(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The life of Robert Owen"

[00 
iLO 

'cn 
■en 

ICO 



U- 


^o 


r, 








> 


=o 


LO 






= 




— .^.i^ 


^ 






=CD 




^r^ 




= ■»— 




00 



i}: 



bohn's libraries were inaugur- 
ated IN 1847 BY HENRY GEORGE 
BOHN, AND IN 1864 WERE TAKEN 
OVER BY THEIR PRESENT PUBLISHERS. 
ROBERT OWEN WAS BORN AT NEW- 
TOWN, MONTGOMERY, ON MAY 1 4, 
177 1, AND DIED AT NEWTOWN ON 
NOV. ig, 1858. THIS VOLUME IS 
REPRINTED FROM THE ORIGINAL 
EDITION OF 1857-1858, WHICH HAS 
BEEN OUT OF PRINT FOR MANY 
YEARS. > 




ii > 






MX 



5\« 



\ 



INTRODUCTION < 






Robert Owen (1771-1858) is a' unique figure in the 
general history of socialism. ^Unlike Plato; and Saint- 
Simon, (he was of \humble parentage, and unlike Thomas 
More, Karl Marx,) and Sidney Webb,(ihis scho'^l educa- 
tion was of the most elementary kind) and he started 
out on his career with the three R's. Moreover, unUke 
all communist, socialist, and anarchist leaders, he was a 
most successful business man, manufacturer, and social 
reformer ; as such he knew no failure. His Auto- 
biography will endure as a monument of strength of 
character, of charm of personality, of pure and high- 
minded resolve in the service of humanity. In the 
Middle Ages, he might have been a socialist Loyola 
or an Arnold of Brescia. When he arrived at the con- 
viction that by the application of his views, mankind 
could be made wise, wealthy, and happy, he did not 
hesitate for a moment to sacrifice all he possessed. 
" And my decision was made to overcome all opposition 
and to succeed or to die in the attempt " (see infra, 
p. 181). He strove to make social progress the result 
of the conscious and purposeful efforts of man, instead of 
Igiying it to the fortuitous play of blind forces. 
'/jHe was the first British vvriter^ho grasped the mean- 
ing of the Industrial Revolutiolf?;!^While British States- 
men and statisticians were astonished and bewildered at 



vi INTRODUCTION 



c 



the industrial phenomena that overtook them during 
and after the Napoleonic Wars, Owen, with his strong 
and simple intellect, saw the source and volume of the 
^ new wealth, and he_^tempted__to_jegulate the con- 
;^ jinnally^ risirvg stream of producima^— tn control the 
inanimate machinerj^s^well as the^^eed of the em- 
ployers, and to_educaj£^theJ[aSo unng p opulation, with 
^a^view to a peaceful j^a diustment of sor.ietji;^ to ^he r^^ w 
c onditions T ' — -^^^ "' ' 

^^^S^iTreform activities he could not but arrive at the 
conclusion that the social problem was essentially a 
moral one. ( He witnessed, on the one hand, the low 
mental condition of the factory operatives, and, on the 
other, the ruthless lust of gain of the employers and 
■fv their hostility towards all attempts to lift Labour to a 
higher level of human lifey( The character of man, then, 
stood in the way of reform. But how was character 
formed ? Evidently, either by man himself or by 
present and past circumstances. Owen adopted the 
JL- view, since _it was ^n conformity with the ideas 
^. I he had_^^uiied_from^practical experience as well as 
■"  /iEQE^ationalist literatura.an(i^it was also in accorda 



accordance 
witKJhe^trildng^^haii^es^w he h^d seen arising 

',Jn_the process of the Industrial Revolution, jvhen the 
JQ^^c^torstanceTlfactory system) produced new social 
' strata and~viewsj( The~ mission of the reformer, there- 
~Iore, coulcTnot consist of preaching, admonishing, and 
punishing the sinners, b ut of ch anging the social circum- 
stances — of removing the evil conditions that favoured 
ignorance, selfishness, crime,'^misery, hypocrisy, super- 
- stition, enmity, and war, and^f_creating good conditions 
^ thai favoured knowledge, health, courage, brotherly 
^ feelings, and social service) ^ : 

(.The creation of good circumstances depended on 1«wo 
conditions •) abundance of wealth and (education of 



\ 




INTRODUCTION 

' the masses/; Th4JsfiMw« conditions ^he, saw being ful 
filled in the years from 1812 onwards, 1 With might and 
main he worked for popular education, factory legis- 
lation, co-operative labour, and village communities 
for the unempj[oyed. His refomiing zeal and ration- 
alist views drew, upon him the enmity of Capital andifhe 
disfavour of the Church, an d finally drove hii njnto the 

^rms of communism (l8 i7)and Labour propaganda. 
(Meanwhile, his New Lanark establishment, with its 
model social reform and educational achievements, 
acquired worldfwide fame — and made converts to the 
"^ew Views. "yl In 1821 Owen was at the zenith of 
his successful manufacturing and reforming career, but 
already immersed in his communist plans which he was 
sketching out for the future. He_w[thd rew fro in_ 
business, and san k his money in communist experiments 
in America (1824-28). In these he failed. His failure 
was due to the incompletene ss ofhis theory of char- 
acter form ation. F or, contrary to» rationalist views, 
new social surroundings and circumstances do not 
operate directly on our intellect and volition, nor do 
they accomplish their work within the period of a few 
years. Their noiseless transforming operations on our 
nervous system and mentality are a slow biological 
process which may take generations before the old im- 
pulses, strivings, and passions are sufficiently weakened 
as to allow the new emotions to take effect. These 
psychological processes are the cause of those painful 
disappointments to which revolutionary enthusiasts 
are exposed whenever they try to force the sudden 
emergence of socialism from capitalist society. 

At the return of Owe n from America (1828) the 
British working classes were "eslablishing cu-upeiaLive' 
societies, and making ready to enter the political and 
economic stniggle for emancipation. Although differ- 



viii INTRODUCTION 

ing in some respects from their methods and ends, he 
assisted them as best he could. He and they knew 
that the path of Labour's progress was strewn with 
lost strikes, miscarried plans, and shatte^d ideals — 
and, for all that, they were marching on.^Owen will 
live in their annals as the pioneer of poputarfeduca tion, i 
f actory legisl ation, jc o-operative movemen t, and as one 
of the gieate^t, most unselfish, ahd least demago gical 
te acher s and l eader s they ever hi'^X 



NOTE 

References are made throughout this book to varioiis 
documents which the author intended to collect in a 
supplementary volume. This volume, owing to the 
author's death, was never issued. It has, however, 
seemed advisable ^ot to alter these references in the 
text. 



PREFACE 

The greatest discovery that man has made for the 
universal happiness of his race through all future time 
is the knowledge of the facts for practice, — " That the 
" made receives all its qualities from its maker, and 
" that the created receives all its qualities and powers 
" from its Creator." 

It is the greatest discovery, because man to this day, 
in opposition to the myriads of facts existing around 
him through all past generations to the present, has 
been taught to think that the made and created make 
their own qualities and powers. Such, in fact, has been 
the teaching of the superstitions, governments, laws, and 
institutions of men, through all past generations ; sucb- 
is their teaching at this day ; and this teaching deranges 
the rational faculties of all so taught, and perverts their 
judgment to so great an extent as in most cases to 
make it worse than useless on all subjects of the highest 
importance to the individual and to our race. 

It is the greatest discovery, — because it thus discloses 
the origin of evil among men, and the means by which 
to remove the evil for ever. 

It is the greatest discovery, — because it discloses the 
cause why men have never yet been made to become 
good, wise, united, and happy ; and why so large a mass 
of the population of the world has always been kept in 



X PREFACE 

a state of gross ignorance and degradation, and has been 
afflicted with so much mental misery and physical 
suffering. 

It is the greatest discovery, — because it opens the 
brond, plain, and easy path, for the authorities of the 
world to adopt decisive practical measures to make all 
to become good, wise, united, healthy, abounding in 
wealth, and always physically and mentally happy. 

It is the greatest discovery, — because the knowledge 
of our nature which it discloses will induce all to en- 
deavour to promote the happiness of all, by the gieat 
unceasing pleasure which each will derive from the 
practice. 

It is the greatest discovery, — because it will terminate 
all anger, ill-will, contests, and wars, among men and 
nations, and will make the art of war to be no longer 
taught, and to cease for ever. 

It is the greatest discovery, — because it discloses the 
means by which the human race, through futurity, may 
with ease and pleasure be made <o become full-formed 
superior men and women, with all their physical and 
mental faculties, powers, and propensities, cultivated to 
be each exercised to the point of temperance. 

It is the greatest discovery, — because it discloses the 
incalculable importance of superior surroundings in 
which to place humanity — surroundings all superior, to 
the exclusion of those which are inferior. 

It is the greatest discovery, — because it opens a new 
book of life to man, and will enable him to perceive more 
clearly what manner of being he is ; that he is formed 
by a double creation — the one, previous to birth, a 
mysterious and divine organization of wonderful powers, 
yet more wondrously combined, physically and mentally ; 
the other a secondary or new creation, superadded, to 
bring the first to its earthly maturity, and chiefl}- through 



y 

PREFACE xi 

the agency of matured humanity, to which is given the 
greatest interest that this secondary creation should be 
in accordance with the first, and without which, man 
^vill be misformed, and will not attain the happiness for 
which he is evidently intended by the perfection of his 
first or divine creation. 

It is the greatest discovery, — because it will enable 
man to know himself, and by knowing himself to know 
humanity generally ; and through this knowledge to be 
made to acquire universal love and charity for his race, 
high excellence in knowledge of the surroundings which 
are in accordance with his divine nature, and how to 
apply them most advantageousl}' to practice, and thus 
to discover the necessity to abandon all cities, towns, 
and isolated residences, as now constructed and in use 
over the world, all forming compounds of inferior and 
most injurious surroundings. 

It is the greatest discovery, in short, because it will 
elevate man from an irrational, inconsistent, fighting, 
and contending animal, to a new existence, in which he 
I will become a peaceful, consistent, rational, intellectual, 
and happy being, occupied in promoting the happiness 
of all that has life, to the extent practicable, and will 
thus attain the highest permanent enjoyment of which 
humanity is capable. 

The following pages contain the history, step by step, 
of the progress of the mission to prepare the population 
of the world for this great and glorious change, which, 
when accomplished, will yet more demonstrate the 
knowledge, wisdom, and goodness of the Eternal Creat- 
ing Power of the Universe, and that the best has been 
and ever will be done for all created existences, that the 
eternal elements of the universe will admit, through the 
processes by which all created things attain maturity. 

In other words, and to simplify the subject, the mission 



xii PREFACE 

of my life appears to be, to prepare the population of 
the world to understand the vast importance of the 
second creation of humanity, from the birth of each 
individual, through the agency of man, by creating en- 
tirely_jie w surround ings in which to place all through 
ijfe^^and^y wnich a new human nature would^appearTo 
arise frorfTthe new surroundmggr^ 

In taking a calmretrospect of my life from the earliest 
remembered period of it to the present hour, there 
appears to me to have been a succession of extraordinary 
or out-of-the-usual-way events, forming connected links 
of a chain, to compel me to proceed onward to complete 
a mission, of which I have been an impelled agent, with- 
out merit or demerit of any kind on my part. 

That mission has been to point out to human^.y the 
way to remove from it the cause of sin and misery, and 
how in place thereof to attain for all of our race in per- 
petuity a new existence of universal goodness, wisdom, 
and happiness, and to withdraw from man all unkind- 
ness to man and even to animal life over the earth, so 
far as may be consistent with his own happy progress 
while upon it. 

This great and self-evident truth — " that the Creating 
" Power gives all the qualities to the forms created," is 
the knowledge required in man to harmonise the earth 
and its varied products, and especially to harmonise 
man to nature by consistent obedience to all her laws ; 
and thus to unite mankind through future ages as one 
man, with one language, feeling, interest, and object, 
as is the evident ultimate destiny of our race. | By with- 
drawing all responsibility from the created, and of course 
all praise, blame, reward, and punishment, and by ac- 
quiring a knowledge of the science of the influence of 
surroundings upon humanity, and how to combine them 
in order and with wisdom, man m.ay now be made a i 



PREFACE xiii 

terrestrial angel of goodness and wisdom, and to inhabit 
a terrestrial paradise, l 

The means to effect this change already amply exist, 
and to their increase there can be no assignable limits. 

These means have increased enormously since the 
last century, and they are advancing in a continually 
increasing ratio, without cause to fear that they ever 
again cease to progress. 

The means for universal human happiness are in- 
exhaustible, and therefore all fear of overtasking them, 
or that they will wear out, may be abandoned. 

Consequently, by setting aside all ideas of making the 
created responsible for the qualities given to it by the 
power or powers creating it, and by teaching humanity 
the S'/-rince of the influence of surroundings in principle 
and practice, the earth will gradually be made a fit abode 
for superior men and women, under a New Dispensation, 
which will make the earth a paradise and its inhabitants 
angels. 

How easily now could this change be made, by a truly 
holy alliance of the leading governments and church 
authorities ! 

Or by the people, if they knew how to unite to be 
governed by the laws of God and nature, instead of sub- 
mitting to the ever-changing, wicked, and absurd arti- 
ficial laws of men, made to endeavour to oppose those 
divine laws. 

ROBERT OWEN. 

Sevenoaks Park, Sevenoaks, 
September 1857. 



THE LIFE OF ROBERT OWEN 



'^: 



THE 

LIFE OF ROBERT OWEN 

RECOLLECTIONS OF MY EARLY LIFE 

As it appears in the family great Bible, I was born 
in Newtown, Montgomeryshire, North Wales, on the 
14th of May, 1771, and was baptized on the 12th of 
June following. 

My father was Robert Owen. He was born in Welsh 
Pool, and was brought up to be a saddler, and probably 
an ironmonger also, as these two trades were at that 
period often united in the small towns on the borders 
of Wales. He married into the family of Williams, 
a numerous family, who were in my childhood among 
the most respectable farmers around Newtown. 

I think my mother (who was deemed beautiful, as I 
was informed, when she was married) was the eldest 
sister of the family, and, for her class, superior in mind 
and manner. 

I suppose that on their marriage they settled in New- 
town, — my father taking up his own calling as a saddler 
and ironmonger. He was also post-master as long as he 
lived. He had the general management of the parish 
affairs, being better acquainted, as it appears, with its 
finances and business, than any other party in the 
township. I never thought of inquiring of him for any 
particulars respecting his father or mother, both being 
dead before I was born ; and owing to the then very 



2 THE LIFE OF 

bad state of the roads there was comparatively little 
communication for young persons between Newtown 
and Welsh Pool. All that I can recollect respecting my 
father's family is, hearing my father say, in a con- 
versation with older members of the family, that he lost 
an estate of the value of five hundred pounds a year 
in a lawsuit, which he afterwards ascertained was lost 
through his own lawyer being bribed. Newtown was at 
this period a very small market town, not containing 
more than one thousand inhabitants, — a neat, clean, 
beautifully situated country village, rather than a town, 
with the ordinary trades, but no manufactures except 
a very few flannel looms. I have not seen it since this 
clean village has been converted into a dirty but thriving 
manufacturing town of some consequence. 

At this period there was a bridge of wood over the 
river Severn, which I remember with a deep impression, 
having nearly lost my life upon it, as I will relate here- 
after. 

I was the youngest but one of a family of seven, — 
two of whom died young. The survivors, — William, 
Anne, and John, were older, and Richard was younger 
than myself. The principal adjacent estate was New- 
town Hall, at the period of my bh'th and for a few years 
afterwards the property and residence of Sir John 
Powell Price, Bart. ; — and my first recollection is of 
Sir John opening a glass door which divided my father's 
shop from the dwelling part of the house, and setting a 
bird flying towards us, saying there was something for 
the children's amusement, and they must take care of it. 

This must have been shortly before he left his estate, 
I suppose from being in debt, for it soon passed into 
other hands. My next recollection is being in school in 
apartments in the mansion of this estate, and a Mr. 
Thickness, or some such name, was the schoolmaster. 
I must have been sent young to school, — probably at 
between four and five years of age, — for I cannot re- 
member first going there. But I recollect being very 
anxious to be first in school and first home, and the boys 
had always a race from the school to the town, and, being 



ROBERT OWEN 3 

a fast runner, I was usually at home the first, and almost 
always the first at school in the morning. On one 
occasion my haste nearly cost me my life. I used to 
have for breakfast a basin of flummery, — a food prepared 
in Wales from flour, and eaten with milk, and which is 
usually given to children as the Scotch use oatmeal 
porridge. It is pleasant and nutritious, and is generally 
liked by young persons. I requested that this breakfast 
might be always ready when I returned from school, so 
that I might eat it speedily, in order to be the first back 
again to school. One morning, when about five years 
old, I ran home as usual from school, found my basin of 
flummery ready, and as I supposed sufficiently cooled 
for eating, for no heat appeared to arise from it. It had 
skinned over as when quite cold ; but on my hastily 
taking a spoonful of it, I found it was quite scalding hot, 
the body of it retaining all its heat. The consequence 
was an instant fainting, from the stomach being scalded. 
In that state I remained so long, that my parents thought 
life was extinct. However, after a considerable period 
I revived ; but from that day my stomach became in- 
capable of digesting food, except the most simple and 
in small quantity at a time. This made me attend to 
the effects of different qualities of food on my changed 
constitution, and gave me the habit of close observation 
and of continual reflection ; and I have always thought 
that this accident had a great influence in forming my 
character. 
\ In schools in these small towns it was considered a 
good education if one could read fluently, write a legible 
hand, and understand the four first rules of arithmetic. 
And this I have reason to believe was the extent of Mr. 
Thickness's qualification for a schoolmaster, — because 
when I had acquired these small rudiments of learning, 
at the age of seven, he applied to my father for per- 
mission that I should become his assistant and usher, as 
from that time I was called while I remained in school. 
And thenceforward my schooling was to be repaid by 
my ushership. As I remained at school about two years 
longer, those two years were lost to me, except that I 



4 THE LIFE OF 

thus early acquired the habit of teaching others what I 
knew, , 

But at this period I was fond of and had a strong 
passion for reading everything which fell in my way. 
As I was known to and knew every family in the town, 
I had the libraries of the clergyman, physician, and 
lawyer — the learned men of the town — thrown open to 
me, with permission to take home any volume which I 
liked, and I made full use of the liberty given to me. 

Among the books which I selected at this period were 
Robinson Crusoe, Philip Quarle, Pilgrim's Progress, 
Paradise Lost, Harvey's Meditations among the Tombs, 
Young's Night Thoughts, Richardson's, and all other 
standard novels. I believed every word of them to be 
true, and was therefore deeply interested ; and I gener- 
ally finished a volume daily. Then I read Cook's and 
all the circumnavigators' voyages, — The History of the 
World, — RoUin's Ancient History, — and all the lives I 
could meet with of the philosophers and great men. 

At this period, probably when I was between eight and 
nine years of age, three maiden ladies became intimate 
in our family, and they were Methodists. They took a 
great fancy to me, and gave me many of their books to 
read. As I was religiously indined, they were very 
desirous to convert me to their peculiar faith. I read 
and studied the books they gave me with great attention ; 
but as I read religious works of all parties, I became sur- 
prised, first at the opposition between the different sects 
of Christians, afterwards at the deadly hatred between 
the Jews, Christians, Mahomedans, Hindoos, Chinese, 
etc. etc., and between these and what they called Pagans 
and Infidels. The study of these contending faiths, 
and their deadly hatred to each other, began to create 
doubts in my mind respecting the truth of any one of 
these divisions. While studying and thinking with 
great earnestness upon these subjects, I wrote three 
sermons, and I was called the little parson. These ser- 
mons I kept until I met with Sterne's works, in which 1 
found among his sermons three so much like them in 
idea and turn of mind, that it occurred to me as I read 



ROBERT OWEN 5 

them that I should be considered a plagiarist, and with- 
out thought, as I could not bear any such suspicion, I 
hastily threw them into the fire ; which I often after 
regretted, as I should like to know now how I then 
thought and expressed myself on such subjects. 
> But certain it is that my reading religious works, 
combined with my other readings, compelled me to feel 
strongly at ten years of age that there must be something 
fundamentally wrong in all religions, as they had been 
taught up to that period. _ 

During my childiiood, and for many years afterwards, 
it never occurred to me that there was anything in my 
habits, thoughts, and actions different from those of 
others of my age ; but when looking back and comparing 
my life with many others, I have been induced to attri- 
bute any favourable difference to the effects produced 
at the early period when my life was endangered by the 
spoonful of scalding flummery. Because from that time 
I was compelled to notice the effects produced by different 
kinds of food on my constitution, which had been also 
deeply injured in its powers of digestion. I could not 
eat and drink as others of my age, and I was thus com- 
pelled to live in some respects the life of a hermit as 
regards temperance. I entered, however, into the 
amusements of those of my own standing, and followed 
the games played by boys at that period in that part of 
the country — such as marbles, hand and foot ball, etc. I 
also attended the dancing school for some time, and in 
all these games and exercises I excelled not only those of 
my own age, but those two or three years older, and I 
was so active that I was the best runner and leaper, both 
as to height and distance, in the school. I attempted 
also to learn music, and to play upon the clarionet, and 
during my noviciate, as my father's house was in the 
middle of the principal street, I fear I must have annoyed 
all the neighbourhood, — for my " God Save the King" 
and similar tunes were heard almost all over the town. 
But I do not recollect that any formal complaint was 
ever made. I was too much of a favourite with the 
whole town for my benefit, and was often pitted against 



6 THE LIFE OF 

my equals, and sometimes against my superiors in age, — 
sometimes for one thing and sometimes for another. I 
have often reflected since how unjust such proceedings 
are in principle, and how injurious in practice. One 
instance of this made a deep impression on my mind. 
Some party bet with another that I could write better 
than my next eldest brother, John, who was two years 
older ; and upon a formal trial, at which judges were 
appointed, it was decided that my writing was the better, 
although as far as I could then form an opinion I 
thought my brother's was as good as my own. From 
that day I do not think my brother had as strong an 
affection for me as he had before this unwise competition. 

