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"A SHOWY SHAM, THE CONCOCTION OF A SHAM COMMISSION."
' SO CONGRESS CHARACTERIZES PLAN OF SO-CALLED PARK COMMISSION. Useless Attempt Now Being Made to Gal vanize the Project Into the Semblance of Life?A Tasteless, Decadent, Enormously Expensive, Utterly Impracticable Scheme, That, Senator Hale Says, "Fell Abso lutely Dead the Moment Senators and Representatives Began to Examine It." The National Society of the Fine Arts propose to give a din ner January 14; its object, as stated, "being to further the de velopment of the city of Wash ington according to the plan pre pared by the Washington Park Commission. It is intended to make the dinner notable by invit ing as guests those who are active in the artistic development of our various cities, men distinguished in the fine arts, as well as promi nent officials of the government." It is understood that the main object of the meeting is to bring influence to bear upon Congress to induce Congress to give counte nance to the above mentioned plan of the so-called "Park Com mission." This effort will be labor lost. Six years ago Senator Hale expressed the sentiment of Con gress upon the plan by saying that "the moment Senators and Representatives began to examine this exploiting scheme the whole matter fell absolutely dead." It was dead in 1902, and it is dead now past all efforts to galvanize it into the semblance of life. The hostility felt in 1002 toward the scheme in Congress has been intensified by the persistent efforts of the so-called self-appointed Park Commission to fur ther their project by underhand eva sions of the congressional ban such as the disreputable trick by which they gained permission from Congress to place the <5rant monument on "unoc cupied ground" in the Botanic Garden and thep proceeded to locate it on ground fully occupied by historic trees. The placing of the monument upon this utterly unfit site in a swamp was in furtherance of the scheme to get pos session of the Botanic Garden, destroy all its trees and convert it into a bare asphalted street styled "Union Square." Their contention that only two or three trees would need to be disturbed by the Grant monument, and that these could be easily moved, is an illus tration of the false pretenses that have characterized every step of their progress. They knew perfectly well that a proper setting for the monument in this obscure position would require the demolition of not only all the fine old trees in the .garden, but also of the government greenhouses with their rare and valuable contents. They knew also that the possession of the Botanic Garden was only the entering wedge for their plan for the destruction of all the noble shade trees in the People's Park from the Capitol to the river to make way for a sixteen-hundred-feet wide track of desolation as bare and as hot as the Desert of Sahara. CHARLES F. MfcKIM AND HIS DOINGS. It was a sad day for the city of Wash ington and all the people of the country i:it*-rest~d in the welfare of the National capital when Charles F. McKim was sent to Paris to be educated at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. There he was taught the French "forma!" style of architectural gardening established by De Notre, the sixteenth century architect, whose worth is seen at Versailles, Fontainebleau and St. Qloud, and whose formal, artificial style of architectural gardening has now been happily discarded. Mr. McKim, who has the bump of self esteem pretty well developed, returned to America impressed with the idea that it was his mission In life to reform the mod ern nature plan of landscape gardening as developed in this country by A. J. Downing and Frederic Daw Olmsted, and to revive the decadent, obsolete De Notre form alisms and frigidities. He had no op portunity to carry out his ideas until he gained a membership in the so-called, self appointed "Park Commission." He has from the start been the dominating figure in that commission, so far as the parking system plans within the city of Washing ton are concerned. The De Notre system called for the correction of all the absurd Informalities and curves of Nature by planning everything on rigid straight lines. McKim's plan for the Mall parking was a close copy of the De Notre system. It will be noticed that there is not a curve in the entire McKim plan, for grim, straight lines prevail eyerywhere. T.e Notre abolished the nature-growing trees and replaced them by formal clip ped trees, planted in straight rows, at regular intervals. McKim's plan proposes to root out all the noble old trees on the Mall and re place them with formal trees planted with painful precision on straight lines. I * Notre was extremely partial to square-clipped trees in square tubs. In McKim's plan, as pictured in his re port. many thousands of square-clipped trees In square tubs are to be seen. In the remarkable nond -script struc- , tures?office buildings and entrances east and west the White Housj-and which may be described as of the McKim squatty sh?d ord?r of architecture, it will be observed he has load d down the roofs with the stat-ly monarchs of the tuh. ar ranged with formal precision on the straight lin >s dear to the McKim heart. THE SHAM GRAND CANAL. Le Notre'a stiff, straight-lined, tree clipped projection, at Versailles ended In a stiff, straight canal. 