From Arthur Young
Bradfield Hall [England] June 9. 92.
I beg leave to present your Excellency with a book I have published; &: to request that you will pass over the first half of it & read only the second. The age is so frivolous that if a work contain only a subject of importance it has but little chance of attention unless it proceed from a genius of the first class, and this circumstance induced me to publish some rubbish to tempt people to the plough.1
When America sees the work that is made with the corn trade in France, she may bless herself at being governed by more enlightened legislators.2 I have the honour to be With the Greatest Respect Your Excellency’s Much obliged & Devoted St
1. Two copies of Young’s Travels, during the Years 1787, 1788, and 1789. Undertaken More Particularly with a View of Ascertaining the Cultivation, Wealth, Resources, and National Prosperity, of the Kingdom of France (Bury St. Edmund’s, England, 1792; London and Bury St. Edmund’s, 1794) were in GW’s library at the time of his death (Griffin, Boston Athenæum Washington Collection, description begins Appleton P.C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends 231–32).
2. Young says in his book that the French government’s apprehension about the grain supply, proclamations against its export, ordinances regulating its sale, restrictions on its transportation from province to province, and laws against speculation all tended to erode public confidence, raise the price of grain, and bring on famine conditions unnecessarily (see the two-volume 1794 London edition, 1:488–98, 625).