I have said that such competitions are unjust, because, 

as no two organizations are the same, there can be no 

♦•just comparison between the competing efforts of any 

two individuals, — while the successful one is thus taught 

vanity, and the unsuccessful, jealousy and hatred. 

When between six and eight years of age, I was often 
a visitor at Parson Drake's, of the Rowe, who was the 
rector or vicar of an adjoining parish — I think it was the 
parish with the name of which I have often amused myself 
with my English, Scotch, and other friends, by asking 
them, when speaking of it, to pronounce it after my 
spelling it, or to spell it after my pronunciation. This 
puzzling name is spelled thus, Llanllwchaioin. Those 
accustomed to it can easily pronounce it ; but not those 
who are unacquainted with Welsh names and the mode 
of spelling them. 

This clergyman was a direct descendant of Admiral 
Drake, and was very eccentric as a minister. He took 
me to church with him on a Sunday after he had had a 
difference with the squire of the parish, and to my sur- 
prise and the astonishment of the congregation he gave a 
most severe personal lecture to the squire during his 
sermon, — so personal and severe, that before its con- 
clusion the squire, who was present with his family, 
became extremely uneasy in his very conspicuous pew, 
and at length prepared to leave it, when Mr. Drake 
stopped, and looking towards him, said, " Don't be in a 



ROBERT OWEN 7 

hurry, I shall have done soon and you had better sit 
quiet." This scene made a deep impression upon me, 
and never left my memory. About this period also a 
young gentleman, a Mr. James Donne, who was studying 
for the Church, either at Oxford or at Cambridge, came 
upon a visit to Newtown during a vacation, and I be- 
came his everyday companion. He was then about nine- 
teen, and I was between eight and nine. The country 
around Newtown is, I believe, generally considered to be 
interesting and beautiful, and Mr. Donne and myself, while 
he remained upon his visit, rambled about the woods 
and lanes and higher grounds to examine the scenery 
in all directions. These excursions with a man of his 
cultivated taste and superior conversation awakened 
in me a sense of pleasure which I ever afterwards ex- 
perienced in observing nature in its every variety— a 
pleasure which as I advanced in years continued and in- 
creased. The friendship thus commenced, strengthened 
with our years, and continued to the death of Mr. Donne, 
who became well known and highly respected as Dr. 
Donne of Oswestry. We had much correspondence, and 
when I had aroused the thinking faculties of the civiHzed 
world by the great public meetings which I held in the 
City of London Tavern in 1817, I was surprised by re- 
ceiving a letter from my much valued friend, Dr. Donne, 
to inform me that he had taken a pleasant task upon 
himself, which was to trace my pedigree, and had dis- 
covered that I was a regular descendant from the Princes 
of North Wales. Good man ! I have no doubt he thought 
it was information that would gratify me, and that there- 
fore he had taken all that trouble. But being at that 
time occupied with great public questions and extensive 
private business, I neglected this private affair, and 
never made the least inquiry respecting it, and I am 
afraid, owing to these circumstances, that I never made 
any suitable acknowledgment for the kindness intended. 
During the school holidays I was in the habit of visiting 
my relations, who were farmers living at no great dis- 
tance from Newtown. Among these I remember three. 
Turners of Penarth, Goodwins of the Court, and Williams 



8 THE LIFE OF 

of Vaynor, but afterwards of Old Hall near Kerry, a 
village three or four miles from Newtown. The two 
first named were married to sisters of my mother, as I 
now conjecture ; the third was brother to my mother, 
and I believe her only brother living at that period. My 
most frequent visits were to this family, in which was 
an only child, a son named Richard after his father, and 
one year younger than myself. We were always great 
friends, much attached to each other and delighted to be 
together. 

My cousin had the finest natural qualities I have ever 
seen in any youth, and he had received a superior edu- 
cation for the time and for the locality in which his 
father resided. He had been sent to a distant boarding- 
school. Although a year younger, he was much my 
superior in almost everything — for in whatever he 
attempted he far excelled all of his age. And yet what 
he did was done in a quiet manner without apparent 
effort. He seemed to be unconscious of his own extra- 
ordinary powers. The Williamses, as I have said, were 
naturally a superior family of their class, and the mother 
of my cousin was one of the best of women I ever saw 
in her rank of life. Every one who knew her, loved her, 
and every one liked to enjoy the hospitality of the family, 
which was well known over the country to a considerable 
distance. Our grandfather lived with them until he was 
upwards of ninety, and one of my earliest recollections 
is the sight of this old man sitting by the fire in his son's 
house. My cousin and I read and thought much, and 
yet we were both generally very active. But one very 
hot day in hay-harvest time we felt ourselves, being over- 
clothed, quite overcome with heat while we sauntered 
from the house towards a large field where numerous 
haymakers were actively at work. They appeared to 
us, who had been doing nothing and yet were overcome 
with heat, to be cool and comfortable. 1 said " Richard ! 
" how is this ? These active workpeople are not heated, 
" but are pleasantly cool, and do not suffer as we do 
" from the heat. There must be some secret in this. 
" Let us try to find it out. Let us do exactly as they do, 



ROBERT OWEN 9 

" and work with them." He wilhngly agreed. I was, 
I suppose, between nine and ten years of age, and he 
was between eight and nine. We observed that all the 
men were without their coats and waistcoats, and had 
their shirts open. We adopted the same practice, — 
procured the lightest rakes and forks — for both were 
used occasionally, — and Richard and I, unburthened of 
our heavy clothing, led the field for several hours, and 
were cooler and less fatigued than when we were idle 
and wasting our time. This became ever afterwards a 
good experience and lesson to both ; for we found our- ^ 
selves much more comfortable with active employment 
than when we were idle. 

My cousin grew up the finest young man in the whole 
country round — a lion in strength, active and courageous 
far beyond all his fellows, excelling in everything which 
he undertook, but yet quiet and unpretending, and be- 
loved by all who knew him. It always occurred to me 
that had he been lavourably placed in superior society, 
he would have made a second and perhaps a superior 
" Admirable Crichton." Being an only child, and such 
a child, he was doated upon by his parents, and he was 
at all times, instead of being spoiled by such affection, 
a most obedient and attentive son to them. But a single 
error of his father, who was obstinate in abiding by what 
he deemed just, destroyed the high promise of this fine 
human being. He fell in love, and deeply in love, with 
a cousin of his mother's family, — in all ways his equal in 
station and property, and also an only child. The fathers 
of the two lovers could not agree regarding the fortune 
to be given to each. Richard's father could give and 
was willing to give his son a sum at that time considered 
large to commence life with, and he wished the father of 
the young lady to advance an equal sum, as he Ihouglil 
he could well afford it. But the latter either could not 
then, or would not agree to the terms proposed ; and 
on this my cousin's father, anxious for his son's pecuni- 
ary standing in society, refused his consent to the 
marriage, except on the terms he thought just. Thus 
was destroyed the permanent happiness of his son, who 



10 THE LIFE OF 

was too fond of his parents to act in opposition to their 
wishes, and too high spirited to complain. A coohiess 
arose between the families. Richard suffered more than 
any one suspected. His feelmgs were strongly affected, 
but the obstinacy of his father was immovable, having 
once declared his determination. The son, who had 
previously been an example of temperance, began to 
change in this habit, — gradually became intemperate, 
and died prematurely, a victim to the disappointment 
of his affections ; another warning to parents not un- 
reasonably to interfere with the settled affections of their 
children. While the families were estranged, the young 
lady married, and shortly afterwards she became heir 
to a relative, who left her forty thousand pounds. 
These particulars were given to me too late for inter- 
ference, or, as I had influence with my uncle and aunt, I 
might perhaps have given a very different result to these 
unfortunate proceedings. There was a strong, early 
imbibed affection between my cousin and myself, and 
many years after, while I was directing Mr. Drinkwater's 
establishment, I felt a great inclination to send for him 
to take part in it ; for among his other qualifications he 
had an extraordinary genius for rAechanical inventions, 
and he would have made a splendid engineer. I was 
withheld from following my inclination by the con- 
sideration that he was an only son, the stay of his 
parents, — that he was already in an independent position 
through the property of those parents, and that their 
separation might be painful to all the parties. When, 
however, I had been informed of the previous proceedings, 
I regretted that I had not induced my cousin to join me ; 
as when I was twenty-four years of age, and he was 
twenty-three, I could have given him the situation which 
I held at five hundred a year. But it was not to be, 
for the influence of circumstance prevented it. 

But to return to my early life. I have narrated my 
narrow escape from being killed by the scalding of my 
stomach. Shortly before this event, I was doing some- 
thing with the keyhole of a large door in a passage be- 
tween my father's house and that of our next neighbour, 



ROBERT OWEN ii 

and by some means I got one of my fingers fast in the 
keyhole, and in my attempt to get it out it was twisted 
so painfully that I fainted, and I know not how it came 
loose, for I was found in a swoon lying on the ground. 

On another occasion my life was periled, and I again 
escaped without knowing how. Newtown is situated on 
the banks of the river Severn, over which at that time 
there was a bridge that had been erected many years 
before of wood. It admitted of a wagon way with a 
narrow footpath on each side. My father had a favourite 
cream-coloured mare, and her pasture fields were on the 
side of this bridge opposite to where we lived. When 
my father required this mare, as it was a favourite of 
mine also, I frequently went for it to the field, and rode 
it home, although a young horseman, for at this period 
I was only six or seven years old. One day when re- 
turning from the field mounted on this mare, I was 
passing homeward over the bridge, but before I was half 
over, a wagon had made some progress from the opposite 
side. There was not room for me to pass without my 
legs coming in contact with the wheels of this wagon or 
with the rails of the bridge. I had not sense enough 
to turn back, and endeavoured to pass the wagon. I 
soon found that my leg was in danger of being grazed 
by the wheels, and I threw it over the saddle, and in 
consequence I fell on the opposite side, but in falling I 
was so alarmed lest I should drop into the river or should 
strike against the bridge, that I lost all recollection. 
How I escaped I know not ; but on recovering I found 
myself on the footpath of the bridge, the mare standing 
quietly near me, and the wagon had fairly passed, and 
I was unhurt. Since that occurrence I have always felt 
a more especial liking for cream-coloured horses than 
for any others. 

Our next neighbours were two maiden ladies of the 
name of Tilsley, and they kept a superior country shop 
for the sale of drapery and haberdashery on one side, 
and groceries on the other. One of these ladies changed 
her situation by marrying a Mr. Moore, and as he en- 
larged the business so as to add a wholesale branch to 



12 THE LIFE OF 

their former retail trade, they required more assistance, 
and as I was active, it was supposed I could be useful to 
them, and my services were borrowed, at first on market 
and fair days ; and as I had then been two years in the 
capacity of usher, learning nothing but how to teach, 
Mr. Moore requested my father to permit me to be with 
them every day in the week, instead of, as hitherto, on 
their more busy days also ; and thus I was occupied 
for one year, but living in my own family. 

HavTng by this period read much of other countries 
and other proceedings, and, with my habits of reflection 
and extreme temperance, not liking the habits and 
manners of a small country town, I began to desire a 
different field of action, and wished my parents to permit 
me to go to London. I was at this time about nine 
years and a half old ; and at length, although I was a 
great favourite at home, it was promised that when I 
should attain my tenth year I should be allowed to go. 
This promise satisfied me in the meantime, and I con- 
tinued to gain knowledge of the business in which I was 
occupied — continuing also to read and to take lessons 
in dancing, 

During the period I remained giving this friendly 
assistance to Mr. Moore, a ludicrous circumstance oc- 
curred, wiiich left an impression which vividly remains. 
The parents of one of my schoolfellows, who was about 
my own age, kept a grocer's shop in the town. Their 
stock of molasses, an article then much in demand, was 
exhausted, and as Mr. Moore kept a wholesale supply of 
it, my schoolfellow, whose name was John Stanley, came 
with a tub with two upright handles to purchase as 
much as the tub would hold. The wholesale stock was 
kept in a cellar below the shop, and the entrance to this 
cellar was through a trap-door in the centre of the shop 
floor, and down the steps of a ladder. John had filled 
the tub quite full and was bringing it up the ladder on 
his head, and on reaching the level of the floor, one oi 
the handles of the tub came in contact with part of the 
floor, and the tub was upset, the molasses running over 
his head, which was uncovered, except with very thick 



ROBERT OWEN 13 

hair. The molasses ran down over the whole of his 
clothes and person, making him one of the most laugh- 
able and at the same time pitiable figures that the 
imagination could paint. How he got rid of the nuisance 
when he arrived at home must be conjectured — but the 
disaster was always remembered to his annoyance by 
our neighbours as long as I remained in Newtown. 

I mentioned that I continued to take lessons in dancing, 
of which I was fond, until my departure from home. It 
was at these lessons that I first became conscious of the 
natural sympathies and dislikes or jealousies of children. 
I was esteemed the best dancer of my class, and at this 
period I was in the first class. The contest for partners 
among the girls was often amusing, but sometimes really 
distressing. The feelings of some of them if they could 
not obtain the partners they liked were so overpowering, 
that it was afflicting to see how much they suffered. I 
have long thought that the mind and feelings of young 
children are seldom duly considered or attended to, and 
that if adults would patiently encourage them to express 
candidly what they thought and felt, much suffering 
would be saved to the children, and much useful know-'* 
ledge of human nature would be gained by the adults. 
I am now conscious there was much real suffering in that 
dancing-room, which, had there been more knowledge of 
human nature in the dancing-master and in the parents 
of the children, might have been avoided. 

The time had now drawn near for my departure from 
my parental roof, and for me to undertake a journey 
which in the then state of the roads was thought formid- 
able for grown persons. From Shrewsbury I was to 
travel alone to London, inexperienced as I then was. 
At that time I knew and was known to every man, 
woman, and child in the town, and I called upon them 
and took my leave of every one ; and I received many a 
keepsake, and from the more wealthy, presents of 
money. I deemed myself, at ten years of age, amply 
provided to seek my fortune with forty shillings — the 
expenses of my coach hire being paid for me. I may 
remark here that for two years or perhaps more before 



14 THE LIFE OF 

I left home, my parents used to consult me when any 
matter of importance was to be decided, but I did not 
know why they asked my opinion, and was unconscious 
that I could give any useful advice. 

Before proceeding to narrate my journey I may state, 
that I was never but once corrected by my parents. 
This correction took place under the following circum- 
stances, and when I was, I think, scarcely seven years 
old. I was always desirous to meet the wishes of both 
my parents, and never refused to do whatever they asked 
me to do. One day my mother indistinctly said some- 
thing to me to which I supposed the proper answer was 
'no,' — and in my usual way I said 'no,' — supposing 
I was meeting her wishes. Not understanding me, and 
supposing that I refused her request, she immediately, 
and to me rather sharply — for her custom was to speak 
kindly to me — said, " What ! Won't you ? " Having 
said, ' no,' I thought if I said ' yes, I will,' I should be 
contradicting myself, and should be expressing a false- 
hood, and I said again ' no,' but without any idea of 
disobeying her. If she had then patiently and calmly 
inquired what my thoughts and^feelings were, a proper 
understanding would have arisen, and everything would 
have proceeded as usual. But my mother, not compre- 
hending my thoughts and feelings, spoke still more sharply 
and angrily, — for I had never previously disobeyed her, 
and she was no doubt greatly surprised and annoyed when 
I repeated that I would not. My mother never chastised 
any of us, — this was left for my father to do, and my 
brothers and sisters occasionally felt a whip which was 
kept to maintain order among the children, but I had 
never previously been touched with it. My father was 
called in, and my refusal stated. I was again asked if 
I would do what my mother required, and I said firmly 
' no,' and I then felt the whip every time after I refused 
when asked if I would yield and do what was required. 
I said ' no,' every time I was so asked, and at length 
said quietly but firmly — " you may kill me, but I will 
not do it " — and this decided the contest. There was 
no attempt ever afterwards to correct me ; but this 



ROBERT OWEN 15 

difference was soon made up on both sides, and I con- 
tinued to be the favourite I had always been. 

From my own feelings, which I well remember when 
a child, I am convinced that very often punishment is '^ 
not only useless, but very pernicious, and injurious to 
the punisher and punished. 

Though alone in going to London, I was not to be 
alone when I arrived there. My eldest brother, William, 
had been brought up by my father to his own business, 
and when out of his apprenticeship, and after he had 
subsequently worked some years with my father, he 
decided to go to London, when he was between twenty 
and thirty, and he there obtained a situation with a 
Mr. Reynolds, a saddler, who then lived at No. 84 High 
Holborn. To him I was consigned, for by this time 
Mr. Reynolds had died, and my brother had taken the 
business and had married the widow. 



LEAVING HOME 

My father took me to Welsh Pool, and thence I went to 
take coach for London at Shrewsbury, which was then 
the nearest place to Newtown to which there was any 
public conveyance to go to London. The coach left 
Shrewsbury at night, and an outside place had been 
taken for me, with the expectation that I might travel 
inside during the night. The proprietor, who knew my 
family, was going to put me inside, when some ill- 
tempered man, who had discovered that I had paid only 
for an outside place, refused to allow me to enter. It 
was dark, and I could not see the objector nor discover 
how crowded the coach might be ; — for coaches then 
carried six inside. I was glad afterwards that I did not 
know who this man was ; and I never discovered him, 
and therefore I could not be angry with him, as I should 
have been, for refusing admission to a child. I then 
had not fully learned the principles of the formation of 
character and the influences of circumstances over all 
that have life, or I should not have been angry or 



1 6 THE LIFE OF 

surprised at such conduct. I arrived safely in London 
and was heartily welcomed by my brother, who was 
always partial to me, and his wife received me very 
kindly. 

My father had written respecting me to his friend, a 
Mr. Heptinstall, of No. 6 Ludgate Hill, who was a large 
dealer in lace, foreign and British ; and Mr. Moore had 
written in my favour to Mr. Tilsley, of No. loo Newgate 
Street, who then kept what was deemed a large draper's 
shop. This was in 1781. I think I had been on this 
visit to my brother nearly six weeks, when Mr. Heptinstall 
procured me a situation with a Mr. James McGuffog, 
of whom he spoke highly as carrying on a large business 
for a provincial town, in Stamford, Lincolnshire. The 
terms offered to me were for three years — the first without 
pay, the second with a salary of eight pounds, and the 
third with ten pounds, and with board, lodging, and 
washing in the house. These terms I accepted, and 
being well found with clothes to serve me more than a 
year, I from that period, ten years of age, maintained 
myself without ever applpng to my parents for any 
additional aid. 



MY RESIDENCE WITH MR. McGUFFOG 

I LEFT my brother's house in London, and arrived at 
Stamford, where I found Mr. McGuffog's establishment 
all that was stated, and his house respectable and com- 
fortable. This was a most fortunate introduction for 
me into active life. Mr. James McGuffog was a Scotch- 
man, thoroughly honest, and a good man of business, — 
very methodical, kind, and liberal, and much respected 
by his neighbours and customers, and also,- for his 
punctuality and good sense, by those from whom he 
purchased his goods for sale ; and I was fortunate in ob- 
taining such a man for my first master. He told me that 
he had commenced life in Scotland with half a crown, 
laid it out in the purchase of some things for sale, and 
hawked them in a basket. That by degrees he changed 



ROBERT OWEN 17 

his basket for a pack, with which he travelled the 
country, acquiring knowledge through experience, and 
increasing his stock until he got, first a horse, and then 
a horse and covered van. He made his regular rounds 
among customers of the first respectability in Lincoln- 
shire and the adjoining counties, until he was requested 
by the nobility and principal families and farmers around 
Stamford, to open an establishment there for the sale 
of the best and finest articles of female wear, for which, 
for some time in his travelling capacity, he had become 
celebrated. When I came to his house he had been some 
years established in it, and was beginning to be so in- 
dependent that he made all his purchases with ready 
money and was becoming wealthy. He had married a 
daughter of a well-doing, middle-class person, and they 
appeared to live on very good terms with each other, 
and both were industrious, always attending to their 
business, yet respectable at all times in their persons, 
and altogether superior as retail tradespeople, being 
quite the aristocracy of that class, without its usual 
weak vanities. They had at this time an assistant of 
the name of Sloane, about thirty-five years of age, a 
bachelor ; and also a youth about my own age, nephew 
to McGuffog. 

