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 grand mission of the horticulturist, in subduing, cultivating, and embellishing the earth, - -of rendering the outward world a Paradise, - a garden of beauty and delight, (as the word Paradise literally imports,) is as yet but little understood and appreciated in all its length, and breadth, and glory, by even its most distinguished apostles and earnest and enthusiastic devotees. For it shall be his office in the coming age, not only to transform the face of nature, and through the hints and suggestions everywhere given him by the Divine Creator, to deduce order and beauty from the surrounding chaos, but to have a very important and powerful influence upon the life and culture, the health and happiness of man The civilization of man, and that of the earth indeed, always go hand in hand, and each acts upon, and advances the other. By the greater abundance and improvement of grains and vegetables, and especially by the increase of various and luscious fruits, a very striking change is to be made for the better, in the manner of human living, in the regimen and nourishment of the human body, and hence, in the purity, activity and beautiful development of mind and soul.
How much more poetical, how much more refined and elevated, as well as beautiful and exhilirating, is a table glowing with the various melting and luscious fruits in their season - the dewy, delicious strawberry, the fragrant raspberry, the ruby cherry, the tempting paradisean nectar of peach and apricot, plum and pear, and the glorious clusters of the rich and juicy grape, with the cooling and refreshing waters of cantelope and melon, accompanied by simple farinaceous articles of diet, than a board covered with the flesh of beasts, however delicately cooked, and with various spiced, unnatural, and unholy mixtures of cake, pastry, etc. Think of father Adam slaughtering an ox in Paradise, or the delicate fingers of his fair and gentle partner, dripping with the fat of a roast spare-rib, as her divine features become scorched and empurpled over a blazing fire.
We believe, most fully, from personal experience, as well as observation, that an abundant use of fruits has a strikingly delightful and elevating influence upon the animal spirits, as well as upon the mind and soul; that the constant habit of employing fruits will cure many diseases, and have a most beneficial effect upon the health of the individual, and the race, and prove, next to air and water, the greatest of all preventive medicaments. Indeed, as for ourselves personally, through spring and summer, autumn and winter, our breakfast is made almost exclusively of fruits. These we will have, and using no other luxury, we think we have a right to use them At any cost. At the same time, we feel it to be a high and holy duty, which we owe to the race, to do all in our power to render fruit 80 abundant and cheap, a$ to fall within the means of our poorest brother, and gladden, with its nutritious and exhilarating juices, every child in the land. We do not labor merely that this princely merchant, and that lordly nabob, should have his table loaded with choice " specimens;" but that every man, woman, and child, month in and month out, should revel in these delicious and healthful luxuries, till they become the cheapest of common necessities.
And let the true friend of our noble art but do his duty, and this can, and it will be accomplished.
We even go so far as to believe, that such a blessed consummation would do more than aught beside to banish dram-drinking, wine-bibbing, and intemperance, from the land* For these habits are to be attributed, in the main, to a craving for the sparkling and exhilarating juices, the grateful and healthful acids contained in fruits. And the truth of this statement will be evident, if we consider that principally, from the juices of fruits, come all our various wines, exhilarating liquors, and intoxicating beverages. It was one of the methods early taken to lengthen out and perpetuate the season of fruitage. The less abundant of fruits were dried in ovens, or hung up in the solar rays, and the juices were expressed from the more prolific and plentiful varieties. As from the apple, cider; from the pear, perry; from the grape, wine and brandy; and hence, elder wine, currant wine, etc. At first, indeed, this method was employed only on a limited scale, in the very season of fruits, and the juicy clusters of the grape were pressed into the crystal or golden goblet, as we now squeeze the orange and the lemon for our delicious orangeade, or the cooling sherbet of lemons.
As we read in holy writ, " I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand," (Genesis XI. II.) Gentlemen, indeed, in the constant habit of employing wine and liquors, say to us, " Oh! with such fruits as these, I should not care for wine, and should soon give up all relish for drinking." Let us make the various delicious fruits so plentiful, as to be within the reach of every man, even the poorest and the humblest, and we shall do more for the cause of temperance, and truly good-living, than all the Maine liquor laws and temperance lecturers in the world; for we shall thus destroy utterly, the the corrupted and perverted tastes of men, and restore them to the original beautiful and wholesome simplicity of nature. James Richakdson, Jr.
Greenfieled, Mass., July 28,1858.