60 McKim In his plan proposes to have at the river end of the Mall a canal "3,000 feet long and '^00 feet wide." Many old citizens will remember the stinking old Washington canal that was the plague spot of the city for so many years; the hideous receptacle for all the filth and rubbish brought In by every tide and never tarried out; and which was finally disposed of by Alexander Shep i herd in his usual summary fashion by con verting it into a covered sewer. All who recall the disagreeable experiences had with this old canal nuisance will protest against the >icKim plan to reopen the canal in the vicinity of the site it formerly held. ? REOPENING LAKE BABCOCK. Similarly, those who remember that Lake Babcock, in the same neighborhood, was tilled up because its presence endan gered the foundations of the Washington Monument nearby will wonder that the so-called Park Commission propose to re open that lake as a feature of their plan for a Monument Garden! FALSE PRETENSES. Mr. Charles Moore, secretary of the so called Park Commission, in dental of the allegation "that it will cost $600,000,000 to carry out the Park Commission plans," has the assurance to say that, "on the contra ry, it will not cost anything whatever to carry out those plans. New building and the improvement of the parks will cost | whatever Congress chooses to appro priate." It cost the government, through the un authorized action of the so-called Park Commission, some $40,000 to set back the new Agricultural building outside of the 1,600-feet limit when the construction was scarcely commenced. Will it cost nothing to move the great Smithsonian building beyond those limits, as required by the plan of the so-called Park Commission? Will it cost nothing to construct the vast series of fountains proposed by the plan, and which are to surpass In size and How of water ail the combined fountains of Paris, Fontalnebleau and Rome? The pres ent water supply of Washington is inad equate for the public needs, and there is already a demand for another conduit. To furnish the amount of water required for the Grand Fountains proposed by the so called commission would call for an in crease of the conduit system to more than ten times that in present use. Will ths construction of these water works, in ad dition to the outlay for building the foun tains, cost nothing? In a few years, when Washington has doubleu its' population, the entire water in the Potomac will be inadequate to supply the city. It will then be a question whether the fountains or the people of Washington shall go dry. Congress is unlikely to take any chances in the matter. So the Grand Fountain project may be considered as dead as all the other showy sham features of the sham so-called Art Commission. Again we have the irrepressible Moore bouncing in with a repetition of the wholly refuted claim that "no valuable trees will be sacrificed" by the sham commission plan. Hear him: "Mr. Olmsted, when he improved the Capitol grounds, moved more than 100 trees, many of them larger than those in the Botanic Garden. Ten years later only two trees were not thriving, and the two that wtre lost were not healthy at the be ginning." Mr. Moore knew perfectly well when he made this misleading assertion that the time specified when the one hundred trees transplanted were reported as in a thriv ing condition was many years ago, and that at the present day, as stated by Supt. Smith, who knows the history of every tree in Washington, a.11 of the hundred trees are dead, with the exception of two or three that were young and of small size when transplanted. THE SHAM GRAND VISTA. The so-called Park Commission harp a good deal upon the prand Vista through the Mall, from the Capitol to the river, to be obtained by their plan. Well, this view can be seen only from the Capitol on the east and from Arlington, across the river, on the west. Thus only a email number of people could see It from the Capitol," and still less from Arlington, where the people are mostly dead. And should the patriot dead resting there be able to look out upon the scene, their feeling would be one of stern Indignation, rather than of pleasure. Gen. Sheridan and the other officers who served under Gen. Grant would be likely to view with a holy wrath the dishonor given to their great leader by placing his monument in a swamp on the lowest ground in the city. Thus, while the Grand Vista would open out to a few people, the so-called Park Commission propose to further muti late the L'Enfant plan by utterly destroying! all the vista openings from the north/ completely cutting off from the city all view of the Mall and of the Smithsonian building, the most picturesque structure in Washington. How completely has this view been obscured already is shown by a glance