Jethro Tull - Encyclopedia

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JETHRO TULL (1674-1741), English agricultural writer and farmer, was born at Basildon, Berkshire, in 1674, probably in March. He entered St John's College, Oxford, in 1691, and was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in 1699 but never practised. In that year he married and began farming on his father's land at Howberry, near Wallingford, and here about 1701 he invented and perfected his machine drill and began experiments in his new system of sowing in drills or rows sufficiently wide apart to allow for tillage by plough and hoe during almost the whole period of growth. In 1709 he moved to a farm near Hungerford and from 1711 to 1714 travelled in France and Italy, making careful observations of the methods of agriculture in those countries which aided and confirmed his theories as to the true use of manure and the importance of "pulverizing" the soil. He did not publish any account of his agricultural experiments or theories until 1731, when his Horse-hoeing Husbandry appeared. This was followed by The Horse-hoeing Husbandry, or an Essay on the Principles of Tillage and Vegetation, by J. T., in 1733. He was attacked in the agricultural periodical The Practical Husbandman and Farmer and accused of plagiarizing from such earlier writers as Sir A. Fitzherbert, Sir Hugh Plat (1552-1611 ?), Gabriel Plattes (fl. 1638) and John Worlidge (fl. 1669-1698). Tull answered in various smaller works forming additions to his main work. He died on the 21st of February 1741.

Many editions of his Horse-hoeing Husbandry were published subsequently, and in 1822 William Cobbett edited it. It was translated into French, notably by H. L. Duhamel Dumonceau (1700-1782), the naturalist and agriculturalist, in1753-1757(see Agriculture).

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