The Commissioner of Agriculture recently received official notification through the Department of State of a reversal of Section 2 of the German Imperial decree of July 4, 1883, which prohibited not only the importation of grape-vines, roots and cuttings into Germany, but also, by this section, prohibited the importation of all other plants from countries not represented at the Berne Phylloxera Congress. This is virtually a victory for Professor Riley, U. S. Entomologist, and his services in this line will be appreciated by our gardeners and fruit-growers.

In the latter part of 1883 Messrs, Roelker & Sons of New York complaining to the Department of State of this exclusion of American plants, the Hon. A. A. Sargent, then U. S. Minister to Berlin, was directed to investigate the matter. Considerable correspondence was had and at the request of the Secretary of State, Prof. Riley gave the following expert testimony as to the absolute impossibility of the introduction of Phylloxera upon plants other than grape-vines, which was published in the report of the entomologist, for 1884 (Ann. Rept. Dept. Agr., 1884, p. 107), and which is here reproduced. Bureau of Entomology, Washington, Feb. 9, 1884.

Sir: I beg to submit the following report on the communication of Hon. A. A. Sargent, Minister to Berlin, to the honorable the Secretary of State which you have referred to me:

Certain American exporters of grape-vines (Messrs. Roelker & Sons, of New York), have complained to the Department of State concerning the exclusion of American plants from Germany, and Mr. Sargent reports upon the state of the German laws in reference to such importations.

It seems that Germany, by the imperial decree of July 4, 1883, prohibits absolutely the importation of grape-vines, cuttings and roots. The importation of grapes and husks and of all other plants is allowed only to nations which took part in the Berne Congress of 1881, and then only under certain restrictions as to packing, certificates from official experts, etc. Thus Germany has gone a step beyond the provisions of the Berne Congress, and the stringency of the decree has caused great excitement and indignation among nurserymen in this country.

While no one can appreciate the necessity of stringent measures against the introduction of the Phylloxera into non infested countries more than I do, yet certain of the provisions of this last decree appear to me utterly useless, and, without doubt, they cause much loss and annoyance to nurserymen in this and other countries as well as to those of Germany, without producing any corresponding benefit.

The clause in the decree prohibiting the importation of all " nurslings, shrubs and other garden products not belonging to the category of the grape-vine, coming from nurseries and hot-houses into the Empire," is based upon the possibility of the winged females settling upon such plants and depositing the few eggs which give birth to the true males and females which produce the winter egg. I will repeat here, therefore, the conclusions which I have repeatedly urged in discussing restrictive legislation in reference to the Phylloxera, and which the habits and life-history of the insect justify.

The eggs from the winged female are most often laid in or on the ground near the base of the vine, and they are so delicate as to require especially favorable conditions of temperature and moisture to enable them to hatch. They must, in my judgment, infallibly perish when deposited on anything else than the lower surface of the living grape-leaf where they can receive moisture by endosmosis, or in crevices in earth that is kept moderately moist by rain or dew. But even supposing that these eggs could hatch, and the resulting female should lay her impregnated egg on any other living plant than grape, and that this egg should give birth in due time to the stem-mother, she would inevitably perish without issue for want of suitable food. With the utmost care to supply the natural conditions, I have failed nine times out of ten to obtain even the sexual individuals, and it is much more difficult to get the impregnated egg. European observers have had the same experience. From this it follows that the introduction of the Phylloxera upon any other plant than the grape-vine, at any season of the year, is impossible, and hence the folly of the prohibition.

As to the possibility of its introduction upon grape-vines themselves, however, there can be no doubt. The insects can be carried on the roots of vines in the winter either in the dormant larva state or in the "winter-egg" state, and in this latter state it may occur upon almost any part of the plant above ground, more particularly under the loose bark of the two-year-old canes, although recent observations have proven that whenever it occurs above ground it is produced rather from the gall-inhabiting type than from the dangerous root form. Therefore the clause which prohibits the introduction of cuttings with or without roots into districts where the Phylloxera absolutely does not exist, is fully justified by the facts. It may be well to state, however, that in districts where the Phylloxera exists no better preventive can be adopted than the introduction of the hardy and resisting American vines as stocks upon which to graft the more susceptible European varieties.

It should also be urged in this connection that while the decree is justified in so far as to prohibit the actual introduction of vines and cuttings, there can be no danger from the mere passage through a non-infested country of such vines. These are necessarily boxed, and can only be properly and safely shipped during the cold or non-growing season when the egg is dormant; so that there is a practicable impossibility in the introduction of the insect by such a passage.

While I am rather in the dark as to the nature of the original complaint (as no copy accompanied the papers received from the State Department), the United States can safely and with great justice urge upon Germany the reversal of that portion of the decree which does not apply to grape-vines proper. Respectfully, C. V. Riley, Entomologist.

Hon. George B. Loring, Commissioner of Agriculture.

Minister Sargent on this testimony entered a protest against the operation of the section in question on the part of the United States Government, desiring that the restriction be removed and that the plants of American exporters be admitted into the Empire under the same terms with those of the States which were represented at the Convention of Berne.

Here the matter rested until January of the present year, when the Commissioner of Agriculture requested of the Department of State, on behalf of the Division of Entomology, information as to the action of the German Government upon Mr. Sargent's protest. The Secretary of State immediately called the attention of Minister Pendleton to the matter and the latter has succeeded in securing the suspension of the obnoxious section of the decree.

The exact wording of the new decree, which forms Imperial Law-bulletin No. 13, is (translated) as follows:

"(No. 1712.) Decree concerning the importation of plants with roots, from the States which did not take part in the International Phylloxera Convention, April 7, 1887.

"We, William by the grace of God, German Emperor, King of Prussia, etc., decree in the name of the Empire, with the consent of the Bun-desrath, the following:

"I. The importation of plants with roots not belonging to the category of grapes, which come from the States which did not take part in the International Phylloxera Convention of the 3d November, 1881 (Imperial Law-bulletin of 1882, page 125), over the border of that territory, which is composed of the German customs domain, and the Imperial possessions lying beyond the German customs limits, is permitted under the following conditions:

"1. The importations must be exclusively through the places of entrance designated by the Imperial Chancellor according to 4, section 1, of the decree of July 4, 1883 (Imperial Law-bulletin, page 153).

" 2. The plants must be securely packed, but in such wise that a close examination can be made of the plants as well as of the packing.

"3. The importation can only be made when an investigation, made at the place of entrance, at the cost of the importer, removes the suspicion of Phylloxera. In the foregoing circumstances the provisions of the 6 of the decree of July 4, 1883, apply.

"II. The Imperial Chancellor will take the necessary measures to carry into effect the foregoing regulations, particularly the appointment of experts, who are to be entrusted with the execution of the investigations mentioned in 1, Section 3, and the regulation of the cost of the investigation.

"III. The instruction in section 2 of the decree of July 4, 1883 (Imperial Law-bulletin, page 153), is revoked.

Witness our hand and Imperial Seal.

Given, Berlin, April 7, 1887.

Wilhelm Von Boetticher.