Maxwell, Robert (ed)
Select transactions of the Honourable the Society of Improvers in the knowledge of agriculture in Scotland … prepared for the press by Robert Maxwell of Arkland, a member of the Society, and revised by the Preses and a Committee appointed for that end.
Edinburgh, printed by Sands, Brymer, Murray and Cochran 1743.
8vo. (2) + xxx + 457 + (1)pp, engraved folding plate. Contemporary full calf, rubbed. Signed in ink by Robert Maxwell on p. ii as called for (“I have signed each genuine copy on the back of the title-page”).
The Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland, founded in 1723 and presided over by Thomas Hope of Rankeilor, a Scottish landowner who had studied agriculture both in England and on the European continent, was the first organisation in Scotland to promote the adoption of improved farming methods which would improve crop yields, grazing, and the cultivation of flax for the manufacture of linen. This volume of its transactions, edited by Robert Maxwell of Arkland (1695-1765), is the primary source for its activities (the Society had ceased to exist by about 1750), and it sheds much light on the activities and objectives of improving landlords in Scotland in the second quarter of the eighteenth century. Although the emphasis of the volume is on agricultural crops, there are also pages devoted to such topics as animal husbandry, gardening and distilling. This particular copy reached Sweden not long after its publication (it contains some marginal notes in pencil in Swedish, and other pencil reading marks), and the similarities between prevailing rural conditions in Sweden and Scotland no doubt made it useful to its Swedish purchaser.