『大英百科事典』にみる19世紀はじめのイギリス農業 [in Japanese] Early Nineteenth-Century English Agriculture in The Encyclopaedia Britannica [in Japanese]
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Historians have long argued about the conditions of British agriculture in early ninteenth century. In this paper, I have investigated how the contemporary general public understood the conditions of their agriculture, comparing the account of agriculture in the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1771) and that of the sixth edition (1823). 1) The classical interpretation of the English agricultural revolution maintains that it took place between 1750 and 1850. Similarly，the contributor of the sixth edition also says, The gradual advance in the price of land produce, soon after the year 1760, occasioned by the increase of population, and of wealth derived from manufactures and commerce, has given a more powerful stimulus to rural industry, augmented agricultural capital in a greater degree, and called forth a more skilful and enterprising race of cultivators, than all the laws for regulating the corn trade could ever have effected. Most of the inventions for increasing produce and economizing labour, have either been introduced, or improved and greatly extended since that time; and by means of both, the free surplus has been vastly increased for the supply of the general consumption. The passing of more than 3000 bills of enclosure, in the present reign, is a proof how much more rapidly the cultivation of new land has proceeded than in the former period ; and the garden-like appearance of the country, as well as the striking improvement in the condition of all classes of the rural population, display, in the most decided manner, the skill and the success with which this great branch of national industry is now followed throughout the greater part of Britain. 2) The essential points of the drill or horse-hoeing husbandry was almost identical between the first and the sixth edition. For example, the first edition begins to write as follows; THE general principles of the new husbandry may be reduced to two, viz. the promoting the growth of plants by hoeing, and the saving of seed; both of which are equally profitable to the farmer. On the other hand，the sixth edition says, THE general properties attributed to the new or drill husbandry may be reduced to two, viz. the promoting the growth of plants by hoeing, and the saving of seed; both of which are equally profitable to the farmer. 3) The sixth edition emphasises the importance of the crop rotation. No branch of husbandry requires more skill and sagacity than a proper rotation of crops, so as to keep the ground always in heart, and yet to draw out of it the greatest profit possible. But the end of the section notes that On this subject of rotations, it is proper to observe, that a great change has taken place since this article was written. It seems clear that we need to examine this matter again, using another edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
山形大学大学院社会文化システム研究科紀要 (9), 13-49, 2012-10