down 10th street, where the great square barn, the new museum build ing, not only blocks off all prospect south, but by its huge dimensions dwarfs every other structure In the city west of the Capitol. -1 When the stretch of similar buildings proposed by the so-called Park Commis sion lines the Mall, it will be seen how thoroughly any view south will be com pletely shut out from the city side. Again, the so-called Park Commission propose to mutilate the L'Enfant Grand Vista plan by placing a great square barn in Lafayette Square for an executive of fice building, thereby utterly destroying the 16th street vista from the White House to the heights at the city boundary. This structure will not only hide the fine view on 16th street, but will require | ihe destruction of the noble old trees in . Lafayette Square, and the removal of the Jackson statue to some more obscure ? position; probably to the swamp In the Botanic Garden, to keep company with ; Gen. Grant in the degraded position as signed to him by the so-called Park Com mission. But what will President Roosevelt have to say to the proposition to send the statue of his prototype, Andrew Jackson, in dishonor to the swamp? And what will the stalwart Jacksonian Democracy have to say about the project to degrade their Idol? Their remarks will probably be something volcanic?sulphuric ?Rooseveltlan! It is probable that the McKim commer cial architects will have to wait a long time before they will realize any commis sions from the erection of an executive of fice building upon Lafayette Square. Similar bad luck befel the aforesaid architects, in regard to the plan of the NO. 44?VIEW SHOWING PROPOSED TREATMENT OF APPROACHES AND TERRACES, FORMING A SETTING FOR THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT. THE SETTING FOR THE WASH INGTON MONUMENT. The so-called Park Commission in presenting their plan tor the proper treatment of the surroundings of the Washington Monument say: "No portion of the task set before the commission has required more study and extended consideration than has the solution of the problem of de so-called Park Commission to erect "on the entire square" numbered 167. west of Lafayette Square, "a building for the use of the departments of State and of Jus tice." This high-priced square is occupied by old historic n\ansions, and the proprietors did not care to vacate their treasured homes in the interests of the McKim com mercial architects' trust. The McKim people thought they had influence enough 4n Congress to secure the passage of a bill making appropriations for the con struction of the immense government building; and with provision for con demnation proceedings by which all the recalcitrant owners could be ousted from their homes. But the architect lobby failed utterly. Congress sat down upon the project?heavy?and they dropped on It with the more weight because it was urged by the so-called, self-appointed Park Commission which Congress had ut terly repudiated and discredited through out its entire existence. A similar long wait will be called for on the part of the McKim architects who may be hoping that the plan of the so called Park Commission to erect on square 221, cast of Lafayette Square, a building for the Post Office Department, now, as they say, "most unworthily and inade quately housed in rooms over the local post office." This square is now occupied by stately and costly buildings, housing the Riggs Bank, the American Security and Trust Company, the Union Trust Company, the Cosmos Club and the Belasco Theater. The occupants of these buildings are not likely to move in a hurry from their capacious and convenient quarters, and Congress is quite unlikely to pay the big price required for the purchase of this ex pensive property. WHAT ARCHITECT GREEN SAYS. Architect Bernard S. Green wants a clean sweep of the trees on the Mall for a grand vista. "With the Mall grounds as flat as a pancake," he says, "a vista becomes a necessity." Mr. Green is a gen tleman of great professional skill as an architect and engineer, as was shown es pecially In the latter profession by his ad mirable work In the difficult job of strengthening the foundations of the Washington Monument, llow is it that he failed to notice while on that work that the Mall is full of graceful undula tions and that the Monument itself is on something of a hill? But perhaps he had In mind the idea that the so-called "Park Commission" propose to pare the Mall grounds down to a dead level to conforn to the scheme of straight lines every where. Mr. Green treats the tree ques tion with the usual flippancy of the archi tectural mind, and says "more trees will be planted than will be removed, and they will be planted in an orderly manner, with some idea to being a part of the big scheme instead of growing helter-skelter as they do now." Mr. Green seems to be ignorant of the fact that the Smithsonian grounds were laid out by A. J. Downing (tne greatest landscape architect the coun try has yet produced) on the "natural plan," as contrasted with the forma-, ar ftcial style