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.
In vol. 4, New Series of the Horticulturist, page 276, is a diagram of these grounds, with a notice of some improvements then contemplated. The trustees had placed the matter in the hands of a committee of gentlemen whose taste and experience are not wholly unknown to many of our leading men in horticulture. About one thousand dollars were placed at their disposal by a few friends of the improvement. The Committee continued in charge of the grounds for three years, and in that time arranged a system of walks, removed many unsightly objects, and improved the surface grade of the whole grounds. The work was commenced during the presidency of Rev. Dr. Simeon North, who gave the undertaking his hearty approval In this improvement was opened a new means of student culture, by a display of tasteful and elegant grounds, cultivating a taste for landscape gardening and a love of the beautiful. One can hardly over-estimate the value of such culture in our schools and colleges.
So far as we know, Hamilton College first began this work among our colleges. The Committee, appreciating its value, determined to make it a first-class work. A large number of fine and rare plants and shrubs were set out, and many leading horticulturists were interested in the matter. From Charles Downing, of New burg; from Messrs. Ellwanger& Barry and Messrs. Frost & Co., of Rochester; from H. W. Sargent, Esq., of Fishkill; Messrs. Hovey & Co., of Boston, and others, valuable contributions were received. In 1858, the executive officer of the College was changed, and the new incumbent claimed the control and proceeds of the grounds. In consequence of this claim the Committee resigned to the trustees who appointed them the care of the grounds. Their resignation was accepted, an assurance being given that their plans should be adhered to and carried forward. Since this time until within the last year the College executive has controlled and directed all work, and it is a matter of deep regret that so little has been done. The only improvement has been in the growth of trees and shrubs previously planted. The planting done has been more than counterbalanced by losses, occasioned by neglect - losses of rare shrubs and plants not easily made good.
Cattle have, by browsing and scraping, injured the growth and beauty of some trees yet living - the clean cut line of the walks is obliterated, and the lawn has become a meadow. Minor matters may be replaced by renewed care, but the eight years lost time, in the planting and growth of trees, can not be regained.
During the past year another change has taken place in the executive office, and the trustees of the College have requested the former Committee again to take charge of the grounds. These gentlemen are still full of interest in the work, and announce their determination, so far as they have means, to push on the improvement. Many friends of the College, noticing the improved condition of the grounds during the commencement season, which has just transpired, are led to expect good results in the year to come.
But for success the Committee must have means.
We deem this a matter of interest, not only to friends of this College, but to all lovers of horticulture and friends of progress in this direction. The writer of this article has heard college and school trustees in the Far West speak of the Hamilton College grounds as an example to be followed. May it not be possible for a fund to be established, through some friends of the College, the income of which shall enable the Committee to carry out their plans and make these grounds, so beautiful even now, a model worthy to be admired and copied ?