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 is marvellous to what extent controversies are carried on, at the present day, by mutual misrepresentation. Devontly as I had hoped that the charm thrown around the study and practice of horticulture - its peaceful, love-engendering, purifying influence - would preserve its devotees from the exercise of this spirit; that which I had feared seems at last to have come upon us.
These reflections were excited by a perusal of the communication, in the February number of the Horticulturist, misstyled "A Reply to Dr. Ward on Dwarf Pears," and evidently penned by the writer without first having acquainted himself with the contents of the articles referred to. Of this I complain, and not that the articles should be made the subject of criticism. That there was a degree of sensitiveness in the minds of some that would make a bare allusion to the failures of the pear on the quince a "ripple on the surface of the waters," I well knew; and therefore it was that I asked that the storm of opposition the examination of the subject would wake up, might not rest, even by implication, on the shoulders of the Horticulturist.
The publication of these articles, embodying the result of carefully conducted experiments, I regarded due from myself - a debtor to the cause of horticulture for instruction often enjoyed from the recorded experiments of others in the pages of this journal. They were penned as the result "of the observations of but a solitary individual in his own fruit orchards,"* in the hope, that being made the subject of reflection as well as criticism, the successful trial of many varieties would encourage some, and the failures of other varieties - if such failure could not be accounted for - would serve as beacon-lights to the less experienced; while the idea of the abandonment of the pear stock by the substitution of the quince for the cultivation of this fruit, would appear, in its true light, as an ignis fatuus.
I claim to be misrepresented where the language used so clearly conveyed my meaning, that a misstatement subjects the reviewer to the charge of wilful misrepresentation, or else to the more charitable one of having written without having examined the articles reviewed.
Before attempting to substantiate this charge, I would call attention to the closing paragraph, in which Mr. F. more than intimates that I should either cease growing certain varieties of the pear on the quince, or else cease writing against the cultivation on that stock, verily declaring that I object altogether to the use of the quince stock. Again he says: "A certain gentleman who had visited my grounds, had found abundant testimony in favor of the quince stock on my own grounds;" thus intimating, with equal clearness, that I had denied this altogether. Now, do such assertions find support in my recorded views on that point? On page 217, May number, it is written: "A few pears upon quince stocks succeed much better than upon their native stock, and are really so improved in character as to demand their perpetual use," etc.
This charge of misrepresentation will now be substantiated by further extracts from the articles alluded to.
*Page 216, May number, Mr. T. suggests that Dr. W. "should have visited other orchards." Would this have helped him in recording the experiments made in his own orchard?
On page 63, February number, it is written: - "With some varieties I have been eminently successful. The crop during the past season has not only been gratifying to my pride as an orchardist, bnt has proved eminently remunerative; indeed, the facts will warrant the remark, no crop grown upon the farm has paid so well, in view of the labor bestowed, as a crop of Duchesse d'Angouleme, on the quince.
" The sight of a hundred trees, closely planted in rows, about twenty in a row - each tree resembling its fellow in size and form, and each sustaining as much of a crop as it could prudently be trusted with; the eye here and there lighting upon a specimen with its blushing cheek turned towards the sun, and the whole, when gathered, yielding over twenty bushels - was an argument in favor of dwarf-trees, the force of which the most incredulous • could not well withstand".
Again, on page 350, August number: - "Our experience in this country certainly demands that the Duchess d'Angouleme should, of all others, be cultivated on the quince - the more vigorous growth of the tree - together with the improvement in the quality of the fruit, secures to it, in my judgment, above all others, a substitution of the quince for the pear stock".
Could I have said more in favor of this variety on the quince without exciting a suspicion that I was actuated by other motives than simply giving expression to my honest conviction of its worth?
On page 218, May number, read: - "In the same year, I planted twenty Louise Bonne of Jersey on quince, all of which are, as to thriftiness of growth, symmetry of proportion, healthfulness of aspect, and productiveness of habit, all that could be desired. These stand contiguous to the failing Bartletts on quince - indeed, all the above are on the same plat of ground, and the physical condition of the soil, as far as the eye can judge of it, being similar".
On page 217: - "Forty other Vicars on quince were planted at the same time on a distant part of the same field, have made most wonderful growth, and have borne more or less every year, and from the rapid development of the wood principle, give promise of long lives of usefulness and profit".
Is not my testimony as to the adaptation of this variety sufficiently explicit f if not, I can add, at the close of another season, that the last year's crop of fruit exceeded twelve bushels, very many specimens weighing over a pound apiece.
On page 218, speaking of the three varieties above named, it is said of them: "Which, in their thriftiness and productiveness, have far exceeded all expectation." After quoting the testimony of Mr. Rivers - that most accomplished English Pomologist - viz: that out of one thousand varieties of pear in cultivation, he grows but four for the Govent Garden Market; three of these are on pear stock, the Louise Bonne de Jersey alone on quince. I added, page 350, August number: - "No judge of pears will dare to lift his voice disparagingly to the character of that most rapid growing variety, uniformly bearing abundant crops of well-formed fruit, which, though not of the highest flavor, is yet such a pleasant subacid, as to be a universal favorite".