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James Hutton's agricultural research and his life as a farmer

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By bringing together information in published and unpublished works of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, notably Hutton's unpublished manuscript the ‘Elements of Agriculture', it is possible to augment our meagre knowledge of Hutton's agricultural activities. His decision to farm is discussed, as are his time as a student of agriculture in East Anglia and on the Continent (1752–54), his life as a farmer at Slighhouses in Berwickshire (1754–67), his research after he returned to Edinburgh (1767–97), and his opinions on the role of government in agricultural affairs. The section on Slighhouses deals not only with Hutton's agricultural experiments and improvements, but also with his personal life, travel, and scientific studies. Investigation shows that his interest in agriculture gave impetus to his studies in other disciplines, and that his years as a farmer were ones of great intellectual activity which laid the foundation for many of his future achievements, particularly in geology.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 6 Greenhill Terrace, Edinburgh, EH10 4BS, Scotland

Publication date: 01 November 1985

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