ACETARIA: A Discourse of Sallets – Dressing


I am not ambitious of being thought an excellent Cook, or of thoſe who ſet up, and value themſelves, for their skill in Sauces; ſuch as was Mithacus a Culinary Philoſopher, and other Eruditæ Gulæ; who read Lectures of Hautgouts, like the Archeſtratus in Athenæus: Tho’ after what we find the Heroes did of old, and ſee them chining out the ſlaughter’d Ox, dreſſing the Meat, and do the Offices of both Cook andButcher, (for ſo Homer repreſents Achilles himſelf, and the reſt of thoſe Illuſtrious Greeks) I ſay, after this, let none reproach our Sallet-Dreſſer, or diſdain ſo clean, innocent, ſweet, and Natural a Quality; compar’d with the Shambles Filth and Nidor, Blood and Cruelty; whilſt all the World were Eaters, and Compoſers of Sallets in its beſt and brighteſt Age.

The Ingredients therefore gather’d and proportion’d, as above; Let the Endive have all its out-ſide Leaves ſtripped off, ſlicing in the White: In like manner the Sellery is alſo to have the hollow green Stem or Stalk trimm’d and divided; ſlicing-in the blanched Part, and cutting the Root into four equal Parts.

Lettuce, Greſſes, Radiſh, &c. (as was directed) muſt be exquiſitely pick’d, cleans’d, waſh’d, and put into the Strainer; ſwing’d, and ſhaken gently, and, if you pleaſe, ſeparately, or all together; Becauſe ſome like not ſo well the Blanch’d and Bitter Herbs, if eaten with the reſt: Others mingle Endive, Succory, and Rampions, without diſtinction, and generally eat Sellery by it ſelf, as alſo Sweet Fennel.

From April till September (and during all the Hot Months) may Guinny-Pepper, and Horſe-Radiſh be left out; and therefore we only mention them in the Dreſſing, which ſhould be in this manner.

Your Herbs being handſomely parcell’d, and ſpread on a clean Napkin before you, are to be mingl’d together in one of the Earthen glaz’d Diſhes: Then, for the Oxoleon; Take of clear, and perfectly good Oyl-Olive, three Parts; of ſharpeſt Vinegar (ſweeteſt of all Condiments) Limon, or Juice of Orange, one Part; and therein let ſteep ſome Slices of Horſe-Radiſh, with a little Salt; Some in a ſeparate Vinegar, gently bruiſe a Pod of Guinny-Pepper, ſtraining both the Vinegars apart, to make Uſe of Either, or One alone, or of both, as they beſt like; then add as much Tewkesbury, or other dry Muſtard grated, as will lie upon an Half-Crown Piece: Beat, and mingle all theſe very well together; but pour not on the Oyl and Vinegar, ’till immediately before the Sallet is ready to be eaten: And then with the Yolk of two new-laid Eggs(boyl’d and prepar’d, as before is taught) ſquaſh, and bruiſe them all into maſh with a Spoon; and laſtly, pour it all upon the Herbs, ſtirring, and mingling them ’till they are well and throughly imbib’d; not forgetting the Sprinklings of Aromaticks, and ſuch Flowers, as we have already mentioned, if you think fit, and garniſhing the Diſh with the thin Slices of Horſe-Radiſh, Red Beet, Berberries, &c.

Note, That the Liquids may be made more, or leſs Acid, as is moſt agreeable to your Taſte.

Theſe Rules, and Preſcriptions duly Obſerv’d; you have a Sallet (for a Table of Six or Eight Perſons) Dreſs’d, and Accommodated ſecundum Artem: For, as the Proverb has it,

Ου ωαντος ανδρος εσιν αρτυσαι καλως.

Non eſt cujuſvis rectè condire.

And now after all we have advanc’d in favour of the Herbaceous Diet, there ſtill emerges a third Inquiry; namely, Whether the Uſe of Crude Herbs and Plants are ſo wholeſom as is pretended?

What Opinion the Prince of Phyſicians had of them, we ſhall ſee hereafter; as alſo what the Sacred Records of elder Times ſeem to infer, before there were any Fleſh-Shambles in the World; together with the Reports of ſuch as are often converſant among many Nations and People, who to this Day, living on Herbs and Roots, arrive to incredible Age, in conſtant Health and Vigour: Which, whether attributable to theAir and Climate, Cuſtom, Conſtitution, &c. ſhould be inquir’d into; eſpecially, when we compare the Antediluvians mention’d Gen. 1. 29–the whole Fifth and Ninth Chapters, ver. 3. confining them to Fruit and wholeſom Sallets: I deny not that both the Air and Earth might then be leſs humid and clammy, and conſequently Plants, and Herbs better fermented, concocted, and leſs Rheumatick, than ſince, and preſently after; to ſay nothing of the infinite Numbers of putrid Carcaſſes of Dead Animals, periſhing in the Flood, (of which I find few, if any, have taken notice) which needs muſt have corrupted the Air: Thoſe who live in Marſhes, and Uliginous Places (like the Hundreds of Eſſex) being more obnoxious to Fevers, Agues, Pleuriſies, and generally unhealthful: The Earth alſo then a very Bog, compar’d with what it likely was before that deſtructive Cataclyſm, when Men breath’d the pure Paradiſian Air, ſucking in a more æthereal, nouriſhing, and baulmy Pabulum, ſo foully vitiated now, thro’ the Intemperance, Luxury, and ſofter Education and Effeminacy of the Ages ſince.

