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.
The author of the famous resolutions on "Washing and Scraping Trees" which we found in the newspapers credited to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and copied into our last number, with some comments, has turned up in the person of "R. Morris Copeland," who replies to our remarks, which he terms "carping criticisms" in a very unpleasant mood, in the Practical Farmer. All we have to say with reference to this matter is, that the Mass. Society had nothing more to do with these resolutions than to vote them a place on the table. We say this much in behalf of the Society. As to what Mr. Copeland has pleased to say of our criticism, we are quite indifferent, and so are the public. When he substantiates the soundness and consistency of his recommendations, by solid, sensible arguments, we will give him the benefit of our pages in making them known.
It is not at all uncommon, in thaw days of literary and practical plagiarism, for amateur horticulturist in search after truth, to ask for bread, and receive a stone, - to ask for knowledge, and receive a jumbled medley of plaguied nonsense, from some new-fledged stripling who fancies himself qualified by nature to teach mankind. - And never was this more truly and strikingly apparent, than in a paper signed R. Morris CopelanD, which has been published in some of the journals as emanating from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. I had thought, Mr. Editor, that this piece of nonsensical, absurd, and contradictory jargon, would, from its very character, exonerate any seneible and intelligent member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, much more the Society itsef. from any odium attached to sending such a production into the world. It would seem, however, that this K. Morris Copeland has, in publishing this precious piece of bombast in one of the Boston papers, purposely, or, to be charitable, unintentionally identified the Massachusetts Horticultural Society with the paper, simply because such paper was presented to the Society and ordered to be laid on the table, and printed for the use of the members, as such worthless papers generally are.
Nor would the manifest vanity of the author of such paper, sending it of his own accord, and entirely unknown to any other person, even to the other members of the committee, deserve the slightest notice, other than that silent contempt generally accorded to such a proceeding. But when we find the same person vilifying and abusing as carping critics, etc, all and every one who chooses to condemn his so-called report, as he has done in the "Practical Farmer" a very good paper published in this city, then I say we think it almost time to inquire who this mighty Achilles in tree-scraping is - what amount of experience he has embodied in the report, and brought to bear on the subject - and, moreover, whether said paper is sanctioned by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, or even a committee of it ?
On inquiry, we find this doughty opponent of the experience of every intelligent horticulturist who has given any attention to the subject, to be a new-fledged stripling from a public school, who made his appearance last year about Boston as a Landscape Gardener, - the science and art of which, we believe, he learnt at said school, - and who has been found unable to tell the names of even the commonest forest trees, keeping the culture and diseases of such trees out of the question. Bo you not feel ashamed, you carping critics and snarling editors, for stigma-tizing a paper issuing from so respectable a source But, the names of Marshall P. Wilder, Samuel Walker, Joseph S. Cabot, Ac., are lugged in by our hero of the wire brush, to back up his impudent deception. Let me ask, will those gentlemen acknowledge the parentage of such a paper! But hold on, I have a host of authorities. I have, says the learned investigator of this useful subject, "composed my report of the written expressions of Emerson, Agassiz, Russell, Gray, Harris, etc." So that this learned reporter has investigated the pages of these authors, and not the subject for which the committee was appointed by the Society; and instead of patiently and perseveringly investigating a subject requiring years of observation and experience on the part of the investigator, we have a jumbled report composed of sentences and disconnected remarks from the writings of the authors above mentioned, interspersed with some silly, insipid balderdash of his own; the whole so garbled as to be perfectly unintelligible, and so contradictory as to mean neither one thing nor another.
And who were the committee The other two, from want of time, or from some* other cause, never read the report until they saw it in a public paper. They deny knowing anything about it; and consequently it was not even the report of a committee of the Society, nor do I believe that three men could be found in the whole Society, who would put their names to such a report. From his splenatio remarks in the "Practical Farmer" of Saturday the 19th, R. Morris Copeland appears terribly insensed at the remarks in your last number, at the queer set of resolutions, Ac, and says: "An argument based upon facts, as vxll as common sense, deserves to be answered by arguments of a similar nature; yet no one can find in all of the two, and most ion is worth just as much as their education, experience, and reasoning, can induce the reader to give, and no more." Is this not the acme of practical puppyism? - yet precisely -what we would expect from this doughty garbler of other people's books, who seems so entirely ignorant ot practical horticulture and arboriculture, that, in the plenitude of his benignant charity, he considers every other person as much in need of teaching as himself.
I expect the usual fandango about writing without signing my proper name, but will promise him, if he will write good English, and behave like a man, I shall address him openly; if not, let him console himself with the reflection of a better man, that a secret friend is better than an open foe. A MEmbER OF the Massachusetts Horticultural SOCIETY. - Boston, Aug. 21.
OUR correspondent is well and widely known as a practical and scientific horticulturist of experience - a man who has works as well as words to sustain, whatever position he may take. We wish his criticism were milder and less personal; we abhor personalities in which the publio can have bat little interest, and which are always unedifying and unpleasant The truth can always be vindicated and error exposed without the use of names. The innocent young gentleman in question, however, has voluntarily exposed himself to attack, and he must bear the consequences.