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.
Whereas, news has been received of the loss of the steamer Henry Clay, by fire, on the Hudson, and among the lost we find the name of A. J. Downing, of Newburgh, the editor of the Horticulturist; therefore, be it Resolved, That while we deplore the loss of so many lives, and sympathise with those bereaved, we learn with feelings of sincere regret and profound grief, of the death of the distinguished horticulturist, A. J. Downing. That while horticulture engages the attention, and enlists the feelings of many, none have surpassed the deceased in intelligence, enthusiasm, industry and devotion, in all things that relate to " rural art and rural taste," none have left more enduring or more beautiful monuments of their labors, than he. Death has surprised him in the midst of his usefulness and success, and just as his cultivated taste was being fully appreciated by the nation. Who can fill his place?
Resolved, That as an honorary member of our Society, we feel that we have a lost a brother, whose writings and teachings have been our pleasure and our guide, and whose memory we will cherish as one worthy our love and esteem.
Resolved, That in this bereavement, we sympathise with his family, and the friends of horticulture every where, and as a token of our esteem, we will place these resolves on our minutes, and forward them to be published in the journal which he so ably edited.
[From the N. Y. Tribune].
Among the victims by the destruction of the Henry Clay, there is none whom the country could so little afford to lose, or whose services to the community could so little be replaced, as Mr. Downing of Newburgh. A man of genius and of high culture, thoroughly disciplined in his profession by long study and observation in Europe, with taste refined and judgment true enough to feel the deficiencies and to know the needs of our domestic, and especially of our rural architecture; still in the prime of life, and exercising a wide influence by his practical la bors as well as by his life, he is snatched from a sphere of high and beautiful utility, and a successor we cannot hope to find. What Mr. Downing had done and was doing to improve the fashion of our dwellings, hardly surpassed in value his contributions, theoretical and practical, to the kindred art of landscape gardening. Under his directing hands, the grounds at the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, were being transformed into models of beauty in their kind, aud the grounds about many private mansions also bear testimony to the same taste, the same wise sense of beauty and fitness. As ' a writer, Mr. Downing is remarkable fur a mixture of the strong sense, thorough understand-iug of his subject, and a genial originality.
The cessation of his monthly essays in the Horticulturist, will leave a permanent blank in the history of the domestic arts. While he drew his materials from the most varied culture, he was always, and in the inost frank and manly way, an American'. His chief aim was to refine the taste, and elevate the social life and habits of his countrymen, to something like the ideal proper to freemen An artist, a scholar, and a gentleman, we deplore his untimely loss; and a wide circle of acquaintances who with us recall his eminent social, as well as public qualities, will join with us in this tribute to his memory.
[From the New York Evening Post ]
Mr. Downing'first became known by a work on Landscape Gardening, in which he exhibited great taste and enthusiasm. It was nearly the first book of any pretension to direct our countrymen to. ornamental gardening and rural architecture, and it had a good effect in refining and cultivating the public taste. Not long afterwards he published a smaller work on Cottage Residences, which also attained a wide circulation, and exercised a healthful influence. He then prepared a work on the Fruits and Fruit-Trees of America, in which his extensive horticultural studies and experience were applied. He edited also, a small book etitled Hints on Architecture, but of late years his energies were principally exerted in the Horticulturist, a monthly magazine of high character, devoted to Horticulture, Pomology, Landscape Gardening. Botany, and Rural Economy. Mr. Down-ing's contributions were a chief attraction of this periodical, which through his efforts, had become unusually successful.
These publications of Mr. Downing, more than any other agency, had worked a change in our style of building, and created a general improvement in taste. He was commissioned, by a large number of gentlemen about to construct private residences, to prepare the designs and lay out the grounds. The evidence of bis fine professional accomplishments now meet us in all parts of the country, and his loss is one that will be felt far beyond the bereaved circle of which he was the ornament and pride.
