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The Banquet

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



The delightful social feature of the forty-second annual meeting of the State Horticultural meeting was the banquet, which was held in the St. Cecelia Hall, a musical institution maintained and carried forward by the music lovers of Grand Rapids. The rooms were hardly large enough to comfortably seat the two hundred and over guests who sat down to the tables, but this little inconvenience was overlooked when the delectable viands were brought on, one course after another, the epicurean value of which was well attested to by the hearty manner in which everything in sight disappeared.

Then followed the second feast—the feast of reason, and with it such a flow of soul as to make the occasion long to be remembered as a most enjoyable one.

Hon. Chas. W. Garfield was the toastmaster and no more need be said as to the character of the program, or the liveliness with which it was dispatched. After calling the audience together he said:

"In order to get us into a harmonious relationship with each other. we will have a little music by a quartette."

A Voice—No, a duet.

Mr. Garfield—Two duets make a quartette.

Then followed a beautiful rendering of "Still Lagoon" by Mesdames R. Maurits and Harold Nye, accompanied by Mrs. J. W. Brooks. TO a hearty encore, they sang "Joy."

Mr. Garfield—We are meeting in a musical building, owned by musical people, and my reputation is in the hands of twelve people. The reputation is to get twelve toasts out in just 48 minutes. So if you will all come within three minutes it will add a charm, and the audience will wear a smile that won't come off.

The first on the program is a little reminiscence of the early days of this Society, by Mr. A. S. White.

Mr. White—I spent a few moments this afternoon in a casual examination of the report of the Secretary of the State Pomological Society to. the Secretary of the State. It was dated December 31, 1871. An informal meeting of the fruit growers was held in Grand Rapids on February 11, 1870, when a temporary organization was effected by the election of Samuel L. Fuller to the office of president, A. T. Linderman, Secretary and E. U. Knapp, Treasurer; Henry S. Clubb, S. L. Fuller and L. S. Scranton were appointed a committee to draft articles ' of association. Jacob Ganzhorn, Wm. Voorish and James Hamilton were appointed an executive committee.

The first regular meeting of the Society was held in Grand Rapids on February 26, 1870, when the articles of association prepared by the committee appointed for that purpose, were presented, discussed, amended and adopted. Article I read as follows: "The object of the society is to develop facts, and promulgate information, as to the best varieties of fruit for cultivation in the fruit regions of the State of Michigan, and the best methods of cultivation. It was a modest under taking." The following named gentlemen were elected honorary members : William Adair, Detroit ; J. J. Ramsdell, Traverse City; Town-send E. Gidley, Grand Haven, and Daniel Upton of Black Lake, Muskegon county. At this meeting the following officers were elected : President, H. G. Saunders; Treasurer, S. L. Fuller; Secretary, A. T. Linder-man. All were residents of Grand Rapids. A corresponding committee composed of Henry S. Clubb and Daniel Upton was appointed.

On April 5th of the same year, a meeting of the Society was held in Grand Rapids. From the report of the Secretary, I quote as follows :

"President Saunders brought in a basket of beautiful fruit, among them very fine and rich specimens of the Russet and large and bright looking Baldwins. Henry Holt of Cascade offered fine samples of the Swaar and Peck's Pleasant. Mr. Houghtaling, of Grand Rapids town-ship, exhibited large healthy, brown looking Baldwins, and a few genuine Roxbury Russets. Erastus Hale, of Grand Rapids, sent in a basket of bright red looking Baldwins. J. H. Ford, of Paris, brought a basket of brotherly-looking Jonathans, and some hardy English Russets. Rev. H. E. Waring, of Grand Rapids township, sent specimens of Baldwins, Roxbury, Russets and Tallman Sweetings. Noah P. Husted, of Lowell, presented a basket of splendid Wagners "attractive to the eye and delicious to the taste." A letter written by George Parmalee, of Old Mission, was read in which the writer suggested that a movement be inaugurated to secure the aid of the state in the promotion of the interests in Pomology.

