Young, Arthur (1741–1820)
Born into a Suffolk clerical family in 1741, Arthur Young began his literary career at 17, writing novels and pamphlets. He began farming in his early twenties, and in 1767 he took on the tenancy of an Essex farm which was however beyond his means. Exchanging this tenancy for a smaller farm in Hertfordshire which proved equally unrewarding, his income during the 1770s was drawn as much from writing as farming. The publication of his accounts of travels in England and Ireland met with great success, but the long absences and expense involved led to the neglect of his farm. His response was to extend his literary activities: in 1784 he launched the Annals of Agriculture, a journal which rapidly gained international recognition. During the later 1780s he toured the Continent, and his observations of France on the eve of the Revolution remain a valuable source. On the establishment of the Board of Agriculture in 1793 Young became its Secretary, and it was his descriptive methods which were followed by the writers of the County Surveys for which the Board is best known. In 1811 Young became blind, and he died in 1820, leaving behind an autobiography which provided a social and personal record of a life devoted to farming and literary activities.