“The Cornerstone of the English Agricultural Revolution”
Manuscript on paper of an early version of Weston’s highly important A Discours of Husbandrie used in Brabant and Flanders (1st printed ed.: 1650), entitled on verso of first leaf “Sir Rich: westons improvement of Husbandrie…coppied by mee Archdale Palmor, for my private use, ye Ninth day of February Ano Dom: 1649…” and signed by him on recto of same leaf “Arch: Palmor his Booke ye februa: 9th. Ano Dom: 1649.”
1 p.l., 35 pages, numbered in upper outer corners, and 17 blank leaves. Small 4to (200 x 150 mm.), modern cloth, upper cover stamped in gilt “Rothamsted Laboratory Lawes Trust.” United Kingdom: 9 February 1649.
A manuscript copy by Archdale Palmor, with variations from the first printed edition, of Weston’s highly important work, which describes farming rotation for the first time in England. Our manuscript precedes the first printed edition by one year.
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.
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.
“Archdale Palmor” was probably Archdale Palmer, High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1641.
Very good condition. The first and second leaves have been carefully strengthened on the fore edge (the first leaf) and the upper outer corner (second leaf).
Item ID: 6537