of l,e Notre. The trees, the drives and the walks were placed with re gard to the principle that the curve is the line of beauty. Had Mr. Green chanced to look down from the top of the Monument he would have seen the wonderful beauty of the Downing scheme In its craceful diversities of outlite, and Its delightful arrangement of tree., affording grateful shade to the visitor. But Mr. Green, with the architect's esteem for the straight line, would probably have seen no beauty in these curves, and would have regarded any arrangement of trees as "helter-skel ter" if they were not planted on straignt lines, ' in an orderly manner," with shoe peg regularity. TREES IN TUBS. The plan of the so-called Park Commis sion everywhere bears the McKim stamp in t? stroke of tubbed trees. When the architects declared that if the present trees were rooted out from the Mall they could be replaced In quadruple numbers, the public cou.d not quite understand how the majestic trees of half a century's growth could be replaced in twenty min utes. But the mystery was explained when the remarkable report of the so-called Park Commission appeared, showing in its illustrations thousands upon thousands of tubbed trees, standing in stiff rows every where. Happy thought this tubbed tree proposition! A great national arboretum or nursery for the propagation and clip ping of tubbed trees could be established with a product equal to the most ex traordinary demands of the so-called com mission, either for the city parks and parkings or beyond the city limits in Rock Creek Park or the Soldiers' Home, now shockingly disfigured by trees of natural growth. Franklin Square, now cumbered with ordinary shade trees and misem ployed as a mere playground for school children, would be just the place for the arboretum, and the McKim commercial architects, tree butchers and nature butchers would shout in chorus: Down with the trees! Out with the children! Up with the tubbed tree arboretum!" And it would be so handy to cart around tubbed trees wherever they Were wanted. Architect McKim has shown how trees of this sort can be utilised by the magnifi cent display he has made of these noble monarchs of the tub on the roofs of Ids stately shed approaches to the White House. LENT ANT'S PLAN. The White House and the Capitol were the cardinal features of L'Enfant's plan, and. as the commissioners recite, he con nected these edifices "by a grand avenue 400 feet in breadth and about a mile in 4 X vising an appropriate setting for the Monument; and the treatment here pro posed Is the one which seems best adapted to enhance the value of the Monument itself. Taken by itself the Washington Monument stands not only as one of the most stupendous works of man, but also as one of the most beautiful of human creations." This is exceedingly fine language, but when we come to look at the plan length, bordered by gardens ending In a slope from the houses on each side." At the point of intersection of two lines, one dr^wn through the center of the Cap itol. the other drawn through the center of tile White House. L'Enfant fixed the site of an equestrian statue of Gen. Wash ington, one of the numerous statues voted by the Continental Congress, but never erected. But when the Washington Monument was built it was placed far away from the site selected by L/Enfant. The so called Park Commission then were obliged to violate all "the cardinal features of L'Enfant's plan" and create a new compo sition, "a symmetrical polygonal, or kite shaped, figure," regarding the Monument as the center, the Capitol as the base, and the Whits'House as the extremity of one arm of a Latin cross. Having abandoned all "the cardinal fea tures of the L'Enfant plan." the so-called commission propose on their polygonal kite-shaped plan to secure for the Mall a uniform width of sixteen hundred feet throughout Its entire length. But they find on measurement that the slxteen hundred-feet-wide polygonal kite-shaped plan, making the Monument as its center, is^ so askew of the L'Enfant plan that it would wipe out the Smithsonian building and the Agricultural Department building entirely. But the so-called commission disposed of this difficulty quite easily by decreeing the removal of the Smithsonian building and the Agricultural building. And they have actually succeeded, without any authority from Congress, but in ac tual defiance of that body, in compelling the removal of the old Agricultural build ing and the forcing back behind the Mall lines of the new building after consider able work had been done on the structure at a cost to the government of over $40,000. They complain that the location of the Library of Congress is a mutilation of L'Enfant's plan and of their Grand Vista plan, as is the extension of the Treasury and the construction of the State, War and Navy building; but as they can hardly compel the removal of these costly struc tures they are obliged to content them selves with entering a protest. THE LE NOTRE WORKS AS DESCRIBEO BY Alf AUTHORITY HIS SYSTEM OF FORMAL GAR DENING, AS DISPLAYED AT VERSAILLES, FONTAINE