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The objective: to spotlight all the latest technologies on offer in these different fields of application. See the complete programme. Cookery has improved. Wages have risen. Dwellings are built on a more wholesome plan. When interrogated by travellers of our own day in French, the Breton peasant would shake his head and pass on. Only the ebbing generation now remains ignorant of its mother tongue.
One curious omission must have struck most readers of the French travels. This quick and accurate observer who takes note of every object that meets his eye, who traverses the three historic highroads, diverging to the right and to the left in quest of information, never by any chance whatever mentions a village school. Had such schools existed we may be sure that he would have visited them, bequeathing us in a few graphic sentences an outline of their plan and working.
The education of the people was a dead letter in France at the time he wrote. Writing, arithmetic, much less the teaching of French, were deemed unnecessary. How slowly matters advanced in Brittany may be gathered from an isolated fact. So late as two-thirds of the inhabitants of the Ille and Vilaine could neither read nor write. It remained for the Third Republic to remove this stigma, and within the last eighteen years schools have sprung up in all directions. The department just named numbered in between seven and eight hundred alone.
Agricultural progress has been more rapid. Rotation crops and four-course farming have long superseded the ruinous method of sowing the same crops, generally buckwheat or oats, for several years in succession, followed by an equally long period of fallow. Arthur Young's corner-stone of good farming, a fine piece of turnips, may now be seen here as at his native Bradfield. Artificial manures and machinery are used instead of the dried leaves and antiquated implements once in vogue. Upper Brittany has won for itself the name of the granary of western France, from its abundance of corn.
The Breton breed of horses and cattle is second to none throughout the country. Between the years and upwards of , hectares of wastes have been brought under cultivation, and the process of clearing goes steadily on. To many causes are due this transformation of a region so long stationary. Our Suffolk farmer sighed for such an institution, and predicted the advantages that would accrue generally from training schools of practical and theoretic agriculture. Its object is twofold: firstly, to form good farmers, gardeners, land-surveyors, and agricultural chemists; secondly, to develop the progress of agriculture by the introduction of the newest machinery and the most improved methods, by farming high, in fact, for the benefit of outsiders.
The curriculum occupies two years and a half; day students, many of whom belong to the peasant class, are received at a cost of two hundred francs yearly. The spread of railways, the creation of roads and other facilities of communication, must be taken into account, also the Edition: current; Page: [ xv ] great advantages enjoyed by Brittany in respect of climate.
Magnolias and camellias flourish out of doors all the year round at Nantes, and arrived at St.
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The fruit and vegetables of Roscoff and other equally favoured spots produce sums that would have appeared fabulous a few years ago, much more in Arthur Young's time. These market gardens, varying in extent from two or three to twenty-five hectares, are the property of peasant owners, but here as elsewhere a great variety of land tenure is found. Tenant farming and ownership are more congenial to his somewhat uncompromising temperament. Nothing could be simpler than this arrangement—the owner handing over his land in return for a small rent, the farmer becoming possessor of outbuildings, if erected at his expense, stock and crops, both parties being at liberty to separate under certain conditions, one of which was the reimbursement of outlay.
It will easily be seen that such a system would work well whilst the land possessed little value and capital was scarce. Two of these unfortunately form a serious stumbling-block to progress, and seem likely to outlast the picturesque costumes, the old-world traditions, even the ancient speech of the French Bretagne. Beggary and intemperance, from time immemorial, have degraded a population characterized by many sterling qualities. According to this Draconian code, for the first offence the punishment was a term of bread and water diet in prison; for the second, flogging; in case of incorrigibility, loss of ears and banishment.
Orphanages, industrial schools, benefit societies, and other philanthropic measures are combating the first evil.
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The second, it is to be hoped, will disappear with the gradual spread of education and material well-being. Great is the change that awaits the traveller in sunny, light-hearted, dance-loving Anjou. The Breton peasant, taciturn, reserved, yet hospitable, will set before his guest the best his larder affords—cyder, rye-bread baked weeks before, hard cheese, curds and whey; in Anjou the housewife brings out a white loaf, fresh butter and jam, wine, even liqueur.
