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.
It may not be uninteresting to you and your readers, to learn that the friends of Hamilton College, at Clinton, N. Y., are now engaged in improving and adorning the grounds which surround the buildings of this institution. Hitherto, only a small yard immediately under the walls has been devoted to ornamental uses. In some parts of this ground the soil has been so poor that grass could make but a feeble growth, and the trees planted in it have either died at once, or have lived a lingering life, mere poles, with small flags of distress flying at their tops. The walks have been simply straight lines, running here and there, and crossing each other at all angles, without any regard to proportion or beauty. Of late, several more acres (fifteen) have been inclosed within the College Park, and the whole has been surrounded with a hedge. The ground has been thoroughly drained, and certain portions of it graded so as to improve the form of its surface. The rectangular walks have been sodded over, and the entire campus has been laid out in walks winding in graceful curves throughout its whole extent This arrangement of the grounds has been made principally in accordance with a plan drawn up by J. C. Hastings, Esq., of this place.
Trees, of every description flourishing in this climate. ara now being plantet. bordering upon the avenues, or in groups, or as single specimens; and in such connections as, it is hoped, will not offend the eye of cultivated taste, The greater portion of this park will be devoted to grass and trees; but, in appropriate places, shrubs, vines, and flowering plants, will be introduced. A section of the ground will be used as a Botanic Garden, in which trees, shrubs, and flowers, will be arranged according to their several families. The College Cemetery, contiguous to these grounds, will also be laid out in a suitable manner.
Within the area newly enclosed, an Astronomical Observatory is soon to be erected, from whose top the view of the heavens above will be unequalled - unless by the view of the earth beneath.
These grounds are most favorably situated for the purposes to which they are to be devoted - lying on the brow of a hill sloping gently to the east and south, and commanding a wide view of the Oriskany valley. In this valley, near at hand, lies the village of Clinton. Beyond it, to the right, are several ranges of hills, on which the spires of two other villages are visible. In the distance, to the left, the city of Utica, the valley of the Mohawk, and the Trenton hills, are distinctly seen.
It is no vain thing to suppose that the minds and hearts of students will be benefitted by daily walks through such grounds, and in view of such a varied and widespread landscape. These peaceful shades, and sunny slopes, and laughing streams - this hum of cheerful industry - the music of distant church bells, and the glimpses and echoes here caught of the great thoroughfares of business and travel - these skies, ever changing and ever beautiful, and the seasons rolling through them, - what mind can be brought into the midst of such scenes, without deriving from them essential profit ?
The public already begin to appreciate the objects of those who are thus endeavoring to render more attractive the surroundings of this seat of learning; and we trust they will do so, more and more. Respecting the " material aid " which the committee need to carry out the project thus set forth, the writer does not wish here to enlarge. He will, however, simply say that such assistance is earnestly desired from the public; and that any one who feels disposed to help us in this enterprise, may remit by mail, directly to Prof. Oren Root, Clinton, N. Y., by whom such remittance will be promptly and thankfully acknowledged.
Our present object in writing, however, is not to solicit pecuniary aid, but to speak of this undertaking as an encouraging sign of the times. It is pleasing to notice that a taste is springing up all over the land for an improved style of domestic architecture and of landscape gardening. There is a wide-spread and increasing desire to make the homes of our country more and more attractive. And some of our instiof oar colleges has happily said: "No seat of learning can be called complete until it furnishes facilities for the study of vegetable growth. * • • • Philosophy and trees have always been fond of each other's company. Plato's college was a grove of Plantains and Olives. Hamilton is destined - soon, the hope is, - to be so far Pla-tonized, that its students will be, from day to day, familiar:
With arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown that sylvan loves,
Of pine or monumental oak,
Where the rude axe, with heavy stroke,
Is never heard, the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallowed haunt'"
[This intelligence is certainly interesting to us, and can not fail to be so to the readers of the Horticulturist. Early impressions are the most durable; and as we hope to see the rising generation acquire a love for the beautiful in nature, we should by all means give them early lessons in rural taste - give spacious and beautiful grounds to our colleges and seminaries, and even to our common schools. We are glad to find that the current of public taste begins to run so strong as to exert an influence. Hereafter it will be a great argument in favor of schools and colleges, that the Professors are men of taste as well as learning; and that beside tasteful and commodious buildings, there are ample, tasteful, and well-kept grounds, where both mind and body may have healthful and agreeable exercise in the open air. We trust that the modest solicitation of the gentlemen who have charge of the improvements at Hamilton College will not pass unheeded. We shall cheerfully contribute our mite. - Ed].