Here I was at once installed as a member of the 
family, and during my stay with them I was treated 
more like their own child than as a stranger come from 
afar. I was by Mr. McGuffog carefully initiated into 
the routine of the business, and instructed in its detail, 
so as to accustom me to great order and accuracy. The 
business was carried on under a well-considered system, 
which in its results was very successful. I suppose I 
was considered industrious and attentive to my in- 
structions, for I was seldom found fault with or un- 
pleasantly spoken to by either Mr. or Mrs. McGuffog — 
the latter often attending to the business. 

The articles dealt in were of the best, finest, and most 
choice qualities that could be procured from all the 
markets of the world ; for many of the customers of 
the establishment were among the highest nobility in 



i8 THE LIFE OF 

the kingdom, and often six or seven carriages belonging 
to them were at the same time in attendance at the 
premises. Mr. McGuffog's shop had become a kind of 
general rendezvous of the higher-class nobility. Among 
the frequenters of the house as customers were the 
families of Burleigh, Westmoreland, Lowther, Ancaster, 
Browton, Noel, Trollope, and many whose names I have 
forgotten. I had thus an opportunity of noticing the 
manners of these parties, and of studying their characters 
when they were under the least restraint. I thus also 
became familiar with the finest fabrics of a great variety 
of manufactures, many of which required great delicacy 
in handling and care in keeping from being injured. 
These circumstances, trivial as they may appear, were 
of essential service to me in after life, when I became a 
manufacturer and commercial man upon a large scale ; 
for they prepared me in some measure for the future 
intercourse I had with what is called the great world. 

Mr. McGuffog was much respected by these parties for 
his honesty and plain dealmg, and was the country 
banker for the then Sir William Lowther, afterwards 
the late Earl of Lonsdale, and'who, with Lady Augusta 
Lowther and family, were among the most constant 
frequenters of the establishment. After I left Stamford 
I learned from Mr. McGuffog that Sir William had made 
him a present of one of his favourite hunters, and that 
Mr. McGuffog, after retiring from business, often hunted 
with Sir William's hounds ; and he remained a favourite 
with every one to his death. 

r Mr. McGuffog had a well-selected library, which I 
freely used ; for our chief business was from ten in the 
morning to four in the afternoon, and while I remained 
in Stamford I read upon the average about five hours a 
day..' 

One of the entrances to Burleigh Park was near the 
town ; and in summer, and as long as the weather per- 
mitted, my chief pleasure was to go early into the park 
to walk, read, think, and study, in those noble avenue ^ 
which were then numerous in it. Very often in the 
midst of summer I was thus in the park from between 



R0J3ERT OWEN 



19 



I three and four in the morning until eight, and again in 

the evening from six or seven until nearly dark. I had 

transcribed many of Seneca's moral precepts into a book 

which I kept in my pocket ; to ponder over them in the 

park was one of my pleasurable occupations ; and in 

this park, which I made my study, I read many volumes 

; of the most useful works I could obtain. At the early 

I hour mentioned the only one I used to see taking his 

! first walk for the day was the Earl of Exeter, the uncle, 

I I believe, of his successor who married the miller's 

daughter, the subject of Tennyson's exquisite poem, and 

who was the father of the present Marquis. 

This old earl's habits were peculiar. He never 
allowed himself to sleep a second time in one night. 
At whatever hour he awoke, winter and summer, he 
rose, and in bad weather he went to his study, and walked 
when it was fine, and at four o'clock in the morning I 
have often seen him at his early exercise. He was also 
so punctual in his habits that he had the first dish of his 
dinner passing between the kitchen and dining-room as 
the first stroke of the clock struck three, and he never 
waited for any one who was absent or who had not 
arrived at his time. But he was much respected and 
liked by all about him. I often recur to the recollection 
of the many happy, healthy hours I enjoyed in that 
park — healthy both to body and mind. Frequently in 
the morning I hailed the rising sun, and in the evening 
watched its setting and the rising of the moon. 

In the second year of my apprenticeship our circle 
was increased in the house by the addition of a sister 
and a niece of Mrs. McGuffog's — the first about nineteen, 
and the second about ten years old, and our pleasure 
was increased ; for there was a mutual good feeling among 
all the members of the family, except that the old 
bachelor, David Sloane, was the least satisfied with him- 
self and others, and seemed jealous of the general kind- 
ness shown to me by all the members of the family, and 
of the preference to be served by me shown by many of 
the regular customers when they could make a choice 
between us. He was penurious in his habits and some- 



20 THE LIFE OF 

what more selfish than is suitable for creating friends. 
A ludicrous instance occurred to make these failings, 
which he could not avoid, somewhat conspicuous. He 
slept-^in a room adjoining'the wholesale aepartment, and 
occasionally, when it was full and over-stocked, some of 
the surplus was occasionally put into his room, and at 
the time of the event narrated, some fine and expensive 
articles happened to be placed on a table in his room. 
He was very careful of his clothes, and took pleasure in 
preserving their new appearance as long as practicable. 
He had just bought a new pair of breeches, — for panta- 
loons had not then been introduced, — and in going to 
bed he put them on the table where these goods were 
placed. On going into bed he had put out his light in 
such a manner that the sparks or snuffing of the candle 
had fallen unperceived by him among these goods, and 
near to his own new purchase. He fell asleep, and some 
of the articles upon the table were burnt, and among 
them David's new purchase, except some of the buttons 
and some fragments. The smell of fire soon aroused 
Mr. and Mrs. McGuffog, who immediately raised the 
alarm, and all hastily arose in tljeir night-clothes. The 
smoke was discovered to issue from David's room, and 
on bursting open the door, David, who was asleep, 
hastily awoke. The burning articles upon the table 
disclosed the cause of alarm, and water was immediately 
procured and the fire soon put out. When the danger 
was over, all the parties began to look at each other, — 
but David was the conspicuous figure. In his night- 
shirt and coloured night-cap he stood by the table,looking 
most woefully, and taking up fragment after fragment 
of his burnt clothing, — regardless of the danger which 
he had created, and of the loss sustained by Mr. McGuffog 
through the goods which were burnt or spoiled \\dth the 
water, — he ejaculated, as he held up each piece or 
button, "Oh, my new breeches ! — Oh, my new breeches ! " 
and this for some time was all that could be obtained 
from him when questioned as to the origin of the fire, 
until at length the scene became so farcical and ludicrous 
that no one could avoid laughing at him, and he was left, 



ROBERT OWEN 21 

looking most miserable, to his own reflections until the 
morning. But, poor fellow, " Oh, my new breeches ! " 
was never afterwards forgotten, andit was a joke which at 
length none but those who desired to torment him would 
recall to his remembrance. Many years afterwards, 
when we were both advanced in life, I met him in Man- 
chester, when, with great agitation taking me cordially 
by the hand, he said with extraordinary earnestness, — 
' Will you forgive me the mjuries I have formerly done 
' you ? " I said, " I do not know of any injury I ever 
' experienced from you, and therefore I have nothing to 
' forgive." " Yes," he said, " you have, and it has often 
' made me very unhappy, — and do say you forgive me." 
' Whatever it may be, I know nothing of it, — but if it 
' can be of any satisfaction to you, I forgive yoa with 
' all my heart, without wishing to know in what way you 
' suppose the injury was done to me." The poor fellow 
seemed quite relieved from a burden upon his mind, 
and left me with a gratified countenance, again shaking 
me cordially by the hand. 

Mr. McGuffog was of the Church of Scotland, Mrs. 
McGuffog of the Church of England, and they agreed to 
go in the morning to the service of the one, and in the 
afternoon to that of the other, and they always took me 
with them. I listened to the contending sermons, for 
they were often, and indeed most generally, either in 
reference to their own sectarian notions, or in opposition 
to some of the opposing sects. But during the four years 
I remained with Mr. and Mrs. McGuffog, I never knew a 
religious difference between them. 

I was all this time endeavouring to find out the true 
religion, and was greatly puzzled for some time by finding 
all of every sect over the world, of which I read or of which 
I heard from the pulpits, claim each for themselves to 
be in possession of the true religion. I studied and studied 
and carefully compared one with another, for I was very 
religiously inclined, and desired most anxiously to be in 
the right way. But the more I heard, read, and reflected, 
the more I became dissatisfied with Christian, Jew, 
Mahomedan, Hindoo, Chinese and Pagan. I began 



22 THE LIFE OF 

seriously to study the foundation of all of them, and to 
ascertain on what principle they were based. Before 
my investigations were concluded, I was satisfied that 
one and all had emanated from the same source, and their 
varieties from the same false imaginations of our early 
ancestors ; imaginations formed when men were ignorant 
of their own nature, were devoid of experience, and were 
governed by their random conjectures, which were almost 
always, at first, like their notions of the fixedness of the 
earth, far from the truth. It was with the greatest re- 
luctance, and after long contests in my mind, that I was 
compelled to abandon my first and deep-rooted im- 
pressions in favour of Christianity, — but being obliged 
to give up my faith in this sect, I was at the same time 
compelled to reject all others, for I had discovered that 
all had been based on the same absurd imagination, 
"that each one formed his own qualities, — determined 
" his own thoughts, will, and action, — and was re- 
" sponsible for them to God and to his fellow-men." 
My own reflections compelled me to come to very 
different conclusions. My reason taught me that I 
could not have made one of my own qualities, — that they 
were forced upon me by Nature ; — that my language, 
religion, and habits, were forced upon me by Society ; 
and that I was entirely the child of Nature and Society ; 
— that Nature gave the qualities, and Society directed 
them. Thus was I forced, through seeing the error of 
their foundation, to abandon all belief in every religion 
which had been taught to man. But my religious feelings 
were immediately replaced by the spirit of universal 
charity, — not for a sect or a party, or for a country or a 
colour, — but for the human race, and with a real and 
ardent desire to do them good. 

Before, however, I had advanced so far in knowledge, 
while I was yet a Christian, and was impressed with the 
sacredness of the Christian Sabbath, it seemed to me that 
in Stamford it was much disregarded, — and it came into 
my head, at the age of twelve or thirteen, to write upon 
the subject to Mr. Pitt, who was then Prime Minister. 
In my letter to him I stated the desecration which was 



ROBERT OWEN 23 

going forward in Stamford, and expressed a hope that 
Government would adopt some measures to enforce a 
better observance of the Sabbath. I had been some- 
time writing this letter, and after I had sent it through 
the post office Mr. and Mrs. McGuffog asked me what I 
had been so interested about. I said, " I have been 
writing a letter to Mr. Pitt." "To Mr. Pitt!" they 
exclaimed with some astonishment — " What could you 
" have to say to Mr. Pitt ? " I said it was about the 
'Sabbath being so shamefully employed as it was by 
many in Stamford, some of whom even kept their shops 
open on that day. They looked at each other and 
smiled ; — but at that time I thought there was nothing 
extraordinary in it. In about eight or ten days after- 
wards, Mr. McGuffog brought a London newspaper, and 
said to me, — " Here is an answer to your letter to Mr. 
" Pitt." I expected no answer, and was taken by 
surprise, and blushed very much. I asked what was the 
answer — he said it was, " a long proclamation from the 
" Government, recommending all parties to keep the 
'■' Sabbath more strictly." I was of course quite gratified, 
having no doubt my letter had produced that result ; 
when, no doubt, such a letter as I could then have written 
would be opened and put into the waste-paper basket, 
and would never be heard of by Mr, Pitt. My letter 
going at that period must have been a mere coincidence ; 
for the proclamation, as far as I can recollect, was a 
formal, well-considered document of the Government, 
and probably had been determined upon before my letter 
was in the post office. It, however, pleased me at the 
time, and amazed Mr. and Mrs. McGuffog. 

After my three years had expired, Mr. McGuffog 
wished me to remain with him, and to continue as an 
assistant for a year longer. During this period I had 
acquired as much knowledge of the business in which I 
was engaged as the situation afforded, and although I 
had lived most happily in this family, and could have 
remained as long as I liked, my wishes were for the 
attainment of more knowledge and an enlarged field of 
action. I therefore reluctantly, on account of the kind- 



24 THE LTFE OF 

ness I had uniformly experienced from Mr. and Mrs. 
McGuifog and their relatives, expressed my desire to 
return to London. Very friendly offers were made to 
detain me ; but my determination was fixed, and with 
strong recommendations from Mr. McGuffog, I returned 
to my brother's house in London, now between fourteen 
- and fifteen years of age. While I remained in Stamford, 
I never saw any one whom I had previously known ; — 
but one day, as I was passing the George Inn, the prin- 
cipal hotel in the place, I saw a person at the entrance 
talking to a gentleman, and who was so like my father, 
that I concluded it must be he, and while the con- 
versation continued I walked past them and returned 
several times, being more and more convinced it must be 
my father. At length the conversation terminated, and 
I then came very near to my supjDosed father, so as to 
catch his eye and draw his attention to me, but there was 
no sign of recognition on his part, and it was only from 
that. circumstance that I discovered my mistake, for the 
likeness still appeared to me perfect. My disappoint- 
ment may be easily imagined. 

Having been so long absent from my relations and 
friends, I was glad to spend some months with my 
brother William, for there was always a strong attach- 
ment between us; and I spent some time in seeing 
the sights of London, and becoming acquainted with 
its principal localities, walking in the parks, and parti- 
cularly in Kensington Gardens on fine Sundays with 
my brother and his wife. 

It was at this period I visited my parents and relatives 
in Wales. I spent some time with my family in New- 
town, and with my relatives in the neighbourhood. 
I was uncommonly well received by all parties, and spent 
some time with my cousin and former companion, 
Richard Williams, who was then living at his father's 
new purchase of Old Hall, near Kerry, Montgomeryshire. 
I also visited my sister in Radnorshire, who had married 
Mr. Davis. My stay in Wales was but for a short 
period, for I was anxious to be again in business, and 
my funds required my expenses to be limited. 1 



ROBERT OWEN 25 

therefore returned to my brother's house in London, and 
only once afterwards to the present time have visited 
Newtown. But I feel a great desire now to see it in its 
very altered state from what it was when I first left it, 
and I hope to see it during the next summer should my 
health permit. 

After some time of this relaxation from business it 
was necessary for me to seek for a new situation, and 
through Mr. McGuffog's recommendation I procured 
one with Messrs. Flint and Palmer, an old-established 
house on old London Bridge, Boroughside, overlooking 
the Thames. It was a house established, and I believe 
the first, to sell at a small profit for ready money only. 
The house was already wealthy, making all their pur- 
chases with money, and continuing very successful. 
The house was originally established by Mr. Flint, who 
made what was then deemed a large fortune for a retail 
trade, and he had an only daughter, who was married to 
Mr. Palmer, a very respectable and gentlemanly person 
for his position, and an honest and practical man of 
business. When Mr. Flint died, the establishment and 
the large capital were left to the widow and the son-in- 
law and daughter. Mr. Palmer had two younger 
brothers now in the business, — the youngest of them 
about my age. There were a considerable number of 
both sexes, and some of advanced age, old assistants, at 
this time employed to attend to different departments 
in the business. My previous habits prepared me to 
take an efficient part in the retail division of the business 
of serving. I was lodged and boarded in the house, and 
had a salary of twenty-five pounds a year, and I thought 
myself rich and independent, for I had more than 
sufficient to supply all my personal wants.. Soon, how- 
ever, as the spring advanced, I found this was a different 
situation to the one I had enjoyed at Stamford. The 
customers were of an inferior class, — they were treated 
differently. Not much time was allowed for bargaining, 
a price being fixed for everything, and, compared with 
other houses, cheap. If any demur was made, or much 
hesitation, the article asked for \yas withdrawn, and, as 



26 THE LIFE OF 

the shop was generally full from morning till late in the 
evening, another customer was attended to. 

The habits of this very independent establishment 
being generally known, the article asked for was pre- 
sented, taken at once, and paid for, all with great dis- 
patch, and a large business was thus daily transacted. 
The favour appeared to be more to the purchaser than 
to the seller of the articles. But to the assistants in this 
busy establishment the duties were very onerous. They 
were up and had breakfasted and were dressed to receive 
customers in the shop at eight o'clock; — and dressing 
then was no slight affair. Boy as I was then, I had to 
wait my turn for the hairdresser to powder and pomatum 
and curl my hair, for I had two large curls on each side, 
and a stiff pigtail, and until all this was very nicely and 
systematically done, no one could think of appearing 
before a customer. Between eight and nine the shop 
began to fill with purchasers, and their number increased 
until it was crowded to excess, although a large apart- 
ment, and this continued until late in the evening ; 
usually until ten, or half-past ten, during all the spring 
months. Dinner and tea were hastily taken, — two or 
three, sometimes only one, escaping at a time to take 
what he or she could the most easily swallow, and re- 
turning to take the places of others who were serving. 
The only regular meals at this season were our break- 
fasts, except on Sundays, on which days a good dinner 
was always provided, and was much enjoyed. But 
when the purchasers left at ten or half-past ten, before 
the shop could be quite clear a new part of the business 
was to be commenced. The articles dealt in as haber- 
dashery were innumerable, and these when exposed to 
the customers were tossed and tumbled and unfolded 
in the utmos't confusion and disorder, and there was no 
time or space to put anything right and in order during 
the day. This was a work to be performed with closed 
doors after the customers had been shut out at eleven 
o'clock ; and it was often two o'clock in the morning 
before the goods in the shop had been put in order and re- 
placed to be ready for the next day's similar proceedings. 



ROBERT OWEN 27 

Frequently at two o'clock in the morning, after being 
actively engaged on foot all day from eight o'clock in 
the morning, I have scarcely been able with the aid of 
the banisters to go upstairs to bed. And then I had 
about five hours for sleep. 

This hurried work and slavery of every day in the week 
appeared to me more than my constitution could sup- 
port for a continuance, and before the spring trade had 
terminated I had applied to my friend to look out for 
another situation for me. The spring trade ceasei, and 
the business gradually became less onerous. We could 
take our meals with some comfort, and retire to rest 
between eleven and twelve, and by comparison this be- 
came an easy life. I was kindly treated. The youngest 
Palmer, a good and fine youth, took a great liking to me, 
and we became great friends, and spent our Sundays in 
some excursion always together, and as the less busy 
season advanced we began to enjoy our leisure hours in 
out-of-door exercise or in reading. His habits were 
good and his manners very pleasing. With this change 
I was becoming every day more and more reconciled to 
this new mode of life. I was beginning to enjoy it, 
having forgotten that I had requested my friend to look 
out for another situation, when, really to my regret, I 
learned from my brother that my former friend, Mr. 
Heptinstall, of No. 8 Ludgate Hill, had obtained the 
offer of a very good situation for me, from a Mr. Satter- 
field, who carried on a wholesale and retail estabUshment 
in Manchester ; — that it was a first-rate house, and that 
he offered me, beside board, lodging, and washing, in 
his house, forty pounds a year. This was too great a 
temptation, too large an offer, to be declined, and es- 
pecially as my friend, deeming it for my interest, had 
given Mr. Satterfield reason to expect that I would 
accept it. I then reluctantly had to give due notice to 
Mr. Palmer that I must leave him, and we parted with 
I believe mutual regret, for I felt very unwilling to 
separate myself from my yoimg friend, William Palmer, 
who closely associated himself with me in all our leisure 
hours. 



28 THE LIFE OF 

In this situation I was obliged to acquire habits of 
quickness in business, and of great industry, long con- 
tinued day after day without ceasing. I also acquired 
the knowledge of the character of another class of society, 
totally different from the Stamford customers of Mr. 
McGuffog, and another mode of carrying on business. 
Mr. McGuffog's was one of system and great order. No 
confusion at any time, even when the most busy ; for 
the rule of his house was, never to bring on the counter 
a second article until the first was returned and neatly 
put in its proper place. Thus when the customers were 
gone there was little to do, for everything was in order. 

It just occurs to me here, that I have not named one 
remarkable trait in Mr. McGuffog's character, which was, 
that he would have a reasonable profit upon what he 
sold, and would never take advantage of the ignorance 
or inexperience of any one. An instance of this stubborn 
honesty occurred while I was with him, which instructed 
me in the waywardness of human nature, and at the time 
amused me. One of the rich Lincolnshire farmers, and 
many of them were wealthy at this period, died, and left 
his widow and family more wealth than they knew how 
advantageously to spend The widow, shortly after 
she became so, was desirous of buying at Mr. McGuffog's 
establishment a piece of the finest Irish linen for chemises 
that he had for sale. Now Mr. McGuffog was in the 
habit of buying the finest articles of every description 
that he could meet with, going frequently to London to 
make these purchases to supply his regular customers 
among the high nobility ; and he had at this time the 
finest Irish linens that could be manufactured — then an 
expensive article. In conformity with this new widow's 
request, Mr. McGuffog brought her one of the finest pieces 
that he had purchased, and the finest that could be then 
made by any manufacturer. The price was eight shillings 
the yard, allowing him his usual moderate profit. The 
lady looked and looked again at this fabric, and said, 
"Have you no finer than this piece, which is not fine 
" enough for my purpose? " Mr. McGuffog was much 
surprised at this speech, foj- he knew it was fine enough 



ROBERT OWEN 29 

to satisfy the wants of the first duchess in the land. 
But with his usual knowledge of character, he said — 
" Upon recollection I may have in my upper warehouse 
" a finer piece — I will go and see." He went, and 
brought the fellow piece to the one he had previously 
shown at eight shillings, and he said, " I have found one, 
" but the price is ten shillings per yard, and is perhaps 
" higher in price than you would wish to give." The 
widow examined this new piece, and said no, it was not 
too high in price, and was the very fabric she wished for. 
Mr. McGuffog smiled within himself when he discovered, 
as he suspected, that the fabric was in this instance 
valued by its cost, and not for its intrinsic worth, as he 
knew was often the case. But, as I said, he never would 
take advantage of the ignorance or want of experience 
in rich or poor, and in making out the bill he charged 
this so-called ten-shillings-a-yard piece at the rate of 
eight shilhngs only, saying he would not charge her more, 
because at that price it afforded him a fair profit. The 
widow said nothing, but never again was a customer. 
So much for honest dealing in a tradesman. 