Cuſtom, and Conſtitution come next to be examin’d, together with the Qualities, and Vertue of the Food; and I confeſs, the two firſt, eſpecially that of Conſtitution, ſeems to me the more likely Cauſe of Health, and conſequently of Long-life; which induc’d me to conſider of what Quality the uſual Sallet Furniture did more eminently conſiſt, that ſo it might become more ſafely applicable to the Temper, Humour, and Diſpoſition of our Bodies; according to which, the various Mixtures might be regulated and proportion’d: There’s no doubt, but thoſe whoſe Conſtitutions are Cold and Moiſt, are naturally affected with Things which are Hot and Dry; as on the contrary, Hot, and Dry Complexions, with ſuch as cool and refrigerate; which perhaps made the Junior Gordian (and others like him) prefer the frigidæ Menſæ (as of old they call’d Sallets) which, according to Cornelius Celſus, is the fitteſt Diet for Obeſe and Corpulent Perſons, as not ſo Nutritive, and apt to Pamper: And conſequently, that for the Cold, Lean, and Emaciated; ſuch Herby Ingredients ſhould be made choice of, as warm, and cheriſh the Natural Heat, depure the Blood, breed a laudable Juice, and revive the Spirits: And therefore my Lord Bacon ſhews what are beſt Raw, what Boil’d, and what Parts of Plants fitteſt to nouriſh. Galen indeed ſeems to exclude them all, unleſs well accompanied with their due Correctives, of which we have taken care: Notwithſtanding yet, that even the moſt Crude and Herby, actually Cold and Weak, may potentially be Hot, and Strengthning, as we find in the moſt vigorous Animals, whoſe Food is only Graſs. ‘Tis true indeed, Nature has providentially mingl’d, and dreſs’d a Sallet for them in every field, beſides what they diſtinguiſh by Smell; nor queſtion I, but Man at firſt knew what Plants and Fruits were good, before the Fall, by his Natural Sagacity, and not Experience; which ſince by Art, and Trial, and long Obſervation of their Properties and Effects, they hardly recover: But in all Events, ſuppoſing with Cardan, that Plants nouriſh little, they hurt as little. Nay, Experience tells us, that they not only hurt not at all, but exceedingly benefit thoſe who uſe them; indu’d as they are with ſuch admirable Properties as they every day diſcover: For ſome Plants not only nouriſh laudably, but induce a manifeſt and wholeſom Change; as Onions, Garlick, Rochet, &c. which are both nutritive and warm; Lettuce, Purſelan, the Intybs, &c. and indeed moſt of the Olera, refreſh and cool: And as their reſpective Juices being converted into the Subſtances of our Bodies, they become Aliment; ſo in regard of their Change and Alteration, we may allow them Medicinal; eſpecially the greater Numbers, among which we all this while have skill but of very few (not only in the Vegetable Kingdom, but in the whole Materia Medica) which may be juſtly call’dInfallible Specifics, and upon whoſe Performance we may as ſafely depend, as we may on ſuch as familiarly we uſe for a Crude Herb-Sallet; diſcreetly choſen, mingl’d, and dreſs’d accordingly: Not but that many of them may be improv’d, and render’d better in Broths, and Decoctions, than in Oyl, Vinegar, and other Liquids and Ingredients: But as this holds not in all, nay, perhaps in few comparatively, (provided, as I ſaid, the Choice, Mixture, Conſtitution, and Seaſon rightly be underſtood) we ſtand up in Defence and Vindication of our Sallet, againſt all Attacks and Oppoſers whoever.

We have mentioned Seaſon and with the great Hippocrates, pronounce them more proper for the Summer, than the Winter; and when thoſe Parts of Plants us’d in Sallet are yet tender, delicate, and impregnated with the Vertue of the Spring, to cool, refreſh, and allay the Heat and Drought of the Hot and Bilious, Young and over-Sanguine, Cold, Pituit, and Melancholy; in a word, for Perſons of all Ages, Humours, and Conſtitutions whatſoever.

To this of the Annual Seaſons, we add that of Culture alſo, as of very great Importance: And this is often diſcover’d in the taſte and conſequently in the Goodneſs of ſuch Plants and Salleting, as are Rais’d and brought us freſh out of the Country, compar’d with thoſe which the Avarice of the Gardiner, or Luxury rather of the Age, tempts them to force and Reſuſcitate of the moſt deſirable and delicious Plants.