A lady tourist unaccompanied may safely entrust herself to a Breton driver. Throughout the long day's journey across solitary regions he will never once open his lips unless interrogated. But the English visitor in an Angevin country-house is soon regarded as a friend by all the neighbours.
Many and many a time, the labours in the field over, the merry supper taken out of doors ended, have I been invited to join the peasant folk in the joyous round. Accompanied only by the sound of their own voices, and needing no other stimulus, for ball-room a stretch of sward, for illumination the stars, young and old forget the long day's toil and the cares of life in these innocent Bacchanalia.
Ofttimes the dance would be prolonged till near midnight, the presence of a stranger apparently adding zest to the festivity; but no matter how hilarious the mirth, how open-hearted the sense of fellowship, no unseemly jest, no indecorous word, jars our ears. Throughout the department of the Maine and Loire, formed from the ancient Anjou, may still be seen those cave-dwellings or Troglodyte villages which astonished Arthur Young a century ago, ready-made habitations hollowed out of the tufa or yellow calcareous rock abounding in the department.
Sometimes in our walks and drives we have the backs of the Edition: current; Page: [ xvii ] houses towards us, and see only their tall chimneys rising from behind the hedges. Elsewhere we come upon a vast cave, in shape like an amphitheatre, containing half-a-dozen cottages or human burrows, crops and fruit-trees flourishing overhead. But already in the darkest and most comfortless subterranean chambers had been abandoned, and on revisiting the country fourteen years later, I found neat, new dwellings everywhere springing up, the homes of peasant farmers built by themselves.
In the commune of St. One well-to-do peasant was building for himself an eight-roomed house, or what in England would even be called a villa, with flower-garden in front, parlour, kitchen, and offices on the ground flour, above, four airy bedrooms. In the Maine and Loire the land is much divided, very few farms consist of a hundred hectares, by far the larger proportion of three or four only, or closeries.
Yet between the years and 10 the value of land showed a rise of 50 per cent. The creation of roads and railways, the use of artificial manures and machinery, the cross-breeding of stock, had in given the Maine and Loire the fourth rank among French departments, whilst in it stood first as a corn-producing country. Wine, corn, and fruit are largely exported, and the slate quarries of Angers, the linen manufactories of Cholet, employ thousands of hands, and bring in vast revenues, the latter in reaching the total of fifteen million francs.
The desert that saddened Arthur Young's eyes may now be described as a land of Goshen, overflowing with milk and honey. The peasant wastes nothing and spends little; he possesses stores of home-spun linen, home-made remedies, oil, vinegar, honey, cyder, wine of his own producing. So splendid the climate, so rich the soil, that the poorest eats asparagus, green peas, and strawberries every day when in season, and, as everyone owns crops, nobody pilfers his neighbour. The absolute security of unguarded possessions is one advantage of peasant Edition: current; Page: [ xviii ] property, the absence of pauperism, another.
Each commune charges itself with the maintenance of its sick or aged poor, provided no members of their own family are able to undertake the duty. The hatefulness of dependence and the strong inducements to thrift held out by secure possession of the land, render these public burdens comparatively light.
As a rule only intemperance or an accumulation of misfortunes reduce the French peasant to accept alms. The third journey covers an enormous area, and takes our traveller into regions widely divergent both in respect of scenery, population, and resources. It is curious that, although fully recognizing the existence of peasant owners and, as has been seen, rendering ample justice to their thrift and laboriousness, he never seems to have inspected any of the tiny holdings passed on the road.
Probably the poor people, humiliated by want and all kinds of wretchedness, would have resented such an intrusion, feeling, in Scriptural phrase, "Verily to see the poverty of the land art thou come. They are never too busy to be courteous, and the curious in agriculture need not hesitate to put a string of questions. What a contrast is presented by that recorded conversation with a peasant woman of Mars-la-Tour Meurthe and Moselle and chance acquaintance made with a housewife of eastern France at the present time!
