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.
Do you not think there is too much time wasted in laudation? I have no wish to detract from the merits of the Society or Officers, but I think we have had glorification enough, and that it would be better to do something rather than dwell so much upon what has been, or is going to be done.
What in the world do we want with so many Officers and Committees? A President, Secretary, and Treasurer, it seems to me, would answer for all except the three last committees. This would involve the necessity of an act to alter the Constitution; to avoid that trouble, why not elect the Vice-Presidents from the working members, and fill the other offices and the committees from that body, as I see nothing limiting the number of offices a member may hold?
What is the good of our Library, such as it is, inaccessible to any one except at time of meetings, when no one wants to look at it? If we can not at present afford the accommodation it is conceded we ought to have, at least can not the key be left in charge of some one, to deliver to members when called for? If only this partial use were made of it, I think the Library would increase considerably, independent of purchases.
I am a Free-trader, but judge the object of our and similar societies must necessarily be in a measure local; the " State of Long Island " I should think a wide enough field for ours. I would not exclude foreign exhibitors, but the propriety of allowing them to compete with natives may be doubted. A Flat-lands gardener would probably run behind a Delaware one in early vegetables, and yet be entitled to as much credit.
At any rate, it is unjust that extra inducements be offered to large foreign exhibitors; they overshadow and frighten away our small home ones, whom it is our especial mission to encourage.
You may say, "But we can not get up a good show without them." You never will with them (in competition) - that is, our show, I think it is wrong that the gardeners are so averse to playing second fiddle, and consider it the duty of every member to bring whatever he has presentable, without regard to his chance for premiums, or whether or not one is offered for what he has to show, but such at present certainly is not their feeling, and on the point above stated think they have just ground for complaint - Brooklyn.
["Brooklyn," as usual, is pointed and vigorous. There is no member of the Brooklyn Society who more cordially wishes it success, or does more, in his sphere of action, to insure its success. In regard to the commission for new members, it may be open to the objection of associating sordid motives with a duty which ought to be entirely free from them. Each member ought to consider it equally his duty and his privilege to introduce as many new members as possible, and will, if he is a faithful member, and loves the cause for which the society labors. We should be glad to know that the Society could increase its members' list without this consideration. It has lately shaken off its slumbers, and shown a degree of vitality which encourages us to hope great things from it. We think it is generally understood now that we are to enter the field of action; but then this formidable list of Officers and Committees is in the way of that somewhat. The objection is not so much to the number of committees as to their size. We have done a prodigious amount of committee work in our day, and the result of our experience has been to beget a prejudice against large committees: as a general thing, we decline to serve on them. They are admirable contrivances for doing nothing.
Whether some reform might not be made in this respect in the case referred to, is a matter for grave consideration. - In regard to the Library, we think the new order of things will work some salutary improvements: let us afford the opportunity. - That foreign contributors compete with local ones is altogether owing to the invitation of the Society itself They do not ask any special privileges, and we have no doubt they would be very glad to compete in a class by themselves, leaving the local exhibiters to do the same. The Brooklyn Society is under many obligations to outsiders, and we do not think it would be wise to exclude them; "Brooklyn," we suppose, would hardly propose this. Their presence acts as a healthy stimulus under proper conditions. The prize list could be made to regulate this matter so as to please all parties. The prize list, aside from this "foreign" consideration, is very far indeed from satisfying the "home demand." - It is plain to us that every member is under obligations to present at the public exhibitions any thing that he may have that is really good, no matter whether a prize be offered for it or not; and it is equally plain to us that no member has a right to go off in a pet because he has not taken all the first prizes, or even one.
We wish such persons could see, if only for a moment, how very unamiable they look. If you do not get the prize this time, go in for the next, and show your pluck. - Ed].