"The Lecture Season"
(1860), about a lecture "Young America" by Henry Ward Beecher of the Young Men's
Christian Association, which he repeated the previous evening in Plymouth Church,
which includes this reference:
"The lecturer here alluded to the Chinese custom of dwarfing trees and flowers in pots --
causing them to grow only to such a size as they desired, illustrative of the dwarfing
of men's souls and lofty aspirations. Our ancestors, he said, were oaks, and would
have as much soil for their roots as they could grasp, and they would reach away to the
horizon or the zenith unpruned and unchecked by any gardener's hand. They felt for God's
freedom in the soil and in the air, and they disdained all processes of geometrical
gardening. The Mandarin could raise his garden small enough to put upon a shelf,
or trundle about in a wheel-barrow; and so it was ever since the world commenced, the
Church, or the State, or some other organization meant to have men just according to their
own measure -- their roots should fit their pots exactly and be no bigger. Men in
such a condition could be easily managed."
1 Brooklyn Daily Eagle,
November 21, 1860, pg.
Henry Ward Beecher was an
orator and advocate of women's sufferage and temperance, and he was a foe of slavery.