To return to my narrative. On leaving Messrs. 
Flint and Palmer's, I went to reside with Mr. Satterfield 
in Manchester. His establishment was then the first in 
his hne in the retail department, but not much to boast 
of as a wholesale warehouse. It was upon the whole 
pretty well managed. Mr. Satterfield was an indifferent 
buyer of goods for his trade, but an excellent salesman. 
Mr. McGuffog was an extremely good buyer, and when 
goods are well and judiciously purchased for a local 
trade, they almost sell themselves, and give little trouble 
to the seller ; while if they are not bought with judgment, 
the trouble of sale is greatly increased. The good buyer 
also is almost sure to gain success to his business ; — while 
indifferent buyers scarcely ever succeed in accunmlating 
independence. Hence Mr. McGuffog retired from busi- 
ness with what, in those days, was considered a good 
fortune for a retail tradesman, leaving his widow upwards 
of one thousand a year, besides other gifts ; while Mr. 
Satterfield, with a larger business, and with great toil 



30 THE LIFE OF 

and labour, and much anxiety, could only during his 
life clear his way, unable to purchase except on credit. 
His son, I understood, who succeeded to his business, 
was more fortunate. Here also, however, I was very 
comfortable, and gained new experience in another class 
in society. Mr. Satterfield's customers were generally 
of the upper middle-class — the well-to-do manufacturers' 
and merchants' wives and families — a class intermediate 
between Mr. McGuffog's and Messrs. FHnt and Palmer's, 
— and I thus became acquainted M'ith the ideas and habits 
of this class. 

Our living was good, our treatment kind, and the young 
persons assistants in the business were generally from 
respectable families and well behaved, and none were 
over-taxed with occupation in their respective depart- 
ments. I therefore soon became reconciled to the 
change which my friend had made for me, and with 
forty pounds a year, over my board, lodging, and wash- 
ing, I deemed myself overflowing with wealth, having 
more than my temperate habits required, for I had never 
accustomed myself to strong liquors of any kind, and 
my eating was always moderate and of the most simple 
and easily digested quality. I thus continued until I 
was eighteen years of age. Among other articles which 
we sold were wires for the foundation or frame of ladies' 
bonnets. The manufacturer of these wire bonnet-frames 
was a mechanic with some small inventive powers and 
a very active mind. When he brought his weekly 
supply of wire frames, I had to receive them from him, 
and he began to tell me about great and extraordinary 
discoveries that were beginning to be introduced into 
Manchester for spinning cotton by new and curious 
machinery. He said he was endeavouring to see and 
to get a knowledge of them, and that if he could succeed 
he could make a very good business of it. This kind 
of conversation was frequently renewed by the wire 
manufacturer, whose name was Jones. At length he 
told me he had succeeded in seeing these machines at 
work, and he was sure he could make them and work 
them. He had, however, no capital, and he could not 



ROBERT OWEN 31 

begin without some. He said that with one hundred 
pounds he could commence and soon accumulate capital 
sufficient to proceed ; and he ended by saying that if I 
would advance one hundred pounds, I should have one ^ 
half of the great profits that were to result if I would 
join him in partnership. He made me believe that he 
had obtained a great secret, and that if assisted as he 
stated, he could soon make a good business. I wrote to 
my brother William in London, to ask him if he could 
conveniently advance me the sum required, and he im- 
mediately sent me the hundred pounds. I had now to 
give notice to Mr. Satterfield according to our engage- 
ment, and that because I was going into a new business 
for myself. He was, I believe, disappointed, for I had 
by this time become a useful and steady assistant, and a 
favourite server with his principal customers. During 
the time between my giving notice and finally leaving 
Mr. Satterfield's establishment, Jones and I had agreed 
with a builder that he should erect and let to us a large 
machine workshop, with rooms also for some cotton 
spinners, and the building was finished by the time I left 
Mr. Satterfield. We had shortly about forty men at 
work to make machines, and we obtained wood, iron, 
and brass, for their construction, upon credit. 

I soon found however that Jones was a mere working 
mechanic, without any idea how to manage workmen, 
or how to conduct business on the scale on which he had 
commenced. 

I had notthe shghtest knowledgeof this new machinery 
— had never seen it at work. I was totally ignorant of 
what was required ; but as there were so many men 
engaged to work for us, I knew that their wages must be 
paid, and that if they were not well looked after, our 
business must soon cease and end in our ruin. Jones 
knew little about book-keeping, finance matters, or the 
superintendence of men. I therefore undertook to keep 
the accounts — pay and receive all ; and I was the first 
and last in the manufactory. I looked very wisely at 
the men in their different departments, although I really 
knew nothing. But by intensely observing everything, 



32 THE LIFE OF 

I maintained order and regularity throughout the estab- 
lishment, which proceeded under such circumstances 
far better than I had anticipated. We made what are 
technically called " mules " for spinning cotton, sold 
them, and appeared to be carrying on a good business ; 
while, having discovered the want of business capacity 
in my partner, I proceeded with fear and trembling, i 

We had not been in business many months, when a 
capitalist with moderate means, thinking the prospects 
of the establishment very good, applied to Jones to be 
allowed to join him with increased means, on the sup- 
position that Jones was the efficient man of business, 
and that if I could be induced to leave it, he (the appli- 
cant, whose name I have forgotten) could easily do 
what I did. They hesitated to break their intentions to 
me, under the impression that I should be very unwilling 
to leave a business holding out so fair a prospect of 
future success. They at once offered me terms, which, 
if I had declined to accept, they would, I afterwards 
found, have increased, in order to secure to themselves 
this, as they considered, thriving business, and which 
with continued good looking aifter and good manage- 
ment might have become so. But I was too happy 
to separate from Jones, to hesitate to accept their 
proposal. They offered to give me for my share of the 
business six mule machines such as we were making for 
sale, a reel, and a making up machine, with which to 
pack the yarn when finished in skeins into bundles for 
sale. I had now, when about nineteen years of age, to 
begin the world on my own account, having the promise 
of the machinery named to commence with. 

When I left Mr. Satterfield's business I had to find new 
lodgings — another untried step in my existence. In St. 
Ann's Square, in which.Mr. Satterfield' s shop was situated , 
lived an elderly widow, who took lodgers and boarders. 
Here were two respectable travellers already established 
when I applied, and I found I could have a bedroom to 
myself, — a sitting-room, fronting the square, in company 
with these gentlemen travelhng for some respectable- 
manufacturing houses, — and board, such as they had, 



ROBERT OWEN 33 

for half a guinea a week, I accepted it, found the house 
clean, the attendance good, — tea or coffee, etc., for break- 
fast, — a hot joint, well-cooked, and a pudding or pie daily 
for dinner, — tea in the afternoon, — and good bread and 
cheese and butter, and a glass of ale, at supper, — and I 
do not recollect ever living, as mere living, better, or 
more to my satisfaction. But how this old widow con- 
tinued thus to supply us and to get her own living out of 
us, I could never imderstand. Perhaps the house was 
her own ; and provisions were then (1789-90) cheap, 
and manufacturing luxury had not coiamenced. The 
widow always appeared cheerful and satisfied. We had 
all our meals alone ; and here I remained as long as I 
continued in partnership with Mr. Jones. Now, I 
suppose, for the same accommodation in St. Ann's 
Square, I should have to pay from 30s. to 40s. per week. 
' During my partnership with Mr. Jones I received a 
letter from my early master, Mr. McGuffog, who was be- 
coming old and wealthy. He wished me to join him in 
his business, and held out one strong temptation to me. 
He offered to supply all the capital, and to give me half 
of the profits immediately, and the whole business, so 
well-established, after a very few years. Thanking him 
cordially for his very liberal offer and kind intentions, I 
was of course obliged to decline it. Often have I re- 
flected since, how different would have been the history 
of my life had I accepted this business, which ninety- 
nine out of a hundred young men at my age and in 
my circumstances would have rejoiced to obtain, and 
perhaps not one out of a thousand would have refused. 
Had I accepted this offer I should probably have 
married Mr. McGuffog's niece, who many years after- 
wards, I learned from herself, young as we were, had 
become much attached to me ; and as we should have 
been heirs to the property of both Mr. and Mrs. McGuffog 
after their death, I should most likely have lived and died 
a rich Stamford linen draper. This however was not 
to be, — for a different field of action was preparing for 
ipe. When I separated from Jones and the machine 
making business, i took a large newly-erected building, 



34 THE LIFE OF 

or factory, as such ])laces were then beginning to be 
called. It was situated in Ancoats Lane. I rented it 
from a builder of the name of Woodruff, with whom I 
afterwards went to board and lodge. From Jones and 
his new partner I received three out of six mule machines 
which were promised, with the reel and making up 
machine ; and with this stock I commenced business for 
myself in a small part of one of the large rooms in this 
large building. 

The machines were set to work, and I engaged three 
men to work tli£m — that is, to spin cotton yarn or thread 
upon them from a previous preparation called rovings. 
When the yarn was spun, it was in the cop form, from 
which it was to be made upon the reel into hanks, each 
one hundred and forty yards in length. This operation 
I performed, and then made these hanks into bimdles 
of five pounds weight each, and in this state, wrapped 
neatly up in paper, I sold them to a Mr. Mitchell, an 
agent from some mercantile manufacturing houses in 
Glasgow, who sold the yarn to muslin weavers, or manu- 
factured it themselves. The m.anufacture of British 
muslins was but in its infancy. 'The first British muslins 
were made when I was an apprentice with Mr. McGuffog, 
by a Mr. Oldknow at Stockport in Cheshire, about seven 
m.iles from Manchester, who must have commenced this 
branch about the year 1780, 1781, or 1782 ; and it is 
curious to trace the history of this manufacture. 

When I first went to Mr. McGuffog, there were 
no other muslins for sale, except those made in the East 
Indies, and known as East India muslins ; but while I 
was with him, Mr. Oldknow began to manufacture a 
fabric which he called, by way of distinction, British 
Mull Muslin. It was a new article in the market, less 
than a yard wide, for which he charged to Mr. McGuffog 
9s. or 9s. 6d., and which Mr. McGuffog resold to* his 
customers at half a guinea per yard. It was eagerly 
sought for, and rapidly bought up by the nobility at that 
price, — and Mr. McGuffog could not obtain from Mr. 
Oldknow a supply equal to his demand. He was obliged 
to beg and pray of Mr. Oldknow to add a piece or two 



ROBERT OWEN 35 

more to his weekly order for them, but frequently 
without success. Such is the all-powerful influence of 
fashion and its absurdities under the present disorder 
of the human intellects, that the parties who were then 
so eager to buy this new fabric at los. 6d. the yard, would 
not now look at it ; and a much better quality may be 
at this time purchased by the poor at two pence the yard. 

I have said that my three spinners were spinning the 
cotton yarn on my three mules from rovings. I had no 
machinery to make rovings, and was obliged to purchase 
them, — they were the half -made materials to be spun 
into thread. I had become acquainted with two young 
industrious Scotchmen, of the names of McConnell and 
Kennedy, who had also commenced about the same time 
as myself to make cotton machinery upon a small scale, 
and they had now proceeded so far as to make some of 
the machinery for preparing the cotton for the mule spin- 
ning machinery so far as to enable them to make the 
rovings, which they sold in that state to the spinners at 
a good profit. I was one of their first and most regular 
customers, giving them, as I recollect, 12s, per pound 
for rovings, which, when spun into thread, and made up 
into the five pound bundles, I sold to Mr. Mitchell at 22s. 
per pound. This was in the year 1790. 

Such was the commencement of Messrs. McConnell 
and Kennedy's successful career as cotton spinners, — 
such the foundation of those palace-like buildings which 
were afterwards erected by this firm, — of the princely 
fortunes which they made by them, and of my own pro- 
ceedings in Manchester and in New Lanark in Scotland. 
They could then only make the rovings, without finishing 
the thread ; and I could only finish the thread, without 
being competent to make the rovings. 

These are the kind of circumstances which, without 
our knowledge or control, from small beginning produce 
very different results to any anticipated by us when we 
commence. 

Jones and his new partner, as I foresaw, were getting 
rapidly into confusion and pecuniary difficulties. They 
informed me they could not make good their engagement 



36 THE LIFE OF 

with me, and I never received the three remaining mule 
machines. I beHeve they ultimately stopped payment, 
and that Jones returned to his wire bonnet-frame 
making. 

Seeing that I was not likely to obtain more machinery 
from my former partner, I made up my mind to do as 
well as i could with that amount which I had obtained. 
With the three men spinning for me, reeling, and making 
up that which they spun, and by selling it weekly to Mr. 
Mitchell, I made on the average about six pounds of 
profit each week, and deemed myself doing well for a 
young beginner, — for I had let the remainder of the large 
building which I occupied, to tenants who paid m}/ whole 
rent, and I retained my portion of it by these means 
free of cost. 

About this period cotton spinning was so profitable 
that it began to engage the attention of many parties 
with capitals. Mr. Arkwright, the introducer, if not the 
inventor of the new cotton spinning machinery, had had 
a cotton spinning mill erected in Manchester, under a 
manager of the name of Simpson ; and a Mr. Drinkwater, 
a rich Manchester manufacturer ^and foreign merchant, 
had built a mill for finer spinning, and was beginning 
to fill it with machinery under the superintendence of a 
Mr. George Lee, a very superior scientific person in those 
days. Mr,, afterwards Sir George Philips, was desirous 
of building a large mill in Salford, and he, unknown to 
Mr. Drinkwater, formed a partnership with Mr. George 
Lee, afterwards known for many years as a leading firm 
in Manchester, as Philips and Lee. Mr. Lee had given 
Mr. Drinkwater notice that he must leave him, having 
formed this new partnership. Mr. Drinkwater being 
totally ignorant of everything connected with cotton 
spinning, although a good fustian manufacturer and a 
first-rate foreign merchant, and by this time become 
very wealthy, was greatly nonplussed by Mr. Lee thus 
abandoning the establishment, which, except with the 
expectation of Mr. Lee's permanent services, he would 
not have commenced. 

Under this to him very untoward circumstance he had 



ROBERT OWEN 37 

to advertise for a manager to undertake the superin- 
tendence of this mill, now in progress ; and his advertise- 
ment appeared on a Saturday in the Manchester papers, 
but I had not seen or heard of it until I went to my 
factory on the Monday morning following, when, as I 
entered the room where my spinning machines were, one 
of the spinners said — " Mr. Lee has left Mr. Drink water, 
" and he has advertised for a manager." I merely said — 
" what will he do ? " and passed on to my own occupa- 
tion. But (and how such an idea could enter my head I 
know not), wdthout saying a word, I put on my hat and 
proceeded straight to Mr. Drinkwater's counting-house, 
and boy, and inexperienced, as I was, I asked him for 
the situation for which he had advertised. The circum- 
stances which now occurred made a lasting impression 
upon me, because they led to important future conse- 
quences. He said immediately — " You are too young," 
— and at that time being fresh coloured I looked younger 
than 1 was. I said, "That was an objection made to me 
" four or five years ago^ but I did not expect it would 
" be made to me now." '" How old are you ? " "Twenty 
" in May this year " — was my reply. " How often do you 
" get drunk in the week ? " " (This was a common habit 
with almost all persons in Manchester and Lancashire at 
that period.) " I was never," I said, " drunk in my 
"life" — blushing scarlet at this unexpected question. 
My answer and the manner of it made, I suppose, a 
favourable impression ; for the next question was — 
' ' What salary do you ask ? " " Three hundred a year ' ' 
— was my reply. " What ? " Mr. Drinkwater said, with 
some surprise, repeating the words — " Three hundred a 
" year ! I have had this morning I know not how many 
" seeking the situation, and I do not think that all 
" their askings together would amount to what you 
" require." " Icannot be governed by what others ask," 
said I, " and I cannot take less. I am now making 
" that sum by my own business." •' Can you prove that 
" to me ? " " Yes. I will show you the business and 
" my books." " Then I will go with you, and let me 
" see them," said Mr. Drinkwater. We went to my 



38 THE LIFE OF * 

factory. I explained the nature of my business, opened 
the book, and proved my statement to his satisfaction. 
He then said — " What reference as to past character 
"can you give?" I referred him to Mr. Satterfield, 
Messrs. Flint and Palmer, and Mr. McGuffog. " Come 
" to me on such a day, and you shall have my 
answer." This was to give him time to make the 
inquiries. 

I called upon him at the time appointed. He said, 
" I will give you the three hundred a year, as you ask, 
" and I will take all your machinery at its cost price, 
" and I shall require you to take the management of the 

"^ " mill and of the workpeople, about 500, immediately." 
I accordingly made my arrangements. Mr. Drinkwater 
knew nothing about the mill ; but so far as the business 
had proceeded he had supplied the capital as it was 
wanted, and had received the money when the produce 
was sold and paid for. Mr. Lee had left the day before 
I was sent for to take his place, and I entered it without 
the slightest instruction or explanation about anything. 
When I arrived at the mill, which was in another part of 
the town from Mr. Drinkwater^s place of business, I 
found myself at once in the midst of live hundred men, 
women, and children, who were busily occupied with 
machinery, much of which I had scarcely seen, and 
never in regular connection to manufacture from the 
cotton to the finished thread. I said to myself, with 
feelings I shall never forget, — " How came I here ? 

1 " and how is it possible I can manage these people and 
" this business ? " To this period I had been a thought- 
ful, retiring character, extremely sensitive, and could 
seldom speak to a stranger without blushing, especially 
to one of the other sex, except in the ordinary routine of 
serving in the departments of business through which I 
had passed ; and I was diflident of my own powers, 
knowing what a very imperfect and deficient education 
I had received. I was therefore greatly surprised at 
myself, that, without thought or reflection, on the 
impulse of the moment, I had solicited this situation. 
But 1 had no idea of the task which I had to perform. 



ROBERT OWEN 39 

in many respects entirely new to me, or I should never 
have made the attempt to perform it. My only ex- 
perience had been in serving in a retail shop, except 
during the few months I had been in partnership with 
Jones, which short time was spent in keeping wages' 
accounts, and in seeing that the men were at work, and 
in working on a capital of one hundred pounds. Had 
I seen the establishment before I applied to manage it, 
I should never have thojught of doing an act so truly 
presumptuous. Mr. Lee had left the mill the day before 
I undertook it, — Mr. Drinkwater did not come with me 
to introduce me to any of the people, — and thus, un- 
instructed, I had to take the management of the concern. 
I had to purchase the raw material, — to make the 
machines, for the mill was not nearly filled with 
machinery, — to manufacture the cotton'into yarn, — to 
sell it, — and to keep the accounts, — pay the wages, — 
and, in fact, to take the whole responsibility of the first 
fine cotton spinning establishment by machinery that 
had ever been erected, commenced by one of the most 
scientific men of his day, and who was considered a 
man of very superior attainments, having been highly 
educated, and being a finished mathematician. Such 
was the concern I had to manage when not yet tv/enty 
years of age, and such the person I had to succeed. 

When it was known in Manchester that Mr. Drink- 
water had engaged me, a mere boy without experience, to 
take the entire direction of his new mill, which was then 
considered almost one of the wonders of the mechanical 
and manufacturing world, the leading people, as I learned 
afterwards, thought he had lost his senses, and they pre- 
dicted a fa ilure and great disappointment . Well— there 
I was, to undertake this task, and no one to give me any 
assistance. I at once determined to do the best I could, 
and began to examine the outhne and detail of what was 
. in progress. I looked grave, — inspected everything 
very minutely, — examined the drawings and calculations 
of the machinery, as left by Mr. Lee, and these were of 
great use to me. I was with the first in the morning, 
and I locked up the premises at night, taking the keys 



40 THE LIFE OF 

with me. I continued this silent inspection and super- 
intendence day by day for six weeks, saying merely yes 
or no to the questions of what was to be done or other- 
wise, and during that period I did not give one direct 
order about anything. But at the end of that time I 
felt myself so much master of my position, as to be ready 
to give directions in every department. My previous 
habits had prepared me for great nicety and exactness 
of action, and for a degree of perfection in operations to 
which parties then employed in cotton spinning were 
little accustomed. I soon perceived the defects in the 
various processes, and in the correctness which was 
required in making certain parts of the machinery — all 
yet in a rude state, compared with the advances which 
have been made from that time to the present. This 
factory or cotton mill was built on purpose to manu- 
facture the finest yarns or thread, and Mr. Lee had 
attained what was then considered an extraordinary 
degree of fineness, having succeeded in producing what 
was technically known as one hundred and twenty hanks 
in the pound. But it was of very indifferent quality. 
By my acquired faculty under Mr. McGuffog's discipline, 
of great exactness and nicety in handling and keeping 
fine and expensive articles, I soon improved the quality 
of our manufacture. There was a large stock of yarn 
upon hand unsold, manufactured under Mr. Lee's 
management, of various degrees of fineness, from 
seventy to one hundred and twenty. 