BLEAU AND ST. CLOUD. He Shows How Much "the Genius of a Le Notre" May Do to Spoil a Place Naturally Beautiful. The following quotations from a work on "The Parks, Promenades and Gardens of Paris," written by W. Robinson, F. L. S., an eminent English authority, afford interesting reading just now, when the question of the adoption of the formal Le Notre plan of gardening, proposed by the so-called "Park Commission," is under discussion: Versailles. This being one of the most celebrated gardens In the world, it behooves us to examine it somewhat in detail?were we, | however, to treat of It in proportion to its real merit ae a garden, a very small amount of space would suffice. Let us pass through the vast stone courtyard and take up our position near the garden front of the palace. Standing near the walls, looking over the gardens and fol lowing the vista of the canal into the low country beyond, the eye first rests on the vast spread of gravel, some marble margins of breakwater basins, sundry protuberances from the level of the water, and away In the distance an effect like that afforded by a suburban canal In a highly practical and unlovely country. Versailles is held up by the French and others as a queen of geometrical gar dens, and however this position may be dissented from it cannot be denied that it is a vast illustration of the formal school of garden. There are In books many dissertations on the several styles of laying out gar dens* Indeed, some of them have taken us to China and Japan and others going into Mexico for illustrations: but when all Is read and examined what is the result to anybody who looks from words to things? That there are really two styles; one strait-laced, mechanical, fond of walls or bricks, or it may be gravel; fond also of such geometry as the designer of wall paper excels in, often, indeed, of a much poorer and less graceful kind than that; fond, too, of squirting water In an Im moderate degree, with trees In tubs as an accompaniment, and perhaps griffins and endless plaster of stonework. The other, with true humility and right desire, though often awkwardly and blund rlngly, accepting nature as a guide and en deavoring to jnultiply, so far as conven ience with poor man-power will permit, her most charming features. Mr. Ruskin tells us that "we are forced for the sake of accumulating our power and knowledge to live in cities; byt such advantage as we- have in association with each other is in great part counter balanced by our loss of fellowship with nature. We cannot all have our gardens now. nor our pleasant fields to meditate in at eventide. Then the function of our architecture is, as far as we may be able, to replace these: to tell us about nature; to possess us with memories of her quiet ness; to be solemn and full of tender ness, like her, and rich In portraitures of her; full of delicate imagery of the flowers we can no more gather and of the that has required so much study and : consideration what do we find? It is i presented in plate No. 44 of the report, and is described as "showing iiie pro posed treatment of approaches and ter races forming' a setting for the Wash ington Monument." The picture; is re produced on this page of The Star. We see that the McKim conception of an adequate setting for this stupen living creatures row far away from us j in their own solitude." What are we to think of those who ' carry the dead lines and changeless tri- j umphs of the building and the studio into the garden, which, above any other ar tificial creation, should give us the sweet est and most w holesome "fellowship t with nature?" Simply that it is presumption and bad ! taste, founded upon ignorance of what j a true garden ought to be and of knowledge that the deadliest thing you can do with it is to introduce any tea ture which, unlike the materials of oi?f world designer, never changes. Away, then, with the wretched affectation of pre tending to enjoy?away with the ig norance which?asserts or blindly believes that there is some mysterious and occult I beauty in?or necessary for?such gar j dens as this^ The Fountain. In discussing th\s phase of gardening we have a capital example in the case of the Crystal Palace, in the region of great fountain basins, where a more hor rid impression is received than in any part of Versailles, though the upper terrace at the palace illustrates the best features of the system and shows as well as anything I know of in how far tt may be safely adopted near a great build ing. But both at the palace and Ver sailles the vast expanse for a poor theatrical effect is not the most regret ful of present features; that, perhaps? not to look deeply into the blemishes ot such positions?is the dirty, wide, change less water basins with their squirting pipes and perhaps bubbling margins; for the purse that creates such delights fre quently fails, if it does not get tired of expenditure that never produces a changeful beauty for which the heart of man yearns. To me there is nothing more I appalling than the walls, fountain basins, I clipped