« ForrigeFortsett »
MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
You publicly describe yourselves to be associated for the purpose of improving Horticulture in all its branches, and under this character you are incorporated : having paid considerable attention to experimental gardening as an amusement, I was enabled to make improvements that were thought to be important, and feeling desirous of contributing my efforts to establish the object you profess to have in view, I made, and long persisted in making, attempts to obtain your attention and co-operation, but in return was treated with neglect and injustice, and after a long and evasive correspondence on your part, being led to believe that the opposition I met with arose principally from individual influence, I determined on laying my observations and the result of my experience before the public, and this I did in a treatise on the Science of Horticulture, published by Messrs.
Longman and Co. in 1818; and feeling every confidence in your public professions as a body, and every regard for so respectable an association of noblemen and gentlemen, I dedicated my work to you, knowing it to be a prevailing opinion, that practical gardening could not be learnt from books, I submitted to your consideration the outlines of a plan and prospectus for establishing an experimental garden, which was returned to me without comment. A short time after this, being informed that you were about forming such an establishment, I wrote to ask if such was the case, and received for answer, that I had been misinformed. Four years then elapsed, and although I was not aware that during this time any one had attempted to controvert my opinions, to deny my demonstrations, or to refute my conclusions, I had reason to believe that the practical application of my principles was doubted, and that my system of management, as explained and shewn by my sketches, was considered to be merely theoretical. Some of your members, indeed, although they had never seen my garden or trees, I know had expressed themselves to this effect : , confirmed therefore in my former opinion, that nothing but ocular demonstration could do away those erroneous impressions, and remove prejudice; and well aware that you
possessed the full public patronage, and consequently that without your aid and concurrence any individual attempt to raise the requisite establishment must be abortive, and at the same time being flattered by the unequivocal expression, by every person, without exception, who allowed me to shew them my garden and explain my principles of practice, of their conviction of the correctness of my representations, and their admiration and approbation of the result of my practice, among whom were several of your most respectable members, I again endeavoured, by letter, to prevail on your Society to put my principles and plans under a course of practical demonstration, or to send a deputation of your members to inspect the results of my experiments in my garden, and to favor me with their report; to this I received the following answer from your Secretary : “ It is an established rule of the Society, to which they always adhere, never to give an opinion as a body upon any subject of nature or art that comes before them, and that, consequently, they cannot depute any part of their body to examine your garden.” Not considering this to be an explicit answer to my propositions, I wrote again to that effect, when I received the following answer from the same Secretary : “I am ordered to hold no further commu
nication with you on the subject.” As it possibly may be inferred that such an abrupt reply was induced by some offensive language on my part, it may be necessary I should state that I am not aware of any such having been used; indeed within a short time of this I was favoured by the same Secretary with a polite note, requesting I would give to the Society an explanation of the principles and results of soine experiments I was making of growing peaches and nectarines in pots, and the nature and properties of the liquid manure which I used; but after the treatment I had experienced, I of course could feel little inducement to comply. Now, you publicly avow that you give medals and other acknowledgements to those who make discoveries and improvements in Horticulture, or in other respects promote the object of your association. May I not then ask, is not this an expression of your opinion as a body ? and is not the public led to believe that every real improvement offered to the Society will be acknowledged or rewarded ? or at least those of the greatest merit; and that consequently any new system offered to you, and failing to obtain your sanction, must be considered as fallacious, and undeserving your attention ? or is it to be understood, that you are associated for the purpose only of col
lecting mere objects of curiosity and casual production, to the exclusion altogether of matters which relate to the science of Horticulture? This I cannot suppose, but believe that a comparative few only of your members interfere with, and determine, the particular arrangementof your proceedings; to the others, therefore, and to the public Inow appeal. Can it be asked of what value is the science of Horticulture? and which must necessarilyinclude the science of Agriculture. Can people consider themselves to be well instructed, or duly qualified to judge of cultivation, who have no correct notion of the relation of effects to their causes in the process of vegetation ?. It is justly observed by an eminent author, that “every thing which is wrought with certainty, is wrought upon some principle ; if it is not, it cannot be repeated.” Also says, “ the value and rank of every art is in proportion to the mental labour employed in it, or the mental pleasure produced by it.” To these I
To these I may likewise add the well-known axiom, that “to be happy the mind must be occupied.” As a science calculated to sustain this, Botany has been long considered as worthy the attention of the higher classes of society; but the garden has been left to the controul of the lower classes, in whom little other ability has been required than that of imi