Arthur Young describes his interlocutor as miserably clad, bent with toil, and although youthful, wearing a look of age, whilst the story she poured out, was one of hopeless struggle and unmitigated hardship. The farmeress of the rich cheese-making country of Brie en Champagne still works hard, drives to market with her eggs and butter, and even upon occasions lends a hand in the harvest field.
But on Sundays and holidays her neat cotton dress is exchanged for a fashionable toilette; Edition: current; Page: [ xix ] her children receive a liberal education; when her daughters marry, they have a dowry of several thousand pounds. Upon one occasion, after a long ramble amid the cornfields and vineyards near Couilly Seine and Marne , I entered the shop of a village baker, and asked for a roll. The mistress very kindly invited me into her back parlour, brought out excellent bread, Brie cheese, the pleasant wine of the country, refusing payment.
Hospitable instincts are fostered by prevailing ease and well-being. The little towns of this department all possess public baths, personal cleanliness is a noteworthy feature, and beggary is nil. Here, however, we have under consideration one of the wealthiest agricultural populations of France—the sale of cheese alone at the Meaux market reaches the sum of six or seven million francs yearly.
The rich red rose, erroneously called Provence rose, was in reality introduced here by the Crusaders, but no longer forms an article of commerce. Provins, ancient capital of La Brie, from which the rose derived its name, is as picturesque a town as any in the country. The popularity enjoyed by Arthur Young on the other side of La Manche need not astonish us. Yet one passage of these Travels can but raise painful reflection in every conscientious and patriotic mind. Nothing can be more painful to ardent sympathizers with France and French character than a sojourn in Alsace-Lorraine.
The sorrowful, indeed agonized clinging of born Alsatians to the mother-country, once witnessed, can never Edition: current; Page: [ xx ] be forgotten. But who is able to read the following passage by an English traveller in the Rhine provinces just a hundred years ago, without some change of feeling? When spending an autumn in Alsace-Lorraine five years ago, I found Mulhouse still a French town in every respect but name.
A system of repression only to be compared to the Russian rule in Poland, and wholesale immigration of born Prussians, is gradually forcing a hated nationality upon this population so susceptible and so warm-hearted, uniting the graces of the French character with the sturdy qualities of the Teuton. Thrice unhappy Alsace! In the position of a beautiful and richly-dowered orphan—alike the darling and the prey of one jealous foster-parent after another—the ill-fated country seems doomed to perpetual disenchantment and betrayal; her affections no sooner firmly implanted than they are torn up by the bleeding roots.
He does, however, pass through the departments of the Doubs and the Jura, formed from the ancient domain of Mary of Burgundy. Here, again, we who know every inch of the road are struck by what at first Edition: current; Page: [ xxi ] appears an unaccountable omission. No reference is made to the numerous village industries which now characterize the country, not only from the economist's point of view, but also adding peculiar features to the landscape. In the remotest valley of the Jura, breaking the solitude of pine forests, mingling their din with the roar of mountain torrents, is now heard the sound of mill-wheels and steam hammers, tall factory chimneys not a little detracting from scenery inimitably described by Ruskin.
Whilst the majority of the inhabitants lead a pastoral life, and cheese-making is carried on everywhere, hardly a hamlet but possesses its special manufactory or handicraft. Turnery and wood-carving at St. Claude, gem polishing at Septmoncel and Oyonnax, clock and spectacle making at Morez, 12 employ thousands of hands; whilst among exports of lesser importance figure wadding, gum, clock cases, bottles, and baskets.
Many of these trades are pursued by the craftsman at home and on his own account. Hours alike both pleasant and profitable have I spent in these cottage ateliers, chatting with my hosts as they worked, the clean little room opening on to a tiny garden, the baby and the kitten sporting in the sun. The wood-carvers are veritable artists, and their elegantly carved pipe-stems find their way to the remotest corners of the earth.
Diamond polishing and turnery were carried on in the Jura several centuries ago. For the most part, however, village industries, as well as village schools, were ignored by Arthur Young, because they did not exist. When, in , he passed within a few miles of the marvellously placed little cathedral city of St.
