This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
THE meeting of the American Pomological Society, held at Boston, September 10th to 12th, was a grand affair. The attendance of members was larger, and the display of fruits more extensive and attractive in most departments than upon any former occasion in the history of the Society. Fruits came from nearly all sections of the United States and the Provinces - extending from Nova Scotia to California. The exhibition must have been the most complete ever made in any country. The collection of apples, in extent of varieties, outnumbered the show at Richmond two years ago, but in point of perfection fell short; while pears, grapes, peaches and plumbs were superior. The fruit was displayed upon tables in the two spacious halls belonging to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Great interest was apparently felt by the citizens of Boston in the display, for the halls were filled to repletion during the evenings, with more or less visitors at other hours of the day.
The members were the guests of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and the committee of reception, consisting of Messrs. E. W. Buswell, B. 6. Smith, H. W. Fuller, J. E. M. Gilley and S. H. Frothingham, wore indefatigable in their efforts to make everything pleasant. For our part, we feel under special obligations to those gentlemen for their kind attentions at times when we were too unwell to take part in the meeting.
This being the twenty-fifth anniversary of the existence of the Society, President Wilder, in his able and instructive address before the Society, reviewed the circumstances which led to its organization, and thus spoke of its history and progress:
" Briefly, then, let me state that the idea of a pomological convention appears to have occurred to individuals in different states at about the same time - as new ideas in regard to progress frequently do. Thus in the summer of 1848, consultation was held with Andrew Jackson Downing, editor of the Horticulturist, then on a visit to Boston, in regard to the chaotic condition of our pomology - the want of accurate and well defined knowledge of our fruits; the best means of improving the condition of fruit culture, and the expediency of establishing an American society, so that, by interchange of experience, we might preserve those fruits which were valuable, discard those which were worthless, correct the confused nomenclature, and establish a pomology for our whole country. To establish such a society was a great work, but it was considered as the only means to accomplish the desired object. A correspondence was immediately opened with some of our prominent agricultural and horticultural societies, and with the leading nurserymen and pomologists of our land. This resulted in the proposal of the American Institute of New York to have a convention held under its auspices in that city.
Pursuant to these arrangements, a circular was issued, signed by committees of the Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New Haven horticultural societies and the American Institute of New York, proposing to hold a "great national convention of fruit growers " in the city of New York, October 10, 1848.
"Of the fifteen persons whose names were appended to this call, three only remain. All the rest have joined the great procession of the dead.
"The convention met and the society was organized as the American Congress of Fruit Growers, by the choice of Marshall P. Wilder as president, a vice-president from each of the several states represented, and three secretaries - of these, S. B. Parsons and P. Barry are here to-day.
"The first National Pomological assemblage, solely for the consideration of pomo-logical subjects, met at Buffalo, September 1, 1848, at the call of the New York State Agricultural Society, and after an interesting session resolved to perpetuate itself under the name of the North American Pomological Convention. But it was plain that there could be but one national organization that could carry due weight, and a conference was therefore had, which resulted the next year in the consolidation of the two associations under the name of the American Pomological Congress. The first meeting of the united association was held at Cincinnati in 1850.
"Its sessions, since the first three, have been held biennially. There have been three in New York, one in Cincinnati, three in Philadelphia, three, including the present one, in Boston, two in Rochester, one in St. Louis and one in Richmond.
The largest collection of pears were from President Wilder, Ellwanger & Barry, and Hovey & Co. Large State collections were made by Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Vermont. Smaller, but no less meritorious, were on the tables from other states, county and other local societies, and individuals and the provinces. The display of plums and peaches from Ontario (these fruits were raised in the neighborhood of Hamilton) were very fine.
More work was done at this session of the society, than at any one of its previous gatherings. Upon the apple, pear and grape, the discussion was animated. As usual with such talk, there was more or less conflicting testimony among the speakers.
A very attractive feature in connection with this meeting, was the magnificent display by the Massachusetts State Horticultural Society at Music Hall, of tropical plants and flowers. This was said to be the best display of its character ever seen in New England. Conspicuous were Australian palm trees and tree-ferns. But the most wonderful was an India-rubber tree.
It would almost seem to the observer, that in the production of this tree nature had outdone her best.
Pleasant affairs in the round of entertainments, were the morning and evening receptions and collations given to the members by Hon. Wm. Gray, at his suburban residence, eight miles out, at an early hour on Thursday morning, and in the evening at H. H. Hunnewell's beautiful place, in accordance with invitations from these gentle-men. The noble hospitality and generous attentions were a theme of general remark. About 250 membors participated in these ever cherished excursions. These visits were so arranged as not to detract from the time of the regular meetings of the society.