It is certain, ſays a Learned Perſon, that about populous Cities, where Grounds are over-forc’d for Fruit and early Salleting, nothing is more unwholſom: Men in the Country look ſo much more healthy and freſh; and commonly are longer liv’d than thoſe who dwell in the Middle and Skirts of vaſt and crowded Cities, inviron’d with rotten Dung, loathſome and common Lay Stalls; whoſe noiſome Steams, wafted by the Wind, poiſon and infect the ambient Air and vital Spirits, with thoſe pernicious Exhalations, and Materials of which they make the Hot Beds for the raiſing thoſe Præcoces indeed, and forward Plants and Roots for the wanton Palate; but which being corrupt in the Original, cannot but produce malignant and ill Effects to thoſe who feed upon them. And the ſame was well obſerv’d by the Editor of our famousRoger Bacon’s Treatiſe concerning the Cure of Old Age, and Preſervation of Youth: There being nothing ſo proper for Sallet Herbs and other Edule Plants, as the Genial and Natural Mould, impregnate, and enrich’d with well-digeſted Compoſt (when requiſite) without any Mixture of Garbage, odious Carrion, and other filthy Ordure, not half conſum’d and ventilated and indeed reduc’d to the next Diſpoſition of Earth it ſelf, as it ſhould be; and that in Sweet, Riſing, Aery and moderately Perflatile Grounds; where not only Plants but Men do laſt, and live much longer. Nor doubt I, but that every body would prefer Corn, and other Grain rais’d from Marle, Chalk, Lime, and other ſweet Soil and Amendments, before that which is produc’d from the Dunghil only. Beſide, Experience ſhews, that the Rankneſs of Dung is frequently the Cauſe of Blaſts and Smuttineſs; as if the Lord of the Univerſe, by an Act of viſible Providence would check us, to take heed of all unnatural Sordidneſs and Mixtures. We ſenſibly find this Difference in Cattle and their Paſture; but moſt powerfully in Fowl, from ſuch as are nouriſh’d with Corn, ſweet and dry Food: And as of Vegetable Meats, ſo of Drinks, ’tis obſerv’d, that the ſame Vine, according to the Soil, produces a Wine twice as heady as in the ſame, and a leſs forc’d Ground; and the like I believe of all other Fruit, not to determine any thing of the Peach ſaid to be Poiſon in Perſia; becauſe ’tis a Vulgar Error.

Now, becauſe among other things, nothing more betrays its unclean and ſpurious Birth than what is ſo impatiently longed after as Early Aſparagus, &c. Dr. Liſter, (according to his communicative and obliging Nature) has taught us how to raiſe ſuch as our Gardiners cover with naſty Litter, during the Winter; by rather laying of Clean and Sweet Wheat-Straw upon the Beds, ſuper-ſeminating and over-ſtrowing them thick with the Powder of bruiſed Oyſter-Shells, &c. to produce that moſt tender and delicious Sallet. In the mean while, if nothing will ſatisfie ſave what is rais’d Ex tempore, and by Miracles of Art ſo long before the time; let them ſtudy (like the Adepti) as did a very ingenious Gentleman whom I knew; That having ſome Friends of his accidentally come to Dine with him, and wanting an early Sallet, Before they ſate down to Table, ſowed Lettuce and ſome other Seeds in a certain Compoſition of Mould he had prepared; which within the ſpace of two Hours, being riſen near two Inches high, preſented them with a delicate and tender Sallet; and this, without making uſe of any nauſeous or fulſome Mixture; but of Ingredients not altogether ſo cheap perhaps. Honoratus Faber (no mean Philoſopher) ſhews us another Method by ſowing the Seeds ſteep’d in Vinegar, caſting on it a good quantity of Bean-Shell Aſhes, irrigating them with Spirit of Wine, and keeping the Beds well cover’d under dry Matts. Such another Proceſs for the raiſing early Peas and Beans, &c. we have the like Accounts of: But were they practicable and certain, I confeſs I ſhould not be fonder of them, than of ſuch as the honeſt induſtrious Country-man’s Field, and Good Wife’s Garden ſeaſonably produce; where they are legitimately born in juſt time, and without forcing Nature.

But to return again to Health and Long Life, and the Wholeſomneſs of the Herby-Diet, John Beverovicius, a Learn’d Phyſician (out of Peter Moxa, a Spaniard) treating of the extream Age, which thoſe ofAmerica uſually arrive to, aſſerts in behalf of Crude and Natural Herbs: Diphilus of old, as Athenæus tells us, was on the other ſide, againſt all the Tribe of Olera in general; and Cardan of late (as already noted) no great Friend to them; Affirming Fleſh-Eaters to be much wiſer and more ſagacious. But this his Learned Antagoniſt utterly denies; Whole Nations, Fleſh-Devourers (ſuch as the fartheſt Northern) becoming Heavy, Dull, Unactive, and much more Stupid than the Southern; and ſuch as feed much on Plants, are more Acute, Subtil, and of deeper Penetration: Witneſs the Chaldæans, Aſſyrians, Ægyptians, &c. And further argues from the ſhort Lives of moſt Carnivorous Animals, compared with Graſs Feeders, and the Ruminating kind; as the Hart, Camel, and the longævous Elephant, and other Feeders on Roots and Vegetables.

