previous next

Appendix I: General Dearborn's Report.

When the Massachusetts Horticultural Society was organized, it was confidently anticipated, that, at no very distant period, a Garden of Experiment would be established in the vicinity of Boston; but to arrive at such a pleasing result, it was deemed expedient that our efforts should first be directed to the accomplishment of objects which would not require very extensive pecuniary resources; that we should proceed with great caution, and by a prudential management of our means, gradually develope a more complete and efficient system for rendering the institution as extensively useful as it was necessary and important. Public favor was to be propitiated by the adoption of such incipient measures as were best calculated to encourage patronage, and insure ultimate success.

With these views, the labors of the Society have been confined to the collection and dissemination of intelligence, plants, scions, and seeds, in the various departments of Horticulture. An extensive correspondence was therefore opened with similar associations in this country and in Europe, as well as with many gentlemen who are distinguished for their theoretical attainments, practical information, and experimental researches, in all the branches of rural economy, on this continent, and other portions of the globe. [37]

The kind disposition, which has been generally evinced, to advance the interest of the Society, has had a salutary and cheering influence. Many interesting and instructive communications have been received, and valuable donations of books, seeds, and plants have been made by generous foreigners, and by citizens of the United States. A liberal offer of co-operation has been promptly tendered in both hemispheres, and great advantages are anticipated from a mutual interchange of good offices.

A library of considerable extent has been formed, containing many of the most celebrated English and French works on Horticulture, several of which are magnificent. The apartments for the accommodation of the Society have been partially embellished with beautiful paintings of some of our choice native varieties of fruits; and by weekly exhibitions, during eight months of the year, of fruits, flowers, and esculent vegetables ;--by awarding premiums for proficiency in the art of gardening, and the rearing of new, valuable, or superior products;--by disseminating intelligence, and accounts of the proceedings of the Society at its regular and special meetings, through the medium of the New England Farmer; and by an annual festival, and public exhibition of the various products of Horticulture, an interest has been excited, and a spirit of inquiry awakened, auspicious to the Institution, while a powerful impulse has been given to all the branches of rural industry, far beyond our most sanguine hopes.

To foster and extend a taste for the pleasant, useful and refined art of Gardening, the time appears to have arrived for enlarging the sphere of action, and giving [38] the most ample development to the original design of the Society.

The London, Paris, Edinburg, and Liverpool Horticultural Associations, have each established Experimental Gardens, and the beneficial effects have been conspicuously experienced; and not only throughout England, Scotland and France,--but the whole civilized world is deriving advantages from those magnificent depositories, of the rarest products which have been collected from the vast domains of Pomona and Flora. These noble precedents have been followed in Russia, Germany, Holland and Italy. We also must emulate the meritorious examples of those renowned institutions, and be thus enabled to reciprocate their favors, from like collections of useful and ornamental plants. An equally enlightened taste will be thus superinduced for those comforts and embellishments, and that intellectual enjoyment, which the science and practice of Horticulture afford.

With the Experimental Garden, it is recommended to unite a Rural Cemetery; for the period is not distant, when all the burial-grounds within the City will be closed, and others must be formed in the country, the primitive and only proper location. There the dead may repose undisturbed, through countless ages. There can be formed a public place of sepulchre, where monuments may be erected to our illustrious men, whose remains, thus far, have unfortunately been consigned to obscure and isolated tombs, instead of being collected within one common depository, where their great deeds might be perpetuated and their memories cherished by succeeding generations. Though dead, they would be [39] eternal admonitors to the living,--teaching them the way which leads to national glory and individual renown.

When it is perceived what laudable efforts have been made in Europe, and how honorable are the results, it is impossible that the citizens of the United States should long linger in the rear of the general march of improvement. They will hasten to present establishments, and to evince a zeal for the encouragement of rural economy, commensurate with the extent and natural resources of the country, and the variety of its soil and climate.

Your Committee have not a doubt that an attempt should be made in this State to rival the undertakings of other countries, in all that relates to the cultivation of the soil. The intelligent, patriotic and wealthy will cheerfully lend their aid, in the establishment of a Garden of Experiment, and a Cemetery. Massachusetts has ever been distinguished for her public and private munificence, in the endowment of colleges, academies, and numerous associations for inculcating knowledge, and the advancement of all branches of industry. A confident reliance is therefore reposed on the same sources of beneficence. The Legislature will not refuse its patronage, but will readily unite with the people in generous contributions for the accomplishment of objects so well calculated to elevate the character of the Commonwealth, and that of its citizens.

