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The project of this establishment was communicated by Mr Davie to his friend, who was still in London, and it appears to have lessened his anxiety about settling as a physician, and probably was one of the main causes of his laying aside all thoughts of that profession. Perhaps, too, on a nearer view, he did not find that the practice of medicine would afford him that leisure for pursuing chemical and other scientific objects, which he fancied it would do when he saw things at a greater distance. Whatever was the cause, it is certain that soon after his return to Edinburgh in summer 1750, he abandoned entirely his views of the practice of medicine, and resolved to apply himself to agriculture.

The motives which determined him in the choice of the latter cannot now be traced with certainty. He inherited from his father a small property in Berwickshire, and this might suggest to him the business of husbandry. But we ought rather, I think, to look for the motives that influenced him, in the simplicity of his character, and the moderation of his views, than in external circumstances. To one who, in the maturity of understanding, has leisure to look round on the various employments which exercise the skill and industry of man, if his mind is independent and unambitious, and if he has no sacrifice to make to vanity or avarice, the profession of a farmer may seem fairly entitled to a preference above all others. This was exactly the

case of Dr Hutton, and he appears to have been confirmed in his choice by the acquaintance which he made about that time with Sir John Hall of Dunglass, a gentleman of the same county, a man of ingenuity and taste for science, and also much conversant with the management of country affairs.

As he was never disposed to do any thing by halves, he determined to study rural economy in the school which was then reckoned the best, and in the manner which is undoubtedly the most effectual. He went into Norfolk, and fixed his residence for some time in that country, living in the house of a farmer, who served both for his landlord and his instructor. This he did in 1752; and many years afterwards I have often heard him mention, with great respect, the name of John Dybold, at whose house he had lived with much comfort, and whose practical lessons in husbandry he highly valued. He appears, indeed, to have enjoyed this situation very much: the simple and plain character of the society with which he mingled suited well with his own, and the peasants of Norfolk would find nothing in the stranger to set them at a distance from him, or to make them treat him with reserve. It was always true of Dr Hutton, that to an ordinary man he appeared to be an ordinary man, possessing a little more spirit and liveliness, perhaps, than it is usual to meet with. These circumstances made his residence in Norfolk great

ly to his mind, and there was accordingly no period of his life to which he more frequently alluded, in conversation with his friends; often describing, with singular vivacity, the rural sports and little adventures, which, in the intervals of labour, formed the amusement of their society.

While his head-quarters were thus established in Norfolk, he made many journeys on foot into different parts of England; and though the main object of these was to obtain information in agriculture, yet it was in the course of them that, to amuse himself on the road, he first began to study mineralogy or geology. In a letter to Sir John Hall, he says, that he was become very fond of studying the surface of the earth, and was looking with anxious curiosity into every pit, or ditch, or bed of a river that fell in his way; " and that, if he did not always avoid the fate of Thales, his misfortune was certainly not owing to the same cause." This letter is from Yarmouth; it has no date, but it is plain from circumstances, that it must have been written in 1753.

What he learned in Norfolk made him desirous of visiting Flanders, the country in Europe where good husbandry is of the oldest date. He accordingly set out on a tour in that country, early in spring 1754, and, travelling from Rotterdam through Holland, Brabant, Flanders, and Picardy, he returned to England about the middle of sum


He appears to have been highly delighted with the garden culture which he found to prevail in Holland and Flanders, but not so as to undervalue what he had learnt in England. He says, in a letter to Sir John Hall, written soon after his arrival in London, "Had I doubted of it before I set out, I should have returned fully convinced that they are good husbandmen in Norfolk."

Though his principal object in this excursion was to acquire information in the practice of husbandry, he appears to have bestowed a good deal of attention on the mineralogy of the countries through which he passed, and has taken notice in his Theory of the Earth of several of the observations which he made at that time.

About the end of the summer he returned to Scotland, and hesitated awhile in the choice of a situation where he might best carry into effect his plans of agricultural improvement. At last he fixed on his own farm in Berwickshire, and accordingly set about bringing it into order with great vigour and effect. A ploughman whom he brought from Norfolk set the first example of good tillage which had been seen in that district; and Dr Hutton has the credit of being one of those who introduced the new husbandry into a country where it has since made more rapid advances than in any other part of Great Britain.

From this time, till about the year 1768, he re

sided, for the most part, on his farm, visiting Edinburgh, however, occasionally. The tranquillity of rural life affords few materials for biographical description; and an excursion to the north of Scotland, which he made in 1764, is one of the few incidents which mark an interval of fourteen years, passed mostly in the retirement of the country. He made this tour in company with Commissioner, afterwards Sir George Clerk, a gentleman distinguished for his abilities and worth, with whom Dr Hutton had the happiness to live in habits of the most intimate friendship. They set out by the way of Crieff, Dalwhinnie, Fort-Augustus, and Inverness; from thence they proceeded through East-Ross into Caithness, and returned along the coast by Aberdeen to Edinburgh. In this journey Dr Hutton's chief object was mineralogy, or rather geology, which he was now studying with great attention.

For several years before this period, Dr Hutton was concerned in the sal-ammoniac work, which had been actually established on the foundation of the experiments already mentioned, but remained in Mr Davie's name, only, till 1765; at that time a copartnership was regularly entered into, and the work carried on afterwards in the name of both.

He now found that his farm was brought into the regular order which good husbandry requires, and that, as the management of it became more easy, it grew less interesting. An occasion offering of

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