2 p.l., 46 pp. 8vo, attractive antique calf-backed marbled boards, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Warrington: Printed by W. Eyres, 1796.
First edition of this scarce provincial imprint. During the final four decades of the 18th century Britain experienced a number of corn harvest failures with a resulting rise in the price of wheat. The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, the Board of Agriculture, and various private individuals advocated the adoption of the potato as a substitute for wheat, and great efforts were made to popularize the cultivation of this crop.
The writer of the present tract was no doubt inspired by a Board of Agriculture report on the culture and use of potatoes, which was published in 1795. Kirkpatrick, who lived near Wigan in Lancashire, a well-established center for potato cultivation, was not a professional nurseryman, but he grew certain plants in his garden that he offered for sale.
“After giving details concerning the cultivation, raising, and storing of potatoes, Kirkpatrick describes their various uses. He points out their value in lessening the consumption of grain, flour, or bread, gives directions of ways of cooking them for humans and also livestock, and includes a receipt for making starch from potatoes. Moreover, he lists the names of [more than 35] different varieties of early and late potatoes grown in the vicinity of Wigan.”–Henrey, II, pp. 390, 614-15 & no. 899.
Nice copy with a small paste-on errata slip at the end.
❧ Fussell, III, pp. 16-17.
Item ID: 6464