I know what is pretended of our Bodies being compoſed of Diſſimilar Parts, and ſo requiring Variety of Food: Nor do I reject the Opinion, keeping to the ſame Species; of which there is infinitely more Variety in the Herby Family, than in all Nature beſsides: But the Danger is in the Generical Difference of Fleſh, Fiſh, Fruit, &c. with other made Diſhes and exotic Sauces; which a wanton and expenſive Luxury has introduc’d; debauching the Stomach, and ſharpening it to devour things of ſuch difficult Concoction, with thoſe of more eaſie Digeſtion, and of contrary Substances, more than it can well diſpose of: Otherwiſe Food of the ſame kind would do us little hurt: So true is that of Celſus, Eduntur facilius; ad concoctionem autem materiæ, genus, & modus pertineat. They are (ſays he) eaſily eaten and taken in: But regard ſhould be had to their Digeſtion, Nature, Quantity and Quality of the Matter. As to that of Diſſimilar Parts, requiring this contended for Variety: If we may judge by other Animals (as I know not why we may not) there is (after all the late Conteſts about Comparative Anatomy) ſo little Difference in the Structure, as to the Uſe of thoſe Parts and Veſſels deſtin’d to ſerve the Offices of Concoction, Nutrition, and other Separations for Supply of Life, &c. That it does not appear why there ſhould need any Difference at all of Food; of which the moſt ſimple has ever been eſteem’d the beſt, and moſt wholſome; according to that of the Naturaliſt, Hominis cibus utiliſſimus ſimplex. And that ſo it is in other Animals, we find by their being ſo ſeldom afflicted with Mens Diſtempers, deriv’d from the Cauſes above-mentioned: And if the many Diſeaſes of Horſes ſeem to contradict it, I am apt to think it much imputable to the Rack and Manger, the dry and wither’d Stable Commons, which they muſt eat or ſtarve, however qualified; being reſtrained from their Natural and Spontaneous Choice, which Nature and Instinct directs them to: To theſe add the Cloſeneſs of the Air, ſtanding in an almoſt continu’d Poſture; beſides the fulſome Drenches, unſeaſonable Watrings, and other Practices of ignorant Horſe-Quacks and ſurly Grooms: The Tyranny and cruel Uſage of their Maſters in tiring Journeys, hard, labouring and unmerciful Treatment, Heats, Colds, &c. which wear out and deſtroy ſo many of thoſe uſeful and generous Creatures before the time: Such as have been better us’d, and ſome, whom their more gentle and good-natur’d Patrons have in recompence of their long and faithful service, diſmiſs’d, and ſent to Paſture for the reſt of their Lives (as the Grand Seignior does his Meccha-Camel) have been known to live forty, fifty, nay (ſays Ariſtotle,) no fewer than ſixty five Years. When once Old Par came to change his ſimple, homely Diet, to that of the Court and Arundel-Houſe, he quickly ſunk and dropt away: For, as we have ſhew’d, the Stomack eaſily concocts plain, and familiar Food; but finds it an hard and difficult Task, to vanquiſh and overcome Meats of different Subſtances: Whence we ſo often ſee temperate and abſtemious Perſons, of a Collegiate Diet, very healthy; Huſbandsmen and laborious People, more robuſt, and longer liv’d than others of an uncertain extravagant Diet.

——Nam variae res

Ut noceant Homini, credas, memor illius eſcae,

Quae ſimplex olim tibi ſederit——

For different Meats do hurt;

Remember how

When to one Diſh confin’d, thou

healthier waſt than now:

was Oſellus’s Memorandum in the Poet.

Not that variety (which God has certainly ordain’d to delight and aſſiſt our Appetite) is unneceſſary, nor any thing more grateful, refreſhing and proper for thoſe eſpecially who lead ſedentary and ſtudious Lives; Men of deep Thought, and ſuch as are otherwiſe diſturb’d with Secular Cares and Buſineſſes, which hinders the Function of the Stomach and other Organs: whilſt thoſe who have their Minds free, uſe much Exerciſe, and are more active, create themſelves a natural Appetite, which needs little or no Variety to quicken and content it.

And here might we atteſt the Patriarchal World, nay, and many Perſons ſince; who living very temperately came not much ſhort of the Poſt-Diluvians themſelves, counting from Abraham to this Day; and ſome exceeding them, who liv’d in pure Air, a conſtant, tho’ courſe and ſimple Diet; wholſome and uncompounded Drink; that never taſted Brandy or Exotic Spirits; but us’d moderate Exerciſe, and obſerv’d good Hours: For ſuch a one a curious Miſſionary tells us of in Perſia; who had attain’d the Age of four hundred Years, (a full Century beyond the famous Johannes de Temporibus) and was living Anno 1636, and ſo may be ſtill for ought we know. But, to our Sallet.

