This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The decease of this eminent horticulturist, well known to our readers as the anthor of the Miniature Fruit Garden, was announced too late for our last number. We had prepared a brief notice, but give place to the following, which we take from the proceedings of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, on December 1st:
President Parkman announced as the first business before the meeting, resolutions in memory of Thomas Rivers, of Sawbridgeworth, England, one of the most eminent horticulturists and po-mologists, which would be appropriately presented by Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, the foremost American pomologist.
" Mr. Wilder said: "Mr. President, I thank you for suspending the usual order of business, that we may render proper honor to the memory of one of the oldest and most respectable corresponding members of the society. I am advised by the memorial card which I hold in my hand, that Thomas Rivers died at his residence, Sawbridgeworth, England, October 17, 1877, aged seventy-nine years. It has been my privilege to have a personal acquaintance and correspondence with Mr. Rivers for nearly fifty years. He was one of the most eminent horticulturists of the age. As a nurseryman, pomologist, tree and rose grower - especially as a hybridizer, in the production and dissemination of new and choice varieties - his name will long be remembered with veneration, gratitude and respect. For nearly sixty years he. was actively engaged in the nursery business, and it can be said with truth, that no man in all Europe ever maintained a higher character for fidelity and integrity. As a pomologist he will be remembered for generations to come, especially for the production of new and valuable fruits for seed, which exercised a fascination over him, as be said, ' growing with his growth and strengthening with his decline.' As a raiser and introducer of new fruits, the editor of the London Gardener's Chronicle (than which there is no higher1 authority) said of him, 'The name of Thomas Rivers stands preeminent.
We have bad no English pomologist to compare with him in this department, if we except Thomas Andrew Knight.' The same paper gives a list of more than seventy new varieties of fruit raised and sent out by him. Mr. Rivers considered as one of his greatest triumphs the production of early peaches, by which the season is extended for several weeks, and which are now distributed throughout the fruit-growing world.
"As a lover of the rose, and the great leader in its improvement in England, his name will be embalmed in the hearts of grateful millions, while the rose shall unfold its petals to the morning light, or shed its fragrance on the passing breeze. Of his love and devotion to the rose, an author remarks, 'Age cannot wither his loyalty, and beneath a hundred medals, orders and clasps, his brave heart is still with the rose.' His catalogue of roses, published forty-four years ago. was pronounced by Mr. Louden 'the most useful catalogue of roses in the English language.' Besides writing many excellent practical works on horticulture, Mr. Rivers has been for many years a large contributor to the periodical press, and his various books and papers on the rose, the pear, root-pruning, double-grafting, the construction of orchard houses and other cheap protections against the uncertainties of an English climate, and other subjects, are among the most valuable contributions to horticultural literature. But, Mr. President, time would fail me, were I to enumerate the various ways in which Mr. Rivers' name has been associated with the progress of rural economy and the horticulture of the world.
Truly it may be said of him, 'His works do follow him.' His books are the best record of his life.
"In view of what I have said, I beg the privilege of presenting the following resolutions:
"Resolved, That in the death of Thomas Rivers, one of the oldest and most respected corresponding members of this society, we recognize, in common with the horticultural world, the loss of a friend of horticultural science, rural im provement and ornamental culture, and a benefactor of our race.
"Resolved, That while we deplore the loss of so useful a man, we desire to thank the Supreme Disposer of all events that he was spared to us for so long a course of years, and was at last gathered to his fathers 'like a shock of corn fully ripe in its season.'
" Resolved, That the members of this society sympathize sincerely with the bereaved family in their affliction, and that a copy of these proceedings be forwarded to Mrs. Rivers as a token of the respect and esteem in which her late husband was held in America".
W. C. Strong, James Cruikshanks, and President Parkman spoke to the resolutions, which were unanimously adopted.