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.
Now, it would naturally be supposed, that amid all the sharp criticism •which has been written on my article, some inkling of what I had called for, viz., statistical information to the point would have been submitted; but not an item of the kind have I yet seen. Various statements have been made that in such and such places flourishing young dwarf trees, and even orchards planted, have borne good crops of fruit, have sold for good prices - none of which, by the way, I ever denied - but they gave no pecuniary results as to "profits" We know not whether the fruit cost fifty cents, or a dollar a bushel to produce it, or a penny, sixpence, or a shilling each for the individual pears, nor do we know whether the profit, if any, be made by the producer, the forestaller, or the huckster. We are told how beautiful the growing trees look - as if I had ever disputed that fact! and, as a matter of course, that I had slandered pear-growing, particularly dwarf, without any sort of reason. Nor is it of the slightest consequence to the merits of the question whether my own individual mode of cultivation was good or bad, - successful or not, so far as the fact that they have been successfully cultivated by others is concerned.
I want simply to know who does succeed in growing good table pears "for market, at a profit," and where the orchards are located. That is the point, and the point only; and until my question is answered by statements of figures and facts, my position stands unrefuted. "Millions of trees" have been reared, sold, and planted all over the country for quite a sufficient number of years to bringthem into successful bearing; and where are the results, either in living trees, fruit, or money? Let us see: In the last June Horticulturist, page 250, Rivers, of Saw-lbridgeworth, has an article on the Dwarf, and names six varieties which he recommends for dwarf cultivation. He has great orchards, but gives no facts of their profits, or bearing; and as Rivers is English authority, based on English soil and climate, it is, in any result, no guide to us in. America.
In the same number, page 288, a gentleman in "Southern Ohio" says he succeeds in pear culture, and gets three and four dollars a bushel for his fruit. "I think with us here, pear culture will pay." Not a single statistic about details - proving nothing to the question propounded.
In July number, page 319, my friend John B. Eaton walks up to the witness stand. "Has grown Dwarfs thirteen years; planted 400 trees of over 100 varieties; a great many have died with blight, and don't know what; probably worked on an unsuitable stock, the common quince." Now here, at this "unsuitable stock," let me stick a pin. A quince is a quince, and nothing else. It is declared by my excellent friend, John J. Thomas - and I always distrust somewhat my own correctness when differing from him on pomological subjects, when his prejudices do not get the better of his judgment - that the fact of the quince being a smaller and more compact growing wood than the pear, is no objection to their forming a healthy and perfect union when worked upon each other; in which fact I do, toto coelo, disagree with him. Therefore, if friend Thomas is right, no matter whether it be the "common" quince, or the larger "Angers" which is used for a dwarf stock; being a quince, the pear worked upon it should grow as well on the smaller as the larger stock. So here Mr. Eaton is in my favor, although ignoring my theory in general. He does not give the number of his trees now living - not at all; but tells us he thinks they can be grown to a profit. I will add an item or two to his statement.
I never saw trees better cultivated than his, ever since his father planted his first dwarfs. They could not be better cultivated. 1 know every foot of his orchard grounds, the different qualities of the soil, and have seen the trees every year since planted. I venture the assertion that his Dwarf orchard - although he has some fine trees yet standing - in profits and success, as a market pear, is a failure. Again: what does he mean by saying that "if he was now to plant a pear orchard, he would arrange the rows in quincunx ten feet apart, placing standards at about fifteen feet, and filling the alternate spaces with dwarfs?" Why, simply, as I understand it, that expecting the dwarfs to die out by the time the standards get up to bearing size, as they no doubt would, the standards will then fill the ground I Fifteen feet apart for standards! Why, he must have precious little faith in the standards even, for sizeable trees when at maturity ought to stand full twenty-five or thirty feet asunder. He probably expects three quarters of the standards to fail, ultimately, and the remainder will be just right in distance.
Mr. Eaton is a damaging witness for the dwarfs, and I will set him over on my side of the question.
But I have to go beyond the pages of the Horticulturist to hunt up testimony, either against or for myself. So, in the "Country Gentleman" of July 22d, page 46, Doctor Ward, of Newark, New Jersey, occupies a page. As usual, he makes many candid and sensible remarks drawn from his own actual experience, as well as observations on the labors of others; and had I not found him a short time previous giving countenance to slanders, which he ought to have known at the time were uttered by perfect ignoramuses upon my May article, at the "Farmer's Club" in New York, I should have thought him a little less credulous than now. Doctor Ward, however, mainly sustains my positions, by inference, at least - and if every writer who really knows any thing on the subject would be but as fair as he, we might arrive at the truth after a while. I cannot quote him fully, nor need I, as any one wishing to know his opinions can read them for himself. I applied the word "credulous" to Doctor Ward. He is more than that - witty, even, upon my statements: "The experience of our friend Mr. Allen has taught us on this point at least one fact, that the climate of Black Rock is so uncongenial, that further trials need not there be made.