Certain it is, Almighty God ordaining Herbs and Fruit for the Food of Men, ſpeaks not a Word concerning Fleſh for two thouſand Years. And when after, by the Moſaic Conſtitution, there were Diſtinctions and Prohibitions about the legal Uncleanneſs of Animals; Plants, of what kind ſoever, were left free and indifferent for every one to chooſe what beſt he lik’d. And what if it was held undecent and unbecoming the Excellency of Man’s Nature, before Sin entred, and grew enormouſly wicked, that any Creature ſhould be put to Death and Pain for him who had ſuch infinite ſtore of the moſt delicious and nouriſhing Fruit to delight, and the Tree of Life to ſuſtain him? Doubtleſs there was no need of it. Infants ſought the Mother’s Nipple as ſoon as born; and when grown, and able to feed themſelves, run naturally to Fruit, and ſtill will chooſe to eat it rather than Fleſh and certainly might ſo perſiſt to do, did not Cuſtom prevail, even againſt the very Dictates of Nature: Nor, queſtion I, but that what the Heathen Poetsrecount of the Happineſs of the Golden Age, ſprung from ſome Tradition they had received of the Paradiſian Fare, their innocent and healthful Lives in that delightful Garden. Let it ſuffice, that Adam, and his yet innocent Spouſe, fed on Vegetables and other Hortulan Productions before the fatal Lapſe; which, by the way, many Learned Men will hardly allow to have fallen out ſo ſoon as thoſe imagine who ſcarcely grant them a ſingle Day; nay, nor half a one, for their Continuance in the State of Original Perfection; whilſt the ſending him into the Garden; Inſtructions how he ſhould keep and cultivate it; Edict, and Prohibition concerning the Sacramental Trees; the Impoſition of Names, ſo appoſite to the Nature of ſuch an Infinity of Living Creatures (requiring deep Inſpection) the Formation of Eve, a meet Companion to relieve his Solitude; the Solemnity of their Marriage; the Dialogues and Succeſs of the crafty Tempter, whom we cannot reaſonably think made but one Aſſault: And that they ſhould ſo quickly forget the Injunction of their Maker and Benefactor; break their Faith and Faſt, and all other their Obligations in ſo few Moments. I ſay, all theſe Particulars conſider’d; Can it be ſuppoſed they were ſo ſoon tranſacted as thoſe do fancy, who take their Meaſure from the Summary Moſes gives us, who did not write to gratifie Mens Curioſity, but to tranſmit what was neceſſary and ſufficient for us to know.

This then premis’d (as I ſee no Reaſon why it ſhould not) and that during all this Space they liv’d on Fruits and Sallets; ’tis little probable, that after their Tranſgreſſion, and that they had forfeited their Dominion over the Creature (and were ſentenc’d and exil’d to a Life of Sweat and Labour on a curſed and ungrateful Soil) the offended God ſhould regale them with Pampering Fleſh, or ſo much as ſuffer them to ſlay the more innocent Animal: Or, that if at any time they had Permiſſion, it was for any thing ſave Skins to cloath them, or in way of Adoration, or Holocauſt for Expiation, of which nothing of the Fleſhwas to be eaten. Nor did the Brutes themſelves ſubſiſt by Prey (tho’ pleas’d perhaps with Hunting, without deſtroying their Fellow Creatures) as may be preſum’d from their long Secluſion of the moſt Carnivorous among them in the Ark.

Thus then for two thouſand Years, the Univerſal Food was Herbs and Plants; which abundantly recompens’d the Want of Fleſh and other luxurious Meats, which ſhortened their Lives ſo many hundred Years; the μακρο-βιοτη-α of the Patriarchs, which was an Emblem of Eternity as it were (after the new Conceſſion) beginning to dwindle to a little Span, a Nothing in Compariſon.

On the other ſide, examine we the preſent Uſages of ſeveral other Heathen Nations; particularly (beſsides the Ægyptian Prieſts of old) the Indian Bramins, Relicts of the ancient Gymnoſophists to this Day, obſerving the Inſtitutions of their Founder. Fleſh, we know was baniſh’d the Platonic Tables, as well as from thoſe of Pythagoras; (See Porphyry and their Diſciples) tho’ on different Accounts. Among others of the Philoſophers, from Xenocrates, Polemon, &c. we hear of many. The like we find in Clement Alexand. Euſebius names more. Zeno, Archinomus, Phraartes, Chiron, and others, whom Lærtiusreckons up. In ſhort, ſo very many, eſpecially of the Chriſtian Profeſſion, that ſome, even of the ancient Fathers themſelves, have almost thought that the Permiſſion of eating Fleſh to Noah and his Sons, was granted them no otherwiſe than Repudiation of Wives was to the Jews, namely, for the Hardneſs of their Hearts, and to ſatisfie a murmuring Generation that a little after loathed Manna it ſelf, and Bread from Heaven. So difficult a thing it is to ſubdue an unruly Appetite; which notwithſtanding Seneca thinks not ſo hard a Task; where ſpeaking of the Philoſopher Sextius, and Socion’s (abhorring Cruelty and Intemperance) he celebrates the Advantages of the Herby and Sallet Diet, as Phyſical, and Natural Advancers of Health and other Bleſſings; whilſt Abſtinence from Fleſh deprives Men of nothing but whatLions, Vultures, Beaſts and birds of Prey, blood and gorge themſelves withal, The whole Epiſtle deſerves the Reading, for the excellent Advice he gives on this and other Subjects; and how from many troubleſome and ſlaviſh Impertinencies, grown into Habit and Cuſtom (old as he was) he had Emancipated and freed himſelf: Be this apply’d to our preſent exceſſive Drinkers of Foreign and Exotic Liquors. And now

I am ſufficiently ſenſible how far, and to how little purpoſe I am gone on this Topic: The Ply is long ſince taken, and our raw Sallet deckt in its beſt Trim, is never like to invite Men who once have taſtedFleſh to quit and abdicate a Cuſtom which has now ſo long obtain’d. Nor truly do I think Conſcience at all concern’d in the Matter, upon any Account of Distinction of Pure and Impure; tho’ ſeriouſly conſider’d (as Sextius held) rationi magis congrua, as it regards the cruel Butcheries of ſo many harmleſs Creatures; ſome of which we put to mercileſs and needleſs Torment, to accommodat them for exquiſite and uncommon Epicuriſm. There lies elſe no poſitive Prohibition; Diſcrimination of Meats being Condemn’d as the Doctrine of Devils: Nor do Meats commend us to God. One eats quid vult (of every thing:) another Olera, and of Sallets only: But this is not my Buſineſs, further than to ſhew how poſſible it is by ſo many Inſtances and Examples, to live on wholſome Vegetables, both long and happily: For ſo

The Golden Age, with this Proviſion bleſt,

Such a Grand Sallet made, and was a Feaſt.

