A Cornerstone of the English Agricultural Revolution
A Discours of Husbandrie used in Brabant and Flanders: shewing the wonderful Improvement of Land there; and serving as a Pattern for our Practice in this Common-Wealth…
4 p.l., 27,  pp. Small 4to, attractive antique calf (title soiled & a little waterstained), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: W. du Gard for F. Coles, 1654.
“Third Edition Corrected and Enlarged.” Weston (1591-1652), canal builder and agriculturalist, while already having had considerable successful experience in farming in Surrey, made a series of observations on the agricultural methods of the Low Countries during his exile in Belgium in 1644-45, which changed English agriculture.
“Sir Richard’s account of Flemish husbandry was written about 1645, and addressed to his sons from abroad. This was circulated in manuscript, and there is no evidence that it was printed before 1650, when an imperfect copy was published by Samuel Hartlib, with a dedication to the council of state. Hartlib did not at this time know who the author was. The account is the first English description of the use of a farming rotation including turnips and clover to obtain maximum output from heathlands formerly considered of little agricultural value. Although it is not known to what extent Sir Richard emulated on his own estates what he saw in Flanders, he described a farming system that was to become the cornerstone of the English ‘agricultural revolution’ a century later.”–ODNB.
As mentioned above, the first edition appeared in 1650, published by Samuel Hartlib, and a second edition appeared two years later with the addition of Hartlib’s dedication and his two letters addressed to Weston, stating he is the author.
Very good copy.
Item ID: 6519