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.
Contains the following remarks, so valuable in themselves, that we have thought it a duty to preserve them here: -
"Let us look at the list of our best foreign pears. The Bartlett is supposed to be English, originated in 1760, and it is certainly the best variety ever obtained in that country. Gunsell's Bergamot is the next best, but it is uncertain, and a poor tree while young. Dunmore, one of Knight's, stands nest - a large, tine fruit, but too uncertain. These, then, are about all the English varieties admissible to our list of select sorts. White Doyenne and Brown Beurre are old French sorts, supposed to date back almost to the days of the Roman Empire.
"The Louise Bonne de Jersey originated as a chance seedling, at Longueval, in France, in 1788 - originally 'Bonne de Longueval.'
"The Flemish Beauty, originally called 'Davy,' originated by chance in a Flemish village called Deftinge.
"The Duchess d'Angoulcme sprung up by accident, in a garden, in 1800. It bore in 1819, and, the year before, the gardener had ordered it cat down, and only changed his mind after it had received several blows with the axe. The Urbaniste was raised by the Comte Coloma, in 1783.
"Belle Lucrative was one of Esperin's seedlings, one of the first and best; he called it Seigneur, the French renamed it His method was, I believe, to sow the seeds of good pears.
"Beurre" Capiamont was raised at Mons, in 1787.
"Winter Nelis, at Malines, some seventy or eighty years ago, and called Bonne de Maline; Van Mons Leon le Clere, was raised from the seed by Leon le Clere; the seeds sown were said to be Easter Beurre, Beurrg d'Aremberg, and St. Germain.
"Beurrg d'Aremberg was a chance seedling, at Enghein.
"Gloat Morceaa, by M. Hardenpont, in 1789, and called to this day 'Beurre Hardenpont' Napoleon, at Mons, in 1808. Beurre Superfin, by Goubault; Beuire Clairgeau, by a man named Clairgeau, at Nantes, in 1850 or 1851; so we might proceed with Beurre Gifiard, B. Goubault, Beurre Gris de Hiver, B. Lan-gelier, Triomphe de Jodoigne, Jalousie Fontenay Vardee, Epine Dumas, Rostizier, Vicar of Winkefield, and, indeed, all the leading foreign varieties in our catalogues. B. Bosc, Beurre d'Anjon, and Doyenn6 d'Ete, are said to be seedlings of Van Mons, but the facts concerning their origin are not very clear; so that, although the world is greatly indebted to Van Mons for his devotion, through long years, to what he regarded as the regeneration of fruits, upon philosophical principles, yet his seedlings, so for, have not yielded any great treasure. The Belle Lucrative, of Esperin, is perhaps the finest pear, ail in all, produced in the last century. Esperin, in it, left a noble monument to his memory, and his seedlings have produced many other fine fruits* At his death, he placed them in the hands of his friend, Mr. Berckmans, who has them now planted in New Jersey, and we are in hopes to hear from them in a few years.
"Knight's attempted improvement in England, by hybridization, but produced only a few good fruits. His pears, with the exception of Dunmore, which I have already mentioned, are of no value in this country. He gained the Black Eagle, Elton, and a few other good cherries. Dr. Brinckle, of Philadelphia, has attempted the same thing in this country, and has already a large number of very promising seedlings in the hands of Mr. Berckmans, for trial. They are all grafted in strong stocks, and will soon bear.
"The learned doctor has great faith in this method. He believes it to be as certain to raise a good new fruit by crossing two good ones, as it is to raise a good animal on the same principle. The art of hybridization of fruits, however, is a very nice one, and requires time, labor, and precaution, that few people can or will undertake and execute with accuracy.
"In this country, as in Europe, our new fruits have either sprung up by accident, or have been produced from the sowing of the seeds of good varieties. Thus we obtained nearly all our peaches, all our hardy grapes, most of our best plums and apples. Of pears we have already a noble list; all of them either picked up wild in hedges, or from the seeds of good pears.
"The whole of Europe has not produced a pear so fine as the Seckel, nor one which succeeds over a wider territory; and then we have the Brandy wine, Tyson, Sheldon, Howell, Lawrence, Onondaga, and many others nearly as good as these. There are, at this moment, many thousands of seedlings from our best fruits on trial, and we may reasonably anticipate some important acquisitions. Indeed, I believe that before the end of the present century, our best pears, as well as our apples, will be those originated on our own soil. The facts which I have stated concerning the origin of our best fruits, both native and foreign, hold out great encouragement for the prosecution of this work. My advice to you, here in the West, is to sow every good seed you can get. I mean the seeds of those fruits which succeed best here. When your seedlings have made one season's growth, you can bud or graft the most promising on strong stocks or bearing trees, and test them in three or four years.
"For several years we have been sowing in this way, and if we get one good one in five hundred, we shall feel satisfied; we may get twenty. The interest and excitement which the work awakens, is no mean recompense in itself.
"No other fact connected with fruit culture is more fully substantiated by every day's experience than this, viz: To insure successful cultivation, we must have varieties that are adapted to the peculiarities of our soil and climate. Many of your most valuable apples for this country prove utterly worthless with us, whilst many of our best fruits fail entirely with you. This Society, and others of a similar character, are collecting information on this head, of the highest value.