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the Encyclopædia Britannica; and although this insufficiency has been thus early and generally noticed, the present state of the Art proves how little has been done to remedy the defect. Without a correct knowledge of the Cause, no one can possibly be certain of success in producing or preventing an Effect.
A reference to those authors will show how trifling has been the improvement in Horticulture, since Bradley and Miller, and the reason is obvious; however acute their observations, and ingenious their description of certain Effects, they do not appear to have had a correct comprehension of the Cause.
fate of many others; that is, of being despised by some readers." Again, “which work I am afraid will be neglected by several practitioners who despise books, and take a pleasure in rendering them useless to others."
Forsyth - “Of books I have never availed myself farther than as they might tend to assist in perfecting my catalogue of Fruits; for at a time when I did once begin to read, with a view to improvement of my practice, I soon found myself more bewildered than instructed, and have never since resumed the task.”
Encyclopædia Britannica --- “Pruning, though an operation of very general use, is nevertheless rightly understood by few, nor is it to be learned by rote.” Mr. Knight
“ I have been induced to believe that none of the forms in which Fruit Trees are generally trained, are those best calculated to promote an equal distribution of the circulating fluids, by which alone permanent health and vigour and power to afford a succession of abundant crops can be given.”
Feeling convinced of this, and of the necessity of adopting a different course from that pursued by my predecessors, I have on all occasions reverted to Nature, aod to original and elementary principles or causes ; and hence, tracing effects by regular demonstrative experiments, I have been enabled to deduce and arrange a System of Practice which has produced the most desirable results.
However, I am not disposed to arrogate authority, nor so self-sufficient as to wish my assertions to be taken for granted, but feel it due to every person, to be allowed a fair opportunity of forming their own judgment, and of being convinced, by the fair means of explanation and illustration, that their long established practice is insufficient, before they are required to give it up in favour of a new mode.
With this view I have adopted the plan of a Commentary on the different Authors I have thought it necessary to refer to, and where their observations and opinions could be compressed in my own language, without the possibility of misconstruction, I have done it to the best of my ability ; but in cases where this could not be done, I have thought it a justice due to those authors, to quote literally; and, for the sake of a more ready comparison, I have also given Sketches of their different Figures.
Perhaps nothing can more clearly evince the imperfect state of Horticulture, or afford a more
substantial proof of the absence of scientific principles in its general practice (at any rate of that part which forms the principal subject of the present work), than this general opinion, that a correct knowledge of the Art of Gardening cannot be obtained from books.
When, indeed, any art rests upon a bare mechanical movement, grounded on the casual and contracted observation of effect only, it must be impossible to diffuse a general knowledge of it by writing
And when, instead of reverting to original and demonstrative principles, those who write on any subject, ground their systems upon a preceding author, who perhaps was led away by some favorite untried theory; the difficulty of applying rules thus formed to existing circumstances, cannot but raise a strong prejudice against books.
When the peculiar Laws or Elements upon which a process is founded and carried on, are correctly ascertained and demonstrated, and by clear Explanation and Elucidation are reduced to Scientific Principles or Rules, a correct knowledge is readily conveyed by writing; therefore, although occasional disappointments have occurred, when expecting to derive correct information from books, we ought not to condemn them altogether ; this would be placing an effectual bar, not only to the immediate diffusion, but to the farther progress of knowledge.
There are indeed many instances where an author has been happy in a discovery, and successful in forming and describing its Theory, and applying it to practice to a certain extent, but pursuing it beyond the point of its correct application, he has bewildered and confused his subject; and when this is the case, a person taking up such a book, intending to pursue it as a study, and to profit by the Rules of Practice there laid down, finding himself disappointed in many of the results of his application, naturally concludes that the work is inadequate to his purpose, and he throws it aside.
Thus Bradley discovered and gave a clear det scription of the nature and effect of the sexual system of plants, correctly stating that the accidental coupling of the blossoms of different plants, and their consequent interchange of Farina, creates variety in the seeds or their produce; and that repeatedly propagating from the seeds, gives birth to plants of a constitution adapted to the vicissitudes of the climate they are raised in.
And this has been most successfully and profitably sustained by the laudable attention and extensive practical experiments of many eminent Horticulturists, to whom the world are indebted for many most valuable varieties of Fruit, Pulse, and esculent Vegetables. But Bradley also states, that the promiscuous distribution of the Farina of one fruit tree with another, not only blends the nature of the two fruits in the seed, but it