Hamel Du Monceau, Henry Lewis Du

, an eminent French writer on rural ceconomy and vegetable physiology, was born at Paris in 1700. Being a member of the academy of sciences, he published in the memoirs of that body in 1728, “his first ceconomical essay, on a kind of parasitical fungus which infests the roots of the cultivated saffron, and is fatal to them. In the same year he published in that work his first treatise on a much more important subject, the propagation of trees by grafting, where he hazarded some physiological opinions, and entered on a course of experiment and observation, subsequently pursued to an extent which has been of great service to science, and has justly rendered his name famous. He continued from time to time to communicate to the academy various papers relative to these matters. In 1750 he began to publish in 12mo, his” Traite de la Culture des Terres,“which was continued in following years till 1761, when the sixth volume came out. Our English writer Tull was his first guide, but he subsequently profited widely by the experience of himself and of various other people, aided by his physiological sagacity, of which he made a far more cautious use than is general with farming philosophers, and deserves to be reckoned the father of intelligent agriculture in France. HisElements d’Agriculture," in 2 vols. 12mo, published in 1764, may be considered as a sequel to the preceding work. These two volumes have been translated into German, Spanish, and | English. Du. Hamel wrote also on the cultivation and preparation of Madder, in 1757, 4to.

A more splendid and extensive work of our author was published in 1755, making 2 vols. 4to, entitled “Traité des Arbres et Arbustes qui se cultiventen France en pleine terre.” Having been made inspector of the marine, he undertook to investigate all that concerned the cultivation and preservation of timber, and in this work extended his views to the treatment and botanical discrimination of all trees and shrubs capable of bearing the climate of France. Hence a number of American species became first known to his countrymen, and even to other nations by his means. Haller reckons that this work treats of a thousand species and varieties. They are arranged alphabetically, according to their Latin generic names, and he took for the basis of the work the nomenclature of Tournefort. It is to be regretted that he did not regularly adopt the Linnaean nomenclature as to species, which had appeared two years before in the “Species Plautarum,” a work he occasionally cites; but he was not enough of a practical botanist to feel its transcendant utility. His most eminent and important work, the “Physique des Arbres,” came out in 1758, in 2 vols. 4to, with numerous copper-plates; and on this his merit as a physiologist securely rests. In it he has collected and revised all that had been done before him, especially by Malpighi, Grew, Hales, and Bonnet, as well as his own preceding experiments and remarks. The great merit of this work consists in its details respecting the structure and anatomy of plants, and the physiology of their different organs.

In 1760 he published another valuable practical volume in 4to, with plates, entitled “Des Semis et Plantations des Arbres, et de leur Culture.” This had an especial view to the great national object of improving the forests of the kingdom, highly important in a country where so much wood is continually used for fuel, and so little, in proportion to some other countries, naturally produced. The author laudably takes advantage of the panic with which his countrymen are every now and then seized, of a scarcity of fuel, to excite their attention to the means he would recommend for the prevention of so dreadful an evil, and his book is a mine of practical information for the woodman, the planter, and the gardener, of the first authority and value. The same subject is followed up in | 2 vols. 4to, published in 1764, under the title of “De l’exploitation des Bois, ou moyen de tirer parti des taillis demi futayes et hautes futayes;” and in 1767 appeared another 4to volume, “Du transport, de la conservation, et de la force du Bois,” full of practical information relative to the properties, qualities, and uses of different woods, intermixed with physiological remarks, as in the preceding performances of this excellent writer, who published also in 1764, upon the art of refining sugar, in folio, and in 1765, on the preservation of grain, in 12mo. His most splendid work was printed at Paris in 1768, in 2 vols. 4to, with fine coloured plates. Its title is “Traite des Arbres fruitiers.” In this the varieties of fruit-trees are elegantly distinguished by figures and descriptions, and their treatment illustrated with the usual science of the author.

Du Hamel was associated to the chief learned societies of Europe, lived in high respect and esteem, and died at Paris in 1782, when he was dean of the academy of sciences. Besides the above works, he wrote on the management of rope-yards and fisheries, and on naval architecture. 1


Rees’s Cyclopædia, by Dr. Smith.— Eloges des Academitiens, vol. ^I.