SCIENTIFIC AGRICULTURE

A Six Weeks Tour, through the Southern Counties of England and Wales. Describing, particularly, I. The present state of agriculture and manufactures. II. The different methods of cultivating the soil. III. The success attending some late experiments on various grasses, &c. IV. The various prices of labour and provisions. V. The state of the working poor in those counties, wherein the riots were most remarkable. With descriptions and models of such new invented implements of husbandry as deserve to be generally known: interspersed with accounts of the seats of the nobility and gentry, and other subjects worthy of notice. In several letters to a friend. By the author of the Farmer’s Letters.

London, W. Nicoll, 1768.

8vo, pp. [4], 284; complete with the half-title, but lacking final blank leaf, as often; inscription of W. Pooley to the title; further ownership inscription (dated 1840) to the front free endpaper; light offsetting from the binding onto the edges of the first and final few leaves and from the text on some pages; still a nice copy in contemporary full calf, a little rubbed at extremities, with a gilt morocco lettering-piece to spine.

£1200

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First edition. ‘Young’s own estimate of this book is that it is one “in which for the first time, the facts and principles of Norfolk husbandry were laid before the public”, but important as these facts were ... the book is more valuable than Young would have us believe. It laid before the public “the fact and principles” of the husbandry of a line of country from Bradfield to London and from London to South Wales, and the details given were quite all-inclusive. They comprised the crop rotations, the implements used, the cost of labour and provisions, which often varied surprisingly in a few miles, the size of farms, and the horses or oxen employed on holdings of different sizes ... Passing reference is [also] made to local industry, such as the manufacture of Witney blankets, and useful facts and figures about it are mentioned’ (Fussell).

‘The Six Weeks’ Tour is thus a curious mixture of agriculture, political arithmetic, and art. In comparison with Young’s later English tours it seems thin, amateurish ... Nevertheless it was successful enough to make the publishers cry for more, and it undoubtedly added to his reputation’ (Gazley).

Einaudi 6097; Goldsmiths’ 10407; Higgs 4283; PMM 214; Rothamsted, p. 163; not in Kress; see Fussell, More Old English farming books, pp. 71–72, and Gazley, The Life of Arthur Young, p. 35.

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