Arthur Young

English writer (1741-1820)

Arthur Young (11 September 1741 – 12 April 1820) was an English writer on agriculture, economics, social statistics, and campaigner for the rights of agricultural workers.

Arthur Young (1794)


  • I have before proved the nation to be in the possession of a vast income, highly sufficient for all demands, to possess a vigorous agriculture, flourishing manufactures, and an extended commerce, in a word, to be a great industrious country. Now I conceive that it is impossible to prove such points, without proportionably proving the kingdom to be a populous one.
  • every one but an ideot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious:: I do not mean that the poor in England are to be kept like the poor of France; but the state of the country considered, they must be (like all mankind) in poverty, or they will not work.
  • Small properties, much divided, prove the greatest source of misery that can possibly be conceived, and has operated to such a degree and extent in France, that a law ought certainly to be made to render all division below a certain number of arpens illegal.
    • Arthur Young (1789), quoted in: Samuel Laing (1842), Notes of a Traveller on the Social and Political State of France, Prussia, Switzerland, Italy and Other Parts of Europe During the Present Century, p. 35
      • According to Samuel Laing, Arthur Young wrote this "consequently before the sale of the national domains, crown and church estates, and confiscated estates of the noblesse, and before the law of partition of property among all the children became obligatory on all classes of the community... and a few mouths only before a law was passed directly opposed to the principle he recommends — the law abolishing the rights of primogeniture, and making the division of property among all the children obligatory; and which law has been ever since, that is, for nearly half a century, in general and uninterrupted operation."
  • The Englishman, in eleven years, gets three bushels more of wheat than the Frenchman. He gets three crops of barley, tares, or beans, which produce nearly twice as many bushels per acre, as what the three French crops of spring corn produce. And he farther gets, at the same time, three crops of turnips and two of clover, the turnips worth 40s. the acre, and the clover 60s. that is 12l. for both. What an enormous superiority! More wheat; almost double of the spring corn; and above 20s. per acre per annum in turnips and clover. But farther; the Englishman's land, by means of the manure arising from the consumption of the turnips and clover is in a constant state of improvement, while the Frenchman's farm is stationary.
  • No person can have been in Norfolk without quickly perceiving, that in this branch of rural economy the county has very little to boast. No where are meadows and pastures worse managed: in all parts of the county we see them over-run with all sorts of spontaneous rubbish, bushes, briars, rushes: the water stagnant: ant-hills numerous: in a word, left in a state of nature, by men who willingly make all sorts of exertions to render their arable land clean, rich and productive.
  • A vast change had taken place in English social life within two generations... View the navigation, the roads, the harbours and all other public works. Take notice of the spirit with which manufactures are carried on. Move your eye which side you will, you behold nothing but great riches and yet greater resources.
    • Arthur Young, quoted in: Bruce Lancaster (2001) The American Revolution, p. 16

Quotes about Arthur YoungEdit

  • An English agronomist, Arthur Young wrote to George Washington concerning the economics of the American experience. He wanted to know what enticed or motivated the Americans to use so much land so quickly. The letters of George Washington (1801) are a fascinating response to the questions of Mr Young. Not only did Washington respond with accounts of his estate at Mount Vernon but he asked several of his colleagues, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, among others, about the economics of farming... Young was interested to see if slavery, the cost of labor, had a role in the methods used, but Washington was convinced that the abundance of new and very cheap land was at fault.
    • Pierre Velde, ‎Pierre Barré (2009), Soils, Plants and Clay Minerals: Mineral and Biologic Interactions. p. 279

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