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Claude, the all-puissant count-bishop, inheritor of the rich abbey and its seigneurial dependencies, had only just been compelled to enfranchise his forty thousand serfs. These bond-servants of a Christian prelate, whose cause the so-called atheist Voltaire had pleaded magnanimously in vain, were up to that time mainmortable—that is to say, if childless, they had no power to bequeath their property, which accrued to the seigneur. The country was not without resources, but its revenues did not enrich the tiller of the soil.
From early times the white wines of the Jura were celebrated throughout France. The pretty little town of Arbois is worth visiting, not only for the sake of tasting its matchless wine, but also for its scenery—the valley of the Cuisance is indeed a corner of Eden.
The soil is poor and the land minutely subdivided in the Jura, yet the condition of the peasant is now one of comparative ease and entire independence. Both morally and intellectually these mountaineers rank high among the rural population of France. An excellent notion of the mental capacities of the small land-owners may be obtained by attending a sitting of the Juge de Paix. The skill and readiness with which they state their cause and act the part of their own advocate are remarkable. For the most part the quarrels among neighbours arise from contested boundaries; the judge, after patiently hearing both sides of the question, settles matters for once and for all by visiting the spot, and in person fixing the landmarks.
The Revolution in a few years metamorphosed entire regions. Introduced by the Convention in , it is now carried on so extensively that out of every hundred watches manufactured in France, eighty-six come from the chef-lieu of the Doubs. In the number of hands thus employed reached a total of 46, Many of these working watchmakers contrive by dint of extreme laboriousness and economy to purchase a vineyard or garden in the suburbs.
The department is neither pre-eminent in the matter of agriculture nor of social advance, yet it is a sight now-a-days to see "the fat farmers" at the September fair of Autun. From early morning they pour into the town, some in gigs or hooded carriages, with wife and children, others on foot, and the greater number driving their cattle—the splendid white oxen known as the Morvan breed. Such experiences enable us to understand the stability and solid wealth of the French farmer.
He is not above work, and does not disdain the uniform of labour. The same strict attention to daily concerns is seen on the occasion of a general election. Just before attending one of these cattle fairs of Autun I happened to be staying at St. The peasant farmers, although the day was Sunday, performed their electoral duties with the utmost despatch, and returned to their homes. Much of the scenery of this part of France has an English look. We see fields set round with lofty hedges, winding lanes, sweeps of gorse and heather, alternately recalling Devonshire and Sussex.
It was inevitable that a traveller in Arthur Young's time should miss many objects of striking interest on the way. The first itineraries of France seem to have been inspired by the Englishman's example—I allude to the voluminous works of Millin and Vaysse de Villiers published in the early part of the present century; the departmental system had not as yet created a French map, or, in the strict acceptance of the word, French Edition: current; Page: [ xxiv ] geography.
Thus he halted at Auray, and there was no one to point out the great stone avenues of Carnac and the dolmens of Locmariaker; he passed through Alsace, ignoring the famous shrine and grandiose site of St. Odille, extolled by Goethe in his poetic reminiscences. Here, too, he was on the threshold of the little Celtic kingdom of the Morvan, where village communism, as existing among patriarchal tribes, remained in force till our own day, and where the stalwart husbandman still throws over his shoulder the Gallic sagum, or short cloak, worn by the contemporaries of Vercingetorix.
The last village commune was broken up in The inhabitants of this most picturesque, but unproductive, country depend largely on industrial earnings, many migrating to Paris and other towns, and there pursuing various trades during part of the year. A wretched village occupied the site of the world-famous iron-foundries of Le Creusot, when Arthur Young journeyed from Autun to Nevers in From "the mild, healthy, and pleasant plains of the Bourbonnais," he passed into Auvergne, obtaining a glimpse of "the rich Limagne," of which Mr.
Barham Zincke has given us an exhaustive account. From its ruined battlements and prison towers, the tourist now beholds a heart-quickening scene of rural ease and smiling fertility; far and wide the beautifully cultivated plain, with its varied crops, not one inch of land wasted, the whole forming a brilliant patchwork of green fields and yellow corn, whilst dotted here Edition: current; Page: [ xxv ] and there are neat little homesteads and pasturing flocks and herds.
