This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The above is the title of an editorial in the October number of the Gardener's Monthly. Though containing reflections upon others, as well as myself, I have taken no notice of it till now, which I hope will be evidence to you that in what I now write I have no personal feeling beyond the friendliness that has for so many years existed between us.
First, then, it is to be regretted that you are not more careful in your quotations. You charge me with using the following language in the paper which calls forth your comment: "misrepresentation," "gross misstatements," "misconstruction unjustifiable." There is not one of these expressions in my paper, and this fact very well illustrates the inaccuracy and looseness of your article. The expressions which you correctly quote, viz.: " unscientific statements," " pure misstatements," and " famous " ones, are more .than justified by the text of my criticism, and (as I think you will admit upon reflection) are not in that case of such a character as to warrant your charge that said criticism is an " attack " upon you. If you deny this assertion, please publish the criticism, and leave the judgment with your readers.
The gravest charge in your editorial alluded to is, however, not against me, but against the Permanent Secretary of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who has during so many years earned the confidence and received the approbation of the Association for his impartial editing of its proceedings. You say, "The volume has just been issued, and besides the paper ordered to appear are copious footnotes added, which the officers of the society did not order in. Thus we have the anomaly of a volume of 'transactions ' issuing a paper which was never transacted." Not to comment on the oddity of the sentence, or the "anomaly" of a volume issuing a paper, I must remark that the statement in the sentence is utterly false.
My paper appears as it was read and presented, though in order to occupy less time, as stated on the occasion, the foot-notes were but briefly referred to and the substance only of the more technical and classificatory material was given. Having been a member both of the Sectional and Standing Committees which passed upon the papers, I know that the officers of the Association ordered the paper printed without reading the whole of it. This, as you are very well aware, is the common practice even with papers not read from manuscript, but of which the substance merely is given by the author before some particular section of the Association. Large discretion is necessarily left with the Secretary, on whom your unjust accusation really falls.
The approbation which you offer to the officers of the Association in the concluding paragraph of said editorial is, therefore, as awkward and disingenuous as the compliment you pay me, for I beg to assure you, in conclusion, that my criticisms were not, as you put it, " simply a thoughtless act of impropriety," since they were well weighed and, in my judgment, well deserved.
They give the gist of my comment in unreported discussion before the Association of some of your communications thereto, during the past few years, and if, as I believe and hope, you are working for the truth rather than the enforcement of any pet views or theories, you will find room in the columns of your magazine for this communication, and I will then follow it by a brief statement of the points at issue between us.
[We must decline Professor Riley's offer to continue the discussion of this subject. It will be apparent to the reader that the only excuse the editor can offer for the admission of even this letter is, that some personal feeling might be attributed to him by declining it. Those who care enough for the subject to see how " utterly false" the editor's statements were, will of course read the "Proceedings," and judge for themselves. - Ed. G. M].