Favorable notices of the Book of Flowers have multiplied on my hands; but all I desire in its praise and commendation has been embodied in letters from eminent gentlemen which I have published, and will not therefore occupy any space to record others.
Boston, Feb. 9, 1856.
The late lamented Gen. H. A. S. Dearborn, formerly President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and whose opinion, of all others, I most highly esteem, expressed himself in relation to this work in the following complimentary and flattering letter :
Roxbury, March 17, 1851.
My dear Sir : I have obtained, and read with great pleasure, your admirable treatise on "The Mower-Garden." It is far the best work that has been published in this country upon that interesting subject, and preferable to any which have been imported for the New England States. The details of cultivation are precisely those which were required; and from your long experience in rearing ornamental shrubs and herbaceous flowering plants, which will endure the rigor of our climate, and your extensive and thorough knowledge of the habits of indigenous and exotic plants, which have been introduced into our gardens, entire confidence can be reposed in the instructions which have been given for the successful management of each genus and species.
Such a book as you have so timely furnished has been long a desideratum, and will have a most favorable influence in extending a taste for, and in advancing, that branch of rural tillage, which adds so much to the beauty of country residences.
What gives great value to the book is the highly important catalogue of Native Plants which you have in such a commendable manner introduced, and recommended to the special attention of your fellow-citizens. We have too long been in the habit of seeking in other countries ornamental trees, shrubs, and herbaceous flowers, when we have such a large variety, and among them many superior to those which have been imported as the product of other climes.
No one more highly appreciates the immense services you have rendered to
Horticulture and Agriculture, in all their numerous departments, than I do; for I well know how long your attention has been devoted to those subjects, and with what zeal and unremitted industry you have collected specimens of the most precious varieties of fruits, flowers and culinary vegetables, from all parts of the globe, and how well you have cultivated them, as well as the unwearied etForts you have made for the advancement of the best implements for the field, the orchard, and the garden, while, as an author, you are entitled to the gratitude of every person who lives by, or is pleased with, the cultivation of plants; and as a generous contributor to the weekly and annual exhibitions of the Horticultural Society ever since its establishment, you stand in the front rank.
With assurances of sincere esteem, I offer the most friendly salutations.
H. A. S. Dearborn.
Joseph Breck, Esq.
The Hon. J. T. Buckingham, formerly editor of the Boston Courier, well known throughout New England not only as an editor, but for the deep interest he has taken in Agricultural and Horticultural matters, has favored me with the following letter, which, with his leave, I publish. As a gentleman of refinement and taste, and a lover of all the wonderful works of God, from a humble flower to the magnificent heavens, I regard his opinion and commendation of my work with much satisfaction ;
Cambridge, Feb. 7, 1856. Joseph Breck, Esq.
Hear Sir : I understand that you are about publishing a new edition of your "Flower-Garden, or Book of Flowers." I am heartily glad of it. It is an evidence that the love of flowers, and their influence upon manners and morals, are increasing in our community. To this prevailing sentiment your book has essentially contributed. It has done much to improve the culture of flowers, and to extend that improvement in all directions. Personal observation has furnished me with unmistakable indications of a refinement of taste among the rural population, in regard to these u. Day-stars that twinkle from rainbow galaxies of earth's creation." Thirty years ago, a thrifty, money-making farmer would hardly permit a peony or a daffy, a poppy or a hollyhock, to show its face on his territory; and if his wife or children had contrived to raise a few of these or other flowers in some out-of-the-way corner in a garden appropriated to the raising of beans or cabbages, the chances were ten to one that he, or one of his hired men, would exterminate them with as little remorse as they would pull up a nettle, a thistle, or a pigweed. Every vegetable, not esculent by man or beast, was dealt with as an intruder, disfiguring the healthy countenance of the farm, or robbing it of some portion of its coveted income; and if a rose-bush had happily escaped the general purgation by means of the earnest supplication of some domestic favorite, the exemption was boasted of as an act of unmerited condescension. Now, you may travel through New England, and over a much broader space, and you will scarcely see a farm-house or a cottage, that is not embellished with a plat, or a border, of flowers, and probably a rose or a honey-suckle climbing up the door-posts or window-frames. In the garden you will see a bed of pinks or marigolds, and many other of the old-fashioned sorts, - such, I mean, as were, by a peculiar act of grace, in former years, permitted to grow in the garden, undisturbed by any attempt at cultivation. In my rambles about the county of Middlesex (as one of a committee of the Agricultural Society, to inspect farms and to report on the condition and progress of agriculture,) I have been agreeably surprized to see what changes a few years have produced. It is not uncommon to meet with a farmer, proud, as he should be, of the fine appearance of his cultivated acres, speaking with apparent pleasure of some new flower in his garden, or of the fine fragrance and beautiful colors of an old one, and commenting on the native country and habits and various attractive qualities of each. I have no doubt that many farmers in the country, who once thought it mere idleness to cultivate a flower, may be seen, after a hard day's work, walking or reclining in a flower-garden, mentally enjoying, and perhaps vocally enunciating, the sentiment, if not the language, of a favorite poet :
"If God hath made this world so fair, "Where sin and death abound, How beautiful, beyond compare, Will Paradise be found !"
Now, my dear sir, do you not think that some part of this change is your work ? Modesty may forbid you to put in a claim for the credit of the improvement; but there are thousands who will acknowledge their indebtedness to your Book of Flowers for the impulse which has produced it; for the skill which has enabled them to succeed in cultivation; for incentives to the im-provement of intellectual powers; for new and innocent modes of recreation; and for motives to pursue the holiest of all studies, - veneration of the power, admiration of the skill, devotion to the love of that incomprehensible Being, whose attributes are manifested scarcely more in the position and motion of Buns and systems, than in the beauty and fragrance of the violet and the lily.
" Were I, 0 God, in churchless lands remaining, Far from all voice of teachers and divines, My soul would find, in flowers of thy ordaining, Priests, sermons, shrines."
You must feel happy, my dear sir, in the consciousness of having done so much to promote the innocent enjoyment of others, and to develop the sources and the means of pure and rational recreation. I trust that the new edition of your book will not only add to your own satisfaction, but will secure the renewed thanks and regards of a grateful and enlightened public.
Kespectfully and sincerely your friend,
Joseph T. Buckingham.
All the Books on this Catalogue sent by Mail, to any part of the Union, free of postage, upon receipt of Price.