Here he describes "mountains covered with chestnuts and various articles of cultivation, which in districts not waste or volcanic, are waste, or in a great measure useless. Next he visits Avignon and the country of Venaissin, described as "one of the richest districts in the kingdom," and followed by a picture of Vaucluse no traveller has as yet surpassed. The supersession of madder by chemical dyes, and the phylloxera have of late years greatly diminished the revenues of this wealthy region, which, if visited in summer, almost persuades the stranger that he is in the East.
Nothing can be more Oriental than the veteran figtrees, the peach orchards, the olive groves, all veiled with finest white dust beneath a burning blue sky. Here may be said to end Arthur Young's survey of France on the eve of the Revolution, an enterprise altogether original, and carried out under extraordinary circumstances.
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We need not feel astonishment at the great popularity enjoyed by his work on the other side of the Channel. Whilst many fairly educated English folk have never so much as heard the author's name, it is familiar to every schoolboy in France. Whilst, moreover, English students have been hitherto compelled to resort to the British Museum or wait long and patiently for an expensive copy of these Travels to Edition: current; Page: [ xxvi ] turn up at a secondhand bookseller's, unabridged edition after edition has appeared in Paris.
Arthur Young did not hesitate to tell his French readers some blunt home-truths, apparently taken in excellent temper; his journal must be described, for all that, as one long, graceful acknowledgment of courtesies and hospitalities, recorded in an age when anything like international friendship was rare indeed. The book has greater claims upon French sympathy. In spite of certain reservations, it is a vindication of peasant property and the Revolution, the two cardinal points of French belief.
From the first page to the last, he sets down the abject wretchedness of the people and the stagnant condition of trade and commerce to bad government. But another adage of our "wise and honest traveller," his famous axiom, "The magic of property turns sands to gold," equally with improved administration, must account for the contrasted picture that now meets our view. By the light of after-events he was led to modify his ideas concerning the establishment of a democracy in France. But he had already given his experiences to the world; he could not undo the effect of his published work, and the observations summed up in his final chapter, to quote a great living critic, were "a luminous criticism of the most important side of the Revolution, worth a hundred times more than Burke, Paine, and Macintosh all put together.
Young afterwards became panic-stricken, but his book remained. There the writer enumerates without trope or invective the intolerable burdens under which the great mass of the French people had for long years been groaning. It was the removal of those burdens that made the very heart's core of the Revolution, and gave to France that new life which so soon astonished and terrified Europe. Into Arthur Young's services to agriculture we have no space Edition: current; Page: [ xxvii ] to enter here.
They have been briefly indicated by the brilliant, but all too rapid, historian of the English people. Green, "which began with the reign of George the Second, and especially marked that of his successor, changed the whole face of the country. Ten thousand square miles of untilled land have been added, under their operation, to the area of cultivation, while in the tilled land itself the production had been more than doubled by the advance of agriculture, which began with the travels and treatises of Mr. Arthur Young.
His claims are not only those of a foremost agriculturist, an indefatigable promoter of the arts of peace, a citizen of the world in the widest acceptation of the name. He had pondered long and deeply on those social and political problems that occupy thinkers of our own day. Eminently practical, he yet indulged from time to time in the loftiest idealism. My warm thanks are due to Mr. Arthur Young, grandson and granddaughter-in-law of the great agriculturist, without whose kind assistance the following memoir could not have been written. The materials were placed at my disposal whilst enjoying the hospitality of Bradfield Hall, the modern mansion occupying the site of Arthur Young's old home.
I also beg to express my indebtedness to M. Paul Joanne, and other obliging correspondents, French and English. His home from the first, as it remained throughout the greater part of his life, was Bradfield Hall, of Bradfield-Combust, near Bury St. Edmunds, a property held by the Young family since He was the youngest son of the Reverend Dr. Speaker Onslow and the Bishop of Bristol stood sponsors for the boy, appropriate inauguration of a life destined to be spent in the best company.
