Many there are who set a very small estimate upon the practical value of botany. Not only is this true of many whose education is entirely practical; but of others and not a few who can boast of more liberal attainments.

By some botany is looked upon as a study, suitable only for girls, invalids or " dudes," or as a mere pastime for luxury. While the more " practical" says, " Of what value is it to me, or any body else, hoein' onions or holdin' a plow toknow, calyx, corolla, stamen, or pistil, hirsute, villous, glaucous or truncate? " " The United States 'ed' be my Uncle Sam just the same whether the leaf is entire, or lobed, truncate, or acuminate; smooth or villous. All the botany, chemistry and other sciences ever made 'ed' never make an onion grow".

The fact is these " practical people " are condemning a splendid friend whose acquaintance they have never made. They see botany as a dwarf when it is a giant. They look at it with a pocket lens, and a poor one at that, when it takes a telescope to view it. They drop themselves down in a narrow hole in the ground, look up at the sky and say, " I see but one star and that don't throw much light in this hole".

What is the trouble? The question can be answered in a very brief way. They claim the world is not round, just because they have not made the journey or even began. Or the righteous distaste of their parents for the hard terms and names of "old-fashioned" botany they have inherited in the form of prejudice.

This dislike of our ancestors for the botany of a few generations ago was not, we must say, very unjust; for the subject in those days amounted to little more than a skeleton, of which the long, hard names and adjectives were the dry bones; and those who were so unfortunate as to get hungry for botany were fed on these dry bones. No wonder they didn't relish it.

But botany with all other of the natural sciences has made a wonderful development since those days, and even within our own time. It now treats of living things, in a living way, and with a living interest. And it is taught and to be learned in the same way. It no longer treats merely of forms and names, but the things, and living things themselves, their distribution, their structure, how they live and what they are good for; or in other words, of their important uses, and relation to man, animals and the inorganic world.

But where are the practical results? It has unfolded the secret of diphtheria, scarlet and yellow fever, cholera, malaria, typhoid fever, putrid sore throat, catarrh, and a large class of diseases that for centuries were a mystery.

" But these are the revelations of the microscope." True - but the causes of the diseases spoken of are plants, and their study and investigation falls within the province of botany.

And not only of many diseases affecting animals but of those destructive to our most valuable fruits and crops, such as pear-blight, grape-rot, potatorot, wheat-rust, mildew, etc. It has not in all cases furnished the remedy; but has afforded more intelligent methods of fighting such enemies and a surer and shorter route toward the remedy. For instance, it tells us of the conditions of their development and attack; knowing which we are often enabled to guard against them.

But for a commoner value. We are not all doctors, or microscopists, but preachers, merchants, farmers, florists and gardeners.

As for the first class - the Saviour culled some of his noblest and most effective illustrations along the by-paths of botany; and so with other Bible writers. " Consider the lilies of the field." " I am the vine," etc.

To merchants botany comes in and makes up a part of a liberal education. It brings the mind in contact with nature's beauties, affording a theme for pure and refreshing thought and conversation in hours away from business. It leads the mind from a relish for mere worldliness, greed of gain, and from the gilded forms of corrupting pleasures and false in beauty, up, to a higher, more spiritual and exalted taste - to a love for the truly beautiful - the beauties of nature - and of nature's God. And it affords, besides, a pleasant recreation. Frost - a great botanist - was once a poor and sickly shoemaker. His physician recommended botany; and his excursions to the country and woods in search of flowers, not only led to health, but to note as a botanist.

While these remarks apply to all, botany, for the farmer, florist and gardener, has a special value. Their daily toil is the art, but botany is the science underlying it. Every rule of the art is a principle or fact of the science. Science suggests conditions and art merely devises methods for meeting them. A rule of art may be practiced in ignorance from custom, but the above statements are nevertheless true; and who can say we do not a thing better by understanding the " wherefore " or the reasons?

Were an acquaintance with botany more common among farmers, better success would attend the sowing of seed, and better fruits and crops would reward their tillage. The value of drained land would be better understood, and there would be more of it. Whence came all of our improved fruits? They are the outgrowth of a simple fact of vegetable physiology pertaining to the sexes of flowers. Of course cultivation has had its influence, but the more rapid progress has issued from "crossing," and so it will in the future. The fact has opened a new field for science and for the triumph of man, from which the farmer reaps greatly of the benefits. Should he not study and assist in the work?

As to the florist and gardener, whether professional or amateur, the shortest guide to mastery and success in either's field is the study of botany. For botany impresses the fact that plants are living things. Do they not grow better if we remember this in our care for them? Botany tells how they grow. If we comprehend the conditions of growth are we not better able to meet them? Botany tells of what climate plants are natives and whether their home be in the forest, marsh or mountain side; or in the desert, air; or whether parasites; consequently whispers how to manage them when we take them into our care; for immediately we know it is of no use to plant the water-loving Nymphea in a dry soil, or the leathery agave in the pond, the aerial orchid in the common soil, or attempt to compel the wicked parasite to make its own living.

The science also treats of and investigates the myriad smaller parasites before alluded to as sources of animal and plant disease - fungi and bacteria - and suggests more intelligent methods of keeping them at bay.

And lastly, if the principles of hybridization are of use to the farmer or fruit-grower, they are of equal advantage to the florist and gardener in the improvement of flowers and vegetables.

But these men are realizing this. Ignorant gardeners and florists are passing out of date, and to-day the most successful men of these classes all over the land are intelligent botanists.

By what I have said I do not mean to imply that every one can, or is to become a Linnaeus, Asa Gray, Strasburger, Pasteur. But every one, by a few leisure hours devoted to reading such books as Dr. Gray's " How Plants Grow," Lach's Text Book of Botany; or, among more recent works, Vine's, and Bessey's books on plant life, and these, supplemented by observation and the personal examination of typical flowers, such as are to be found in abundance everywhere during summer, may easily obtain a knowledge sufficient to be of great value and lead him, perhaps, further into a delightful field that is as broad as the realm of vegetation. New Albany, Ind., April 8, 1887.

[This excellent paper of Mr. Walker's will suggest the value of learning, should there still be anyone left who doubts it. Sometimes we think no one seriously questions it. The one who asks, What good is there in learning? is simply offering an excuse for laziness. The farmer or fruit-grower who would ask, What use is botany or any study? will gossip away hours on a barrel in a store over the most frivolous nonsense; and even should the questioner be a person of more intellectual pretensions, the same question of what good? could be asked of the half he does in life.

That those who object scarcely mean what they say is evident to an editor or other prominent educators.

The following is a letter on the table to-day with Mr. Walker's letter. They come by the hundred during the year, and almost always from people who have laughed at botany or other sciences. The time always comes when they are only too glad to profit by the study they have laughed at:

"At the suggestion of my friend, of this city, I send you a sample of grass, and request you to give me the name of it - the popular name as well as the botanical one. If you know where the grass originated, please say. I can find no one to answer me these questions, and I will be obliged for a reply. I enclose a postal card".

And here is another:

" We enclose a small branch of a tree. Please tell us the name of it and oblige." - Ed. G. M].