Thomas More's Utopia - town and country living

Agriculture is that which is so universally understood among them, that no person, either man or woman, is ignorant of it; they are instructed in it from their childhood, partly by what they learn at school, and partly by practice; they being led out often into the fields, about the town, where they not only see others at work, but are likewise exercised in it themselves.

Every year twenty of this family come back to the town, after they have stayed two years in the country; and in their room there are other twenty sent from the town, that they may learn country work from those that have been already one year in the country, as they must teach those that come to them the next from the town. By this means such as dwell in those country farms are never ignorant of agriculture.

These husbandmen till the ground, breed cattle, hew wood, and convey it to the towns, either by land or water, as is most convenient. They breed an infinite multitude of chickens in a very curious manner; for the hens do not sit and hatch them, but vast number of eggs are laid in a gentle and equal heat, in order to be hatched, and they are no sooner out of the shell, and able to stir about, but they seem to consider those that feed them as their mothers, and follow them as other chickens do the hen that hatched them.

Background

On the island of Utopia efforts are made to link townspeople with country people.

Each town is situated no more than a day's walk from the next. People from town and country are encouraged to meet, develop shared skills and learn from one another.

Farming methods include mass-production techniques very similar to our own. More writes that the?Utopians 'breed an infinite multitude - of chickens in a very curious manner; for the hens do not sit and hatch them, but vast number of eggs are laid in a gentle and equal heat, in order to be hatched, and no sooner are they out of the shell, and able to stir about, but they seem to consider those that feed the as their mothers, and follow them as other chickens do the hen that hatched them.'

Image taken from: LUtopie de Thomas Morus
Creator: Thomas More
Publisher: Pierre van der Aa
Date created: 1715
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: 232.b.20

Taken from: Sir Thomas More's Utopia
Author / Creator: Thomas More (translated by Gilbert Burnet)
Publisher: George Routledge & Sons
Date: 1885
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: 12204.gg.1/23