From his father, an extremely handsome man six feet in stature, and the author of a learned work commended by Voltaire, he inherited good looks, a striking presence, and literary facility; from his mother, an inordinate craving for knowledge, and conversational powers of a high order. He describes her as very amiable and cheerful, fond of conversation, for which she had a talent, and a great reader on a variety of subjects.
She brought her husband a very large dowry, and no inconsiderable portion of this handsome jointure seems to have been swallowed up in the speculations of her son, one of the greatest agriculturists and least successful practical farmers who ever lived. We can easily understand Arthur Young's love of rural life and keen appreciation of scenery, after a visit to Bradfield, reached from Mark's Tey on the Great Eastern Railway.
It is a sweet spot, in the near neighbourhood of much of the beautiful country with which Gainsborough has familiarized us. Alighting at the quiet little station of Whelnetham, we follow a Edition: current; Page: [ xxx ] winding road overhung with lofty elms, that leads to the village; or in summer, knee-deep in wild flowers and waving grasses, we may take a traverse through the meadows, their lofty hedges a tangle of eglantine and honeysuckle, on every side stretches of rich pasture, cornfields, and woods.
The place has a very old-world look; here and there, between the trees, peeps a whitewashed cottage, with overhanging thatched roof, or a farmhouse of equally rustic appearance, very little modernization having taken place in these regions. The Suffolk farmer, as Arthur Young modestly calls himself, was in reality a country squire. His old home has been replaced by a Gothic mansion, but nothing can be more squirarchal than the well-wooded park, ornamental water with its swans, Queen Anne's garden and stately avenues, leading to church and lodge, which remain as they were in his own time.
Opposite the gates of Bradfield Hall stands the village ale-house, no quainter, more antiquated hostelry in rural England. Between park and village, consisting of church, rectory-house, and a dozen cottages, lies the broad, elm-bordered road leading to the railway station. This is the old London coach road followed by our traveller when setting forth on his French travels a hundred years ago, enterprises regarded by his family mad as those of Don Quixote himself.
Entrancing as were these adventuresome journeys, we can fancy with what pleasure he hailed the first glimpse of Bradfield on returning home safe and sound from one expedition after another. As happens with so many men of genius, Arthur Young owed little to schools or schoolmasters.
He was first sent to the grammar school at Lavenham—that exquisitely clean, picturesque village, with its noble cathedral—no other name befits the church—lying between Sudbury and Whelnetham. My mother soon bought me a little white pony, which was sent every Saturday to bring me home, and though the plan was that of returning every Monday morning, yet the weather or some other circumstance would often occasion delays, not a little injurious. The latter part of the time I had a pointer and a gun, and went out with the master.
I had also a room to myself and a neat collection of books, and I remember beginning to write a history of England, thinking that I could make a good one out of several others. How early began my literary follies! I seemed to have a natural propensity to writing books. All readers of the "Travels in France" will remember Arthur Young's love of music and the drama. His diary shows at what an early age those tastes were fostered.
In his thirteenth year, he tells us, he is taken to London, sees Garrick in tragedy, and hears the Messiah. Another characteristic, equally familiar to us, is his deep admiration of personal beauty, and his delight in the society of graceful, attractive women. This, too, we find a feature of his somewhat precocious boyhood. Two of these in succession made terrible havoc with my heart. The first was a Miss Betsey Harrington, a Lavenham grocer's daughter, who was admitted by all who saw her to be truly beautiful. On quitting Lavenham, his destiny remained for a moment undecided.
His father wished him to be sent to Eton, and thence to one of the Universities.
He wrote of this resolve in a strain of regret those who come after him cannot share. Had paternal influence prevailed, he tells us, his life might have been very different. Originality is nowhere more refreshing than in the Church. It is pleasant to fancy Arthur Young a bishop. But what other pen would have given us that inimitable picture of rural France on the eve of the great Revolution?