The Experimental Garden is intended for the improvement of Horticulture in all its departments, ornamental as well as useful.

The objects which will chiefly claim attention, are the collection and cultivation of common, improved, [40] and new varieties of the different kinds of Fruits, Esculent Vegetables, Forest and Ornamental Trees and Shrubs, Flowering, Economical and other interesting Plants, which do not exclusively belong to the predial department of tillage ;--paying particular attention to the qualities and habits of each; instituting comparative experiments on the modes of culture to which they are usually subjected, so as to attain a knowledge of the most useful, rare and beautiful species; the best process of rearing and propagating them, by seeds, scions, buds, suckers, layers, and cuttings;--the most successful methods of insuring perfect and abundant crops, as well as satisfactory results in all the branches of useful and ornamental planting, appertaining to Horticulture.

Compartments are to be assigned for the particular cultivation of Fruit Trees, Timber Trees, Ornamental Trees and Shrubs, Esculent Vegetables, Flowers, and for the location of Green-Houses, Stoves, Vineries, Orangeries, and Hot-Beds.

For the accommodation of the Garden of Experiment and Cemetery, at least seventy acres of land are deemed necessary; and in making the selection of a site, it was very important that from forty to fifty acres should be well or partially covered with forest-trees and shrubs, which could be appropriated for the latter establishment; that it should present all possible varieties of soil, common in the vicinity of Boston ;--be diversified by hills, valleys, plains, brooks, and low meadows, and bogs, so as to afford proper localities for every kind of tree and plant that will flourish in this climate;and be near to some large stream or river, and easy of access by land and water ;--but still sufficiently retired. [41]

To realize these advantages, it is proposed, that a tract of land called Sweet Auburn, situated in Cambridge, should be purchased. As a large portion of the ground is now covered with trees, shrubs and wild flowering plants, avenues and walks may be made through them, in such a manner as to render the whole establishment interesting and beautiful, at a small expense, and within a few years, and ultimately to offer an example of landscape or picturesque gardening, in conformity to the modern style of laying out grounds, which will be highly creditable to the Society.

The streams, and parcels of bog and meadow-land may be easily converted into ponds, and variously formed sheets of water, which will furnish appropriate positions for aquatic plants, while their borders may be planted with Rhododendrons, Azaleas, several species of the superb Magnolia, and other plants, which require a constantly humid soil, and decayed vegetable matter, for their nourishment.

On the Southeastern and Northeastern borders of the tract can be arranged the nurseries, and portions selected for the culture of fruit-trees and esculent vegetables, on an extensive scale; there may be arranged the Arboretum, the Orchard, the Culinarium, Floral department, Melon-grounds and Strawberry beds, and Green-houses.

The remainder of the land may be devoted to the Cemetery.

By means of a more extensive correspondence with eminent Horticulturists it is certain that many valuable, rare, and beautiful plants may be obtained, not only from all parts of our own country, but other regions of the globe, which could be naturalized to the soil and [42] climate of New England. This can be efficiently undertaken, so soon as a Garden of Experiment is formed, but it would be almost useless to procure large collections of seeds or plants, until we are enabled to cultivate them under the immediate direction of the Society.

Accounts of the experiments which may be made, should be periodically reported and published; and seeds, buds, cuttings, and uncommon varieties of rooted plants may be distributed among the members of the Society, and be sold for its benefit, in such manner as may be found most expedient, to render the garden the most extensively useful in all its relations with the wants, comforts and pleasures of life.

Such an establishment is required for “ collecting the scattered rays of intelligence, and blending them with the science and accumulating experience of the times,” and then diffusing them far and wide, to cheer and enlighten the practical Horticulturist in his career of agreeable and profitable industry. It will powerfully contribute to increase the taste for rural pursuits,stimulate a generous spirit of research and emulation,suggest numerous objects worthy of inquiry and experiment,--multiply the facilities of information and the interchange of indigenous and exotic plants,--develope the vast vegetable resources of the Union,--give activity to enterprise,--increase the enjoyment of all classes of citizens,--and advance the prosperity, and improve the general aspect of the whole country.