Members were requested to relate their experiences with the specimens of fruit exhibited. Mr. Ford presented scions of English and Golden Russets. These apples were often misnamed although they were entirely different, as one could see by looking at the scions. The golden Russet limb is slim and light colored. The English Russet scion has a green and russet color. Mr. Ford's English Russets were hardy. The owner had kept them one year and six months. The English and Golden Russets were as different as the Baldwin's and Spitzenberg's. The English Russet tree grows upright and spreads. Mr. Ford's soil is light. The chief value of russets is their keeping qualities. His Jonathans kept well, but its chief value is that it was annual and an abundant bearer. There were always apples where there were Jonathan apple trees. Rev. Mr. Waring classed Steele's Red winter and the Rhode Island Greening as among his most profitable sorts in full bearing. His peach trees had not failed to produce a crop in fifteen years, although there had been a few seasons when the yield was not more than one-third or one-half more than a full one. He placed the early and late Crawfords and the Barnard at the head. In the markets he found that yellow peaches were sought for when white was a drug. Of the latter the large Early York, Stump, the World, and Crockett's White were the favorites. The latter was brought from New Jersey. It matures late.

The discussion continued to the close of the session, during which Mr. Holt said he had not been successful in raising young Baldwin trees. but had done well in grafting the Baldwin on old stock. The superiority of the Baldwin apple was due to its size, color, good keeping and cooking qualities and it would always sell. The Swaar did well on gravelly soil; on clay it was a failure. Mr. Holt favored the Wagner. Mr. Rusted would not recommend the Spitzenberg, because after a few years it failed to perfect the fruit, on Michigan soils.

In peaches Mr. Houghtaling depended mostly on seedlings. He had .shipped as high as $700 worth in one season from 200 trees. Pears have proven a failure. As to apples he regarded the Baldwins as the best, the Red Canada second and the Jonathan third. On the subject of pruning Mr. Houghtaling said May is the worst month, March is the best and June is good. April is a good month in late seasons. Mr. Holt liked to prune in March best. Mr. Houghtaling said wax or gum shellac should be used to prevent bleeding.

A committee, appointed for that purpose, at a subsequent meeting, recommended the planting of the following varieties of apples. For market purposes; Steele's Red, Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, and Wagner. For Summer use—Early Harvest, Early Strawberry, William's Favorite and Red Astrachan.

For Autumn—Porter, Jersey Sweet, Maiden's Blush, Gravenstein and Rainbow.

For winter use—Baldwin, Steele's Red, Wagner, Rhode Island Greening, Swaar, Esopus, Spitzenberg, Peck's Pleasant, and Tallman Sweeting. A long discussion followed the presentation of the report and at its conclusion the Society recommended the cultivation of the following varieties : For summer—Red Astrachan, Duchess of Oldenberg, Sweet Bough.

For autumn—The Maiden's Blush, Snow, Jersey Sweet, Cayuga, Red Streak, Fall Pippin.

For winter—Baldwin, Wagner, Rhode Island Greening, Golden Rus set, Tallman Sweeting, Northern Spy and Hubbardston Nonsuch.

Mr. Garfield—"The Best Crop of Children"—Horticultural children—the human product—by Mr. C. J. Monroe.

Mr. Monroe—In these latter years we have heard a good deal about the conservation of the natural resources of water, of mines, of forests, etc., but we don't hear very much about the conservation of the human product; and in this work of the development of horticulture, we have not forgotten this side of the question, as witnessed today when those fine young men from our Agricultural College appeared before this body and discussed the various phases of agriculture and horticulture. They will be heard from again, as many others in the past have been, having gone out from us to occupy responsible positions in various parts of the country. We are proud of them, and they in turn are doing themselves credit.

I want to call your attention to Mr. Lyon, who has done so much to help on the interests of this society. He was a practical fruit grower, writer, friend. His one whole aim was to do good, to better the conditions as they existed, never once thinking of himself.