Who else would have fought so valiantly the cause of the farmer at home? She was of a pleasing figure, with fine black, expressive eyes; danced well, and performed on the harpsichord, as she received instructions from Mr. Burney Dr. Burney, the author of 'The History of Music' , then a person in the highest estimation for his powers of conversation and agreeable manners. His extraordinary—we are almost tempted to say abnormal—energy becomes apparent in these early days. The future author of a history of agriculture in ten folio volumes was already busy with the pen, writing pamphlets "On the Theatre of the Present War in America," and kindred topics, for each of which he received the value of ten pounds in books—an arrangement between publisher and literary aspirant that might, perhaps, be judiciously followed in these days.
In , being just twenty, he left Lynn, "without education, pursuits, profession, or employment," he writes despondingly. His father died during the same year. Somewhat later, whilst at Bristol recruiting from illness, his skill in chess-playing attracted the attention of a military authority, who offered him a commission in a cavalry regiment. If we could ill have spared Arthur Young for the Church, still more should we have begrudged him to the army.
Again his mother interfered, and posterity owes her a debt of gratitude.
Instead of exchanging bullets and sabre thrusts with his French neighbours, Arthur Young was now destined to the more pacific international give-and-take of roots and seeds. He became from that time a farmer. So situated, I could hardly fail of following the maternal advice, to try what farming could do. I rented a small farm of my mother's, and farmed from to Having taken a second farm that was in the hands of a tenant, I gained some Edition: current; Page: [ xxxiii ] knowledge, but not much; and the painful effect was to convince me that, to understand the business in any perfection, it was necessary to continue my exertions for many years.
And the circumstance, perhaps, of all others in my life which I most deeply regretted, and considered as a sin of the blackest dye, was my publishing the result of my experiences during these four years, which, speaking as a farmer, was nothing but ignorance, folly, presumption, and rascality. The only use which resulted from these years was to enable me to view the farms of other men with an eye of more discrimination than I could possibly have done without that practice. It was also the occasion of my going on the Southern Tour in , the Northern Tour in , and the Eastern in , extending through much the greater part of the kingdom; and the execution of these tours was considered by all who read them and they were very generally read to be of most singular utility to the general agriculture of the kingdom.
It will not escape observation that these jottings of old age, interesting at they are, err on the side of redundancy and epexegesis. We wholly miss the vivacity, terseness, and vigour of the French Travels. The marriage brought him an enviable connection—troops of friends, a passport into brilliant circles, but no fireside happiness. The lady was evidently of a captious disposition, shrewish temper, and narrow sympathies. A few years later Arthur Young became famous. Courted by the great, a conspicuous figure in society, handsome, witty, versatile, he certainly found a London salon more to his taste than a dull farmhouse—a day's outing with the Burneys more congenial than heavy land-farming in wet weather.
Young entered the room. Oh, how glad we were to see him! He was in extremely good spirits. Talking of happiness, sensibility, and a total want of feeling, my mamma said, turning to me, 'Here's a girl will never be happy, never whilst she lives, for she possesses, perhaps, as feeling a heart as ever girl had.
Young, 'my friend Fanny possesses a very feeling heart? In the meantime he was making one disastrous attempt at practical farming after another, like a desperate gamester doubling the stakes with every loss. For a year or two after his marriage he remained at Bradfield, farming a copyhold of twenty acres, his sole fortune, and eighty more, the property of his mother.
His successor, a practical farmer, made a good deal of money out of the concern, probably as much as Arthur Young had lost by it, so hampering to worldly success is the possession of original ideas! One of his farms he describes as "a devouring wolf," an epithet that need not surprise us when we consider that he made 3, experiments on his Suffolk holding alone. The superstitious might see in the pertinacity with which Mrs.
Young encouraged her son's ventures some preternatural foreshadowing of his career. Again and again she advertised for a farm for him, and nothing better offering itself, he hired some land in Hertfordshire, which ere long he anathematized as a "hungry vitriolic gravel, a Nabob's fortune would sink in the attempt to raise good, arable crops to any extent in such a country. One of the most curious incidents in a career that detractors might well call Quixotic, is the origin of the famous English Tours.
Will it be believed that just as Cervantes' half-mad hero set out in search of chivalrous adventure, and Dr. Syntax in search of the picturesque, this thrice-ruined farmer determined Edition: current; Page: [ xxxv ] to explore the entire country till he could find land that would pay?