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.
On two occasions, recently, the Gardener's Monthly called attention to some misstatements of the American Naturalist in regard to the Academy of Natural Sciences.
In the November number of that magazine the following appears: "The Editor of the Gardener's Monthly, who is also a contributor to the New York Independent, has several times recently presented himself as an antagonist of the Naturalist. Being placed by our critic in the excellent company of Mr. Darwin, Professor Gray and Mr. Riley, we have permitted our friend to enjoy the diversion all to himself. We had hoped that the failure of his attempted corrections of these well-known authorities would have inspired him with a little caution. But we now think it time to apply the language used by the late Mr. Darwin in a letter to one of our editors, that this gentleman 'is the most inaccurate man he had ever known.'
" We think Mr. Darwin a little severe, how ever, when he says 'he has done more injury to science in America than he had ever done it good.' If he had said Philadelphia instead of America we should have been more disposed to agree with him".
It has recently been stated in the Independent - not by the writer of this, or by his instigation - that though these editorials are nominally by "A. S. Packard, Jr. and Ed. D Cope," Prof. Packard disclaims all knowledge of them, and we repeat this in justice to that gentleman.
The question at issue between the Gardener's Monthly and the American Naturalist is whether or not its attack on the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was just. The Naturalist cannot be allowed to evade the issue under cover of an attack on the editor personally. This attack would not be noticed at all. but for the injustice it does to the distinguished gentleman named. Whether or not Mr. Darwin ever wrote just as he is made to appear here may well be questioned; but even if he did, "the Editor of the Gardener's Monthly" well understands how. in moments of pique, to which the most amiable of men are exposed, they will exhibit in the privacy of confidential correspondence weaknesses they would be ashamed to show to all the world. The one who unveils this infirmity is the one to be despised. If the reputation of the " Editor of the Gardener's Monthly " were all there was at stake we should rest here. All this he intends to leave to the unbiassed decision of those who shall come after when he is gone,*and who are but boys now.
But it is only justice to the memory of Mr. Darwin to say that he was sorry for the sharp letters he had hastily written, and that the writer believes from Mr. Darwin's correspondence that he had his regard to the last.
So also as regards the other two gentlemen to whom Mr. Cope attempts to cling in his descent. There are too many evidences of their respect and esteem, both published and unpublished, for the " Editor of the Gardener's Monthly " to permit himself to be worried, even should they be found in a moment of weakness, where Mr. Cope has placed Mr. Darwin. It is pleasant to feel that one has the good will of his fellow-workers in any cause; but "the Editor of the Gardener's Monthly" would despise himself, as the gentlemen named in their cooler moments would despise him, if he should attempt to secure their applause by being the mere echo of their sentiments. Free discussion is welcome only to friends worth having.
As to the matter of the scientific differences of opinion which the "Editor of the Gardener's Monthly" may have had with the gentlemen named, they are matters of record, and these gentlemen are no doubt as perfectly well satisfied as he is that posterity shall judge as to their accuracy. The difference with Professor Cope is of a totally different character. While his remarks heretofore on the Academy of Natural Sciences, and now on the Editor, were inspired by malignity - their's were dictated merely by an honest desire for truth.