Then there is another product of this Society, Prof. I,. H. Bailey, now of Cornell. He was born on the adjoining farm of mine, so I have known him from his baby days—I recall his natural inclination to the study of birds and insects, and with his studious and pains-taking nature, it is no wonder that he has come to the front. And now as he comes back to visit the scenes of his early days, the credit for his high position, he invariably gives to the encouragement given him by the local and state Society.

Another product in the way of children. I wish to call your attention to what is perhaps the youngest human product. You know it is the practice among the Experiment stations to have two of a kind, , so that if one happens to get harmed, the experiment will go on. And the influence has been so strong that over at our Experiment Station at South Haven, the good wife of the Superintendent of the Station just recently presented her. husband with an increase of family—it was two of a kind—a pair of twins. (Applause.)

"Incidental Profits of Horticulture" was responded to by Mr. Franz, of Marshall, who stated that his experience in horticulture had been rather limited, but he felt that "Indirect Profits," so far as his experience had gone, would have more aptly expressed his subject. But aside from monetary and educational profits, he felt that the greatest profit of all was the friendships formed with men close to nature, as horticulturists were.

Mrs. Chatfield responded to the toast, `Domestic Economy," saying in substance:

I am glad to be introduced as a horticulturist's wife, and it is a great privilege to be able to speak from experience and that was my only knowledge. As I was thinking on the subject, the thought came to me of what resources we have as horticulturists' wives to set our tables. Sometimes it seems as though your husband's work has not brought in very much profit in dollars and cents, but when we think of the very little expense that is connected with setting our tables, in furnishing food for our family and guests that we entertain from the city, and who look upon our products with envious eyes, we can appreciate some of the saving there is in having such a, source of supply. Indeed, one of the topics discussed by the city ladies, is how they can set their tables as well as the horticulturists. Think of it—every vegetable and fruit in its season, lettuce, radishes, brussel sprouts, strawberries, cherries, etc.—so fresh, so delicious, so tasty. It was my experience to move to town for a short time then I realized as never before how much we depended on our farm for our table supply. For days at a time, we did not go to the grocery for a thing—just telephone out to the farm, and we were supplied with eggs, milk, fruit, potatoes, cabbage, canned fruit of all kinds, jellies, pickles—there was nothing I needed from the grocery store. And that is the story that every horticulturist's wife can tell you—so we feel that we have all we need and more of the good things of life and at a cost so low as compared with what those in the city have - to pay for them, as to be almost nothing.

"The City Garden" was the topic of a toast responded to by Mr. R. M. Smythe.

Mr. Smythe—I am very sure that Mr. Garfield must have known that there was a sentimental strain in my make-up. I am a lover of flowers, and think they add more than anything else in the beautifying of a city. One of the most striking illustrations of this is the city of Hartford—there was a piece of land lying along the main street, very undesirable looking, but the property was bought by a gentleman who named it after his mother and set aside a certain amount for beautifying it, and now that is the most attractive spot in the place. Parks and flowers are what make the cities beautiful. There is an uplifting influence about flowers. You never see criminals lying around in flower gardens, and suicides are never there. The flower garden is one of the greatest educational factors in the life of a child. My little boy is only eight years old, yet he knows the names of all the common varieties of wild flowers, and I am spending more or less time teaching him the names of birds and trees and flowers and insects—it is giving him a wonderful fund of knowledge—something that will last him through his entire life.

"The Feminine in History" was responded to by Mr. R. 'G. Phillips, who said :

Mr. Toastmaster, Ladies and Gentlemen : Kipling says that when a man performs good works out of proportion, in seven cases out of ten, a woman is back of the virtue, and Kipling is right. Ever since the Garden of Eden, she has had it over man like a tent, and she is really at the foundation of all the wonderful progress of the age in which we live. Ever since then men have been working night and day, week-days and Sundays, to supply her with what she wants, and replace that which she uses. All of you remember the story of how Adam was found mourning one day just before lunch over the loss of that new green Sunday suit of his, and he said to Eve, "Where is my new suit?" "Where did you leave it?" Eve replied, "Oh, those lettuce leaves? I used them for the sandwiches." (Laughter.) Well, Adam had to get right busy and get a new suit, and he has been busy ever since. So, in the last analysis, it is woman that makes the world go round. She builds our factories, tunnels the rivers, plants our orchard and paints the red on her own cheeks as well as on the cheek of the apple, and whatever she tells you to do, you will do, because mere man is as nothing in her hand. She trims him, sprays him, cultivates and reclaims him ; top-works a Ben Davis into a Northern Spy, keeps the fungus from his brain and develops the finest cultures in the garden of good works. During the day you men among men, go around like a roaring lion, seeking whom you may devour, but in the home circle you become Mary's little lamb, so tame that you will eat out of her hand, and so amenable to discipline that you will sleep in the woodshed if she says so.

