The Hon. Daniel Webster made the following remarks: "I congratulate you, Mr. President, that our flowers are not. "' Born to blush unseen And waste their sweetness on the desert air."
"The botany we cultivate, the productions of the business of horticulture, the plants of the garden, are cultivated by hands as delicate as their own tendrils, viewed by countenances as spotless and pure as their own petals, and watched by eyes as brilliant and full of lustre, as their own beautiful exhibitions of splendor.
"Horticulture is one pursuit of natural science in which all sexes and degrees of education and refinement unite. Nothing is too polished to see the beauty of flowers. Nothing too rough to be capable of enjoying them. It attracts, delights all. It seems to be a common field, where every degree of taste and refinement may unite, and find opportunities for their gratification."
The Hon. Josiah Quincy, senior, remarked, "that in the Horticultural Hall, he had witnessed the wonders wrought by the florist's hand; he had seen there what man could do, by labor and taste, to enlarge, beautify, and multiply the bounties of nature; he had seen how art and wisely employed capital were permitted by heaven, to improve its own gifts, and felt how impossible it was by language, to express the beauty of fruits and flowers, which nature and art had combined to improve. Nor could he refrain from reflecting that all was the work of well directed industry."
The Hon. Caleb Cushing, who had just returned from his mission to China, made the following remarks in relation to woman and flowers: "I am, Mr. President, most thankful for the opportunity to look on a spectacle like this - on the delicate and beautiful fruits and flowers before us. All our associations of beauty and taste are blended with flowers. They are our earliest tokens of affection and regard. They adorn the bridal brow at the wedding; they are woven in garlands around the head of the con-querer; they are strewn on the coffins of the dead. And here is another of their most grateful and beautiful uses:- ornamenting the table at a festival, and enlivening the scene and enchanting the eye. In that ' central flowery land,' this is the case at all festivals; flowers there adorn the table, and meet the eye in every direction, on all festive occasions; but they are not there accompanied by what we here enjoy. Here alone - here and in Christian lands - woman enchants and beautifies with her presence, the festive scene. Woman - our equal - shall I not say our moral superior. It is only here, that such a scene can gladden the human eye. I regard this exhibition as a striking proof of the point which education and intellectual refinement have reached in our country; that we have got beyond mere utility, and ceasing to inquire how far it is incompatible with beauty, have found that the beautiful is of itself useful. We have learned to admire art, to appreciate sculpture and painting, and to look upon fruits and flowers, as models of delicacy and beauty." The Hon. Robert C. Winthrop remarked, that, "he had never cultivated flowers, not even the flowers of rhetoric; as to the sentimentalities of the subject, Mrs. Caudle had quite exhausted them in a single sentence of one of her last lectures, when she told her husband how ' she was born for a garden! There is something about it that makes one feel so innocent! My heart always opens and shuts at roses.' Shakespeare had pronounced it to be 'wasteful and ridiculous excess, to paint the lily, or throw a perfume upon the violet.' And so it would be. The violets had been called, 'sweet as the lids of Juno's eyes or Cytheroea's breath;' and of the lilies it had been divinely said, that 'Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.' Both had already a grace beyond the reach of art. But to multiply varieties of fruit and flowers; to increase their abundance, and scatter them with a richer profusion along the way-sides of life; to improve their quality, coloring and fragrance, wherever it was possible to do so; this, the great poet of nature, would have been the last person to call wasteful. Its utility would only be questioned by those who counted it useless to extend the range of innocent recreation and virtuous enjoyment; useless to brighten and strengthen the chain of sympathy which binds man to man; or useless to excite a fresher or more frequent glow of grateful admiration in the human breast, towards the giver of all good."
"Flowers," says a writer, "flowers of all created things, the most innocently simple, the most superbly complex, playthings for childhood, ornaments of the grave, and companions of the cold corpse! Flowers, beloved by the idiot, and studied by the thinking man of science! Flowers, that unceasingly expand to heaven their grateful, and to man their cheerful looks; soothers of human sorrow; fit emblems of the victor's triumph and the young bride's blushes! Welcome to the crowded ball, and grateful upon the solitary grave! Flowers are in the volume of nature, what the expression 'God is love' is in the volume of reva-lation! What a desolate place would be a world without a flower; it would be a face without a smile - a feast without a welcome. Are not flowers the stars of earth, and are not our stars, the flowers of heaven? One cannot look closely at the structure of a flower without loving it; they are the emblems and manifestations of God's love to the creation, and they are means and ministrations of man's love to his fellow creatures, for they first awaken in his mind a sense of the beautiful and good. The very inutility of flowers, is their excellence and great beauty, for they lead us to thoughts of generosity and moral beauty, detached from, and superior to all selfishness, so that they are sweet lessons in nature's book of instruction, teaching man that he liveth not by bread alone, but that he hath another than animal life."