Letter from JAMES BARRY to ARTHUR YOUNG, written ante April 1783 , at London

Source: MS Add.35126, f. 250-51; Letter p1Letter p2 MS damaged along the top margin. Cover: Arthur Young Esqr
Bradfield Hall
near Bury

Arthur Young (1741-1820), English agriculturalist and writer, whose farm at Bradfield in Suffolk was the centre of his improvements and research; he was a member of the Society of Arts and had won two gold medals in 1769 for papers on hogs and coleseed. Barry and Young were mutual friends of the Burkes and the Burneys. Barry included Young in the picture The Distribution of Premiums in the Great Room of the Society of Arts, describing him as 'the very knowing and ingenious author of the Farmer's Tours, &c.' (Account of a Series of Pictures, Fryer, Works of Barry, ii. 339).

The damage at the top of the MS makes it impossible to say whether there was a date, or an address to Young, such as 'Sir', at the start. The dating of the letter is also problematic: Barry's request for written comments on his Account of a Series of Pictures suggests a date prior to the publication of that book for the exhibition in April 1783. A second edition of the book 'with Addenda' was published early in 1784, so Barry might have sent a copy of the first edition and now asks for Young's comments early in 1784. However his advice that Young write his comments on papers stuck 'between the leaves' suggests Young has the loose leaves of proofs for the first edition of 1783, not a hard-copy of it.

Young's interest in painting is reflected in his detailed critical remarks on the large collection of pictures at Burleigh House, seat of the Earl of Exeter, in A Six Months Tour through the North of England, 4 vols. (London, 1771), i. 65-80.

Full display

I am very much obliged to you for your kind letter 1 & hope your goodness will make every allowance for my not having answered it sooner, but of all things I hate writing at any time more particularly at present when I had resolved to allow myself some days Sabbath to the utter exclusion of all manner of labour even of that which was most agreeable to me. I shall be sincerely obliged to you for your corrected copy of my account of the pictures2 and the freer and the more extensive your strictures areare the more thankful I shall be, whatever is for use shall be adopted and I will further promise you that whatever may not be to the purpose shall be thrown aside with as little reluctance as if I had written them myself. I expect to find you on a wrong scent in what you call my violence and wch which you may think has been carried too far,3 and I shall have a pleasure in setting you right as to that matter the first time wee meet: You will find nothing has arisen from resentment, nothing from a desire of retaliating, nothing from […] [gap in transcription (illegible)] paultrypaultry4 interested views, such motives 'thoalthough I might be inclined to make allowance for them in others I should reprobate in myself, it appeared to me a bounden duty to point out for the common good whatever I could discover of those quick sands, shoals & rocks that obstruct & endanger our Viaggiatori in the belle Arti 5 and I am confident that the artsarts and the reputation of the Country will receive essential service whenever this Chart (of wch which I have made but a rude sketch) shall be perfected by some man of more information and better abilities (thothough perhaps not of more love for truth, for the publick &6 […] [gap in transcription (illegible), words: 1] , energy, […] [gap in transcription (illegible), words: 4] this matter as it deserves. 'ThoAlthough I dont don't wish to hurry you, yet I hope your copy will come soon, I accept of your terms, or rather I insist upon them, but do not content yourself with what you may have written in the margin in which upon this occasion I am sorry to believe you must be streightned streightened for want of room, however you can stick papers between the leaves & in charity spare not the rod as it may save the Child,7 I have on all hands got more praise than I well know what to do with & something else may now be more profitable to me.

In what you say of yourself I feel for the Country, the loss is theirs, not yours. God Almighty has so ordered matters in this world that it is praise worthy & honourable when Genious Genius & abilities will struggle to exert themselves for the service of others, it was for this end they were given & with the consciousness of these honest & dutiful endeavours such men must be contented and indeed ought to be happy, as no more can depend upon themselves: Others are to be accountable and to receive glory or infamy for what is done on their part in the assistance or the obstructions they may have flung in the way. farewell

Yours most Affectionately

James Barry

My best respects to M.rs & Miss Young8

To Arthur Young EsqrEsquire