The establishment of a Cemetery in connexion with the Garden of Experiment, cannot fail of meeting public approbation. Such rural burial-places were [43] common among the ancients, who allowed no graveyards within their cities. The Potter's Field was without the walls of Jerusalem, and in the Twelve Tables it was prescribed “that the dead should neither be buried or burned in the City” of Rome. Evelyn states, “that the custom of burying in churches and near about them, especially in great cities, is a novel presumption, indecent, sordid, and very prejudicial to health; it was not done among the Christians in the primitive ages;” and was forbidden by the Emperors Gratian, Valentian, and Theodosius, and never sanctioned until the time of Gregory the Great. The Eastern Christians do not now inter the dead within their churches. During the age of the patriarchs, groves were selected as places of sepulture. When Sarah died, Abraham purchased “the field of Ephron, in Machpeiah, with all the trees that were therein and the borders round about, as a burying place,” and there he buried his wife; “and there they buried Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah and Leah;” and when Jacob had blessed his sons, “he said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron.” Deborah “was buried beneath Beth-el under an oak,” and the valiant men of Jabesh-gilead removed the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Bethshon and “ buried them under a tree.” Moses was buried in “a valley in the land of Moab;” Joseph, in “a parcel of ground in Shechem;” Eleazer, the son of Aaron, “in a hill that pertained to Phinehas;” and Manassah, with Amon “in the garden of Uzza.”

The planting of rose-trees upon graves is an ancient custom: Anacreon says that “ it protects the dead ;” and Propertius indicates the usage of burying amidst roses. [44]

Plato sanctioned the planting of trees over sepulchres, and the tomb of Ariadne was in the Arethusian Groves of Crete. The Catacombs of Thebes were excavated in the gorges of forest-clad hills, on the opposite bank of the Nile; and those of Memphis were beyond the lake Acherusia, from which the Grecian mythologists derived their fabulous accounts of the Elysian Fields. There it was supposed the souls of the virtuous and illustrious retired after death, and roamed through bowers forever green, and over meadows spangled with flowers, and refreshed by perennial streams. In the mountains near Jerusalem were located the tombs of the opulent Israelites; and in a Garden, near the base of Calvary, had Joseph, the Aramathean, prepared that memorable sepulchre in which was laid the crucified Messiah. The Greeks and Romans often selected the secluded recesses of wooded heights and vales, as favorable places of interment, or the borders of the great public highways, where elegant monuments were erected, and surrounded with cypress and other ever-verdant trees. Many of the richly-sculptured sarcophagi and magnificent tombs, reared by the once polished nations of Asia Minor, are still to be seen in the vicinity of the numerous ruined cities on the deserted coast of Karamania.

The Athenians allowed no burials within the city. The illustrious men, who had either died in the service of their country, or were thought deserving of the most distinguished honors, were buried in the Ceramicus,an extensive public cemetery on the road to Thria. Tombs and statues were erected to their memory, on which were recounted their praises and exploits; and [45] to render them familiar to all, to animate every citizen to a love of virtue and of glory, and to excite in youthful minds an ardent desire of imitating those celebrated worthies, the spacious grounds were embellished with trees, and made a public promenade. Within the Ceramicus was the Academy where Plato and the great men who followed him met their disciples, and held assemblies for philosophical conference and instruction. Connected with the Academy were a gymnasium, and a garden, which was adorned with delightful covered walks, and refreshed by the waters of the Cephisus, which flowed, under the shade of the plane and various other trees, through its western borders. At the entrance and within the area of the garden were temples, altars, and statues of the gods.

The bodies of the Athenians, who had fallen in battle, were collected by their countrymen, and after they were consumed on the funeral pile, their bones were carried to Athens; there they were exposed, in cypress coffins, under a large tent, for three days, that the relations might perform those libations which affection and religion enjoined; then they were placed on as many cars as there were tribes, and the procession proceeded slowly through the city, to the Ceramicus, where funeral games were exhibited, and an orator, publicly appointed for the occasion, pronounced an eulogium.

Even the Turks, who are so opposed to the cultivation of the fine arts, embellish their grave-yards with evergreens. With them it is a religious duty to plant trees around the graves of their kindred, and the burying ground of Scutari is one of the most interesting [46] objects in the environs of Constantinople. Situated in the rear of the town and extending along the declivity of the Asiatic shore, towards the sea of Marmora, it presents a vast forest of majestic trees; and thither the inhabitants of the imperial city generally resort, during the sultry months of summer, to enjoy the cool breezes, which descend from the Euxine, or are wafted over the waves of the Propontis. Throughout Italy, France and England, there are many cemeteries which are ornamented with forest-trees and flowering shrubs. Pere la Chaise, in the environs of Paris, has been admired, and celebrated, by every traveller who has visited that beautiful garden of the dead.