Mr. Drinkwater lived in his country house in the 
summer, and in his town house in the winter. He was 
now living in the country, and came to his counting-house 
and warehouse, adjoining his winter residence, twice a 
week. He never came to the mill, bu-t almost always 
desired to see me at his counting-house on the days he 
attended there, and that I should bring specimens of 
the manufacture week by week. He found the quality 
gradually to improve, and the customers for it to prefer 
the new-made to the old stock. He found also that the 
people employed were, according to reports made to 
him by others, well disciplinerl, and yet well satisfied 



ROBERT OWEN 41 

with the rules, regulations, and mode of management 
which I had adopted ; and he became week by week 
more satisfied with the boy he had taken in opposition 
to pubhc opinion to manage his new factory. The \ 
advantages which I possessed to counteract my ignorance I 
and inexperience arose from my early training with / 
Mr. McGuffog, amidst fine and superior fabrics, and a a 
knowledge acquired of human nature by having early/ 
overcome the prejudices of religion. / 

I had by this period perceived the constant influence 
of circumstances over my own proceedings and those of 
others, and by comparison with myself and others I 
became conscious of the created differences in our 
original organizations. Reli eved from religioas preju- 
dices and their obstructive mfluences to the attainment 
of common sense, my mind became simple in its new 
arrangement of ideas, and gradually came to the con- 
clusion that man could not make his own organization, 
or any one of its qualities, and that these qualities were, 
according to their nature, more or less influenced by the ' 
circumstances which occurred in the life of each, over 
which the individual had no other control than these 
combined circumstances gave him, but over which society 
had an overwhelming influence ; and I therefore viewed 
human nature in my fellow-creatures through a medium 
different from others, and with far more charity. Know- 
ing that they did not make themselves, or the circum- 
stances or conditions in which they were involved, and 
that these conditions combined necessarily forced them 
to be that which they became.-^I was obliged to con- 
sider my fellow-men as beings made by circumstances 
before and after their birth, not under their own control, 
except as previously stated and to a limited extent, — 
and therefore to have illimitable charity for their feelings, 
thoughts, and actions. This knowledge of our common 
nature gave me the early habit of considering man the 
necessary result of his organization and the conditions 
by which nature and society surrounded him. and of 
looking upon and acting towards all in the spirit which 
this knowledge created. ,My mind, in consequence, 



Mj 



42 THE LIFE OF 

gradually became calm and serene, and anger and ill-will 
died within me. 

This knowledge of human nature gave me for a long 
period an unconscious advantage over others. My 
treatment of all with whom I came into communication 
was so natural, that it generally gained their confidence, 
and drew forth only their good qualities to me ; and I 
was often much surprised to discover how much more 
easily I accomplished my objects than others whose 
educated acquirements were much superior to mjne. 
Very generally I had the good will of all ; and, — except 
when I afterwards opposed in public all the religions of 
the world, and the past and present system of society, 
and thus aroused the oldest prejudices of all against my 
new views of society, — I was generally a favourite with 
both sexes and all classes. 

 fin consequence of this to me unconscious power over 
others — I had produced such effects over the workpeople 
in the factory in the first six months of my management, 
that I had the most complete influence over them, and 
their order and discipline exceeded that of any other 
in or near Manchester ; and for regularity and sobriety 
they were an example which none could then imitate ; 
for the workpeople earned at that period higher wages, 
and were far more independent than they have ever 
been since, i 

The factory also I had re-arranged, and always had it 
kept in superior order, so that at all times it was in a 
state to be inspected by any parties. 

But at this period cotton mills were closed against all 
strangers, and no one was admitted. They were kept 
with great jealousy against all intruders ; the outer doors 
being always locked. Mr. Drinkwater himself had not 
yet entered the mill since I took charge of it, and he came 
only three times during the four years I retained the 
management of it. and each time with some stranger 
who had influence with him . The first time he came with 
the celebrated astronomer. Herschell, — the second time 
with Mr. Sergeant Heywood, his son-in-law, — and the 
third time with Mr. Peter Marsland. the father of the 



ROBERT OWEN 43 

M.P. for in Scotland. Mr. Peter Marsland was then 

one of the new great cotton Lords. 

To return to the narrative. Mr. Drinkwater, who from 
some source knew, no doubt, the particulars of my 
management, and the progress and change I had made 
in the factory, at the end of the first six months sent for 
me to his country residence, having something which he 
wished to communicate to me. 

I was yet but an ill-educated awkward youth, strongly 
sensitive to my defects of education, speaking un- 
grammatically, a kind of Welsh English, in consequence 
of the imperfect language spoken in Newtown, which 
i was an imperfect mixture of both languages ; and I 
' had yet only had the society attainable by a retail assist- 
1 ant. I was also so sensitive as among strangers to feel 
and to act awkwardly, and I was never satisfied with my 
own speaking and acting, and was subject painfully 
to blushing, which, with all my strongest efforts, I could 
not prevent. In fact, I felt the possession of ideas 
superior to my power of expressing them, and this always 
embarrassed me with strangers, and especially when in 
the company of those who had been systematically well 
educated, according to existing notions of education. 
; I had not yet been in Mr. Drinkwater's house in Man- 
' Chester, and therefore when I was requested to go to him 
: at his country house, I was at a loss to conjecture what 
I was the object of this new proceeding, and I felt un- 
certain and somewhat uncomfortable as to the result. 
When, however, I had arrived, and was taken into Mr. 
Drinkwater's room of business, he said, — " Mr. Owen. 
" I have sent for you to propose a matter of business 
" important to you and me. I have watched your pro- 
" ceedings, and know them well, since you came into 
" my service, and I am well pleased with all you have 
" done. I now wish you to make up your mind to remain 
" permanently with me. I have agreed to give you 
• three hundred pounds for this year ; and if you will 
' consent to remain with me, I will give you four 
j " hundred for the next year,— five hundred for the third 
I " year, — and 1 have two sons growing up, and the fourth 

i 



44 THE LIFE OF 

" year you shall join them in partnership with me, and 
" you shall have a fourth of the profits, and you know 
" now what they are likely to be. What do you say 
" to this proposal ? " I said, " I think it most liberal, 
" and willingly agree to it." 

" Then," he replied, " the agreement shall be made 
" out while you are here, and you shall take a copy of 
" it home with you." When this was done, and both 
agreements were signed, I returned home well pleased 
with my visit. 

I was now placed in an independent position for one 
not yet twenty years of age. I was born in 1771, as 
previously stated, and this event occurred earl}' in 1790 
I had also given to me full power to take my own course 
in what I should deem beneficial to promote the interests 
of the establishment. I was desirous of having the fabric 
which was manufactured under my direction distin 
guished from that which had been made under Mr. Lee's 
management, and my name was permitted to be printed 
on the outside of the packages or ' bundles,' as they 
were called when the yarn was made up into five 
pounds weight for sale. The new-made yarn sold 
readily at high prices ; while the former stock at less 
prices sold slowly, and it was long before the whole of 
it was disposed of. 

At this period the cotton used for spinning by the new 
machinery was obtained from our West India Islands, 
from South America, and from the French Island of 
Bourbon, and was usually known as Orleans cotton. 
No North American cotton was yet used for spinning. 
The cotton which came from North America could not 
be worked up with the machinery then in use. The 
finest cotton yarn and thread which was then sj)un was 
made in this factory, and from cotton brought from 
the French Islands ; and the highest counts or fmesl 
thread yet produced by machinery was technically 
denominated one hundred and twenty ; or that number 
of hanks, each of 840 yards, was required to make a 
pound. At this period, these yarns were sold according 
to a pubHshed list of prices for each number, from the 



ROBERT OWEN 45 

lowest to the highest ; and, according to the quality 

made by each house, when inferior so much per cent, was 

deducted in price from the published lists ; or when 

very good in quality, so much per cent, was added to 

the price. But it was only Mr. Drinkwater's fine new 

yarns that could obtain ten per cent, above the list 

price, and they sold readily for that sum ; — while the 

quality made under Mr. Lee's direction, while he was the 

manager, sold slowly at the list price. This was the 

j tortoise overtaking the hare ; — for Mr. Lee was a man 

' of high genius, and possessed great talent as a scientific 

i machinist and engineer, — to which I had not the least 

; pretension. But so it was, that I now stood high in the 

estimation of the Manchester public and of the first 

Scotch muslin manufacturers, as a maker of fine cotton 

yarns — the Scotch manufacturers being our chief 

customers. 

It has been previously mentioned that I had to pur- 
chase the cotton which was required for the use of our 
factory. I had given much attention to this part of the 
business, and I was now considered by the cotton brokers, 
from whom the spinners at this time bought this material, 
to be among the best judges of its quality, if not the best 
in the market. 

Among other brokers from whom I was in the practice 
of making purchases of cotton, was a Mr. Robert Spear, 
who stood high in his line of business, as a man of in- 
tegrity and knowledge. Either in this year or in the 
beginning of 1791, the first two packages of American 
Sea Island cotton were consigned to him by the Li\^erpool 
igent of the American planter, with a request that he 
would apply to a competent spinner to try its quality 
and to give an opinion of its value. Mr. Spear applied 
to me, and said the parties to whom it belonged were 
unconscious to what use it could be put, or of its worth 
to manufacturers, and asked me to work it up and give 
my own price for it, as the quahty might prove to be. 
It was loosely packed, each bag about one hundred and 
tifty pounds in weight, half full of seeds, and, compared 
with the finest Orleans cotton, very dingy in colour. 



h 



46 THE LIFE OF 

This was the first cotton sent from the United States to 
be spun upon the new machinery through rollers, instead 
of from the distaff or hand card. I had the two bags 
cleaned and manufactured, and it made a better thread 
than the French Island cotton, but the colour was much 
less white, and it was therefore much less attractive to 
the eye. I sold it to a Scotch manufacturer of the name 
of James Craig, at a lower price on account of its colour, 
and he was the first manufacturer who used American 
cotton in the yarn which he made into muslins. It was 
some surprise to me to see Mr. Craig soon back from 
Scotland to inquire for some more of the dingy-coloured 
yarn which he had purchased from me. I told him it 
had been all sold during his absence, and he appeared 
much disappointed. " Why be so disappointed," I said, 
" when we can soon supply you with the superior colour 
" at the usual price ? " 

" I am indeed," he replied, " much disappointed, — for 
" it proved of the best quality I have ever seen." 
" But the colour ? " I said. " Oh, that was of no conse- 
" quence, for it bleached as well, if not better than the 
" white colour, and I came up purposing to buy your 
" whole stock of it." This gave me full knowledge of 
the superior qualityof Sea Island North American cotton. 
This is the long staple quality of North American cotton, 
and it was some time afterwards before machinery was 
invented to spin the upland or short-fibred cotton, now 
so extensively imported into this country, and so largely 
grown in the Southern States of North America. 

The extension of the cotton trade from that period to 
the present is one of the wonders of modern times, and 
for forty years I took a prominent and active part in it, 
and during which time, in the arrangements and manage- 
ment of extensive factories, and in the improvement of 
the condition of the persons employed in tliem, I led the 
waj^ and was followed at first by a few only of the larger 
establishments, and afterwards slowly by others^/' 

I early noticed the greai attention given to the dead 
machinery, and the neglect and disregard of the living 
machinery. At the period of which I am now writing I 



ROBERT OWEN 47 

was a novice in general society. I had known it only as 
 customers in retail business, or as a junior dependent in 
i the houses of my employers ; for little more than a year 
had elapsed between my leaving Mr. Satterfield's house 
and my undertaking to manage the first fine cotton spin- 
ning factory by machinery that had ever been erected. 
My life had been one of close attention to business, day 
by day, except the few days when I visited my parents 
and relatives in and about Newtown, between the time 
? of my leaving Mr. McGuffog and my going to Messrs. 
'■: Flint and Palmer's. I was thus from ten years of age a 
I stranger, as it were, among strangers, and was known 
il only as a 3'outh of business, and consequently was left 
:i in a great measure to my own communings and in- 
ii experienced observations. Absorbed in my attention to 
|! business, I knew little of the habits, customs, and fashions 
I of famiUes having pretentions to some standing in society, 
^ and now I began strongly to feel this deficiency. For 
I persons who had been well educated, according to ex- 
i isting notions of education, and of good standing in 
I mercantile society, began to desire my acquaintance. 
But knowing my own imperfections in these respects, I 
always unwillingly accepted invitations, and I knew 
nothing of the female sex, except as customers in 
business. This also withheld me from making family 
acquaintances. On these matters I was sensitive to a 
painful excess, for I had at this time a high opinion of 
the attainments of the wealthy educated classes, and of 
all above them. My future history will show how 
woefully I mistook their acquirements by means of what 
is called a superior education. 

In about a year after I had commenced the manage- 
ment of this establishment I had increased my know- 
ledge of the qualities of cotton, which varied very much, 
and had improved the accuracy of the machinery used, 
and the correctness of all the processes through which the 
material had to pass to be formed into finished thread 
or yarn, and I had gained the means to increase the fine- 
ness of the finished thread from 120 to upwards of 300 
hanks in the pound, and had thus enabled the Scotch 



48 THE LIFE OF 

manufacturers in Paisley and its neighbourhood to open 
a new and extensive manufacture in various kinds of 
fine muslin ; and such was the superiority of the quality 
of the yarn which I made, that fifty per cent, above the 
list price was readily obtained for it, and sufficient 
could not be produced by all our machinery' when at 
full work, until the disastrous commercial year of 1792 
affected the prices of all manufactured articles, and 
ruined many houses then carrying on extensive 
business. 

Some idea may be formed of the success of the manu- 
facture in which I was engaged for Mr. Drinkwater, from 
the fact that I gave five shillings a pound for the cotton, 
which, when finished into fine thread for the muslin 
weaver, extending to near 250 hanks in the pound, I 
sold for (.9 i8s. 6d. per pound. This was sold at the 
commencement of 1792 to Alexander Speirs of Kil- 
barchan, who made it into muslins, the first piece of which 
hfe sent as a present, as the greatest curiosity of British 
manufacture, to old Queen Charlotte. I extended after- 
wards the fineness of the thread to upwards of 300 hanks 
in the pound, and if this had been sold at the same 
period, it would have brought upwards of thirt^'-six 
pounds sterling for one pound of the yarn ; but this 
prosperity in the manufacture was checked by the war 
with France, and the same high prices were I believe 
never afterwards obtained for the same fineness or 
number of hanks. 

My name was now up for being the first fine cotton 
spinner in the world, and this was my standing as long 
as I remained the manager of Mr. Drinkwater's factory, 
which was situated and I believe yet remains at Bank 
Top in Manchester. The factory was then familiarly 
known as the " Bank Top Mill." 

The nearest rival I had in the quality of the ordinary 
numbers or fineness was a Mr. Archibald Buchanan, 
afterwards partner with Mr. Kirkman Finlay of Glasgow, 
in mills in Ayrshire, and who (Mr. Buchanan) was the 
relative, predecessor, and instructor of the late celebrated 
Mr. Smith of Deanstown in Scotland. The quality of 



ROBERT OWEN 4(, 

yarn made by Mr. Buchanan at this period brought a 
price of ten per cent, above the hst, — while Mr. Drink- 
water's brought fifty per cent, above it. 

These facts are stated to be explanatory of subsequent 
proceedings, — for the best manufacturer in any branch 
of the cotton manufacture became, in those days, a 
person of public celebrity, and my name now stood 
prominent before the Manchester public. 

At this period there were two institutions which 
attracted considerable notice in Manchester, and were 
popular and celebrated each in their way. One was the 
" Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society," then 
under the presidency of the late highly respected Dr. 
Percival. The other was the " Manchester College," 
under Dr. Baines, which after his death was removed to 
York under Mr. Wellbeloved, and was chiefly for the 
training of Unitarian ministers. 

At this period John Dalton, the Quaker, afterwards 
the celebrated Dr. Dalton the philosopher, and a Mr. 
Winstanley, both intimate friends of mine, wer^ssistants 
in this college under Dr. Baines ; and in their room we 
often met in the evenings, and had much and frequent 
interesting discussions upon religion, morals, and other 
similar subjects, as well as upon the late discoveries in 
chemistry and other sciences, — and here Dalton first 
broached his then undefined atomic theory. We began 
to think ourselves philosophers. Occasionally we ad- 
mitted a friend or two to join our circle, but this was 
considered a favour. At this period Coleridge was study- 
ing at one of the universities, and was then considered a 
genius and eloquent. He solicited permission to join 
our party, that he might meet me in discussion, as I was 
the one who opposed the religious prejudices of all sects, 
though always in a friendly and kind manner, having 
now imbibed the spirit of charity and kindness for my 
opponents, which was forced upon me by my knowledge 
of the true formation of character by nature and society. 
Mr. Coleridge had a great fluency of words, and he could 
well put them together in high sounding sentences ; 
but my few words, directly to the point, generally told 



50 THE LIFE OF 

well ; and although the eloquence and learning were 
with him, the strength of the argument was generally 
admitted to be on my side. Many years afterwards, 
when he was better known and more celebrated, I 
presented him with a copy of my Essays on the Formation 
of Character, and the next time I met him after he had 
read them, he said — " Mr. Owen, I am really ashamed of 
" myself. I have been making use of many words in 
" writing and speaking what is called eloquence, while I 
". find you have said much more to the purpose in plain 
" simple language, easily to be understood, and in a short 
" compass. I will endeavour to profit by it." 

These friendly meetings and discussions with my friends 
Dalton and Winstanley (the latter of whom was brother- 
in-law to Dr. , one of the most successful physicians 

in Manchester), were continued until they attracted the 
attention of the principal, Dr. Baines, who became afraid 
that I should convert his assistants from his orthodoxy ; 
and our meetings were required to be less frequent in 
the college. They were, however, continued elsewhere, 
and I acquired the name from some of the parties who 
attended these meetings, of " the reasoning machine " — 
because they said I made man a mere reasoning machine, 
made to be so by nature and society-^' This college was 
removed to York while I remained in Manchester, and 
is there called the " Manchester College." -^ 

However heterodox my opinions were. I was solicited 
to become a member of the " Literary and Philosophical 
Society of Manchester," to which I consented. I was 
thus introduced to the leading professional characters, 
particularly in the medical profession, which at this 
period stood high in Manchester, and its leading members 
were the aristocracy of the town. The manufacturers 
at this period were generally plodding men of business, 
with little knowledge and limited ideas, except in their 
own immediate circle of occupation. The foreign mer- 
chants, or rather the merchants in the foreign trade, 
were somewhat more advanced. Without knowing why, 
I was thus introduced to the elite of the Manchester _ 
Literary and Philosophical Society, for I had not been 



ROBERT OWEN 51 

long a member of the society before I was requested to 
become a member of its committee, a club which was com- 
posed of what were considered the select and most efficient 
members of the society, and which met always im- 
mediately after the regular sittings of the society. This 
club or committee was composed at this period of Dr. 
Percival, the president, — Drs. Ferriar,— Holme,— and 
Bardsley, — Surgeon Simpson, — and Mr. Henry the 
chemist ; and feeling my deficiency of the usual education 
of such persons, I could not comprehend the reasons for 
my admission into the society and club. Upon one occa- 
sion, at the sitting of the society, the subject of cotton was 
introduced, on one of the nights when the President was 
in the chair. I had never spoken in the society, nor ever 
heard my own voice in public ; nor had I the slightest 
desire ever to hear it. I was too diffident and sensitive 
to feel any such inchnation ; but upon this occasion, to 
my surprise and great confusion. Dr. Percival said — 
" I see a young friend present, who I am sure can if he 
" will give us some valuable information upon the subject. 
" I mean Mr. Owen, so well known for his knowledge in 
" fine cotton spinning." I blushed, and stammered out 
some few incoherent sentences, and felt quite annoyed 
at my ignorance and awkwardness being thus exposed. 
Had it not been for this incident, it is probable I should 
never have attempted to speak in public. I was conscious 
I knew more of the kinds, qualities, and history of this 
material, than any of those who spoke this evening on 
the subject. This impression induced me to attempt to 
write a paper for the society upon this subject, and it 
was read and discussed at the following meeting of the 
society. At its conclusion the President, who was always 
desirous of bringing forward and encouraging young 
persons who became members of the society, thanked 
me for the paper, which he said was a very useful practical 
production, and did me much credit. I was quite 
unconscious of deserving this compliment, and attributed 
it to the kind disposition of the President. It was after 
the discussion on this paper that I was solicited to join 
the club, all the members of which were expected to 



52 THE LIFE OF 

write a paper during each session of the meetings of the 
society. 

