Dr Hogg, after a few preliminary observations, said: Though the judging of fruit has on various occasions occupied the attention of those interested in the subject, and has from time to time been discussed in the public prints by those most competent to deal with it, I am not aware that any common understanding as to the basis on which fruit-judging should rest has yet been arrived at. Notwithstanding this want of a written law on the subject, the practice of judging fruit is followed with results which, though not always agreeable to unsuccessful competitors, are, upon the whole, generally accepted and acceptable.

It is not my intention to submit anything to this meeting which can be regarded in any light as a solution of the question - Upon what principles ought fruit to be judged? This I will leave to be dealt with by those of my audience who are sufficiently versed in the subject, and who feel themselves competent to do so. All that I shall do is to state the motives which actuate me in coming to the conclusion I do when I am acting the part of a fruit judge, leaving others to set up any other code they may think better and more in accordance with their own views.

And first, let me remark that, in judging fruit at exhibitions, I think we ought to do so upon different grounds to those upon which we should judge it at our own tables. We must bear in mind that exhibition fruit is exceptional, and is produced by the greatest effort of the horticultural skill of the exhibitor. It generally receives an amount of attention which he cannot afford to bestow on a general crop, provided his establishment is an extensive one; and we ought, therefore, to regard the exhibition fruit of a gardening establishment very much as we should the exhibition ox - as the exceptional animal on the farm. In judging fruit, therefore, we must look to those points which exhibit the greatest amount of horticultural skill - and the first of these are size and symmetry.

In judging size and symmetry we must deal with each variety on its own merits. It would not be fair, for instance, to judge on the same grounds a bunch of Buck-land Sweetwater Grape and one of White Muscat of Alexandria. A bunch of Buckland Sweetwater may be much larger than, and equally as handsome as, one of Muscat of Alexandria, and both may be in every point what gardeners call "well finished;" but the skill required in producing such a bunch of Muscat of Alexandria being much greater than that which is required to grow the Buckland Sweetwater, and the Muscat of Alexandria being a much superior fruit, I would give the preference to the latter, although inferior in size to the former. The same may be said of Black Hamburg and Black Prince shown in the same class, though not on the ground that Black Hamburg requires greater skill in the production of it, but because it is a superior fruit.

It matters not what description of fruit we may be judging; be it Grapes, Pines, Peaches, or any other fruit, size and symmetry are the features which first attract our attention; and therefore to size and symmetry, but not to size apart from symmetry, I attach, perhaps, the greatest importance when other points are not greatly deficient.

The next important feature is colour, requiring much skill in the development of it. This is by some regarded as of even greater importance than size and symmetry. I am rather inclined to give colour second place, except when it is unusually fine, and the difference of size and symmetry between the competing fruit is not great. In such a case I would certainly give the preference to colour, for I conceive that in such circumstances there is a greater exhibition of horticultural skill in producing the highly-coloured fruit than in producing the larger, because it betokens attention to the maintenance of the just equilibrium between the action of the roots and that of the leaves, and a knowledge as to the crop the plant is capable of producing, without which I conceive no fruit can be well and perfectly coloured. One may feed and force a plant so as to induce it to produce large and showy fruit; but unless the treatment is so regulated as to preserve the just equilibrium between the root, which serves as the mouth, and the leaves, which perform the functions of digestive organs, there is no guarantee either for high colour or perfect flavour, which generally go together.

Still, I say, when fruit has not an objectionally bad colour, and is not deficient in flavour, but has size and symmetry much in advance of another which possesses higher colour and better flavour, but is much inferior in size and symmetry, I would certainly give the award in favour of the larger fruit.

The next point on which I have to touch is flavour; and here I know there is a great diversity of opinion. Some hold that the beginning and the end of all fruit-culture is flavour; no matter how large or how small, or however badly coloured, the fruit may be, if flavour is obtained the grower has got all he has ever striven for. Now that is very well when fruit is grown merely for private use - and so long as the palate is satisfied there is no other desire to be gratified; but we are now discussing the merits of exhibition fruit, into which the whole energy of the cultivator is thrown to develop, not one, but every feature of h!s production, and the greatest display of cultural skill is to succeed in gratifying the mind as much through the eye as through the palate. It is not to be supposed that I depreciate flavour. On the contrary, I consider it an important point in making awards to exhibition fruit; but it ought only to come in when the competition is otherwise so close that another point is required to turn the scale.

There is only one exception I would make on the question of flavour, and that is in judging Melons, which, if they have not flavour, have nothing whatever to recommend them. They may be Vegetable Marrows or Pumpkins, or any other vegetable production, if flavour is absent; and I think experience will testify that if the flavour of a Melon is even but indifferent, then the fruit is not worth eating; and hence I think all Melons ought to be cut, and judged by flavour only.

In the discussion which ensued on the reading of Dr Hogg's paper, Mr Marshall said that flowers were grown to please the eye, and therefore were judged by the eye; but fruit being grown to please the palate, he thought that flavour should stand first, as being more requisite, say to the Grape, than either size or colour.

Mr Ayres remarked that it should be the duty of the Society to say that all fruit should be grown for use, and not merely for exhibition; he would certainly consider flavour as the first requirement.

Major Clarke thought that fruit was produced commonly on two distinct principles, one to obtain fruit for exhibition, and the other to obtain it for dessert. The man who could combine these two principles he should certainly choose for his gardener.