On the morning of December 16th this great and good man seemed in his usual health, breakfasting with his family. At half-past ten the same morning his life-work was done, and genuine horticulture in America met with one of the greatest losses it has experienced in many years. His love for the art had no mercenary elements. To him the axiom of the philosopher, that a garden is the purest of all human pleasures, was solid reality and not mere poetry - and his example and teachings have given pleasure to thousands who have trodden in his path. He was born at Ringe, New Hampshire, September 22, 1798. He was educated at the public school, and had one year in the higher branches at the Ipswich Academy when about twelve years, - afterwards, until he was sixteen he had private tuition from the village clergyman. Exhibiting talent his father offered him the choice of going to college, or working on the farm, and he chose the latter, and in this way fixed the taste for agriculture and horticulture that became so marked a character through life.

Beside the farm the father had a store at Ringe, and at twenty-one years of age, the firm became Samuel Locke Wilder & Son. After four years he left his father, and started in Boston the firm of Wilder & Payson, then Wilder & Smith. In 1837 we find him as Parker, Blanchard & Wilder, in the wholesale commission business, - and while here became Director in a number of insurance and banking companies. His business ventures seem to have been always successful, and he amassed a considerable fortune.

Besides continuous labor in business pursuits, he devoted a large portion of his time to public affairs. At sixteen he joined the New Hampshire militia, becoming colonel of his regiment when but twenty-six years of age. In 1857 we find him the commander of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, an offshoot before the Revolution of the Royal Artillery Company of London. Prince Albert, who was an officer in the London company, was made, through the efforts of Col. Wilder, a member of the Boston company on the 219th anniversary of the founding of the company, a mark of good will Prince Albert never forgot. In 1839 he was elected to represent the Dorchester district in the State House of Representatives. In 1845 he was a member of the Executive Council. In 1850 he was State Senator and chosen President of the Senate. He was a candidate for Governor, but was beaten by Gardner, - and in the interest of conciliation, went to the Baltimore Convention when Bell and Everett were nominated for President and Vice President of the United States. When there was no longer hope of conciliation, he became a staunch supporter of the integrity of the Union. In 1820 he married Miss Tryphosa Jewett, in 1833 Miss Abigail Baker, and in 1855 her sister Miss Julia Baker. He has had fourteen children.

His domestic life has ever been a singularly happy one.

To us his horticultural career is a highly interesting one. His grounds at Dorchester formed a beautiful specimen of garden art, and it was his great delight to have those enjoy it with him who could appreciate the beauty. To this end all sorts of pleasant contrivances were resorted to. Many years ago, when the writer of this was a comparatively young man, and devoting his time to the pursuits of landscape gardening, he received a pressing invitation to visit him professionally at Dorchester, and he wrote for his terms. The fee was named. When he reached there Col. Wilder remarked, "Well, let us at once attend to business and we will have some pleasure afterwards. Supposing I wanted to knock down this house, and build another on one of those two locations, which would you advise for the purpose?" It seemed a strange question, but it was answered. "That will do," said he; "come in." He at once wrote a check for the amount named, and this ended the "professional services." The few days spent in Boston subsequently were very happy ones. Under the guidance of this good friend the leading country seats famous for good gardening were visited, and this recollection of Boston has always been one of the pleasantest in the writer's memory.

Besides a love for true garden beauty, as we understand by the art of landscape gardening, he was fond of experimenting and improving. He always had in his vest pocket a camel-hair pencil and a pair of tweezers with which he used to cross-fertilize fruits and flowers when the opportunity offered. When the Camellia was so popular a half century ago, he applied himself enthusiastically to its improvement. Many of his seedlings took high rank and florists made him large offers for some of them. One, Wilderi, he at last sold for $1000. Strawberries, grapes, and pears, in innumerable varieties, filled his fruit garden - and their comparative merits noted. Fruit culture was, however, fast getting into inextricable confusion by reason of a multiplicity of names for the same varieties. To remedy this he suggested the American Pomological Society - by which the present admirable order was drawn out of confusion. There is no doubt but the proud position which American fruit culture holds in the eyes of the world comes from the establishment of this society and the good deeds of Col. Wilder in connection with it.

He was himself sensible of the good work this body had accomplished and proud of its success - and he contributed largely of his private means as well as of hard, earnest work, in making it a lasting and thriving body. He was annually elected, frequently amidst the the wildest enthusiasm, to the Presidency, and only a few days before his death the writer had a letter from him abounding with enthusiasm over the prospects of again meeting his friends under his Presidency the coming autumn.

As for the Massachussets Horticultural Society, of which he was one of the founders and able sustained, they will, no doubt, tell us in due time of their estimate of his loss.

As a presiding officer, he was, possibly, one of the ablest men who ever undertook to manage a public body. Always fully appreciating honors paid to himself, he was at the same time delighted when honor was paid to his compeers, and continually suggesting some method by which they might get justice done them. Even men whom he could not personally have great regard for, always had from him the fullest credit for any public service rendered. Even when presiding at a public meeting, and some miserable nuisance would disgust the assemblage by his vapid talks, Col. Wilder's aptness would find a way to choke him off in a manner that would make the transgressor feel rather complimented than rebuked.

An overflowing love for the whole country, as well as for his friends individually, was one of his marked characteristics. The notice in another column, of our portrait of Mr. Hovey, is from his pen, but a few days before his death; and we cannot better close this hurried notice as characteristic of the man, than by quoting his own words, in a recent address of his before the New England Genealogical Society:

" Human life is changing and transitory ! A few more days, a few more months, and this tired brain and this languid tongue will have cast off their threadbare, wornout covering: but the spirit shall continue to praise God for His wonderful works in this Western World, and the blessings which have flowed from the influence of New England character. We shall pass away, and the dust of past and future generations shall be commingled with ours in one common grave. But we trust our society will live on and on, and be more and more appreciated for the work it has done and is doing, so that the record of our own New England and its families may be perpetuated with historic continuity while the Anglo Saxon race shall have a place in the annals of time".

Up to the last he maintained that happy combination of manhood dignity with the innocent boyish pleasures of youth. A few years ago the writer " dropped in " on a hasty run through Boston. He was directed to the garden, and there Col. Wilder was at length found, sitting under a beechen tree, and, boy-like, with a jack-knife, cutting his initials on the bark, with the date and day.

We fear it will be a long time before horticulture receives the blessing of another Wilder. We can only hope and pray.