Upon a subsequent and later meeting, when I had 
acquired somewhat more confidence in myself, Dr. Ferriar 
read a paper, the subject of which was to endeavour to 
prove that any one, by his own will, might become a 
genius, and that it only required determination and in- 
dustry for any one to attain this quality in any pursuit. 
The paper was a very learned one. The Dr. was the 
senior Vice-President, and after he had read it there was a 
profound silence, and, contrary to all former practice, 
after the President had expressed his opinion as usual 
that it was an important paper deserving much attention, 
no one rose to speak. Each member was entitled to 
bring a friend or two with him to the meeting, and that 
night I had brought John Dalton and Mr. Winstanley 
with me, saying they would be interested in the debate. 
I felt therefore quite disappointed that no one appeared 
likely to commence a discussion. Waiting until I 
thought the President would close the meeting for want 
of speakers, although it was a full meeting, I rose, merely 
with a view to induce a debate, that my friends might 
not be disappointed, and said, " Mr. President, — this is 
" a most learned and ingenious paper. But as it was 
" read it occurred to me that I have always had a great 
" desire to become a genius, and have always been very 
" industrious in my application for the purpose, but I 
'■ could never succeed. I therefore am obliged to con- 
" elude that there must be some error unexplained in our 
" learned author's theory." And I sat down. Dr. 
Ferriar rose to reply- He blushed, or became so red with 
suppressed feeling as to attract the attention of the 
members, and merely stammered out some confused 
reply, when, to relieve his embarrassment, some members 
began to speak, and a discussion followed. But from that 
night Dr. Ferriar never forgot my short speech, for he 
was never afterwards so cordial and friendly as he had 
been previously. Lavoisier and Chaptal had at this 
time made chemistry a favourite subject among pro- 
fessional men, and 1 had given some attention to it. 






ROBERT OWEN 53 

One night when their discoveries were the subject for 
discussion, I said that the universe appeared to me to be 
one great laboratory ; that all things were chemical 
compounds, and that man was only a complicated 
chemical compound. From that night I was called the 
" philosopher who intended to make men by chemistry." 

I continued a regularly attending member of this 
society and club as long as I remained in Manchester, 
and wrote my expected paper for each session ; but on 
what subjects they were written I do not now recollect. 
The meetings became however very pleasant and useful 
to me ; making me familiar with the ideas, habits, and 
prejudices of a new class in society. I say prejudices, — 
for the literary man has, Hke all others, his strong 
educated prejudices. 

I continued happily progressing in my situation until 
the disastrous year of commerce, 1792, checked the rapid 
upward progress of the cotton trade. All engaged in it 
suffered more or less. Many were ruined in various 
businesses all over the kingdom. Mr. Drinkwater had 
a large capital, and stood the shock of this revulsion in 
the commercial world without very much loss, while I 
was in the receipt of my full salary, and so far Mr. 
Drinkwater was highly satisfied with all my proceedings. 

He had a cotton factory at work at Northwich in 
Cheshire, which was employed in what was technically 
called water-spinning, or vvarp-spinning on machinery 
similar to Arkwright's at Cromford, Manchester, and 
elsewhere. This Cheshire cotton mill was under the 
management of an elderly man, who had taken charge 
of it for some years. After Mr. Drinkwater had seen 
what I had done in the factory for fine spinning in 
Manchester, he was desirous I should also overhaul, 
re-arrange, and take the general direction of this factory 
for warp-spinning, of much lower numbers than were 
produced in our Manchester factory. It was an un- 
gracious task for one so young, to take the direction 
over the old manager of this Cheshire mill ; but so it 
was. The former manager remained in charge of it, — 
but he was to act under my directions, and I rode over 



IM 



54 THE LIFE OF 

on horseback once a fortnight to superintend and direct, 
and which I continued to do as long as I remained with 
Mr. Drinkwater. On the same day of the week I made 
this journey on horseback, and in going had to cross what 
was then a large common. In crossing it one fine hot 
day in the middle of summer, an incident occurred which 
made a strong impression on me at the time, and which 
I will explain on a future occasion, when it can be applied 
for an important purpose, and when it will be more 
useful than to narrate it here. I notice it now while it 
occurs to me, that I may not forget it in its proper place. 

While these matters of business were progressing 
successfully and happily with me, events that had a 
decided influence upon my future life were occurring in 
Mr. Drinkwater's family. 

Miss Drinkwater was attaining womanhood, and I 
conclude, although I do not recollect having seen her, 
that, independently of the fortune which all expected 
her father could and would give her, she was an interesting 
person, for she was always well spoken of, and had been 
well and carefully educated. She was therefore con- 
sidered a very desirable match and connection for the 
young men of the first commercial or professional families 
in their circle. A gentleman, whose name I forget, — a 
merchant in the foreign trade of Manchester, and very 
much the gentleman in manner, of good standing in 
society, and the next door town neighbour to Mr. Drink- 
water, paid his addresses to her. He was not disliked 
by the young lady, although he was perhaps ten or 
twelve years older than she was ; for his temper was good, 
and his manners attractive to the other sex. It began to 
be looked upon by the public as a matter settled. In this 
case, as in too many others, the course of true love did 
not run smooth. I must now r^^cur to a name mentioned 
in an earlier part of this narrative, — the name of one 
who stood high in Cheshire and Lancashire as the first 
and most extensive manufacturer of British muslins, and 
from whom, as I narrated, Mr. McGuffog used to buj', 
and to pray for more pieces to be added to the weekly 
order- This was the once celebrated and most enter- 



ROBERT OWEN 55 

prising Samuel Oldknow, who it was known had not long 
before made seventeen thousand pounds of profit in 
each of two successive years, and who was then generally 
supposed to be very wealthy, and was considered a great 
man in the world of manufactures and commerce. He 
had made these profits in the manufacture of muslin, 
while he purchased the yarn from the cotton-spinners. 
He thought the spinners were getting great profits, and 
he was not, like many others, content to do well or very 
well, as he was doing, — but being ambitious, he desirea to 
become a great cotton-spinner, as well as the greatest 
muslin manufacturer. He built a large, handsome, and 
very imposing cotton mill, amidst grounds well laid out, 
and the mill was beautifully situated, for he possessed 
general good taste in these matters. In fact, he was 
! preparing and had made great advances to become a 
first-rate and leading ' cotton lord.' He had however 
expended his capital so freely in building this mill, 
fitting it with machinery, and purchasing land around 
it, in addition to splendid buildings and arrangements in 
9 and near to Stockport for carrying on his extensive muslin 
; manufacture and for its sale, that when the trying time 
I of 1792 arrived, he was too wide in his plans to sustain 
their expenditure without making great sacrifices. To 
prevent this it was afterwards generally thought that he 
considered a union with Miss Drinkwater would, by the 
assistance of her father, enable him to proceed unchecked. 
He was a hearty, healthy, handsome man, but yet 
perhaps five years older than Miss Drinkwater' s present 
suitor. But'l suppose he concluded that "faint heart 
never won fair lady " — and therefore he at once applied 
to Mr. Drinkwater to be permitted to pay his addresses 
to his daughter. Mr. Drinkwater was flattered by this 
application, for at this time Mr. Oldknow stood prominent 
in the cotton world, next to the Arkwrights and the 
Strutts of Derbyshire. 

It was believed that he was not well received at first 
by the young lady. But the father, although fond of 
his sons and daughters, was ambitious and obstinate. 
and succeeded at length, by the great prospects held out 



56 THE LIFE OF 

to her of great wealth and station, in overcoming her 
reluctance. She had not the means to resist his authority, 
having no property in her own right, and she therefore 
yielded to her father's wishes. Mr. Oldknow was con- 
sequently received and accepted by father and daughter 
as the future husband of the latter. 

For some time all matters seemed to proceed success- 
fully with Mr. Oldknow, and for a certain period he had 
great influence over Mr. Drinkwater. During this 
period he became acquainted with Mr. Drinkwater's 
engagement with me, and this stood now in the way of 
his (Mr. Oldknow's) ambition. He expressed a great 
desire that the whole business of both houses should 
be kept entirely to themselves, and my partnership, 
which, according to my engagement, was to commence 
the next year, stood in the way of this exclusive dealing 
with Mr. Drinkwater's property. 

Mr. Oldknow thought that this difficulty should be 
overcome at any cost, and it was determined to try 
what could be done with me. Mr. Drinkwater, who for 
three years had once only been to his factory in Man- 
chester, and then to introduce 'the celebrated Herschell 
the Astronomer, sent for me to Newal House, his country 
residence, where I had not been since the day the agree- 
ment of his own proposal was made. I had heard some 
hints of what had taken place, and of what was going 
forward, and knowing Mr. Oldknow's ambition, I con- 
jectured some new proposals were to be made. I went 
to Newal House, and took the agreement in my pocket. 
I was introduced to Mr. Drinkwater alone in his study, 
and I have no doubt it was deemed a day of no little 
interest to all parties. He said — " I have sent for you 
" that I may explain unexpected changes which have 
" taken place lately in my family. The celebrated Mr. 
" Oldknow is to become my son-in-law. You know he 
" is the first British muslin manufacturer, and he is 
" becoming a great cotton-spinner. He has expressed 
" a strong wish that the entire business of both houses 
" should be retained in the family, — but you are entitled 
" by our agreement to become a partner in my mills 



ROBERT OWEN 57 

' next year, and this agreement obstructs his extensive 
' views and arrangements. He wishes me to ascertain 
' from you on what conditions you would retain the 
' management of my mills and give up the agreement 
' for a partnership in our business. If you will give up 

* your claim to the partnership, you may name your 
' own salary. You have now five hundred pounds a 
' year, and whatever sum you will name you shall have." 

He appeared very anxious to hear my reply. I said — 
' I have brought the agreement with me, and here it is, 
' and I now put into the fire, because I never will 

* connect myself with any parties who are not desirous 
' to be united with me ; but under these circumstances 
' I cannot remain your manager with any salary you 
' can give." And the agreement was consumed before 

him. He was not prepared for this decisive proceeding ; 
and it was an act of feeling, and not of judgment, on 
my part. My constitution and the previous circum- 
stances in which I had been placed created these feelings, 
and I could not have acted otherwise at that time. 
These feelings again gave a complete change to my 
future destiny. 

Mr. Drinkwater said much to endeavour to change my 
determination, — but ineffectually. My mind was fixed 
to the decision which my feehngs forced upon me. He 
then said — " I hope you will remain until another 
" manager can be procured to take your place, and I 
" must depend upon you for looking out for one who 
" is equal to the duties required." To this I agreed. 
But it was many months after this event before I could 
meet \vith anyone possessing the requisite qualifications 
to conduct these establishments as they were then 
carried on. 

When it was known that I was going to leave Mr. 
Drinkwater's concern, Mr. Samuel Marsland, who, with 
others had purchased the Chorlton estate, near Man- 
chester, with the view of building a new town upon it, 
apphed to me, and said he was going to build extensive 
millsupon this property, and if I would join him in partner- 
ship he would find the capital and give me one-third of 



58 THE LIFE OF 

the profits. This was a very liberal proposal, but as 
he did not offer me half of the profits, my feehngs in- 
duced me to dechne it. 

Here was again the overwhelming influence of feeling 
which I could not avoid, in opposition to sound j udgment. 
Under the circumstances in which I was then placed, it 
was my interest to accept it ; for I afterwards made a 
much more unfavourable arrangement with two young 
men, inexperienced in the business, although they had 
capital. We were to build mills, and to divide the 
profits equally between us, and 1 was to have the 
management of the whole concern, under the firm of 
' Moulson. Scarth, and Owen.' I commenced to build 
the Chorlton mills upon land purchased from Mr. 
Samuel Marsland and his partners ; but while the mills 
were erecting, a new arrangement was made, which was 
destined to give another direction to my future life. 
This was an agreement with those two rich old-established 
houses, Messrs. Borrodale and Atkinson of London, and 
Messrs. Bartons of Manchester, with whom and myself a 
new partnership was formed, under the firm of the 
" Chorlton Twist Company," "under my management, 
assisted by Mr. Thomas Atkinson, a brother of the one 
in the firm of Borrodale and Atkinson. 

It was nearly a year after I gave Mr. Drinkwater 
notice that I must leave his establishment, before I 
could find anyone competent to supply my place, — but 
as I had to enter upon my new engagements, I was 
obliged to give the situation to a Mr. Humphreys, an 
engineer, who had done millwright and other mechanical 
work for the mills I superintended, — and upon my 
recommendation Mr. Drinkwater accepted him. 

I had now to superintend the building of our factory, 
then considered a large one, — to get the machinery 
made to fit it, — and then to set the whole into action. 
I left Mr. Drinkwater in 1794 or 5 ; and before the 
new Chorlton mill was at work, it was two or three 
years later. 

I did not erect the mill and machinery to enter into 
competition with Mr. Drinkwater. who had always been 



ROBERT OWEN 59 

I kind and liberal to me, except in not being firm in main- 
taining his engagement with me, and therefore I had no 
wish to injure him. The machinery which we adopted 
in the Chorlton Factory was adapted for the Man- 
chester and Glasgow manufacturers' demand for cloths 
for printing, and for some kinds of muslins. Mr. Thomas 
Atkinson kept the books, and I had to make the pur- 
chases of cotton, to manufacture it into yarns, and to 
dispose of it. The latter duty led me to visit the 
Lancashire manufacturing towns, and also, after some 
time, to visit the west of Scotland. On one of these 
journeys I had to visit Blackburn, where some of our 
principal customers lived and carried on their manu- 
factures. Among these were Messrs. Birley and Hornby. 
ij I had ridden to Blackburn on a horse hired for the 
j occasion. When I called upon our wealthy customers 
j; last mentioned, one of the young gentlemen of the firm 
li asked me if I would go and hunt with him in the morning. 
j I knew nothing of hunting, and had no desire for the 
I sport, and therefore declined, saying I had only a hack 
hired in Manchester, to bring me to Blackburn, and he 
( was unfit for hunting. " Oh ! " he replied, " that need 
\ " not prevent you, for I have a good hunter at your 
jj " service." I was then left without any excuse that 
I occurred to me, and I was fairly taken in against my 
j inclination ; for I could not well refuse such an offer 
from one of our best customers, — and I accepted it. 
The hunter was sent to me the next morning, and I 
: mounted it, being an inexperienced rider upon such 
' horses for such purposes, with the impression that I 
i; should never return without broken limbs or even with 
life. I arrived on the ground just before the game was 
found, and at this critical moment I found myself by 
the side of the clergyman of the parish, who was ex- 
tremely well mounted. He was young, and was esteemed 
the most dashing rider who followed these hounds. He 
and I were on one side of what I thought an impassable 
wall when the fox was started on the other side. " Now 
" for it," said the Parson to me, and he put his horse to 
the wall, and cleared it in good style. My horse (which 



6o THE LIFE OF 

I discovered was a practised hunter, although I was not) 
immediately followed the Parson, and how I continued 
to keep my seat I know not, but so it was that I was 
safe in the saddle after a pretty good shake, and off went 
the Parson and I over heavy ground at first, and then 
there was what was called an excellent run, and the 
sport was continued for some hours. I was a light 
weight, my horse was powerful, thorough bred, and a 
well-taught hunter. I let him take his own way, and 1 
soon found he knew much better than I did which was 
the best. The Parson and I soon led the field. We kept 
together, — for the horses appeared to know each other, 
and we were in at every death, and the sport was not 
over until late in the day, when I returned to my hotel 
safe and without over fatigue. As soon as I had cleared 
the first wall, and found myself safe in the saddle, all 
fear left me. I had confidence in the horse and really, _ 
greatly to my surprise, enjoyed the sport. Thus I 
discovered the cause of the pleasure from the air, the 
exercise, and the excitement, which induces many to 
spend so much time in follo\^ing the hounds, to the 
surprise of those who have n"ever experienced its ex- 
hilarating effects upon the spirits during the sport, and 
on the appetite afterwards. 

This was however the only time I ever indulged in 
this luxury, But not for want of encouragement, — 
for the next day I was praised by all my Blackburn friends 
and acquaintances for my performances in the field the 
previous day, having the credit of being on a par with 
the Parson, who was esteemed the first in following the 
hounds with tact and judgment in all that district of 
hard riaers, and who always led the field. I was very 
fully conscious how little I was entitled to these enco- 
miums, and how much was due to my borrowed horse. 

The new Chorlton Twist Company was now becoming 
well-known and proceeding prosperously. Having many 
customers in and round Glasgow, it became necessary 
for me to go to Scotland to see them, and to endeavour to 
enlarge our business connections. On my first joui^ney 
to the north, a manufacturer of Preston who had ex- 



ROBERT OWEN 6i 

tensive concerns, requested to accompany me as a 
companion, not having any business to transact in that 
part of the kingdom, but merely to see the country, 
which he had not previously visited. We journeyed 
together, at that time no easy travelling. This was 
before mail coaches were established, and we were two 
nights and three days incessantly travelling in coaches, 
in going from Manchester to Glasgow, — for the roads 
were then in a deplorable condition, and we had to 
cross a well-known dangerous mountain about midnight, 
called Trickstone Bar, and which was then always passed 
in fear and trembling by the passengers. We however 
at length arrived safe in Glasgow, about five o'clock in 
the morning, and no one being then up in the hotel at 
which the coach stopped, my companion and myself 
went to walk, it being a fine warm morning in summer, 
on the well-known Green of Glasgow, before it was 
surrounded with houses which have been since erected 
on the sides of it. 

The old washing houses then existed, and the old 
mode of washing by tramping in tubs on the clothes to 
be washed, was the common practice. Ihe washer- 
women tucked up their clothes for this operation. There 
were great numbers thus busily engaged, chiefly however 
old women. It was an early hour, and the weather 
was warm, and there were no persons walking except 
ourselves. The walk from the town to the banks of 
the river where we were going, led close to these wash 
houses, but the washing operations in the tub were 
carried on outside the buildings in the open air, exposed 
to all passers. This practice of washing was new to 
both of us, and before we came near them we were at a 
loss to imagine what so many so early in the morning 
were about, continually in action in these tubs. As we 
drew nearer, our surprise increased when we saw these 
women with their naked legs, and their clothes held up 
much higher than decency required, or than appeared 
to us at all necessary. My friend stopped, and with the 
greatest astonishment in his countenance said — " Is it 
" possible, Mr. Owen, that those are living women ? " 



62 THE LIFE OF 

I said — " They look like them, although I have never 
" seen such an exhibition before ; but these must be the 
" habits of a country new to us " — in which we were con- 
firmed, for as we came up and passed very near to them, 
they took no more notice than if we had not been near 
them, and made no difference in their tramping and 
turning in their tubs. I said when we had passed them, 
"It is evident these women think nothing of this 
" practice. They are no doubt accustomed to it from. 
" their childhood, and have none of our English feehngs 
" upon seeing such a practice, — it is another proof among 
" thousands, that, commencing early in life, we may be 
" taught to think any custom right or wrong, and a 
" valuable lesson may be learned from it; for, as you 
" saw, not one appeared to feel or think there was 
" anything strange or wrong in what they were doing." 

Up to this period the intercourse between the south 
and the north was very limited, compared with the 
change which soon followed the introduction of mail 
coaches, and the consequent improvement of the roads 
in Scotland. The surprise at seeing this practice, so 
strongly expressed by the English on first visiting 
Glasgow, induced a change in this custom, and now it is 
very seldom seen, except in out-of-the-way country places. 
At the time of my first visit to Glasgow, the inhabitants 
were unconscious of there being any impropriety in 
this proceeding ; and I have seen it continued when the 
Green was crowded with people walking in all directions, 
and no one seemed to notice the washers. But I never 
afterwards saw the practice so fully carried out as on 
this occasion ; and it therefore gave us, as entire 
strangers, a singular introduction into Scotland, — for we 
had not yet been in a Scotch house, and I then little 
imagined that I should become so interested in this 
locality as I afterwards was. 

The improvements in Glasgow and in Scotland 
generally, from that period to the present, have not been 
surpassed probably in any part of the world. 

This visit to Glasgow was the cause of a new phase in 
my history, and became a circumstance which had a 



ROBERT OWEN 63 

great influence on my subsequent proceedings. I have 
mentioned my knowledge of Mr. Robert Spear, the 
Manchester cotton broker, who sent to me the first two 
bags of American Sea Island cotton imported into this 
country. He had a sister, whom I also knew, and who 
was living with him in Manchester. This sister happened 
to be on a visit to the fam.ily of Mr. Dale, who was then 
one of the most extraordinary men in the commercial 
world of Scotland, — an extensive manufacturer, cotton- 
spinner, merchant, banker, and preacher. He had five 
daughters, — the eldest then about nineteen. While I 
was one day walking in Glasgow, near to the Cross, 
the most public place in the city, I met Miss Spear 
in company with Miss Dale. Miss Spear was glad to 
irieet one whom she knew from Manchester, and stopped 
me, introducing me at the same time to Miss Dale. I 
conversed some time with Miss Spear concerning our 
friends in Manchester. After a short time Miss Dale 
asked me if I had seen the Falls of the Clyde and her 
lather's mills, for if I had not, and wished to see them, 
she would give me an introduction to her uncle, who was 
one of the managers of the mills and who lived there. I 
thanked her, and said I had a friend with me in Glasgow, 
and we should both like to see the falls and the mills. 
She said she should like to know what we thought of them 
after we had seen them and had returned. The intro- 
duction was sent for me and my friend, and we visited 
this to us new scenery, and inspected the mills under 
the guidance of Mr. James Dale, who, I learned, was 
half brother to Mr. David Dale, the father of Miss Dale. 
When I had inspected the establishment which was 
called the "New Lanark Mills," and which then con- 
sisted of a primitive manufacturing Scotch village and 
four mills for spinning cotton, I said to my friend, as I 
stood in front of the establishment, " of all places I have 
" yet seen, I should prefer this in which to try an experi- 
" ment 1 have long contemplated and have wished to 
" have an opportunity to put into practice ; " — not in 
the least supposing at the moment that there was the 
most distant chance that the wish would ever be gratified. 



