London: Printed for J. Harding and J. Murray, 1805. Two volumes. 8vo. [viii], 319; [viiii], [i], 320 (misnumbered 301)-735 pp., including errata, plus 6 pages publisher’s priced advertisements. First edition under this title. Later half-morocco over cloth, spines in compartments with decorations, title, author and date in gilt; marbled endpapers, light spotting and foxing, but overall a very good wide-margined copy. From the library of W. Lloyd Wright with his bookplate in each volume (see provenance below). Item #17585
First edition under this title; it was also published the same year as The experienced farmer's tour in America: exhibiting, in a copious and familiar view, the American system of agriculture and breeding of cattle, with its recent improvements. Parkinson wrote this two-volume treatise on American agricultural practices expressly to discourage emigration to the newly formed country. He warns against trusting the writings of other farmers who entice immigrants with cheap land and promises of rich soil. In Parkinson’s opinion, he “found the climate and soil there to be of such as a nature as to put it out of the power of man to enrich the land without such an enormous expense as … must ruin any one.” During tours around his home base of Orange-Hill (near Baltimore), he focused on various crops such as wheat, vegetables, cotton, and tobacco, timber, soil management, and the raising of sheep and cattle. He also provides instruction as to brewing and malting, including cost of ingredients and prices of finished products on the current market. He further opines on slavery, religion and transportation as related to agriculture. In addition to his poor assessment of America’s agriculture, he also is aghast at how white servants address their masters with “sir” or “mister.” His critique of the “equality” preached in American society (disregarding the black slaves) and his outlook on the land itself provides crucial insight as to American and English perspectives in the years following the Revolutionary War.
Parkinson (1748–1815) was an English agriculturist. Sir John Sinclair, the president of the Board of Agriculture in England, supported his interest in improving farming methods, and recommended Parkinson to George Washington, from whom Parkinson both rented a farm as well as worked at Mount Vernon (during which time he wrote this book, which contains some interesting information about our country’s first president).
Provenance: W. Lloyd Wright (1876–1950), with his dated bookplate (1932) by Julius J. Lankes. Wright, a draftsman and engineer for the Navy, was a major collector of Washington and items related to Washington, D.C. Today the W. Lloyd Wright Papers are housed at George Washington University.