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1831 Arb


Matthew, P. On Pruning. Quarterly Journal of Agriculture Vol 3 (Feb 1831 to Sept 1832, Issues #13-18), Issue #14, pp.300-8

(Article appears in Issue #14, around May 1831 assuming the issues are evenly spaced)
This is a good example of Matthew’s forthright manner when he is convinced someone else is wrong. He even seems to belittle the readership of the journal, although perhaps the word “incompetent” didn’t carry the same negative connotation in 1831. The piece starts:

(To the Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Agriculture.) I observe in your last Number a well written article on pruning, by Mr Gavin Cree, which, from the ability of the writer, the speciousness of the system, and his confidence in it, may lead to erroneous conceptions of the advantages of his system, among such of your readers as are incompetent, from want of experience or observation, to judge of its general inexpediency.

In a postscript to Matthew’s article, the Editors start by saying “We willingly afford to Mr Matthew an opportunity of explaining his principles of pruning” but go on to state their preference for Cree’s pruning system over Matthew’s. They end: “For these reasons, we give the decided preference to the simple practice of Mr Cree, and recommend it in the strongest manner to the attention of planters.—Edit.”

In a subsequent issue of the same journal, Gavin Cree defends himself at length against Matthew’s criticism: Cree, G. On Pruning Forest-Trees. Quarterly Journal of Agriculture, Vol 3 (1831/1832), pp.477-81. Cree’s article was also re-printed 10 years later in the Gardener’s Magazine, New Series Vol 7 (1841), pp.440-444, as part of a section in which the editor (J. C. Loudon) praises Cree’s tree-pruning method.

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