This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"Maryland" asks : " A subscriber wishes to have the opinion of the editor or of some reader and correspondent of the Monthly, on the following case :
A gardener on a private place has, in making purchases of pots for the use of the garden, received from the maker of the article, what the gardener calls presents; in plain terms, a commission or douceur for bringing to him the patronage of the employer. The fact having become known to the employer, and the latter having made objection to the practice, the gardener maintains that there is nothing wrong in the transaction, asserts that ' they all do it,' and asks whether, when a present is offered to him he can be expected to throw it away?"
[As this is rather a question of ethics than of horticulture, we were uncertain whether we ought to give it a place in our crowded columns; but have decided to give our correspondent the benefit of the doubt. Noting, however, that the few words we have to say about it, must close the discussion.
It is not true that all gardeners take " commissions " on their employer's bills. We can say of our own knowledge, that very few of the best gardeners do. As to " presents," these may be either in the shape of good feeling and respect, or they may be intended as bribes. The man of right feeling indignantly rejects the latter, but cannot be expected to "throw away" the former, any more than any other person would from the President down. The difference between an honest mark of respect and a bribe is to be decided by the degree of moral feeling in the parties all round, and cannot be settled in a general way in a gardening magazine].