The Principles And Practice Of Agriculture, Systematically Explained; In Two Volumes;.


Bound in contemporary green half-morocco, gilt with gilt spine bands and marbled boards, very slightly rubbed on the extremities, otherwise an excellent copy. Frontispieces, title pages and plates foxed and occasional foxing throughout but generally clean interior. Small section missing from lower edge of Vol. 1 frontispiece. Early ink inscriptions above titles: Robert H. Bowman.





Printed by the Proprietor, A. Bell. and sold by Arch. Constable and Co. Edinburgh; and Vernor and Hood, London,




Being a treatise complied for the fourth edition of the encyclopaedia britannica, and revised and enlarged by robert forsyth, esq.

Item Description

8vo. 5.5 x 8.75 inches. Vol.1, frontis. + xiv + [ii] + 592. [8], A-2O8. Vol. 2, frontis. + [ii] + 575 pp. [2], A-2N8. Illustrated with two vignettes, serving as frontispieces and 21 plates at the end, distributed out of numerical sequence, between the two vols., according to the note to the binder.


Robert Forsyth (1766-1845) was born in Biggar, Lanarkshire and educated in Glasgow. He was licensed as a preacher in the Church of Scotland but, unable to find a parish, turned to the study of law and was admitted an advocate in 1792. His political associations caused him to be regarded as a potential revolutionary and he started to make a living through his writing. The Principles and Practice was a revised and enlarged version of his article on Agriculture for the 4th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (published in twenty volumes, 1801-1809). Although he was later able to practice at the bar, he continued to write, his best known work being the five volume The Beauties of Scotland (1805-08). His philosophical ideas were attacked by Hugh Miller, rather unfairly as Fussell remarks,'Forsyth had glimpsed the theory on which the modern world rests:' 'whatever has no tendency to improvement will gradually pass away and disappear for ever.'
Following a fifty page introduction on the history of agriculture, the two volumes provide a systematic survey of the practice of cultivating plants, including commercial crops like flax, hemp, woad and hops, etc. with a final section largely devoted to livestock. The work draws extensively on other authors, including William Marshall and the 'General Views' of the first Board of Agriculure. The plates are grouped at the end of each volume and illustrate implements, threshing machines, etc.
The volumes were owned by a member of the Bowman family, whose Kentish estate included farms at Goudhurst, Hawkhurst and Hadlow.
A comprehensive account of the agriculture of the age of improvement in a fine two volume set.

[Stock No. 19928]

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