The Demi-Gods with Bodies large and ſound,

Commended then the Product of the Ground.

Fraud then, nor Force were known, nor filthy Luſt,

Which Over-heating and Intemp’rance nurſt:

Be their vile Names in Execration held,

Who with foul Glutt’ny firſt the World defil’d:

Parent of Vice, and all Diſeaſes ſince,

With ghaſtly Death ſprung up alone from thence.

Ah, from ſuch reeking, bloody Tables fly,

Which Death for our Deſtruction does ſupply.

In Health, if Sallet-Herbs you can’t endure;

Sick, you’ll deſire them; or for Food, or Cure.

As to the other part of the Controverſie, which concerns us, αιματοφαγοι, and Occidental Blood-Eaters; ſome Grave and Learn’d Men of late ſeem to ſcruple the preſent Uſage, whilſt they ſee the Prohibition appearing, and to carry ſuch a Face of Antiquity, Scripture, Councils, Canons, Fathers; Imperial Conſtitutions, and Univerſal Practice, unleſs it be among us of theſe Tracts of Europe, whither, with other Barbarities, that of eating the Blood and Animal Life of Creatures firſt was brought; and by our Mixtures with the Goths, Vandals, and other Spawn of Pagan Scythians; grown a Cuſtom, and ſince which I am perſuaded more Blood has been ſhed between Chriſtians than there ever was before the Water of the Flood covered this Corner of the World: Not that I impute it only to our eating Blood; but ſometimes wonder how it hap’ned that ſo ſtrict, ſo ſolemn and famous a Sanction not upon a Ceremonial Account; but (as ſome affirm) a Moral and Perpetual from Noah, to whom the Conceſſion of eating Fleſh was granted, and that of Blood forbidden (nor to this Day once revok’d) and whilſt there alſo ſeems to lie fairer Proofs than for moſt other Controverſies agitated among Chriſtians, ſhould be ſo generally forgotten, and give place to ſo many other impertinent Diſputes and Cavels about other ſuperſtitious Fopperies, which frequently end in Blood and cutting of Throats.

As to the Reaſon of this Prohibition, its favouring of Cruelty excepted, (and that by Galen, and other experienc’d Phyſicians, the eating Blood is condemn’d as unwholſome, cauſing Indigeſtion and Obſtructions) if a poſitive Command of Almighty God were not enough, it ſeems ſufficiently intimated; becauſe Blood was the Vehicle of the Life and Animal Soul of the Creature: For what other myſterious Cauſe, as haply its being always dedicated to Expiatory Sacrifices, &c. it is not for us to enquire. ‘Tis ſaid, that Juſtin Martyr being asked, why the Chriſtians of his time were permitted the eating Fleſh and not the Blood? readily anſwer’d, That God might diſtinguiſh them from Beaſts, which eat them both together. ‘Tis likewiſe urg’d, that by the Apoſtolical Synod (when the reſt of the Jewiſh Ceremonies and Types were aboliſh’d) this Prohibition was mention’d as a thing neceſſary, and rank’d with Idolatry, which was not to be local or temporary; but univerſally injoyn’d to converted Strangers and Proſelytes, as well asJews: Nor could the Scandal of neglecting to obſerve it, concern them alone, after ſo many Ages as it was and ſtill is in continual Uſe; and thoſe who tranſgreſs’d, ſo ſeverely puniſh’d, as by an Imperial Law to be ſcourg’d to Blood and Bone: Indeed, ſo terrible was the Interdiction, that Idolatry excepted (which was alſo Moral and perpetual) nothing in Scripture ſeems to be more expreſs. In the mean time, to relieve all other Scruples, it does not, they ſay, extend to that ακρβεια of thoſe few diluted Drops of Extravaſated Blood, which might happen to tinge the Juice and Gravy of the Fleſh (which were indeed to ſtrain at a Gnat) but to thoſe who devour the Venal and Arterial Blood ſeparately, and in Quantity, as a choice Ingredient of their luxurious Preparations and Apician Tables.

