This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
The Gardens, Dalkeith Park, September 2d, 1869. Sir, - I sent my son to your exhibition with the three bunches of Grapes I entered for the Cup offered by the Queen of England, and I have just received the following telegram from him: "Meredith first. Been disqualified. Prize altered from three bunches to a collection".
If I understand this right, it means that you have given the Cup to a large collection of Grapes instead of three bunches; and on all the principles of fair dealing and common honesty, I protest against such a change, and claim the Cup, if my three bunches were the best that were exhibited, and properly entered as three bunches for the prize in question.
The 'Gardeners' Chronicle' has been the English organ of the exhibition, and on the 17th of July the following paragraph appeared in it: "We learn officially from Hamburg that the Queen's Silver Cup is to be given for the best three bunches of Grapes." On the faith of this announcement, I wrote and entered three bunches for the Cap, and added, that if I was in error in supposing it was to be given for three bunches, I begged to be corrected. The only reply I got was a certificate that I had entered them, and a card to place on them, which was an acknowledgment that I was right; and I sent three bunches of Grapes, weighing more than 13 lb., and at great expense. And I now demand an explanation of what to me admits of none, except that of keeping faith with me, or any one else more deserving who may have complied with your rules.
I here beg to state that I will accept of no other prize from your Society for my Grapes in the place of that for which they were entered.
Awaiting your early reply, I am, your obedient servant, Wm. Thomson.
Dr E. Gotze, Secretary To The Council
I have reason to believe I was by no means the only individual who had cause to complain of the way they were treated on the occasion referred to; and all exhibitors, whether natives or foreigners, were compelled to pay 18s. on the first day of the exhibition before they could gain an entrance to see their own productions - a piece of extortion never heard of before - and many got their plants, or cuttings from them, stolen altogether.