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I am old enough to know that every thing connected with the human mind is progressive ; succeeding generations will improve upon the present; and I may live to make improvements, and more perfectly to arrange even my own system.
We have the declaration of one of our most distinguished Philosophers, that “ Science was extending with such rapidity, that even while he was preparing his Manuscript of Agricultural Chemistry for the press, some alterations became necessary."
And indeed, I flatter myself, that such of your Members as have perused my former papers, and will do me the honour to peruse the present Work, will find, that, in the short interval that has elapsed, I have been enabled to make some important. additions.
I must further add, that I feel your very polite suggestion, that if I chose to publish my work by Subscription, many of your Members would hecome Subscribers, to be particularly entitled to my grateful acknowledgements, and an additional inducement
to offer you the best testimony in my power, of my sincere admiration and esteem, by dedicating to your truly respectable Society the present Work; and by requesting your acceptance and protection.
EXPLANATIONS AND REMARKS.
The numerous works that have already been laid before the Public, on the subject of Horticulture, may possibly raise an expectation that I should offer some Apology, or give some explanation of the motives which induce me to aspire to public favor.
About twenty years since, Hitt's Treatise on Fruit Trees, published in the year 1750, was put into my hands. After I had read and contemplated this work, I could not but consider all Trees trained in the common manner, as deformed, distorted, and disordered objects. And having at the time a number of young trees that had been planted a year or two, I immediately reduced them to a proper state for training, after his method; but I very soon found it a difficulty bordering on impossibility, to produce the effect described by him, by the application of his principles, in the manner directed, and conformable to the precise Figures he exhibits ; yet, by a due attention to Nature, I was enabled to proceed with considerable success.
To this Author I acknowledge myself indebted for the first ideas of establishing fixed principles for the general management of Fruit Trees: previously, however, to the perusal of his work, I had paid considerable attention to the training and pruning of Trees, and had established the principles of training the Vine, published in the London Horticultural Society's Transactions. Ten years
since I was flattered in the success of my experiments and improvements, and felt convinced of the possibility of reducing that, which was in its general practice no more than an uncertain and mysterious Art, to a clear and delightful Science; but I had not the vanity to believe I was myself equal to this arduous task. I therefore courted the attention and assistance of several eminent characters; but from causes unknown to me, my applications were not attended with the desired effect.
Still, however, wishing for investigation and discussion, I repeatedly appealed to superior authority, but no one has ever attempted a refutation of any of my Principles or Theorems.
Before therefore I am condemned as self-conceited in thus claiming public attention, I hope those efforts to obtain correction and assistance will be allowed their due weight.
Devoted to the study of Nature, and attending at all times more to her Laws than the Rules of Art, I make no pretensions to the merit of a polished style of writing; and if to any it should
appear that I have indulged in harsh expressions, or in too much freedom or severity in my Comments on the labours of others, I trust the zeal arising from the warm pursuit of a favorite object, and a strong desire to elicit Truth, are considerations that will plead my Excuse.
The difficulty of acquiring a knowledge of training and managing Fruit Trees from Books, has been remarked and deplored by all the different writers on the subject, to whom I have thought it necessary to refer in the course of my work; viz. Bradley*, Miller, Hitt, Forsyth, Mr. Knight, and
* Miller “ And here it may be necessary to make an apology for adding to the number of books on this subject, which of late have been very much increased ; so that many persons have thought it useless to write any more on the science. When their works are narrowly examined, it will
appear that some of the most popular authors have done little more than changed the language, or artfully transposed the sense of those who wrote long before them, without taking the least notice to whom they were indebted for their works.”
Bradley ~ " As there is no subject of more general use and advantage than the cultivation of land, and the improvement of the vegetable world, so there is none which has been treated of more largely, and fallen under such variety of pens of all kinds. The public, which is generally so good-natured on this occasion as to accept and encourage any thing that looks towards the bettering their fortunes, has never been so much baulked in their expectations as in books of Agriculture.”
" Authors have generally transcribed one another without the least acknowledgements of their thefts, or adding one single improvement to the knowledge of their forefathers."
Hitt “I am apprehensive this Treatise will meet with the