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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

III. Bentham and the Early Utilitarians

§ 9. Arthur Young; Travels in France

Certain of Bentham’s occasional papers—those on Poor Laws and Pauper Management—appeared in Young’s Annals of Agriculture. This periodical was started in 1784, and extended to forty-five volumes. Its editor, Arthur Young, was already known as the greatest of English writers on agriculture. At the age of seventeen, he had published a pamphlet on The War in North America (1758), and had afterwards written a great variety of works chiefly on English farming, including the records of a series of tours through different districts of England. He was not only an agricultural expert, but, also, a social observer and theorist, as is shown in many of his works, such as Political Arithmetic (1774), Tour in Ireland (1780) and—most famous of all—Travels in France (1792). He had the good fortune to visit France shortly before the revolution, as well as after it had broken out; and his trained power of observation enabled him to see and point out the social conditions which made the continuance of the ancien régime impossible. Young’s close observation of actual conditions and his apt reflections upon them have made his works important authorities for economists, especially on the question of the relative values of different systems of land tenure. He had also an epigrammatic gift that has made some of his phrases remembered. “The magic of property turns sand to gold” is one of his sayings which has become famous.