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.
We close the twelfth volume of the Horticulturist with some feelings of satisfaction at its success, with others of regret. It has pursued its way, the past year, with the usual endeavor on the part of its proprietor, editor, and contributors, to make it readable and useful; the best evidences that it has the approval of its friends, have been received in a continued flow of new patrons, no less than its cordial reception by thousands of older readers, who have marked their friendship by successful endeavors to introduce it among their neighbors. The regret is founded upon the altered condition of the times, which has thrown many out of employment, and doubtless has interfered with the pecuniary means of some who peruse our varied pages, and to whom we shall have something to say in our next volume.
This regret is softened, however, by remembering that our subscribers are mostly inde- pendent residents of the country, who, if they have suffered by the times, have done so in a less degree than citizens. If the former have lost some of their resources, they have re-maining their acres for future tillage-their trees for future fruit - their gardens and nurseries for certain returns. The storm which blew over our commercial emporiums, though of human creation, may be likened to a sudden hurricane, the portents of which were visible, but unheeded; the wind breaking the glass of storekeepers, awnings smashing neighbor's heads, and the rain pouring in everywhere, to ruin and destroy the merchandise. Losses too great to be enumerated, fell heavily upon all densely crowded populations; but "the country is safe," prices are still highly remunerative, and we may safely congratulate most members of our country community upon their condition and prospects.
And yet, such is the sympathy of all classes with the panic-stricken commercial world, that the utter ruin of very many periodical publications not founded on the wants or the) affections of the public, may be anticipated. We predict the reverse for the Horticulturist. Its friends must be increased by the events just transpired. Thousands who sought in cities the means of existence, will now claim the blessings which country life bestows. Leaving the counting-house or the store, they will turn to cultivating the earth, and, we trust, will find in this original and natural employment of man, consolation for misfortunes which periodically cross the path of the merchant. There are enough inhabitants of cities left to create a permanent demand for all species of wholesome and attractive food. Fruits, large and small, are a necessity inadequately supplied - always scarce and dear. The Horticulturist is continually recording large profits from apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, and vegetable culture; their producers have small rents to pay in comparison with those of city storekeepers, and surely it is a more manly and intellectual occupation to till the earth, and take an interest in studying and assisting nature, than to be the slave of thoughts devoted to ribbons and yardsticks! or to pass anxious days and nights in betting on stocks, as if any set of people could ever grow rich by such a process!
It cannot be too often repeated that the tendency of our people is too much given to non-producing employments. Ease of body is sought before cheerfulness of mind. Sedentary occupations are not so healthful as those in the open air; if statistics are to be believed, it is residents of the country who enjoy the greatest amount of physical health. Cities noto-riously depreciate even the human stature. An attentive observer for forty years, may safely say that in cities families rapidly run out and disappear; the only permanent names are the land owners. Strange as it may sound, this is as evidently the story in America as in thickly settled Europe. Let it be the family policy for generation after generation to hold on to their land, never to risk its sale, to keep it under proper tillage, or even to grow timber on it judiciously, and the property remains; the family name is there, the means of livelihood and education are at hand. Sell the land, go to the city, invest in convertible goods, and in more than nine oases in ten the money disappears, if not in the first, in the second generation.
These reflections might be enforced by thousands and ten thousands of instances, but we feel no necessity for doing so; our readers are no doubt convinced; and with a few remarks suggested by an inspection of the last year's pages of this work, we consign it, with all its imperfections, to the criticism of its numerous readers.
The index-maker surrendered his annoying operation by calling our attention to the table of contents, which he says "embraces such a vast variety of interesting topics as perfectly to astonish me. I have made many indexes, but have rarely met with so many subjects illustrated in a single volume. I am no horticulturist myself, but I am greatly mistaken if these pages do not embrace most of the subjects which can interest the lover of the garden." Our " indexer" is mistaken; the topics of interest to the lover of nature are endless; we are but beginning to enumerate them. Take the subject of vegetable growth, for instance. Look at fruit culture, landscape gardening! Try to ascertain what is best to do or to plant in new and untried circumstances; endeavor to show practically to what your soil is specially adapted. In fine, study a little whether it be gardening or botany, and you will arrive at that very desirable point of knowledge, that we know almost nothing.
We have a word, in conclusion, to say for ourselves. The time employed on this work has soothed many hours of anguish, when the mind was unfit for social intercourse; this condition of health will account for many deficiencies. The amusement and enjoyment afforded by occupation, and the sympathy in tastes of many old and new friends and. correspondents, have been ample compensation for sometimes weary labor.
The work has had the most successful twelvemonth that its existence can record. It has varied its topics, we trust, agreeably to the reader. A more southern latitude than had heretofore been described in its pages, has engaged attention from the oft-recurring topics of the North. Biographical sketches of interesting personages connected with our subjects, have enlivened its pages; new correspondents hare taken up the discussion of matters of the deepest interest to all who reside on their lands, and though sensible of its many shortcomings, approbation has made our labor sweet.
For the ensuing numbers, we are prepared with many things calculated to gratify the thirst for knowledge, and are happy to say we have enlisted numerous co-laborers, on whose information and experience our public is accustomed to rely.