But this, and all the reſt will, I fear, ſeem but Oleribus verba facere, and (as the Proverb goes) be Labour-in-vain to think of preaching down Hogs-Puddings, and uſurp the Chair of Rabby-Buſy: And therefore what is advanc’d in Countenance of the Antediluvian Diet, we leave to be ventilated by the Learned, and ſuch as Curcellæus, who has borrow’d of all the Ancient Fathers, from Tertullian, Hierom, S. Chryſoſtom, &c. to the later Doctors and Divines, Lyra, Toſtatus, Dionyſius Carthuſianus, Pererius, amongſt the Pontificians; of Peter Martyr, Zanchy, Aretius, Jac. Capellus, Hiddiger, Cocceius, Bochartus, &c. amongſt the Proteſtants; and inſtar omnium, by Salmaſius, Grotius, Voſſius, Blundel: In a Word, by the Learn’d of both Perſuaſions, favourable enough to theſe Opinions, Cajetan and Calvin only excepted,who hold, that as to Abſtinence from Fleſh, there was no poſitive Command or Impoſition concerning it; but that the Uſe of Herbs and Fruit was recommended rather for Temperance ſake, and the Prolongation of Life: Upon which ſcore I am inclin’d to believe that the ancient θεραωενται, and other devout and contemplative Sects, diſtinguiſh’d themſelves; whoſe Courſe of Life we have at large deſcrib’d in Philo(who liv’d and taught much in Gardens) with others of the Abſtemious Chriſtians; among whom, Clemens brings in St. Mark the Evangeliſt himſelf, James our Lord’s Brother. St. John, &c. and with ſeveral of the devout Sex, the famous Diaconeſſe Olympias, mention’d by Palladius (not to name the reſt) who abſtaining from Fleſh, betook themſelves to Herbs and Sallets upon the Account of Temperance, and the Vertues accompanying it; and concerning which the incomparable Grotius declares ingenuouſly his Opinion to be far from cenſuring, not only thoſe who forbear the eating Fleſh and Blood, Experimenti Cauſa, and for Diſcipline ſake; but ſuch as forbear ex Opinione, and (becauſe it has been the ancient Cuſtom) provided they blam’d none who freely us’d their Liberty; and I think he’s in the right.

But leaving this Controverſie (ne nimium extra oleas) it has often been objected, that Fruit, and Plants, and all other things, may ſince the Beginning, and as the World grows older, have univerſally becomeEffœte, impair’d and diverted of thoſe Nutritious and tranſcendent Vertues they were at firſt endow’d withal: But as this is begging the Queſtion, and to which we have already ſpoken; ſo all are not agreed that there is any, the leaſt Decay in Nature, where equal Induſtry and Skill’s apply’d. ‘Tis true indeed, that the Ordo Foliatorum, Feuillantines (a late Order of Aſcetic Nuns) amongſt other Mortifications, made Trial upon the Leaves of Plants alone, to which they would needs confine themſelves; but were not able to go through that thin and meagre Diet: But then it would be enquir’d whether they had not firſt, and from their very Childhood, been fed and brought up with Fleſh, and better Suſtenance till they enter’d the Cloyſter; and what the Vegetables and the Preparation of them were allow’d by their Inſtitution? Wherefore this is nothing to our Modern Uſe of Sallets, or its Diſparagement. In the mean time, that we ſtill think it not only poſſible, but likely, and with no great Art or Charge (taking Roots and Fruit into the Basket) ſubſtantially to maintain Mens Lives in Health and Vigour: For to this, and leſs than this, we have the Suffrage of the great Hippocrates himſelf; who thinks, ab initio etiam hominum (as well as other Animals) tali victu uſum eſſe, and needed no other Food. Nor is it an inconſiderable Speculation, That ſince all Fleſh is Graſs (not in a Figurative, but Natural and Real Senſe) Man himſelf, who lives onFleſh, and I think upon no Earthly Animal whatſoever, but ſuch as feed on Graſs, is nouriſh’d with them ſtill; and ſo becoming an Incarnate Herb, and Innocent Canibal, may truly be ſaid to devour himſelf.

We have ſaid nothing of the Lotophagi, and ſuch as (like St. John the Baptiſt, and other religious Aſcetics) were Feeders on the Summities and Tops of Plants: But as divers of thoſe, and others we have mention’d, were much in times of Streights, Perſecutions, and other Circumſtances, which did not in the leaſt make it a Pretence, exempting them from Labour, and other Humane Offices, by enſnaring Obligations and vows (never to be uſeful to the Publick, in whatever Exigency) ſo I cannot but take Notice of what a Learned Critic ſpeaking of Mens neglecting plain and Eſſential Duties, under Colour of exerciſing themſelves in a more ſublime Courſe of Piety, and being Righteous above what is commanded (as thoſe who ſeclude themſelves in Monaſteries) that they manifeſtly diſcover exceſſive Pride, Hatred of their Neighbour, Impatience of Injuries; to which add, Melancholy Plots and Machinations; and that he must be either ſtupid, or infected with the ſame Vice himſelf, who admires thisεθελοπεριοσοθρησκεια, or thinks they were for that Cauſe the more pleaſing to God. This being ſo, what may we then think of ſuch Armies of Hermits, Monks and Friers, who pretending to juſtifie a miſtaken Zeal and meritorious Abſtinence; not only by a peculiar Diet and Diſtinction of Meats (which God without Diſtinction has made the moderate Uſe of common and indifferent amongſt Chriſtians) but by other ſordid Uſages, and unneceſſary Hardſhips, wilfully prejudice their Health and Conſtitution? and through a ſingular manner of living, dark and Saturnine; whilſt they would ſeem to abdicate and forſake the World (in Imitation, as they pretend, of the Ancient Eremites) take care to ſettle, and build their warm and ſtately Neſts in the moſt Populous Cities, and Places of Reſort; ambitious doubtleſs of the Peoples Veneration and Opinion of an extraordinary Sanclity; and therefore flying the Deſarts, where there is indeed no uſe of them; and flocking to the Towns and Cities where there is leſs, indeed none at all; and therefore no Marvel that the Emperour Valentinian baniſhed them the Cities, and Conſtantine Copronymus finding them ſeditious, oblig’d them to marry, to leave their Cells, and live as did others. For of theſe, ſome there are who ſeldom ſpeak, and therefore edifie none; ſleep little, and lie hard, are clad naſtily, and eat meanly (and oftentimes that which is unwholſom) and therefore benefit none; Not becauſe they might not, both for their own, and the Good of others, and the Publick; but becauſe they will not; Cuſtom, and a prodigious Sloth accompanying it; which renders it ſo far from Penance, and the Mortification pretended, that they know not how to live, or ſpend their Time otherwiſe. This, as I have often conſider’d, ſo was I glad to find it juſtly perſtring’d, and taken notice of by a Learned Perſon, amongſt others of his uſeful Remarks abroad.