Brothers, I ask you to pledge me this old, old theme and yet one that is forever new, Here's to our mothers, wives and sweethearts, and the ladies everywhere-God bless them.

Prof. Thos. Gunson, replied to his toast in a most felicitous manner, stating that the historical opinion of the previous gentleman and his did not agree, "for," said he, "you remember that our ancient, honored and primitive ancestor after she got the surroundings all to herself, she commenced, just as soon as she was `Able,' to raise Cain. (Laughter.) If you could go back and behold our primitive mother emerging from her dwelling place, and taking of the fruit of that tree, and passing it around, would you not be in sympathy with the fellow who gave way at that time?

But I want to say that these men and women who come here once a year to cross swords are the embodiment of this, which means horticultural progress. These industries remind me of an incident related of an Irishman who visited the British Museum, and as he walked through its many passages, he observed a figure with its wings and arms taken off, to signify or typify the victor, and as he tried to decipher the word at the base, he muttered to himself, "Begorry, I should like to see the other fellow." We have come here among other things to see to what extent you have suffered. But when these difficulties and tribulations and perplexities have passed away, then may you and I be invited to enjoy these regions, not in pearly streets nor streets of gold, but in the fields where the trees bear fruit like this, and surrounded with conditions such as my good friend Smythe has dwelt upon.

Mr. A. H. Hendrickson, spoke upon the M. A. C. impress upon Horticulture. He desired to thank the Horticultural Society on behalf of the students for the opportunity of coming up to this meeting and taking a small part therein, and of meeting such prominent men in horticulture. He thought through the army of graduates every year who went out all over the country from the long and short courses, a good work was done. These young men especially, who go out after four years of training, with their enthusiasm and knowledge, both practical and theoretical—when they join hands with practical and successful horticulturists, the effect must be a decidedly advantageous one. Their scientific training can not help but exert a beneficial influence on these with whom they come in contact.

"School Gardening," was the topic of a very interesting address by Mr. J. H. Skinner, the new farm manager of Kent county. He said that in his travels over the country, he was struck with the large number of people on the farm who were over fifty years of age, and how very few young men there were. In one township 90% were above this age, and only six men of his age. This impressed him with the fact that Michigan was losing her most valuable crop from the farm, the young men, and he thought it was time that something be done to change the current of migration. So far as he had gone with the experiment, he had met with excellent success, although he did not have the cooperation of the school officers to the extent he would like. He enlisted in one experiment some thirty boys from 16 to 18 years old. The land they had was laid out by the surveyor in plots. "We were told that we could have this land to work, but that we must furnish everything with which to do the work," he said, and the boys went at it and worked with a will, secured what they needed, and the work was done with a will. This is the work, he declared, that should be done in every school, and he hoped the time was not far distant when from every school there would be practical instruction in agriculture given, and an effort, not only to keep the boys of the country on the farm, but encourage many of the city to go to the farm instead of remaining in the city.

Mrs. M. E. Campbell was called upon, and she responded to the toast "Trees of Memory" saying however, that she hardly knew just what to say. She could talk about the trees of history, of poetry-tell of the trees in the garden, the tree that is by the river of life, trees of experience—but the tree she recalled most vividly was the old Harvest Red Apple tree, among whose branches she sat in her childhood days and read the poems of J. G. Whittier, and so she thought she would recite a portion of one of those poems, "The River and the Tree," which she gave as follows:

Through a desolate course the stream had come,
From a spring whence its waters all timidly crept;
And its spirit was stilled and its lips were dumb
Though the passion of music within it slept.

