Seller ID: 970
London: the Author, 1825. First edition (unpaginated, index, adverts). Two b&w plates (trenching a field, pruning). Tall octavo in faded blue-green cloth with impressed decorations; adverts at end promote Cobbett's enterprises as seedsman and publisher. William Cobbett (1763- 1835) was an energetic political and social journalist and propagandist whose Political Register for many years urged reforms such as universal suffrage and opposed the more grasping policies of British governments in the years prior to the Reform Bill of 1832. Woodlands, comprising six hundred numbered paragraphs which describe the characteristics and best uses for all sorts of trees together with their propagation, fits with Cobbett's Cottage Economy (1821), Treatise on Corn (1828), and The English Garden (1829) as a collection of self-help manuals aimed at the practical education and improvement of the lives of country people whom Cobbett (rightly) thought oppressed and discouraged by forces centred in London, which Cobbett called that 'great Wen'. Some of the improvements were of course better than others-- for example, Cobbett recommends trenching fields (a form of double-digging) to a depth of two feet, a suggestion which induces sympathetic back pain in the reader. See Ian Dyck's admirable biographical sketch of Cobbett (ODNB) for a good deal more. This attractive copy, its spine skilfully repaired, apparently once in the library of the department store magnate Sir Ernest Debenham, Bart. (1865- 1952), Braintspuddle, Dorset. Very nice indeed.
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