Observations on Some Papers by ANONYMOUS


Observations on Some Papers In that very useful Collection, intitled, Museum Rusticum, By a Gentleman. To be Continued Occasionally. With New Theoretical and Practical Pieces on Husbandry. London, W. Sandby, 1766.

First Edition. 8vo (120 x 140mm), pp. 53, [1], uncut throughout, one small engraved diagram in the text, stitched as issued, the title page marked with an ‘S’ in a contemporary hand, with a few small ink marks and some very light browning, generally an excellent, unsophisticated copy.

A lovely fresh copy of a very scarce commentary on the Museum Rusticum, a periodical that was published in monthly parts between 1764 and 1766 and included papers on many aspects of agriculture, technology and science. The anonymous author of these Observations states in his opening remarks that his object is not to censure the ‘useful and pleasing collection’, but to promote its utility. ‘He intends not only to make some few remarks on several papers there, occasionally; but also to add, as he hopes, many useful discoveries of his own - the result of several years practice and experience in agriculture’. The subjects covered range from a lengthy section on hops, some advice on plants and trees that will thrive near the sea, to the culture of winter cabbages for cattle and the improvement of waste land and methods of drainage.
The pamphlet received a long critique in The Monthly Review, which commented ‘Several very judicious oeconomical hints are thrown out, for the young gentleman farmer’s notice, before he begins his Observations on the Museum Rusticum... We are referred to certain papers in the two first Volumes of the Museum, where the same subjects are treated of, - though not altogether to the good liking of our present Author: - who appears to be well versed in the most necessary principles of agriculture’.
The author concludes with a sorrowful note on the closure of the cambric factory at Winchelsea. The manufacture of cambric was a fairly recent introduction to the area, the factory having been established in 1760. ‘What can give greater concern to a person who has his country’s good at heart, than to find any useful manufacture decay, or be discouraged. How far this may be so, I am an utter stranger to, but certainly we all know that a manufacture (especially in the loom way) which gives employment to a great number of the industrious poor, is one of the most valuable acquisitions a neighbourhood can be blessed with. Therefore it is the indispensible duty, and interest, of every individual to promote and establish it’ (p. 52).

ESTC t112520 at BL, Rothampstead, Senate House Library, NYPL, Harvard and Yale.

Not in Fussell.

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