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.
A brief paragraph from the publisher of the above work, last month, announced that it had been merged in the Horticulturist. After six months of unbounded advertising, and efforts of various kinds, that, if employed in another occupation would have led to happy results, it transferred to this periodical exactly one hundred and seventy-five subscribers, and many of those were obtained by sending agents abroad, and at an expense of from four to fifteen dollars each! The proprietor printed a large edition, which was distributed monthly to postmasters, and agents of periodical works; at least 500 copies were sent as exchanges with newspapers, etc. The result has been the loss of some thousands of dollars, time thrown away, and talents misapplied.
We give these facts as an evidence that another Horticultural Journal is not required at the present time; it is not the first, second, or third attempt, that has eminently failed, both at the East and West, and it probably will satisfy any person desirous of embarking in such a dangerous experiment, that it would be better to seek an occupation more likely to be rewarded for anxiety, trouble, and expense. The American people are deeply interested in agriculture, and works on that subject have multiplied of late with remarkable rapidity; many are entirely successful, and are disseminating valuable information; but many of these are obliged to combine the character of a news journal, and to make the farming portion of their columns very brief. All of them more or less embrace the topics of horticulture; they appear, many at least, weekly, and are placed at very low prices; the farmer's fireside welcomes their arrival, because they diffuse a general knowledge of what is passing in the world, and to members of the circle not interested in agriculture, convey something for each.
With a horticultural journal it is different. To make it of any real value, and offer it at a cheap rate, it must confine itself to its legitimate topics; the news of the month would load it down, so as utterly to destroy the opportunity of discussing its subjects at any length. The number of persons really sufficiently interested in horticulture to pay for such a journal, is comparatively small. We have the whole American market, so to speak, and kindly interested readers, of many years' standing, using great personal exertions to extend and keep up our circulation, from an impression that the work is useful. Then, again, the contributors are the best and most able writers on horticulture in the Union; they have been attracted to these pages by its original merits, have continued to read it, and to write in its columns, till it has become more and more, by general consent, the medium of communication between the active and useful men of the country, in all the States and Territories. This character it shall be our aim to support.
With all this, the gardening interest and the horticultural taste, and with large advertising patronage, it has never reached a circulation of more than a few thousand, and, till 1854, could not be considered a paying journal. The additional patronage, which was brought to it by the care and talents of Mr. Barry, elevated its circulation from twenty-four hundred to about four thousand; it has now, thus early in the year, many hundreds of subscribers more than at the close of 1855, thus showing that there is a gradual increase of demand; and there is every reason to believe that, in December, 1856, it will considerably exceed five thousand; this is after ten years of untiring devotion to the interests of its readers, and the attention of careful and enterprising publishers.
We therefore could recommend, with a clear conscience, none to attempt very soon the establishment of a horticultural journal, unless with plenty of money, which they are willing to part with.
So, "out brief candle," is added to this, as to sundry other serials which annually expire, embracing quite as popular, but much less valuable topics. I regretted to see that magazine started, as with yours and Hovey's Magazine, already in extensive circulation, I felt assured it could not pay. You, Mr. Editor, have given the plain reasons why another elaborate horticultural publication cannot be supported now in America. We are yet young, in the business of refined cultivation, in pretty much everything. We are learning slowly, though surely, and when the Horticulturist has ten or twenty thousand subscribers, it may do to talk about another magazine of the kind some hundreds of miles west or south, or north of you. Meantime, your paper will do; and if it had three contributors where it now has one, it would be all the better, for then would there be a chance for my gossiping to be crowded out, to its readers' profit, I presume. Jeffreys.
* The object we had in view in not splitting it up, was to pack away a large amount of suggestions in a small space, for Jeffreys and others. We have a strong suspicion that our valued correspondent is joking, as he sometimes does; but just as we are finishing this paragraph, we are setting off to see after our friends in hi direction, and shall endeavor to prescribe for his head, and teach him to mind our stops, read the matter slowly, say a paragraph every hour or two, and make notes of what is memorable; so that the tangle or jumble he gets into may be avoided in his future dips into our "gossip." - Ed.