Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Johnson, Cuthbert William

JOHNSON, CUTHBERT WILLIAM (1799–1878), agricultural writer, born at Bromley, Kent, on 21 Sept. 1799, was the eldest surviving son of William Johnson of Liverpool, and of Widmore House, Bromley, Kent. George William Johnson [q. v.] was his brother, and they were for some time employed together in their father's salt-works at Heybridge in Essex. With his brother he was admitted a member of Gray's Inn on 6 Jan. 1832, and called to the bar on 8 June 1836. He had chambers at 14 Gray's Inn Square, went the western circuit, and attended the Winchester and Hampshire sessions. Johnson was widely known as an authority on agricultural matters, and took part in the agitation which led to the passing of the Public Health Acts in 1848, and was for many years chairman of the Croydon local board of health. He was elected F.R.S. on 10 March 1842. He died at his house, Waldronhurst, Croydon, on 8 March 1878.

Apart from the works in which he co-operated with his brother [for which see under Johnson, George William], his most important books, all published in London, were:

  1. ‘The Use of Crushed Bones as Manure,’ 1836, 8vo; 3rd edit. the same year.
  2. ‘The Life of Sir Edward Coke,’ 2 vols. 1837, 8vo.
  3. ‘The Advantages of Railways to Agriculture,’ to which was added ‘Observations on the General Importance of Railways,’ by his brother, George William Johnson, 1837, 8vo; 2nd edit. the same year.
  4. ‘The Law of Bills of Exchange, Promissory Notes, Checks,’ &c., 2nd edit. 1839, 12mo.
  5. ‘On Fertilisers,’ 1839, 8vo; 3rd edit. 1851.
  6. ‘The Farmers' Encyclopædia and Dictionary of Rural Affairs,’ 1842, 8vo; Johnson's best work, highly commended by Donaldson, and edited for American use by Gouverneur Emerson.
  7. ‘Agricultural Chemistry for Young Farmers,’ 1843, 12mo.
  8. ‘The Farmer's Medical Dictionary for the Diseases of Animals,’ 1845, 12mo.
  9. ‘The Acts for Promoting the Public Health,’ 1848–51, 1852, 8vo.

With Edward Cresy he wrote ‘On the Cottages of Agricultural Labourers,’ 1847, 8vo. From 1840 he conducted with W. Shaw ‘The Farmer's Almanac and Calendar;’ from 1843 he was associated with other writers in bringing out ‘The Annual Register of Agricultural Instruction.’ He translated in 1844 Thaër's ‘Principles of Agriculture’ from the German.

[Royal Society's List; Field, 16 March 1878; Surrey Guardian, 16 March 1878; Foster's Reg. of Gray's Inn, p. 444; Donaldson's Agricultural Biog. pp. 127–8 (with list of works published before 1854); Men of the Time, 8th edit.]

W. A. J. A.