COPYING FROM EUROPE AND OTHER FAILED PROJECTS

Account of the origin of the Board of Agriculture, and its progress for three years after its establishment. By the President.

London, Bulmer, 1796.

4to, pp. 82; engraved frontispiece map with contemporary hand-coloring; tables within text; one or two slight smudges, a few very neatly closed tears, else a very good, clean copy, possibly washed, in recent half calf over marbled boards, spine lettered direct, gilt.

£350

Approximately:
US $488€405

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Account of the origin of the Board of Agriculture, and its progress for three years after its establishment. By the President.

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First and only edition, rare in commerce. Sinclair pushes the importance of statistical agricultural surveying in his capacity as president of the Board of Agriculture, founded in 1793. The agricultural improver Arthur Young was his secretary. This includes the blank sample tables for population data that might be used in the projected surveys. Sinclair’s work had begun with a 7,500-mile journey through Scandinavia, Russia and continental Europe, where he “became acquainted with the most distinguished authors, the ablest statesmen, and the most zealous patriots, that Europe could then boast of”. After which, he returned to Scotland, where he inherited estates in Caithness, to undertake a monumental parish-by-parish survey, the Statistical account of Scotland, published from 1791. In the present work Sinclair outlines a slightly amended idea along the same lines for a statistical survey of England, county-by-county rather than parochial, to be undertaken by agents for the Board. This idea never came about, eventually being quashed by John Moore, Archbishop of Canterbury. Sinclair’s career as agricultural improver was characterized by optimistic experiments that often failed at significant expense; the Board of Agriculture was no exception, being based on antiquated systems familiar to Sinclair from Scottish societies. It lost its government funding in 1820 and was dissolved in 1822.

Goldsmiths’ 16645.

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