Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 63.djvu/387

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Various causes contributed to render classical his ‘Travels in France.’ His fidelity as a practised and observant traveller is attested by Miss Edgeworth, who declares his ‘Irish Tour’ to contain the most faithful portraiture of the Irish peasantry that had yet appeared. He carried the same good faith and shrewd intelligence to France, which became during the Napoleonic wars a country of supreme interest to Englishmen no longer able to travel freely about it. The first part is a sprightly diary of travel; the second a sober study of agriculture, and facts and figures of cultivation of the soil in France, Spain, and Italy. His descriptions of scenery and people, his vignettes of peasant life—the old woman gathering grass by the roadside for her cow, the absence of shoes and stockings among the poor, the farmers sleeping over their horses or cattle for the sake of warmth, the life of the inns—his felicitous phrasing (‘the magic of property turns sand into gold’), his authoritative record of the condition of the people in detail hitherto unattempted, the price of provisions, the mode of living, housing, clothing, social customs, pictures, churches, famous men, and pretty women, combine to make his work one of the permanent sources of history; while the spontaneity of his personal feeling lends to his journal the kind of interest which we take in a sympathetic romance. Witness his exclamation on absentee seigneurs: ‘If I were king of France for one day how I would make the great lords skip again!’ Or his trip to Chambéry to see the home of Mme. de Warens, and of the ‘sublime,’ ‘immortal, and splendid genius,’ Rousseau. In later years an anonymous correspondent wrote to reproach him for his praise of an atheist who had exercised so nefarious an influence on the human mind. Young notes upon her letter a recantation and an expression of regret for meriting this ‘just rebuke.’ But the Young who gathered the peasants together at Bradfield Hall on Sunday evenings to read them church services and exhort them with enthusiasm—turning his back upon them till his attendant faced his sightless eyes in the proper direction—was not the Young who wrote the travels. The ‘errors and absurdities’ which he deplores in his writings are sometimes those we should be least willing to lose. ‘I met to-day,’ he says in his first ‘Tour in France,’ ‘with an instance of ignorance in a well-dressed French merchant that surprised me. He had plagued me with abundance of tiresome, foolish questions, and then asked for the third or fourth time what country I was of. I told him I was a Chinese. How far off is that country? I replied two hundred leagues. “Deux cents lieues! Diable, c'est un grand chemin!” The other day a Frenchman asked me, after telling him I was an Englishman, If we had trees in England?—I replied, that we had a few. Had we any rivers?—Oh, none at all. “Ah, ma foi, c'est bien triste!” This incredible ignorance, when compared with the knowledge so universally disseminated in England, is to be attributed, like everything else, to government.’ Probably in his last days Young regarded these ‘absurdities’ as reprehensible falsehoods.

[The chief authority for the life of Young is the Autobiography already referred to. In 1795 was published a Sketch of the Life of Arthur Young, Secretary to the Board of Agriculture (London, 8vo). His friend and medical attendant, Dr. J. A. Paris, wrote A Biographical Memoir of Arthur Young, Esq., F.R.S., and Secretary to the Board of Agriculture (from Original Documents furnished by his own Memoranda), 31 pages, 8vo (appeared in Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature, and the Arts, London, July, 1820). See also A. Pell, Arthur Young, Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society, vol. iv. 1893; Miss Betham Edwards, in preface to Bohn's edition of the Tour in France; L. Stephen's Studies of a Biographer, 1898; Stevenson in Westm. Review, cxxxix. 1893; Baudrillart's Publicistes Modernes, 1863; Prothero's Pioneers and Progress of English Farming, 1888; Donaldson's Agricultural Biography; M. Léonce Lavergne gives an amusing account of Young's visit to the Royal Society of Agriculture in Paris in the Appendix to his Economistes Français du xviiie Siècle. A bibliography of his writings, compiled by J. P. Anderson, is appended to Hutton's edition of the Tour in Ireland (Bohn's series.)]

H. H.-s.

YOUNG or YONG, BARTHOLOMEW (fl. 1577–1598), translator of Montemayor's Spanish romance of ‘Diana,’ was, according to a pedigree in Harleian MS. 1754, son of Gregory Young of Yorkshire. He describes himself as of the Middle Temple, and took part as a French orator in a ‘public shew’ given at the Middle Temple, when Lady Rich, probably the sister of Essex, was among the audience. About 1577 he was for two years in Spain. On coming home he spent ‘welny three yeeres in some serious studies and certaine affaires’ without using his Spanish. At this point he fell into the company and acquaintance ‘of my especial good friend Edward Banister of Idesworth in the Countie of Southampton, Esquier.’ Banister gave him the first and second parts of Montemayor's ‘Diana’ to translate into English, that he might not lose his Spanish. He did not publish his translation for sixteen years. In the meantime another trans-