to trees and shrubs, but to plants, grasses, and even the mossy tribe." Loudon (1822. An Encyclopaedia of Gardening. London: Longman et al., p. 1100f)  
This is § 6871 in the second edition (Loudon 1824, p. 957).

Throughout the work, Loudon advices his readers to propagate plants by selecting offspring from the strongest specimens. On propagating Asparagus, for example:
"It is best, however, to raise the plant from seed; and it is of considerable importance to gather it from the strongest and most compact shoots; such seed, as might naturally be expected, yielding by far the best plants." (Loudon 1822, p. 725)


Conclusion
We clearly have to count Loudon as yet another anticipator of the idea of natural selection. In particular, Loudon (1806, Vol. 2, p. 564) and Loudon (1822, 230) wrapped it up:
"Hence it is easy to conceive, that those in favourable circumstances will soon overtop the rest; and, if they do not kill, will at least weaken them so much as not to be affected by them, until at last the strongest trees find sufficient room."
" imagine that every year an enormous quantity of seeds, produced by the existing vegetables, are spread over the surface of the globe, by the winds and other causes already mentioned, all of these seeds which fall in places suitable for their vegetation, and are not destroyed by animals, germinate and produce plants; then among these plants, the strongest, and largest, and those to which the soil is best suited, developed themselves in number and magnitude so as to choke the others. Such is the general progress of nature, and among plants, as among animals, the strong flourish at the expense of the weak. These causes have operated for such a length of time, that the greater number of species are now fixed and considered as belonging to certain soils, situations, and climates, beyond which they seldom propagate themselves otherwise than by the hands of man."
He was mute about the idea that this selection might also transform species, but his statement about a Deity (Loudon (1806, Vol. 1, p. 192) suggests that he did not fathom that possibility

Loudon's anonymous review of Matthew (1831) also gets another significance, now that we know he had formulated the idea of natural selection. In it Loudon wrote: "One of the subjects discussed in this [Matthew's] appendix is the puzzling one, of the origin of species and varieties; and if the author has hereon originated no original views (and of this we are far from certain), he has certainly exhibited his own in an original manner." (Anonymous, attributed to Loudon, 1832. “Matthew, Patrick: On Naval Timber and Arboriculture.” Gardener's Magazine and Register of Rural & Domestic Improvements, vol. 8: pp.702-3). 

Matthew, like Darwin and Wallace, has simply put the existing pieces of the puzzle together, but discovered no new piece himself. As was the standard of citation back then, as long as the solution to the puzzle was new, nobody felt the need to scrupulously cite the sources for the pieces.

Loudon may even have been the common source of Matthew and Darwin. For example, Darwin's notebooks titled 'Books to be read' and 'Books Read' (1838-1851) record for the 18 August 1842: "Skimmed through Encyclopaedia of Gardening ref: at end — [Loudon 1822]" (Darwin Online, http://darwin-online.org.uk/).

 
---Notes---
*The word encyclopaedia in the title should not be misconstrued. Modern encyclopedias derived from dictionaries with the difference that they list factual knowledge alphabetically instead of grammatical and etymological knowledge. Loudon's book on gardening is not alphabetically ordered. His calling it an encyclopedia is probably only reflects his hope to produce a comprehensive handbook for gardeners. We'd today rather call it a textbook.
 
** Part I of the Encyclopaedia of Gardening extends from page 3 to page 118 and is headed History of Gardening. Book I categorizes this history according to nations from antiquity to the present of Loudon, whereas book II deals with the effects of political systems on gardening. 

Most quotes relevant to natural selection are from Part II of the Encyclopaedia, which is headed Science of Gardening and extends from page 118 on. Book I (pp. 118-216) of that part deals with the science of the plants themselves, whereas Book II (pp. 217-267) deals with Natural Agents of Vegetable Growth. It's about what we'd today call environmental factors such as soil, climate, manure etc. Book II of Part II seems to contain no passages relevant to natural selection, but it may be the source for other ideas of Matthew, for example, on vegetable mould. Book III (pp. 268-363) is about Mechanical Agents of Gardening (tools, instruments, machines including fixed structures, hot-houses, economical buildings, apiaries, aviaries etc).  Book IV (pp. 363-454) is about Operations of Gardening.

Part III is on the Practice of Gardening (Book I: Horticulture: pp. 454-789). For some reason the third edition of "A Catalogue of the Fruits Cultivated in the Garden of the Horticultural Society of London" (1842, pp. 182) is inserted between pages 776 and 777 of the Encycolpaedia of Gardening (1824). Thereafter Book I of Part III commences. Book II is on Floriculture (pp. 789-934) and Book III on Arboriculture (pp. 935-994). The last quote given above that bears on natural selection is from this part. Book IV (Landscape Gardening: pp.994-1039). Part IV with statistics commences.