Arthur Young

Arthur Young was born in Whitehall London on September 11th, 1741. Young was an English writer on politics, economics, and agriculture in the 18th century. Young was the famous author of “Travels in France” or “Travels During the Years 1787, 1788, and 1789. This book was valued for its vivid descriptions of the French Revolution. In 1759, Young inherited his father’s family estate and began to experiment agricultural improvements. Young’s writings however contained detailed observations and analysis of agriculture that were extremely popular. Upon his personal experience, Young began an agriculture experience course in 1770, and then he traveled widely in Britain and France. After Young’s return from France, he was appointed to the position of secretary of the Board of Agriculture in the British government. Although Young was not a successful farmer, he was an important propagandist for the agricultural practice. Young enjoyed advocating innovations to improve crop rotations, the use of marl, and to enclose of open fields. Young than later suffered from blindness by a server cataract and he failed to operate for a cure.

In 1972, Travels in France was written. At this point, Young was a liberal reformer. His urge was to repeal of the penal laws in which discriminated Catholics. Young condemned the British regulation of the Irish commerce. He criticized the Irish Parliament’s industrial policy of bounties and prohibitions. One of Young’s most famous sayings was “the magic of property turns sand into gold” and “give a man the secure possession of a bleak rock”. Young would use these sayings to support the means of reducing poverty and to support property rights.

In Travels of France, Young’s thoughts on the French Revolution was by what he saw. Young issues that what frustrated him the most was unequal taxes, harsh penal codes, and the lack of justice in the court system. Young’s major frustration was the unequaled tax system. In his book, he gives his readers a better understanding of how the kingdom was organized. The kingdom was broken. The generalities were broken down into elections. Normally with the amount of power with regards to taxation, Young mentioned that there could be ways to control or exempt taxes.

Since taxes still needed to pay to the kingdom, people were naturally upset. However, there were some exemptions allowed for nobility, clergy, friends and family of these people that did not have to pay taxes. The poor people of the kingdom felt like the people with the most economic resources (the rich) were also exempted from paying taxes because of they were fortunate enough.

Young’s second issue while traveling France was the Kingdom’s unequal and harsh penal code. Young mentions that from his trip to France, there were eight extremely strict regulations that covered offenders whom were accused of smuggling salt. The very first law mentioned that if five or more-armed salt smugglers were together, they would be fined and spend nine years in jail. Now, if the same people elsewhere in the kingdom were caught, they would be put to death. The next law mentioned if five or less were caught, than they would get a second chance. On their first time getting caught they would just get fined and sentence to three years in jail. On the second time, they would be killed. The third law would discuss the unarmed smugglers to some type of transportation to move the salt. Thing is that all these laws, had different fines, or sentences, penalties or death sentences to the smugglers who got caught. In some laws, if they didn’t pay the fine within the first 3 years, more time would be added to their time. Some of the smugglers that got caught would get “lucky” with three to nine-year jail sentence. Some did not get too lucky and would get killed.

Young’s main focus on unbalanced taxes, unforgiving penal codes, and the legal system was to bring help to focus on his feeling on why the French was doomed for a revolution. Young did such a wonderful job to capture the real feeling of the Frenchman at that time. Eventhough, Young arrived to the kingdom to evaluate conditions of the soil and other farming environment, he left French to understand their society in the late 1780’s.

Young died in London, on April 12th, 1820 at only 78 years of age. His death was caused by a bladder calculus. Young had influenced observers of economic and social life. He had influenced Frederick Morton Eden and Sir Jon Sinclair. Before Young’s death, he had been studying his own method of investigation. He had built a huge reputation on agricultural improvers and political economist.