At the time of his death, Mr. Downing was employed by the government at Washington in laying out the public grounds in front of the Capitol. He had not yet completed his plans, but such alterations as had been already made were universally admitted to be a great improvement to the metropolis, and promised the most beautiful results. Mr. Downing had determined to expend the whole resources of his art, under the guidance of his exquisite taste, in rendering these national gardens worthy of their name. Whether he lias left any instructions or drawings, to enable others to carry out his designs, we cannot say.
[From the Newburgh Gaztte].
We have had a conversation with Miss Amelia A. Bailey, in relation to the last moments of Mr. Downing. She assigns the preservation of her life to the advice given her by Mr. D,, who, before she jumped overboard, urged upon her presence of mind, and directed her how to avoid strangulation as she sank into the watery element. They were on the stern of the boat together, whence one after another Were throw, ing themselves into the water as the fierce flames approached. She sprang into the water from an elevated point, and as she arose caught hold of the chain, fortunately within reach. There she sustained herself until a gentleman, arising for a moment from the same fearful grave of youth, manhood, and age, grasped the chain with a convulsive effort, that forced her to lose her hold. Miss B. finally clung to the -braces (under the guards,) sustaining above the water with her feet, an elderly lady in whom the spark of life had almost expired, while another per. son clung to her waist until a boat arrived and rescued them. Miss B. informs us that the last she saw of Mr. Downing, he was struggling in the water with Mrs. Wadsworth clinging to his neck. She did not speak to him in the water, though she saw him, as stated above, sinking in the water a short distance from her.
She says he was perfectly composed, and just be tore they parted on the deck, replied to her inquiry whether there was a prospect of being saved; ' I cannot say, there is danger,' or something to the same effect.
A correspondent of the N. Y. Times writing from Newburgh. in reference to the disaster to the Henry Clay, says:
"This country has good cause to assail them, and pray most sincerely that just retribution may fall upon all who were in any way the cause of this thrilling and heart sickening calamity; Mr. Dow king's loss cannot be made good by a thousand owners of steamboats. His death is a national loss. Mrs. De Wint, of Fishkill, was niece of the late John Quincy Adams, and Mr. Downing was her son-in-law. He undoubtedly lost his life in attempting to save a lady - Mrs. Wadsworth of New-Orleans, a very lovely woman - and who was under his charge. . His wife escaped by being supported upon two chairs until she was rescued. Knowing that Mr. Downing was an excellent swimmer, she supposed he had been taken off by the Armenia, and gone to New-York, and it was not until the next day that she was told of his sad fate".
The annual meeting of this Society was held at the Society's room, on Saturday evening, April 5 - the President, M. B. Batch am, Esq., in the Chair.
Three varieties or apples were exhibited, viz: Willow, Liberty, and Romanite, each in a good state of preservation.
Some very interesting remarks were made in reference to the effects of the late winter upon fruit-trees, in this and other sections of the country. In particular localities, little, if any, injury has been done; while, in others, the effects have been disastrous.
The following gentlemen were chosen officers for the current year: President - M. B. Batrham. First Vies President - Benjamin Blare. Second Vice President - Alex. £. Glenn. Treasurer - Henry G. Noble. Recording Secretary - Robert Hums. Corresponding Secretary - Henry C. Noble. Council - Francis Stewart, George Gerey, William G. Deshler. Garden Cbmmitfee - -Henry C. Noble.
At the annual meeting of the Hartford County Horticultural Society, held on the 12th of April, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year, viz: President - William W. Turner, Vice-Presidents - Jom M. Niles, John S. Butler, Henry W. Terry, Hartford; Henry Mygatt, Farmington; Charles L. Porter, Bast Hartford; Noah W\ Stanley, New Britain; Norman Porter, Berlin; E. A. Holcomb, Granby; Salmon Lyman, Manchester; S. D. CASE, Canton; H. A. Grant, Enfield. Recording Secretary - Daniel S. Dewey, Hartford. Correspond-ing Secretary - -Thomas R. Dutton, Hartford. Treasurer - P. D. Stillman. Auditor - H. L. Bid-well. Standing Committee - WM. T. Tuttlb, H. W. Tuttle, H. W. Terry, Edward Goodridge.