The Economic History Review

Rehabilitating Arthur Young

Volume 56 Issue 2
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Pages: 265-299Authors: Liam Brunt
Published online: November 3, 2003DOI: 10.1046/j.1468-0289.2003.00250.x

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Summary Young was the most prolific and quantitative agricultural writer in England in the eighteenth century. Generally highly regarded by his contemporaries, his reputation among British agricultural historians is at an all-time low. This article charts and explains Young’s fall from grace. It rebuts the criticisms made of his methods and writings, and shows that Young is a well-informed, accurate, reliable, and reasonable historical source. It demonstrates that the Farmer’s tour is based on a broadly representative sample of English farms during the industrial revolution and argues that modern techniques of data analysis can overcome any errors or biases in Young’s data.