64 THE LIFE OF 

On returning to Glasgow I called upon Miss Dale to thank 
her for her kind introduction to her uncle, and to say 
how much I was gratified wit)i the scenery about the Falls 
of the Clyde, and with the site of the mills. She was at 
home. Her father was absent about his many occu- 
pations, and she was just going out to walk with her 
younger sisters on the Green on the banks of the Clyde. 
She said they were pleasant walks, and perhaps as a 
stranger I should like to see them. To which I readily 
assented, and this was my second introduction to, and 
my first walk with, my future wife. She was in the habit 
of walking here frequently with her sisters early in the 
morning, their residence being close upon the Green. 
We met there once or twice afterwards before I returned 
to Manchester ; and at parting she said, when I came 
again to Glasgow she would be glad to see me. 
T During this visit to Glasgow 1 had extended our 
business connexions with the Scotch manufacturers, who 
were previously familiar with my name, from its being 
printed on every bundle or package of yarn sold to them 
from Mr. Drinkwater's factory while I had the superin- 
tendence of his manufactures, ^nd this was a favourable 
introduction for me, and facilitated my success, to the 
surprise of my Manchester and London partners. \ 

My partners thought it would be useful for me to 
make these journeys into Scotland half-yearly, as the 
orders for our produce gradually increased, and a large 
part of the " Chorlton cotton twist," as it was then called 
by way of distinction, was purchased by the Glasgow 
and Paisley manufacturers — the remainder was sold in 
Manchester and other Lancashire towns. 

Miss Spear had returned from her visit to Miss Dale, 
and when I saw her she spoke much of the amiable and 
good qualities of her kind Glasgow friend ; said very 
much in her favour, and of her position ; — of the number 
of young men in and around Glasgow who were desirous 
of becoming her suitors ; — but that she had seen none 
among them to whom she could give encouragement, 
for she had not seen one that she could marry, among 
the many who had made advances to solicit her affections. 



ROBERT OWEN 65 

Miss Dale, she said, thought many of them looked to her 
expected fortune. As I was now about to return to 
Scotland, she requested I would convey a letter for her 
to her friend, which I willingly promised to deliver on 
my arrival in Glasgow. Letters at that time were 
rather an expensive luxury between friends residing at a 
distance. The penny postage had not then been thought 
of, and there was much private letter-carrying between 
friends. It is to be hoped, from the success of the inland 
penny postage, that it will become general over sea and 
land, to facilitate universal intercourse, so as gradually 
to destroy the idea of foreign, not only in word but in 
.feeling, in order that the family of man may become one 
in interest, language, and feeling, over the earth, — this 
being now the evident ultimate object of society, and 
the means to hasten it being accomplished by the dis- 
covery of the electric telegraph. . 

Upon my arrival the second time at Glasgow, I called 
and presented Miss Spear's letter to Miss Dale, which 
she received, and read with much apparent pleasure. 
Mr. Dale was again attending on some of the many 
branches of his business, and I had not yet seen him. 
I forget how it occurred, — but a walk upon the Green was 
proposed, and I accompanied Miss Dale and her sisters 
to the banks of the Clyde. The walk appeared to be 
enjoyed by the parties, and from some of them it fell 
out that, if the morning was fine, they were to walk out 
there early the next day. 

These morning walks occurred often while I continued 
in Glasgow, and somehow or other the same parties 
almost always met in these excursions ; and when I 
had to return to Manchester I was requested by Miss 
Dale to convey her answer back to Miss Spear— which 
I did. 

This second visit to Glasgow I found was begmnmg to 
create other feelings than those of mere business. As I 
was now established as a partner in one of the most re- 
spectable firms in Manchester, and with every appearance 
of being successful, I felt inclined to look out for a wife. 
But I was yet a novice, and backward in forming acquaint- 

5 



66 THE LIFE OF 

ance with women, and was much too sensitive in my 
feehngs to make any progress with them except I re- 
ceived encouragement to overcome my diffidence. At 
this period I was living as a bachelor in Chorlton Hall, 
an old mansion lately occupied by Madame Minchall, the 
former proprietor of the Chorlton estate, which was now 
laid out for streets, and to become, as it is now, a large 
town annexed to Manchester. At some distance lived 
one of the most wealthy and respectable families, in 
which were three or four daughters, but no sons. The 
eldest, at this a time a beautiful, well-educated, and 
highly accomplished young lady of seventeen, was the 
admiration of every one, and was eagerly sought after 
by the young men of the first families, and hers was one 
of the oldest established in and around Manchester. 
I often saw this young lady at church, and occasionally 
at public concerts, which v/ere then frequently given in 
Manchester, and no one could see her without admiring 
her for her beauty and her manners, which were fascinat- 
ing to all. The position of her family was so far in 
advance beyond any pretensions which I then had in 
society, that to become known to her was out of the 
question, and to think of such an act of presumption 
never entered my head, for I was then far too diffident 
of my own powers and position. One day, however, 
when I happened to be at home in Chorlton Hall, two 
ladies, — an elderly one and a young one, — called to 
request to be permitted to see the old garden belonging 
to this old mansion, — to which, of course, I readily 
assented, and I conducted them through the walks. 
These visitors were the lady alluded to and her aunt. I 
was too timid and bashful to enter into conversation 
with them, and too unsuspecting to imagine any other 
object than the one mentioned, — and with the utmost 
simplicity and deference allowed them to depart as they 
came, and certainly much disappointed with the result 
of their visit to one so stupid as I must have appeared, 
for there was not the slightest indication of gallantry in 
anything I said or did. In fact, to imagine any other 
object in their visit, except to .see the garden, never for 



ROBERT OWEN 67 

a moment occurred to me. I learned, too late afterwards, 
that this young lady had been favourably impressed with 
my character, and that she had for some time preferred 
me to all the many suitors who were anxious to obtain 
lier hand. I never knew or suspected these feelings in 
my favour, not even after this visit to me ; and so back- 
ward was I at this period, that I did not consider I was 
entitled by it to an introduction to her or her family. 
That connexion, which I might have obtained had I 
then possessed sufficient knowledge of the world and 
sufficient self-confidence to have sought it, would have 
been well adapted to have met and satisfied all the feelings 
of my nature. But it was not to be, — circumstances 
were opposed to it, and another destiny was awaiting 
me. 

Shortly after this occurrence, a house well built and 
devised was erected by a wealthy Manchester merchant, 
who imported mahogany from Honduras, and from which 
were made his doors and window frames, and the principal 
rooms were supplied with plate glass. This house had 
a large walled garden and pleasure-ground. It was then 
about two miles out of Manchester, — although it is now 
surrounded by a large and populous town. To this 
liouse the owner gave the name of Greenheys, and it was 
just finished complete in every part, at an expense of 
live thousand pounds, when the owner died, and left a 
widow and many children, — and not one of the family 
occupied it for a day. The house was to be sold, and 
being large, it could be easily divided to accommodate 
a family in one division, and myself in another part of it ; 
giving me very complete bachelor accommodations ; and 
a Mr. Marshall and myself made the purchase of it, and 
so divided it. I removed from Chorlton Hall, and occu- 
pied Greenheys for two years, having two elderly married 
persons to take care of the house, the garden, and stable. 
Thus I lived for two years before my marriage, and I 
was very comfortable as a bachelor. One of my habits 
at that period was peculiar. The old housekeeper came 
always after breakfast to know wliat I would have for 
dinner, my reply was " an apple dumpling," — which she 



68 THE LIFE OF 

made in great perfection, — " and anything else you 
" like " ; and this practice was uniform as long as I 
remained unmarried. My attention was devoted to 
business and study, and I could not be troubled to think 
about the details of eating and drinking. 

Between my second and third visit to Glasgow I 
occasionally saw Miss Spear, and on one of my visits to 
her she asked what I thought of her Glasgow friend, Miss 
Dale. I said she appeared to me, from the little oppor- 
tunity that I had of seeing her in our walks around the 
Green of Glasgow, in company with her younger sisters, 
to be a very kind and amiable young lady. She then 
told me her father was very religious, being at the head 
of a sect of Independents, and that he had the charge of 
about forty churches in various parts of Scotland, and 
preached every Sunday to his congregation in Glasgow, 
That he had been one of the Glasgow magistrates, and 
that he was much respected far and near, — having 
extensive concerns in different parts of Scotland. That 
Mrs. Dale died when Miss Dale was twelve years of age, 
and from that period she had had charge of her sisters 
and of the family. That she ^ was an extraordinarily 
good young person, and was beloved by all who knew 
her. Miss Spear added, " I could tell you a secret worth 
" knowing to you, — or at least it would be so to ninety- 
" nine out of a hundred, if they knew Miss Dale as well 
" as I do. But unless I thought you were as deeply 
" interested about her as I think you are, and must be, 
" I could not reveal it to you, and I do not know whether 
" I should disclose it now to you, or not, — and yet I 
" think it would be for the happiness of both that you 
"should know it." "Pray," I said, "tell me this 
" secret — for I feel much interested in knowing it, and 
" more especially after what you have just expressed." 
" Well then, as I am sure you will make no improper 
" use of it, I will tell you. It is now I think about a year 
" since you met Miss Dale walking with me near the Cross 
" of Glasgow, when I detained you talking some time, 
" and Miss Dale offered, as my friend, to give you an 
" introduction to her uncle to show you the mills and 



ROBERT OWEN 69 

" the Falls of the Clyde." " I remember it well," I said. 
" for 1 was struck with her amiable manner and kindness 
" to a stranger." " When we parted," continued Miss 
Spear, " she asked me who you were, and all respecting 
" you that I knew, and when I had satisfied her inquiries, 
" she said, ' I do not know how it is — ^but if ever I marry, 
" ' that is to be my husband.' I tell you this because I 
" know you will make only a proper use of it. You have 
" seen her several times since, and can judge whether 
" she retains the same feeHngs for you. But I know she 
" has since that time refused several offers of marriage 
" that would have had her father's consent." I thanked 
Miss Spear for her very gratifying information to me, and 
assured her I should use it only with the view of pro- 
moting the happiness of both. This information induced 
me to look decidedly to Scotland for a wife. Without 
this knowledge I do not think I should have ventured 
to think of Miss Dale for a wife. Her father's religious 
character, his high standing in society, and my not 
knowing him, would have deterred me from aspiring 
to such a position as to become his son-in-law. And now 
I thought there was little chance of overcoming the 
difficulties which I saw in my way, even should I succeed 
in gaining Miss Dale's consent. I had, however, to call 
upon her with a letter and message from Miss Spear. 
I was kindly welcomed again to Scotland by her, — but 
her father was not yet at home. I found the morning 
walks on the banks of the Clyde were continued as usual, 
and upon this visit I often joined the party, and found I 
was not avoided. The younger sisters began to allow 
Miss Dale and myself to walk and talk a little apart from 
them, — and as there were four of them, they were seen 
sometimes before and sometimes behind us. During 
these walks I learned that Mr. Dale wished to retire from 
business, as he was advancing in years, and had no son 
to succeed him. He hnd had one, but he had died young. 
He now wished to sell the New Lanark establishment, 
finding it not managed with the success that he had 
expected, and as improvements were making in new 
establishments over the kingdom, which increased the 



70 THE LIFE OF 

competition in the business, which he was afraid he could 
not long contend against. 

By degrees I ventured to ask Miss Dale if her affections 
were engaged, and she frankly said they were not. But 
when I asked her permission to become her suitor, and 
her consent to receive me as her lover, she said, whatever 
might be her own feelings on a subject of so much im- 
portance to her happiness, she had little expectation 
that her father could be induced to give his consent to a 
stranger, whom he had never seen, and of whom perhaps 
he had never heard. That he was so good a man and so 
kind a father, that she should never marry without his 
consent, and she then saw no prospect that it could be 
attained, and therefore she thought she should never 
marry, — for she felt convinced he would never force 
or wish her to marry against her inclination, as she had 
already discovered. " But," she added, " if you can 
" find the means to overcome my father's objections, it 
" would go far to remove any I may now have, to the 
" request you have made." 

I could not ask more ; but I was fairly placed in a 
dilemma. I had never seen Mr. Dale, and I was un- 
known to him. I knew not that he had ever heard my 
name mentioned. I was now fairly in love, and deeply 
so, from the open and frank manner in which my feelings 
had been met. Love is a wonderful suggestor of means 
to overcome difficulties. I was thrown entirely upon 
my own resources in this matter. " You must find the 
" means to obtain my father's consent, or you can never 
" obtain mine." Such was Miss Dale's decision, — and 
how was this to be accomplished ? To me it appeared, 
day after day, as I thought upon it, a difficulty not to 
be overcome. I knew not how, in the first place, to 
obtain a proper introduction. At length it occurred to 
me that I might make a pretence of inquiring whether a 
report I had heard of his desire to sell the New Lanark 
mills was true, and if it were true, on what conditions he 
would part with them. This was a happy thought that 
occurred to me, and I called upon him at his counting- 
house of general business. He received me coldly, and I 



ROBERT OWEN 71 

thought suspiciously, and he requested to know my 
business. I said it was reported in Glasgow that he 
wished to dispose of the New Lanark mills, and I called 
Lo know if it was so, and the terms on which he would 
offer them if the report were true. I was now about 
twenty-seven years of age, and young looking for my years, 
and he said, yet looking suspiciously — " You cannot want 
" to purchase them — you are too young for such a task." 
I said — " I am connected in partnership with older 
" heads, and with men having large capitals, and we are 
" already largely in the cotton spinning trade in Man- 
" Chester." This aroused his attention, and he then 
entered more fully into conversation. He said— ^ 
" Have you seen New Lanark ? " I replied that I had 
taken a very general view of the mills, without looking 
into the details of the estabhshment. " I would recom- 
" mend you," he said, " to go and examine it, and return 
" to Manchester, and make your report to your partners, 
" and if they should have any desire to become the owners 
" of it, I shall be prepared to enter into a negotiation 
" with them for the whole of the property." I thought 
by his manner that he did not think me in earnest, but as 
I received his authority to examine the establishment 
thoroughly, I posted from Glasgow to New Lanark, a 
distance of nearly thirty miles, and on which at that 
time there were three toll-bars at high rates. I had left 
Glasgow without small change, and had only guineas 
and half guineas with me. Sovereigns had not been 
introduced, and scarcely any gold coin ; for when at the 
first toll-gate I presented a half guinea for change, the 
toll-man turned it over and over, and looked at it as 
though he had never seen one before, and said, " Have 
you no notes ? " The currency of Scotland at this 
period was in notes of their local banks. I replied, 
" No — and the half guinea is the smallest change I have." 
"Then I will trust you until you return." "But." I 
said, " I am not sure of returning this way." " I will 
take the chance of that, rather than take money I do 
not know anything about. I do not understand gold 
money." The same occurred at the second and third 



It 



72 THE LIFE OF 

gate, and as a stranger I thus passed free of toll, an 
alternative which was preferred by the toll-men, to 
taking the half guinea, and I believe not one of them had 
ever seen a gold coin. I concluded I had come into a 
very primitive district. ' 

I had informed Miss Dale before I left Glasgow of the 
interview with her father, and of my proceeding to New 
Lanark, and a correspondence was thus commenced. 
On arriving in Manchester I informed my partners of 
what had occurred in Scotland, but I had no expectation 
that they would, at once, desire to enter into the nego- 
tiation. One from each of the two firms with which I 
'was connected proposed to accompany me, and im- 
mediately to return to Glasgow. We came by New 
Lanark, and my partners were much pleased with the 
situation and with the general outline of the establish- 
ment. We then proceeded to Glasgow. By this time 
Mr. Dale had been informed by his daughter of what 
had passed between us, but he was very adverse to our 
views. He said I was a stranger of whom he knew 
nothing— a land louper (meaning, I suppose, coming from 
England to Scotland for a wif^), and he would not hear 
of it. He wished to have an honest Scotchman to 
succeed him, one that he knew something about, and 
could trust. I had been with him on the pretence of 
purchasing the mills at New Lanark, but he had no ex- 
pectation that I could induce any parties to buy them, 
who possessed sufficient means — etc., etc. I was in- 
formed of this by Miss Dale, who said she thought it would 
be useless to expect he could be induced to give his con- 
sent, and as she would never marry without it, we had 
better abandon the hope of it, and recommended me to 
look out for a better wife in England. 

Thus matters stood on the arrival of my partners Mr. 
John Barton and Mr. John Atkinson, and myself, at 
Glasgow. We waited on Mr. Dale — explained who wc 
were, who we represented, and our object in calling 
upon him. He was evidently taken by surprise, and 
was pleased with our explanation, — for at that period 
the houses of Borrodale and Atkinson in London, and 



ROBERT OWEN 73 

Messrs. Barton's in Manchester, stood very high in the 
commercial world. He said he would make the necessary 
inquiries, and would consider the subject by the next day, 
when he would be glad to see us again. We called at his 
hour of appointment, and he said — " I am now satisfied 
" of your respectability " (he was himself at this time the 
chief of two directors of the Bank of Scotland in Glasgow), 
" and I am willing to treat with you for the land, village, 
" and mills at New Lanark, with everything as the 
" establishment now stands." We inquired the price at 
which he valued this property. He said he was really 
at a loss to put a value upon it. His half brother, and 
Mr. William Kelley, managed it for him. He himself 
was seldom there, and only for short periods, as his chief 
business was in Glasgow. But he said, " Mr. Owen 
" knows better than I do the value of such property 
" at this period, and I wish that he would name what he 
" would consider a fair price between honest buyers 
" and sellers." I was somewhat surprised and non- 
plussed at this reference to me, with all its responsible 
consequences, taking into consideration the position of 
all parties. My estimate of the establishment, from hav- 
ing taken only the very general inspection of it which I 
had had an opportunity of doing, was such, that I said, 
" It appears to me, that sixty thousand pounds, payable 
" at the rate of three thousand a year for twenty years, 
" would be an equitable price between both parties." 

Mr. Dale had been long known for the honest sim- 
plicity of his character, and as such was universally 
trusted and respected, and as a further proof of it, to 
the surprise of my London and Manchester commercial 
partners, he replied—" If you think so, I will accept the 
" proposal as you have stated it, if your friends also 
" approve of it." And equally to my surprise they said 
they were willing to accept the terms ; and thus, in 
these few words, passed the establishment of Now 
Lanark from Mr. Dale into the hands of " The New Lanark 
Twist Company." ' 

Little did I imagine when I first saw this establishment 
in company with my friend from Preston, that I should 



74 THE LIFE OF 

ever become part proprietor and ultimately sole manager 
of it. 

This occurred in the summer of 1797, about six years • 
after I had commenced the management of Mr. Drink- 
water's factory, and when I was about twenty-eight 
years of age. 

Here was a new combination of circumstances-, which 
had not been at all under my control, but which in their* 
further progi'ess has produced extraordinary results to 
myself and others, and which will produce yet far more 
extraordinary results to the entire population of the 
world. 

There were two gardens in the centre of the village of 
New Lanark, and in these gardens two large cottage 
houses, one occupied in summer by Mr. Dale's children, 
and the other by the managers of the mills. At the time 
of the purchase, Miss Dale and her sisters and servants 
were occupying this house, and her uncle and aunt and 
their family occupied the one near in the adjoining garden. 
The new firm were to take immediate possession of the 
entire establishment, and Mr. Dale was going to send for 
his daughters to leave their summer quarters at once, 
and to return to Glasgow. We all objected to this, and 
requested they might keep possession of the house to 
their usual time of returning for the season ; and as I 
was to take possession of the mills and premises, I re- 
mained at the Clydesdale Hotel in Old Lanark, which 
was only one mile distant, until their usual time of 
removing. To this Mr. Dale assented after some 
preliminary opposition. The family thus remained for 
about six weeks, when Mr. Dale sent for them to return, 
learning, I suppose, that Miss Dale and I had under this 
arrangement frequent opportunities of seeing each 
other, — and with her sisters we often enjoyed walks 
among the beautiful scenery on the banks of the Clyde, 
and our time was thus spent very much to our satis- 
faction. Mr. Dale, however, continued averse to any 
thoughts of our union, and this he expressed very strongly 
after the return to Glasgow of the young ladies. There 
were however two warm friends of mine in Glasgow, 



ROBERT OWEN 75 

who had great influence with Mr. Dale. These were 
the co-director of the Royal Bank of Scotland with Mr. 
Dale — a Mr. Scott Moncrief, and his lady, two elderly 
and much respected persons, who were much attached 
to Mr. Dale and his family, and were near neighbours. 
These became Miss Dale's confidants in our affairs. 

Before she parted from me at New Lanark, she said 
she never would marry against her father's consent, but 
she had made up her mind that she would remain un- 
married unless he could be induced to consent to accept 
me for his son-in-law. I had reason to believe that on 
her return to Glasgow she stated so much to her father, 
who was and had always been a most affectionate and 
indulgent parent to all his children, and to her, being 
several years older than the others, more especially. 
I had often to return to Glasgow to see Mr. Dale re- 
specting the change of proprietorship of the establish- 
ment, and to learn many things connected with it and 
the parish and county affairs, and this brought us often 
into business communication. His cold and distant 
manner to me gradually diminished, until he began to 
be more at his ease when we met, and at length he 
relaxed so far in his manner as to receive me pleasantly, 
and after a little time in a friendly and almost cordial 
manner. I discovered that Mr. and Mrs. Scott Moncrief 
were daily using their influence in our favour, and 
at length they overcame all Mr. Dale's objections to 
the union, and our marriage was fixed for the 30th of 
September. 