In Liverpool a similar burying-ground was completed three years since, and a meeting has recently been held in London for forming one in the vicinity of that city, of a size and on a scale of magnificence which shall quadrate with the wealth and vast extent of the mighty capital of a great nation. Within the central area are to be exact models of the superb temples, triumphal arches, columns and public monuments of Greece and Rome, as receptacles or memorials of departed worthies of the empire.

The establishment of rural cemeteries similar to that of Pere la Chaise, has often been the subject of conversation in this country, and frequently adverted to by the writers in our scientific and literary publications. But a few years since, a meeting was held in Boston, by many of its most respectable citizens, for the purpose of maturing a plan, and forming such an establishment in the environs of the city. No one can be indifferent to a subject of such deep and universal interest. In [47] whatever point of view it is considered, who is there, that does not perceive numerous and powerful inducements for aiding in its accomplishment? How consoling and pleasing is the thought that our memories shall be cherished after death; that the spot, where our ashes repose, shall be often visited by dear and constant friends; that they will there linger, to call up the soothing yet melancholy reminiscences of by-gone times; that the sod which covers us will be kept ever verdant; that a magnificent forest will be reared to overshadow our graves, by those truly kind hands which performed the last sad office of affection; that flowers will fringe the pathways, leading to our lowly resting-place, and their fragrance, mingled with the holiest aspirations, ascend to the throne of the Eternal.

To those who mourn, what a consolation to visit the bower-sequestered monument of a much-loved friend, under circumstances and with associations so favorably calculated to revive agreeable recollections of the past; and when those revolting ideas are excluded, which obtrude upon the mind while standing in the usual dreary, desolate and ruinous repositories of the dead.

In the Rural Cemetery the names and virtues of the departed would live in perpetual freshness, and their souls seem to commune with those who come to do honor to their manes. Thus would all like to repose in death; and who would not deem it a blessing, to be able to confer that favor on a parent, child, wife, husband or friend? How can this object be so successfully accomplished as in connexion with an Experimental Garden? That part of the land which has been recommended for a Cemetery, may be circumvallated by [48] a spacious avenue, bordered by trees, shrubbery and perennial flowers,--rather as a line of demarcation, than of disconnexion,--for the ornamental grounds of the Garden should be apparently blended with those of the Cemetery, and the walks of each so intercommunicate, as to afford an uninterrupted range over both, as one common domain.

Among the hills, glades and dales, which are now covered with evergreen, and deciduous trees and shrubs, may be selected sites for isolated graves, and tombs, and these being surmounted with columns, obelisks, and other appropriate monuments of granite and marble, may be rendered interesting specimens of art; they will also vary and embellish the scenery, embraced within the scope of the numerous sinuous avenues that may be felicitously opened, in all directions, and to a vast extent, from the diversified and picturesque features which the topography of this tract of land presents.

Besides the great public advantages which will result from the Horticultural department, that proportion of the land which may be consecrated to the dead, and rendered, like the Elysian Fields of the Egyptians, a holy and pleasant resort for the living,--the whole will present one of the must instructive, magnificent and pleasant promenades in our country. From its immediate proximity to the Capital of the State, it will attract universal interest, and become a place of healthful, refreshing and agreeable resort, from early spring until the close of autumn.

To accomplish these two great objects, it is necessary that a fund should be created, immediately, sufficient [49] for the purchase of the land, surrounding it with a substantial fence, the erection of a gardener's lodge, laying out the grounds, and preparing them for the purposes of an Experimental Garden and a Cemetery. That this can be done your Committee does not entertain a doubt, and they respectfully recommend the adoption of the following measures as best calculated to insure success.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Plato (2)
Pere (2)
Theodosius (1)
Saul (1)
Propertius (1)
Pomona (1)
Moses (1)
Gregory (1)
Green (1)
Flora (1)
Evelyn (1)
Deborah (1)
H. A. S. Dearborn (1)
Crete (1)
Ariadne (1)
Anacreon (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: