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James Anderson circa 1792

James Anderson (17 January 1738 – 15 October 1808), a figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, an agriculturist, inventor of the Scotch Plough, and economist, was born at Hermiston, Midlothian, Scotland (near Edinburgh).


Early Years

At the age of fifteen, after the death of his parents, he took over the working of a farm in Midlothian, which his family had occupied for several generations.


In 1768 Anderson married Margaret Seton (died 1788), and took over the management of a farm in Aberdeenshire of 1300 acres (5.3 km²). They had thirteen children.


In 1783 he settled in Edinburgh. In 1791 he started a weekly publication called The Bee, which was largely written by himself, and of which 18 volumes were published. In 1797 he began to reside at Isleworth, and from 1799 to 1802 he produced a monthly publication, Recreations in Agriculture, Natural History, Arts and Miscellaneous Literature. He was also the author of many pamphlets on agricultural and economical topics, under numerous aliases, including Agricola, Germanicus, and Timothy Hairbrain. One of his first publications was A Practical Treatise on Chimneys (1776). He was a friend of Jeremy Bentham, and involved in the latter's idea of an ideal prison or Panopticon. Anderson also corresponded with George Washington.


In 1780 he received an LLD (honorary doctorate in law) from Aberdeen University.


External links

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.



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