trees, long canals, etc., of such a place as Versailles, not only be cause they utterly fail to satisfy within themselves, but Inasmuch as they are never accompanied by day-ghost of wasted effort?of riches worse than loss. In connection with the Crystal Palace one thinks of ruined shareholders, and with Versailles of the enormous sums wrung from an oppressed people and put to such a miserable use, that onQ_ can scarcely regret a wild blood dance ot revolution came and put end to it all. And this was the kind of good effected with the money so hardly wrung from starving millions! It was merely burying wealth?indeed, it might have been better to have buried it. for'many would prefer the naked earth to these gyrations, which must be kept in repair at great cost, for they become intolerable even to their builders and designers. On the fountains and waterworks of Versailles skill and gold were lavished by their creators. The Basin de Nep tune is the most important. As the waters only play on special occasions, and as they cost about 10,000 francs every time they do play, one is justified in consider ing the basins In their usual dormant aspect. Nothing can look more wretched than any garden exhibiting large fountain basins. Early in the morning of the 24th of September, 1S6S. I strolled around ! this fountain basin, endeavoring to dis cover some beauty In it. Had it not been for the fruits falling abundantly from the horse chestnut groves close at hand and a poor woman gathering them for fuel I should have imagined myself in a dead world. The formality of the surroundings, the moldering faded mar gins and Indescribable emptiness and ug liness of the scene, seemed only worthy of some sphere of geometrical craters and j pools. The Grand and the Petit Trianons are j simply two villas at the extremity of the j park, each with extensive gardens. Those of the first mentioned are among the j most angular, ugly and cheerless it has ever b^en my fortune to see?those of the : Petit Trianon by lur the best gardens j at or near Versailles. To pass into them from these interminable gardens, where the "genius of Le Notre" has been so successful in stealing from nature every grace, is as refreshing as being suddenly transferred from some gigantic Cotton opolis to a green and sunny Piedmontess valley. It was -the favorite residence of Marie Antoinette, and tne gardens were in great part laid out by her in what the French call the "English" or natural style. Trees in Tubs?Versailles. A few words must be devoted to those long lines of large orange trees in tubs? they are so very conspicuous that they force themselves upon our attention There are many ignorant and hopeless ways of spending money in gardens, that few more so than this?indeed, it is one of the most familiar instances of un worthy outlay that is known. Consider for a moment the enormous expense in curred by those lines of finally grown old orange trees in the gardens of the Tuileries at Versailles, the Luxembourg and in other gardens, public and private. Every one of them has cost more to rear to a condition that is presentable than the education of a surgeon of a barrister, and all in order to produce a deep round tuft of not very healthy green leaves at the end of a black stem 7 feet high or thereabouts. Costly tubs that rot periodically, costly storing in large con servatories in winter, costly carriage from the house to open garden, and from open garden to house, and all to no good purpose whatever. Buskin. Mr. Kuskin tells us that "change of va riety is as much a necessity to the human heart in buildings as in books; that there Is no merit, though there is some occa sional use in monotony, and that we must no more expect to derive either pleasure or profit from an architecture whose orna ments are of one pattern than whose pillars are of one proportion, than we should out of a universe in which the clouds were all of one shape and the trees all of one size." yThese words apply to the public gardens with even greater force. Fontainebleau. Fontainebleau is one of the many places In France not likely to be remembered with much pleasure for their gardens. The formality of the water and the ave nues and the lines of fusty clipped lime trees render it impossible for the eye to find in such a place any of the solace or charms of the true garden. The por tion planted as an "English garden " has, indeed, some peace about it, but unhappily the strictest formality governs every line dous structure is supplied by a lot of square trees, in squareMubs; a square fountain (>usin with some curious square objects floating: in it. that might be square shadows only they aie too solid and fall In different directions. They may be water fowl with square clipped plumage; or they may be water plants with squarc-clipped leaves. Any how, there they, are in a "concatenation of the- vegetation on the garden front of the palace. It Is that type of garden i which has not a curious corner in it nor , a ray of novelty, consequently to describe it in detail would be to waste space. St. Cloud. St. Cloud, popular