‘Theſe, ſays he, willingly renouncing the innocent Comforts of Life, plainly ſhew it to proceed more from a chagrin and moroſe Humour, than from any true and ſerious Principle of ſound Religion; which teaches Men to be uſeful in their Generations, ſociable and communicative, unaffected, and by no means ſingular and fantaſtic in Garb and Habit, as are theſe (forſooth) Fathers (as they affect to be call’d) ſpending their Days in idle and fruitleſs Forms, and tedious Repetitions; and thereby thinking to merit the Reward of thoſe Ancient, and truly pious Solitaries, who, God knows, were driven from their Countries and Repoſe, by the Incurſions of barbarous Nations (whilſt theſe have no ſuch Cauſe) and compell’d to Auſterities, not of their own chuſing and making, but the publick Calamity; and to labour with their Handsfor their own, and others neceſſary Support, as well as with with their Prayers and holy Lives, Examples to all the World: And ſome of theſe indeed (beſsides the Solitaries of the Thebaid, who wrought for abundance of poor Chriſtians, ſick, and in Captivity) I might bring in, as ſuch who deſerv’d to have their Names preſerv’d; not for their rigorous Fare, and uncouth Diſguiſes; but for teaching that the Grace of Temperance and other Vertues, conſiſted in a cheerful, innocent, and profitable Conversation.

And now to recapitulate what other Prerogatives the Hortulan Proviſion has been celebrated for, beſsides its Antiquity, Health and Longævity of the Antediluvians; that Temperance, Frugality, Leiſure, Eaſe, and innumerable other Vertues and Advantages, which accompany it, are no leſs attributable to it. Let us hear our excellent Botaniſt Mr. Ray.

‘The Uſe of Plants (ſays he) is all our Life long of that univerſal Importance and Concern, that we can neither live nor ſubſiſt in any Plenty with Decency, or Conveniency or be ſaid to live indeed at all without them: whatſoever Food is neceſſary to ſuſtain us, whatſoever contributes to delight and refreſh us, are ſupply’d and brought forth out of that plentiful and abundant ſtore: and ah, how much more innocent, ſweet and healthful, is a Table cover’d with theſe, than with all the reeking Fleſh of butcher’d and ſlaughter’d Animals: Certainly Man by Nature was never made to be a Carnivorous Creature; nor is he arm’d at all for Prey and Rapin, with gag’d and pointed Teeth and crooked Claws, ſharp’ned to rend and tear: But with gentle Hands to gather Fruit and Vegetables, and with Teeth to chew and eat them: Nor do we ſo much as read the Uſe of Fleſh for Food, was at all permitted him, till after the Univerſal Deluge, &c.

To this might we add that tranſporting Conſideration, becoming both our Veneration and Admiration of the infinitely wiſe and glorious Author of Nature, who has given to Plants ſuch aſtoniſhing Properties; ſuch fiery Heat in ſome to warm and cheriſh, ſuch Coolneſs in others to temper and refreſh, ſuch pinguid Juice to nouriſh and feed the Body, ſuch quickening Acids to compel the Appetite, and grateful vehicles to court the Obedience of the Palate, ſuch Vigour to renew and ſupport our natural Strength, ſuch raviſhing Flavour and Perfumes to recreate and delight us: In ſhort, ſuch ſpirituous and active Force to animate and revive every Faculty and Part, to all the kinds of Human, and, I had almoſt ſaid Heavenly Capacity too. What ſhall we add more? Our Gardens preſent us with them all; and whilſt the Shambles are cover’d with Gore and Stench, our Sallets ſcape the Insults of the Summer Fly, purifies and warms the Blood againſt Winter Rage: Nor wants there Variety in more abundance, than any of the former Ages could ſhew.

Survey we their Bills of Fare, and Numbers of Courſes ſerv’d up by Athenæus, dreſt with all the Garniſh of Nicander and other Grecian Wits: What has the Roman Grand Sallet worth the naming? Parat Convivium, The Gueſts are nam’d indeed, and we are told,

——Varias, quas habet hortus opes?

How richly the Garden’s ſtor’d:

In quibus eſt Luctuca ſedens, & tonſile porrum, Nee deeſt ructatrix Mentha, nec herba ſalax, &c.