AGRICULTURE AND POPULATION

An economical History of the Hebrides and Highlands of Scotland ... in two Volumes ... Edinburgh: Printed at the University Press; 1808.

Edinburgh: Printed at the University Press; 1808

2 vols., 8vo., pp. [2], viii, 389, [1]; [2], 416; a very good copy in neat drab boards with ribbed cloth spine, from the agricultural research station at Rothamsted.

£450

Approximately:
US $570€526

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An economical History of the Hebrides and Highlands of Scotland ... in two Volumes ... Edinburgh: Printed at the University Press; 1808.

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First edition. The eminent naturalist John Walker (1731-1803), professor of natural history in the University of Edinburgh (Smollett was one of his students) and keeper of the university museum, made six long journeys into the Highlands and Islands from 1760 to 1786. He was commissioned by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to enquire into the state of religion and by the Commissioners on the Annexed Estates to report on population, agriculture and manufactures. In the course of his travels Walker came to admire the inhabitants but regret that ‘the agriculture of these countries appears to have undergone but little improvement since the æra that domestic cattle and the cultivation of grain were first introduced; which happened probably in the third or fourth century’.

This fieldwork formed the basis of his manuscript collections on natural history, published here in part by his friend and executor, Charles Stewart, printer to the University. An economical History is , devoted primarily to agriculture (implements, manure, tillage, summer crops, winter crops, grass, livestock, woods and plantations), but also dealing with population, land tenure, buildings, police, fossils, and emigration.

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