as it is, is perhaps one of the most uninteresting gardens known. It is, however, worth seeing, if only to get an idea of how much "the genius of a Le Notre" may do to spoil a place naturally beautiful. The canals, the lines of ugly cut trees and every base feature of geometrical gardening are there, but nothing worth remembering as an example. The situation is one A LE-NOTRE TREE. of the most beautiful that gardening men could desire, and would be ravishing if tastefully and simply laid out in the natural style. The lamentable effect of clipping the trees is well shown in the plate; it is very evident that the poor trees do not like it. It would be difficult to find a more striking example of labor worse than thrown away than that be stowed on clipping trees in many French gardens. Not only are the trees/ robbed of all individual beauty or character, but many noble places are spoiled by their presence. Frequently the trees become hideous from disease, consequent upon mutilation; what they are In perfection may be seen by the accompanying model tree figured by a professor in one of the best French books on arboriculture. Nantes. The Jardin des Plantes at Nantes is quite a change from what we are ac customed to see in French towns, and is well worthy of a visit of imitatibn. It is a beautiful garden in the highest sense, while it is instructive at the same time, and quite a credit to the town for the way in which it is kept. It is dis tinguished from the old style of French public gardens by the almost total ab sence of stright lines, being varied in all its parts and well and tastefully plant ed on that style for which the best name is th?; "natural.It is embellished by one of the finest groves of standard magnolias (grandiflora) in Europe, if not the finest, and their noble flowers perfume the whole accordingly." with the square lines pre vailing all through the Mall plan. Be yond a long series of stiff rectangular steps leads up to tlic Monument, con forming to the rigid lines of that structure. What a result from so much study and consideration! Surely nothing quite equal to it has been heard of since the mountain in labor brought forth a mouse: place. The planting is very tastefully done on the grouping system, while along some of the walks alternate beds of camellias and azaleas are placed, each bed being edged with hepaticas. SOMETHING ABOUT A. J. D0WNIN6 WHO LAID OUT THE SMITHSO NIAN GROUNDS UPON GRACE FUL, UNDULATING NAT URAL LINES. And Whose Attractive Work th? McKim Tree-Butchers and Na ture-Butchers Propose to Utterly Destroy. Now that the MoKim tree-buthers an<l nature-butchers are proposing to destroy the beautiful work of A. J. Powninc on the Mall, it is well to say something about the man. A monument to his memory has been planted in the Smithsonian Grounds, and on the occasion of Us dedication Prof. P. A. Chadbourne of Bowdoin College spoko as follows: DOWNING. Extract From P. A. Chadbourne of Bowdoin College. "There is a growing taste among our people, it is said, indeed, that its growth is so slow, which proves that honest toll does not destroy nor dwarf the capacity of enjoying the beautiful. It cannot, however, be fostered by galleries of art,, for they are rare among us. It is upon nature we must depend, and landscai>e gardening, by the genius of Downing, is gathering scenes of tasteful beauty around many a humble home. His works were to America what the Georgice were for ancient Italy. The vfne and the apple, the bower and the hedge, the velvet lawn and the stately tree, all that beautifies the landscape, were objects of his care. Through his influence many places are pleasant to the eye and refining to the taste which but for him would have remained rugged and neglected. The homes in cold, rugged New Eng land, in the sunny south and on the western prairies Will have more beauty and the children reared there will be men and women of more refinement be cause Downing was a lover of nature. It is meet that his monument should stand upon our national grounds at Washington, not only because they were beautified by his hand, and because his influence was national, but that every American might read the words he penned y whil' living, now engraven on the stone: "The state of an individual as well as a ration will b? fn direct proportion to the profound sensibility with which he per ceives the beautiful in natural scenery." Thus has natural history ever been the field where the objects of taste have been gathered in the greatest abundance, and it must ever be the great source of the pure and beautiful images which the progress of the fine arts demands. The cultivation or teste is sneered at by those who talk wisely of utility, but its value cannot be overestimated, and its progress must move on necessarily with that more accurate study which we de nominate Natural History. The accurate study of this science stores tiie mind with images of things formed by God himself; they are, then, so tar as art is concerned, "the true and the beautiful." This Is accomplished by edu THE DOWNING MEMORIAL.