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.
THIs number of the Horticulturist will convey to its readers the intelligence of an important change in its affairs, and this change closes my engagement as Editor.
I make this announcement with mingled feelings of pleasure and regret - with pleasure, because it relieves me of duties which I had not the leisure to discharge with efficiency; with regret, because I feel as if the ties which bound me to a wide circle of friends were partially severed.
For my own part, I should have been glad if this change had been deferred until the close of the current volume; but this is a matter over which I had no control, and for which I am not in any way responsible. I say this, not because I have any apprehension that the patrons of the work will feel themselves wronged, but because I prefer to fulfil every engagement I enter into as far as it may be possible.
It was in the first place with very great reluctance that I consented to take the editorial charge of the Horticulturist, as successor to the lamented Downing. I knew how warmly his readers were attached to him, and how ardently they admired his taste and talent as a writer. On all sides I heard it declared, "there is no one to fill his place,' whilst I was fully conscious of my own want of the requisite qualifications and leisure to sustain the character and usefulness of the work, and satisfy the expectations of the public.
My friend, Mr. Vick, with whom I was at the time associated in conducting the "Genesee Farmer" purchased the Horticulturist of Mr. Tucker, during my absence at the meeting of the Pomological Society in Philadelphia, without having advised me of his intentions. On my return he informed me of his purchase, and that he relied upon my assistance. I declined and hesitated for some time, but finally to save him from disappointment and probable loss, I consented to undertake the duty for a time, and do the best in my power for him and the patrons of the work.
How I have succeeded is not for me to say, but I have the gratification of knowing that the circulation of the work, to-day, is more than twice as large as it was at the time of Mr. Downing's death. No journal of the kind has, or ever had, so wide a circulation in this country. I mention this not in a spirit of boasting, for I am quite free to confess that this result is not wholly due to my humble exertions, but in a great measure to the good taste and liberal co-operation of Mr. Vick, the publisher, to the zealous and efficient aid of contributors, to the kind encouragements of the press, and of the friends of horticulture in general. I feel that my labors have been estimated far above their value, and for all this kindness and partiality I tender my grateful acknowledgements. I do not relinquish my charge as one sick with disappointment, on the contrary I am well pleased; and when my business can be so arranged that I can withdraw a portion of my attention from it, I may again offer my services to the public in some similar way.
The labors of my life, whether it be long or short, are pledged to the interests of American Horticulture in one way or the other.
The future of this journal will, I hope and trust, be no less prosperous and useful than the past; indeed, I have reason to believe it will be much more so. The gentlemen who assume its management possess ample facilities for doing justice to every department.
John Jay Smith, Esq., who takes the editorial charge, has manifested a lively interest in the welfare of the Horticulturist from its commencement, and has contributed ably and regularly to its pages. For many years he has devoted the greater portion of his time to horticultural pursuits, as a zealous amateur; he enjoys abundant leisure, and is well read in the literature of Gardening, both of this country and Europe.
The duties of the editorial chair will be to him "a labor of love," and I have not the slightest apprehension but that he will discharge them creditably to himself and acceptably to his readers.
The Publisher, Robert Pearsall Smith, Esq., is also eminently qualified for his duties. As a proof, I need only refer to " The North American Sylva" which he has issued, and is now issuing, in such magnificent style. He is a master of his profession, and I am quite confident will not allow the appearance of the Horticul-turist to suffer in his hands, but rather that he will augment its attractions.
In this vast country of ours, with more than twenty millions of inhabitants, a very large majority of whom are engaged in the cultivation of the soil, there are but three Horticultural journals, with an aggregate circulation that does not exceed ten or fifteen thousand I believe. This is really astonishing, when we consider that so large a proportion of the population are remarkable for their general intelligence, so keenly alive to their own interests, and so greedy of information on all subjects.
The Horticulturist, conducted as it has been, and as I presume it will be, on the broad plan of an American National work, appealing directly to American feelings and interests, should have a circulation in these United States of not less than fifty thousand, and I hope to see this result consummated.
I hope to see it circulate as freely amongst our people as Harper's or Putnam's Magazines do now, and even more so.