But it came one night when the moon outsailed
The storm that had fretted her summer sea,
To the spot where waited with branches trailed
Like garments afloat, a beautiful tree.

Lonely in its own loneliness!
Lone in that loneliness lives must bear
Whom Beauty has made companionless,
But left them longing for something as fair.

And the current long wandering alone and apart,
Came close to the side of the Tree—at last!
So close that it gathered and held in its heart
The image of beauty the moonbeams cast.

And the Tree from the River's deep fountains drank,
And it gave to the stream what it longed for
when first It saw the sweet violets lean from its bank
The love of a spirit for love athirst.

And thro' all the years and the years are long
Ere the tree shall wither, the river cease,
There swells from the waters the voice of song
There falls from the branches the dews of peace.

"Trees of Prophecy" was the title of a toast responded to by Prof. H. J. Eustace.

I am interested in the apple orchards and the spraying machinery and all these things, but I am far more interested in the crop of boys that we have in the college. It may look an easy matter to one on the outside to get up before them and keep them interested in a subject that is naturally dry and hard, but when you see these fellows responding in the way they do ; when you see the people all through the state respond in the way they do, showing a real practical interest in the boys—this makes the work lighter.

We have a great many students that are holding high positions in horticultural work in various states, and with the very best fruit growers in the country. It seems to me that each class is just a little better than the one before it, as Prof. Tom Gunson said a short time ago.

Mr. Hendrickson referred a few moments ago to the kind way in which the practical fruit grower helps us out. We had thirty or forty boys out on fruit farms last year and they made good. One man said to me: "I want two of your best fellows next year," and another has asked for four in the spring. The spirit back of all this, the spirit of co-operation and confidence is what makes our work not only easy but interesting and pleasant. So let the good work go on, and we will do the best we can at our end of the line to maintain a high standard and respond to the calls with young people whose hearts are in the work and who will do the right thing.

Mr. Broderick, of Ontario, responded to the toast, "Our Responsibility to the Children Who are to Succeed Us."

I did not expect to make a public speech, for I am afraid that your judgment of me would be like that of an Irishman's. When President Lincoln was first nominated for the presidency, he began making stump speeches and struck a little town somewhere in New York state. The gentleman for whom Pat was working said to him : "I would like to have you go and hear this self-made man talk," and so he went. When he came home the gentleman asked him what he thought of the self-made man, and he replied, "I don't think much of his job."

Young men and young women, I want to say to you that for all that has been done for you, you owe a debt which you can never pay until you become fathers and mothers and raise a family. No child can pay the debt until he or she becomes father or mother and pass on to their children what they have been given by their parents.

Now, I am glad to be here with my friend Mr. Thompson. He pre-tends to be a Free-Trader, but he is not. Last year he wanted me to go to Massachusetts to their horticultural meeting and I consented. Then I went with him to Vermont and he coaxed this year to come to Michigan—I was not invited by your secretary—I came along to protect him. I tell you what he will probably tell me when we get to going home—he is an Irishman and I am an Englishman—and it is the story of an Irishman. After the South African war an English soldier was sitting on the streets of a town with his nose, one ear, one leg and one arm off. An Irishman walking down the street noticed this fellow, who was begging. He stopped and looked at him and threw a crown into his hat, and walked on. Shortly he returned and threw in another one when the Englishman asked him why he was so generous. He replied, "It is because you are trimmed to my liking." (Laughter.)

Mr. Garfield Ladies and gentlemen and friends : We have come with-in the hour and I thank all these good people who have responded so delightfully to my request, and I congratulate you upon having in your midst men and women who can speak so feelingly and so instructively. It seems to me that these annual gatherings in which we ex-press ourselves pro and con in this way are the best part of the occasion, and no matter who the people may vote for, when we go over to Canada or when they come here, in a large sense, we all believe in reciprocity. I thank you most heartily and now we may consider our-selves dismissed.

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