This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Picking out a sentence, or perhaps half a sentence, as in the following, and then making a chapter on it, is much like the practice of Scriptural polemics. The most contradictory notions can be established in that way. The following illustration from the Country Gentleman would not be worth note but for the initials of one of the most intelligent of Pennsylvania agriculturists being appended to it.
"Mr. Meehan says, in his Forestry Report to the Pennsylvania Board of Agriculture, that it is a mere waste of public money to give premiums for the planting of trees anywhere and everywhere. His reason possibly is that so few of the trees so planted scatteringly can ever become fit for the saw and plane. It is not along fences or roadsides that a tree can be expected to grow well every season for a hundred years or more without ever being rubbed, or bored, or broken, or in some way impeded in clean, erect growth, during all that time. But in a crowded plantation, where each is a nurse to the other, and where the fittest and best survive, they are secure and luxuriant. Of all the beauty of high culture for which England is famous, not the least is the lushy umbrageousness and thrift of the artificial plantations seen on some of the hills, which, outside of the enclosures, are as bare as any prairie. W. G. W."
What Mr. Meehan really did say we take from the report as published in the volume for 1880: "Thus we see that blind attempts to encourage timber culture in some States have failed. General laws giving premiums for planting trees anywhere and anyhow, so that the trees are planted, is a mere waste of public money."
It seems to us that "blind " attempts to encourage timber planting "anywhere or anyhow, so long as trees are planted," is not at all saying "it is a mere waste of public money to give premiums for the planting of trees anywhere and everywhere." Mr. Meehan is and always has been in favor of State or National encouragement to forestry culture, but he condemns the blind and senseless legislation that, under the name of encouragement, has been simply a waste of public money.
Intelligent legislation is of another sort than that which is blind and blundering.
One of the laws Mr. M. had specially in mind was one of Pennsylvania, that if a person plant a few trees along his front on the roadside, he shall be relieved from the payment of road taxes. What the planting of a few trees along the roadside has to do with the great national question of forestry it is hard to see; and even if the planting of a few hundred trees in this way should have any influence on the millions of feet of lumber required in the future, it is difficult to see why we should be compelled to stick in the mud because no taxes were raised to repair the roads. It is blind legislation which gives bad roads for road-trees, however good.