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.
I discovered, Mr. Editor, upon opening your September number, that my incidental remarks upon this subject had really waked up "the opposing party," in the persons of both Dr. Garber and Mr. Prince.
I had seen a paragraph contradicting the statement to which I alluded, but did not understand it to be authoritative, not being aware that a committee had investigated the point.
The undoubted authority of Dr. Garber establishes the fact that the grape was not "found in a wild state" in the localities visited by him, but I do not see that the impossibility of its having originated somewhere in the country is thereby conclusively proved.
I have no sort of interest in proving the American origin of this fruit, be-Lyond the natural desire that we should be able to claim as many good things as possible, as belonging to the country. The Delaware being pretty well established as a very good thing, and as hardy as can reasonably be expected, I do not see that its origin is of any especial importance; still I should like to see its pedigree clearly and distinctly traced, even if it should lead to the vineyard of Judge Provost, of Frenchtown, and to an imported vine.
I hope that Dr. Garber, who is undoubtedly competent to the undertaking, will write up the history of the variety, and bring out all the facts in point, from its importation, if it was imported, and from the seed, if it wasn't. Why does Mr. Prince wait for "another fruiting season" before bringing up his battery? Better for him to tell us what he knows note, and thereby assist " the public at large" in the "investigation," and afterwards produce any new evidence that may be elicited. I have heard Mr. Prince, more than once, expatiate upon "the land of the grape and the home of the vine," and the numerous varieties therein originating, and have no doubt that his version of the case would be quite convincing.
My own idea of the subject is, that the Delaware is not a native grape in the strictest sense, but a hybrid between native and foreign varieties, combining, as it does, the many good qualities of the latter with the hardiness of the former.
I had the pleasure, a few days since, of comparing the Delaware and Ontario, the latter, however, not fully ripe, but well colored. Its size, both of bunch and berry, was the only point of superiority that I discovered in comparison with the Isabella; but the Delaware was exceedingly fine. A cross between the two, which should produce a hardy variety with the size and beauty of the Ontario, and the excellence in other respects of the Delaware, would leave little to be desired in native grapes; and that such a variety will be produced can scarcely be doubted, when we reflect upon the astonishing number and the great excellence of the native sorts, both of grapes and other fruits, that we already possess, and the comparatively very few that were known twenty years since.
As to Dr. Garber's threat of " repeating the dose," I should have no objection to his dosing me with Delaware grapes, ad libitum; the discussion of the subject on paper being somewhat less juicy, I shall not give him the same liberty, if he prefers that mode, but reserve the privilege of crying "enough," if I see occasion.