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HUNTER, A. [ALEXANDER] - Georgical Essays.

York, printed by Wilson and Spence &c 1803. Four volumes octavo contemporary dark green half calf; nine folding plates and a folding table. Title (and title only) in volume II very spotted - a problem I've seen reported in other copies - as are a couple of gatherings in volume III; still a fresh and elegant set. ¶ Now here's an object lesson in the value of first hand information. Hunter is quite clear in his preface: 'About the year 1770, a few gentlemen formed themselves into a society at York [with] the title of the York Agricultural Society ... and [they] agreed that such papers as were thought to possess distinguished merit, should be published in a work bearing the title of Georgical Essays. In about twelve months ... the first volume made its appearance [but] ... the publication was discontinued, so that only one volume exists.' A slender work titled Georgical Essays appeared in 1769 - not so far off - but then it was reworked and four separate volumes (all still slender it must be said) were issued from 1770 to 1772. Then they were gathered into a single volume in 1777 with an additional essay, which was also issued separately. For factual detail never believe the horse's mouth. Hunter is equally sure here at the end of volume IV that the work was finished but he just couldn't help himself, adding two more volumes the following year. I suspect that only infirmity (he was by then 75 and died in 1809) kept him from continuing ad infinitum. Hunter wrote much but not all of this and many familiar names appear (Linnaeus being one). It is actually, as Hunter intended, in 'one focus, all that is widely diffused through numberless volumes of Agricultural information". The title may be classical and gentlemenly but the articles within show no reluctance to get down into the muck and manure.
AUD 500.00 [Appr.: EURO 324.25 US$ 383.09 | £UK 285.25 | JP¥ 43177] Book number 8601

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