In the meantime I was becoming daily more at home 
with Mr. Dale, and he began to receive me at his house 
cordially and with increasing confidence. My property 
by this time had accumulated to three thousand pounds. 
Mr. Dale proposed to give three thousand with his daugh- 
ter, and that I should settle three hundred a year upon 
her and her children in case of my death, under the 
supposition that my property would now annually 
increase. I made no bargain on this occasion, but left it 
to be arranged by Mr. Dale and Mr. Scott Moncrief, for 
I had offered to take Miss Dale without any fortune. 



76 THE LIFE OF 

These matters being arranged, before the day of our 
marriage arrived, Mr. Dale had become as much satisfied 
and as much pleased with the idea of our union, as though 
he had at no time had any ojection to it. All his 
prejudices had been overcome, and I was gradually 
becoming a favourite with him. 

Our marriage took place in Mr. Dale's house, in 
Charlotte Street, near to the Green of Glasgow, where 
our early courtship commenced. The ceremony, if 
ceremony it could be called, was according to the marriage 
rites of Scotland, and surprised me not a little. We were 
to be married by the Reverend Mr. Balfour — an old 
friend of Mr. Dale's, although he was of the regular Scotch 
Church, and Mr. Dale was at the head of a dissenting 
or independent sect. 

When we were all met on the morning of our marriage, 
waiting for the ceremony to commence, Mr. Dale was 
there to give his daughter to me, and the younger sisters 
of Miss Dale for her bridesmaids. Mr. Balfour requested 
Miss Dale and me to stand up, and asked each of us if 
we were willing to take the other for husband or wife, 
and each simply nodding assent, he said, without one 
word more — " Then you are married, and you may sit 
" down," — and the ceremony was all over. 

I observed to Mr. Balfour that it was indeed a short cere- 
mony. He said it was usually longer, adding, " I generally 
' ' explain to the young persons their duties in the marriage 
" state, and often give them a long exhortation. But I 
" could not presume to do this with Mr. Dale's children 
" while he lived and was present, knowing that he must 
" have previously satisfied himself in giving them such 
" advice as he deemed necessary and sufficient." I bowed 
assent, and said, as he was satisfied that it was all right, 
I was equally so, and was obliged to him for his compli- 
ment to Mr. Dale and ourselves. Mr. Dale's carriage 
was in waiting to convey us the first stage on our road to 
Manchester, and as soon as breakfast was over we set 
out, accompanied by Miss Dale's maid, who was to be 
taken with her to England. The ministers in Scotland 
who marry any parties usually receive some present 



ROBERT OWEN 77 

from the immediate friends of the parties married, or 
from the parties themselves. On this occasion I in- 
quired of Mr. Dale what was the custom, and what in our 
:ase would be deemed proper. He said he would see 
to that business with Mr. Balfour ; and we learned 
ifterwards that he gave him a full suit of clothes, hat 
and all, of the finest description for a minister, and 
which became his best suit as long as he lived, — such 
especial care did he take of Mr. Dale's highly valued 
present, although they were ministers of different sects of 
religion. 

After the first stage we left Mr. Dale's carriage to 
return, and we then posted to Manchester, over very 
bad roads. Mail coaches had not yet been estabhshed, 
and the old line then travelled was a very different one 
to the line which now communicates between Glasgow 
and Carlisle. On arriving in Manchester and passing 
through the Chorlton district to go to Greenheys, my 
then residence, we had to pass in sight of a small and 
low building erected by the well-known Mr. Henry for 
the manufacture of his concentrated essence of vinegar, 
and I pointed it out as soon as in sight, there being no 
other buildings near, as our future residence, — and wished 
lo know from my new wife what she thought of it. She 
evidently did not expect to find that I lived in a house 
with that common appearance, and she said she thought 
the house I had described to her was different. The old 
servant was, I perceived, disappointed that her young 
mistress was to be no better accommodated. After we 
had passed it they perceived I had not been serious in 
describing my residence, and we soon drove into the 
grounds of Greenheys, and entering into the house 
through a part well contrived and neatly arranged as a 
greenhouse, and the interior being well constructed and 
furnished, and nicely arranged, both my wife and her 
servant were uncommonly well pleased. And here we 
passed our honeymoon. 

I had arranged all matters as well as I could at New 
Lanark before I left it, under the same management as 
when Mr. Dale had given it to us, and I expected they 



78 THE LIFE OF 

would have carried it on with ordinary success, — but 
we soon found that there was httle cordiahty between the 
two managers, and that they were httle capable of con- 
ducting such a concern in the manner we wished and 
expected. I had retained the direction of the Chorlton 
Mill, and Mr. Thomas Atkinson kept the accounts up to 
this period. It was now thought it would be necessary 
for me to return to Scotland and take the immediate 
direction of the New Lanark establishment and of 
our Scotch business generally ; and that Mr. Thomas 
Atkinson, assisted occasionally by the other partners, 
should undertake the management of the Chorlton Mill 
and Lancashire business. And thus it was mutually 
agreed upon, and I returned with my wife and servant , 
to Glasgow in three months after our marriage, and we 
were warmly and affectionately received by Mr. Dale, 
and I entered upon the government of New Lanark about 
the first of January 1800. 
f I say " government," — for my intention was not to 
be a mere manager of cotton mills, as such mills were at 
this time generally managed ; but to introduce principles 
^ in the conduct of the people, which I had successfully 
commenced with the workpeople in Mr. Drinkwater's 
factory ; and (to change the conditions of the people, 
who, I saw, w^re surrounded by circumstances having 
an injurious influence upon the character of the entire 
population of New Lanark) 1 

I had now, by a course 01 events not under my control, 
the groundwork on which to try an experiment long 
wished for, but little expected ever to be in my power 
to carry into execution. 

On commencing my task I found it full of 
formidable obstacles. The fonner managers had 
acquired their own views of managing. They had old 
notions and habits, all directly opposed to mine, 
 and from these parties I expected little assistance, ( The 
people were surrounded by bad conditions, ' and 
these bad conditions had powerfully acted upon them 
to ^nisfnrm their chc uacters and conduct) / 1 soon 
perceived that there would be much to undo and 



ROBERT OWEN 79 

much to do, before I tould obtain the results which I 
intended to acconiplisliy TThe people had been collected 
hastily from any place from whence they could be in- 
duced to come, and the great majority of them were 
idle, intemperate, dishonest, devoid of truth and pre- 
tenders to religion, which they supposed would cover 
ind excuse all their shortcomings and immoral proceed- 
ings. My first object was to ascertain all the errors 
against which I had to contend, and as I investigated 
each department, I thought there would be no termina- 
tion to the changes required. I soon found that a 
le construction of the whole establishment would be 
necessary for my views, and for the pecuniary suc- 

• ss of the concern. I therefore commenced cautiously 
laying the groundwork for the intended changes, and I 
vvished to make the old superintendents of the different 
departments my agents for this purpose. But I soon 
lound that they were wedded to their own notions and 
mcient prejudices, and that for new measures it was 
necessary to have new men ; for the old ones preferred 
to leave their situations, rather than be engaged in a 
work of such reform as I contemplated, which they said 
was impracticable. And to them it was so ; for they 
had no conception of the principle on which I proposed 
to act, and by which I intended to govern the popula- 

lon. It is from this same ignorance that the public 
Qow think my views impracticable. 

I soon found I had every bad habit and practice of 
the people to overcome. They were intemperate and 
unmoral, with very few exceptions, throughout the 
.'/hole establishment. The brother of one of the chief 
anagers was in the frequent practice of taking what is 
^ ailed a" spree"— that is being intoxicated day after day 
lor weeks together, without attending to his occupation 

luring the whole period. ' Theft was very general, and 
u as carried on to an enormous and ruinous extent, and 

Mr. Dale's property had been plundered in all directions. 

nd had been almost considered public property. The 
population had been collected from anywhere and any- 
iiow, for it was then most difficult to induce any sober. 



8o THE LIFE OF 

well-doing family to leave their home to go into cotton 
mills as then conducted.J 

Knowing by this time the influence of circumstances 
over human nature in every part of the world, my first 
attention was to discover the evil conditions existing 
among the people, and how in the shortest time they 
could be superseded by better. There were two ways 
before me, by which to govern the population. First, 
by contending against the people, who had to contend 
against the evil conditions by which, through ignorance, 
they were surrounded ; and in this case I should have 
had continually to find fault with all, and to keep them 
in a state of constant ill-will and irritation. — to have 
many of them tried for theft, — to have some imprisoned 
and transported, and at that period to have others con- 
demned to death, — for in some cases I detected thefts to 
a large amount ; there being no check upon any of their 
proceedings. This was the course which had ever been 
the practice of society. Or, secondly, I had to consider 
these unfortunately placed people, as they really were, 
the creatures of ignorant and vicious circumstances, 
who were made to be what ;they were by the evil con- 
ditions which had been made to surround them, and for 
which alone society, if any party, should be made 
responsible ; andf instead of tormenting the individuals, 
— imprisoning and transporting some, hanging others, 
and keeping the popi^ation in a state of constant ir- 
rational excitement,vn[^ad_to c hangg,! h ese-evil con- 
ditions for good ones, and_i Hus,-iaJiEe4ue order of nature, 
■^ a(;cordin^t_ojt&iLrij±aiiging4aMt6y4o-supersede the inferior 
gjid bad chajrnctersj rrpnt ed by inffirinr anrTT ^ad^ con- 
ditions^by_sujgierior-an4 -good- Gha,i;actersjto be created 
-B^CsulieriQr-aiid-goed-eeRditiQns. j jAnd _t h is TsZaoai-the 
coursewhichfo i: thp.happines?;oi a . ll fihonld b eunjversally 
adopted inpractice, i 

TIiis~lafTer~mode required a knowledge of human 
nature, and of the science of the influence of circum- 
stances over it, with illimitable patience, forbearance, 
and determination. But loiih these conditions certain 
ultimate success would inevitably follow. While the 



,p 



I 



ROBERT OWEN 8i 

first mode could not ensure success if persevered in to 
the end of time, — and so long as it is continued must 
keep society in never-ending varied confusion, counter- 
action, and opposing feelings. 

But from what source could the knowledge of human 
nature, the science of the influence of the circumstances 
over it, with illimitable patience, forbearance, and de- 
termination, be obtained ? — seeing that these qualities 
combined had remained unknown during the past 
history of the human race. This is ijUlg^great secret 
worth knc\wing, and which has been so long hrddenTroni 
the world. ] \ 

From one source only could the secret be derived ; — ) 
that is, from the discovery of the knowledge f that the / 
|i" character of each of our race is^c^rmed by Go^ or 
**nature and by society ; and that itisJIupa5sible^that-^^' 
^ any human being could or can form his own qualitie s 

' '. or charactHr:" ' - -,5^ ?7r~]v^~~~7!rjT^Trr7r7^~T'^ -^'" 

This knowledge I had now acquired by the gradual 0^^ 
teaching of nature, through experience and reflection, 

; forced upon me by the circumstances through which I 
had passed ; and it was now to be ascertained whether 
it had given me the patience, forbearance, and d^ 

I termination to proceed successfully in my task, — for( I 

ihad decided to govern the New Lanark population 
according to these new views,y— that is, on the second 
mode stated. For this purposed had to lay my plans 

' deep and wide, and to combine them with measures 
to ensure profits from the estaJilisJimeilt_sui&dcnt to 
satisfy m^lcQitim'ercia 1 parinersy and at first not to do 
too nluch, so as to alarm their prejudices or those of 

I the public. 

Mr. James Dale and Mr. Kelley were incompetent to 
comprehend my views, or to assist me in my plans. 
They both therefore left New Lanark, and returned to 
Glasgow, to commence different businesses, each for 
tiimself . Application was now made to me for a situation 
by the Mr. Humphreys whom I had recommended to 

1 Mr. Drinkwater to succeed me. Mr. Humphreys could 

5 !iot keep up to the quality of yarns or to the general 
6 



82 THE LIFE OF 

management of the establishment as I had left it to him. 
Mr. Drinkwater had discovered that Mr. Oldknow's 
pecuniary position was not what he had anticipated, 
and therefore the match between Mr. Oldknow and Miss 
Drinkwater did not take place. Mr. Drinkwater be- 
came dissatisfied with the business, sold the factory, 
and Mr. Humphreys lost his situation. I engaged him 
to manage the machinery under my direction, and 
retained him for some years, until he was tempted to 
leave my service for what he deemed a better position, 
but which proved his ruin. 

Mr. Dale knew little about cotton spinning, having 
always left the management of his various mills, (for he 
had other cotton mills besides New Lanark) to such 
managers as he could procure ; and by this time im- 
provements were taking place in machinery, which 
would have soon distanced the state in which Mr. Dale's 
managers kept his various establishments. He had one 
at Newton-Douglas, in partnership with Sir William 
Douglas, — one in Ayrshire, at Catrine, in partnership 
with Mr. Alexander of Ballochmyle, — another in Perth- 
shire, — and a fourth in the far north, in partnership with 
Mr. George Macintosh, the father of the inventor of the 
india-rubber " Macintoshes " and other manufactures 
from that material. I advised him to dispose of these 
as soon as he could meet with purchasers for them, and 
he followed my advice. 

I had now to commence in earnest the great experiment 
which was to prove to me, by practice, the truth or error 
of the principles which had been forced on my con- 
victions as everlasting principles of truth, and from 
which all great and permanent good in practice must 
proceed — to commence the most important experiment 
for the happiness of the human race that had yet been 
instituted at any time in any part of the world. This 
was, to ascertain whether the character of man could be 
better formed, and society better constructed and 
governed, by falsehood, fraud, force, and fear, keeping 
him in ignorance and slavery to superstition, — or by 
truth, charity, and love, based on an accurate know- 



ROBERT OWEN 83 

ledge of human nature, and by forming all the instUu- 
tions of society in accordance with tjiat knowledge. \ It 
was to ascertain, in fact, whether by replacing evil 
conditions by good, man might not be relieved from 
evil, and transformed into an intelligent, rational, and 
good being : — whether the misery in which man had 
been and was surrounded, from his birth to his death, /\» d 
could be changed into a life of goodness and happiness, 
by surrounding him through life with good and superior 
conditions only. 5uch were the impressions made up on 
inxjiiia d of ihe importanr p. of t lie_ task which I was abou t 
ioj2Ji6£Xl2ikej and from which noopposition, no obstacles 
or discouragements, could ever divert me. 

When to my friends and nearest connexions I men- 
tioned that my intentions were to commence a new system 
of management on principles of justice and kindness, 
and gradually to abolish punishment in governing the 
population, — they, one and all, smiled at what they called 
my simplicity, in imagining I could succeed in such a 
visionary scheme ; and they strongly urged me not to 
attempt such a hopeless impossibility. My mind, how- 
ever, was prepared for the task, and to encounter what- 
ever difficulties might arise ; and I was much encouraged 
to proceed by the success which I had experienced with 
my mode of governing the populations in Mr. Drink- 
water's factories. 

The population of New Lanark at this period con- 
sisted of about 1300, settled in the village as families, 
and between 400 and 500 pauper children, procured from 
})arishes, whose ages appeared to be from five to ten, — 
but saici to be from seven to twelve. These children 
were by Mr. Dale's directions well lodged, fed, and 
clothed, and there was an attempt made to teach them 
to readr and to teach some of the oldest to write, after 
the business of the long day was over. But this kind 

f instruction, when the strength of the children was 
- xhausted, only tormented them, without doing any real 
jTQod, — for I found that none of them understood any- 
thing they attempted to read, and many of them fell 
asleep during the school hours. 



^ 



g4 THE LIFE OF 

The instructor was a good schoolmaster, on the old 
mode of teaching, and kind and considerate to the 
children, but what could he do with 400 or 500 of them 
under such circumstances ? The whole system, although 
most kindly intended by Mr. Dale, was wretchedly bad, 
and the estabhshment had been constructed and managed 
by ordinary minds, accustomed only to very primitive 
proceedings, i I determined therefore that the engage- 
ments respecting the children, made by Mr. Dale with 
the parishes, should run out ; that no more pauper 
children should be received ; that the village houses and 
streets should be improved, and new and better houses 
erected to receive new families, to supply the place of 
the pauper children ; and that the interior of the mills 
should be rearranged, and the old machinery replaced 
by new. But these changes were to be made gradually, 
and to be effected by the profits of the establishment. ^ 

My first task was to make arrangements to supersede 
the evil conditions with which the population was sur- 
rounded, by good conditions. And as soon as society 
can be made to think rationally on a true foundation, to 
replace inferior by superior conditions will be found to 
be the task which society has to learn, and in good earnest 
to commence in practice. In fact, this is the great 
lesson which mankind has now to acquire and to put 
into execution over the world. For, with the certainty of 
a law of nature, — as are the circumstances or conditions 
with which man is surrounded through life, so must he 
become. Surround him with evil circumstances or 
conditions, — and his thoughts and conduct must become 
evil ; while when surrounded through life with good 
conditions only, his thoughts and conduct must be 
good. The problem for man now to solve, therefore, is — 
" What are evil, and what are good, conditions ? And 
" how are the evil to be superseded by the good, in peace, 
" beneficially for all, and with universal consent ? " 
And when the first principle on which society should be 
based shall be understood and consistently applied to 
practice, the problem will be easily solved and carried 
into execution. 



ROBERT OWEN 85 

The profession of religion, and attention to its forms 
and ceremonies, which were strictly observed, were the 
foundation on which Scotch character and society were 
formed. The profession was, and is, most essential to 
enable anyone to become respectable, as it is called, in 
any part of Scotland ; and this profession of religion, 
with attention to its forms, was deemed by many all 
that was necessary. Sobriety and correct conduct 
were in much less estimation. 

But the character of the population of the world, in 
consequence of its having been based, under all its varied 
forms on superstition and on the false notion that each 
forms his own qualities and powers of feeling, thinking, 
willing, and acting, is a sham and a falsehood ; and in 
consequence, a surface, artificial, and irrational character 
is alone to be seen from east to west and from north to 
south over the globe. Who shall overcome this universal 
erior and great evil ? 

vThis experiment at New Lanark was the first commence- 
ment of practical measures with a view to change the 
fundamental principle on which society has heretofore 
been based from the beginning ; a nd no expe riment could 
be more successful in proving the tr uth prtTiej jnflciple 
^ atlhe character is formed for and no t /?v the individual j 
and that society now possesses the most ample means 
and power to well-form the character of every one. by 
reconstructing society on its true principle, and making 
it consistent with that fundamental principle in all its 
departments and divisions. As soon as the authorities 
of the world can be convinced of the incalculable ad- 
vantages which will arise in perpetuity to all, from basing 
society on its true principle, there will be littL difficulty 
; in creating a good and valuable character for all, and in 
building up society with good conditions only. 

But I had to commence my experiment, not only in 
opposition to the disbelief in the truth of the funda- 
mental principle on which I was about to found all my 
proceedings, but with the strongest prejudices in favour 
of the truth of the principle which I intended to disprove 
and overcome. The evil conditions which I had to con- 



86 THE LIFE OF 

tend against were the ignorance, superstition, and con- 
sequent immoral conduct and bad habits of the great 
majority of the population ; the long day's work which 
they had to undergo ; the inferior qualities and high price 
of everything which they had to purchase for their own 
use ; the bad arrangements in their houses for rearing 
and training their children from their birth through in- 
fancy and childhood ; and their prejudices against an 
English manufacturer becoming a hard taskmaster, as 
they imagined I was going to be, because they saw I 
was going to adopt what they called new-fangled 
measures. 

In addition to these evil conditions around the work- 
people, I found it necessary, as the foundation of all 
future success, to make the establishment not only , 
self-supporting, but also productive of sufficient surplus 
profits to enable me to effect the changes to the improved 
conditions which I contemplated. My partners were all 
commercial men, and expected a profit in addition to 
interest for their capital. I had therefore to readjust 
the whole business arrangements, and to make great 
alterations in the building, and gradually to change the 
whole machinery of the mills. 

The workpeople w^ere systematically opposed to every 
change which I proposed, and did whatever they could 
to frustrate my object. For this, as it was natural for 
them to dislike new measures and all attempts to change 
their habits, I was prepared, and I made due allowance 
for these obstructions. My intention was to gain their 
confidence, and this, from their prejudices to a stranger 
from a foreign country, as at this time the working class 
of the Scotch considered England to be, was extremely 
difficult to attain. My language was naturally different 
from their Lowland Scotch and the Highland Erse, for 
they had a large mixture of Highlanders among them. 
I therefore sought out the individuals who had the most 
influence among them from their natural powers or 
• position, and to these I took pains to explain what were 
my intentions for the changes I wished to effect. 1 
explained that they were to procure greater permanent 



ROBERT OWEN 87 

advantages for themselves and their children, and re- 
quested that they would aid me in instructing the people, 
and in preparing them for the new arrangements which 
I had in contemplation. 

By these means I began slowly to make an impression 
upon some of the least prejudiced and most reasonable 
among them ; but the suspicions of the majority, that 
I onl}^ wanted, as they said, to squeeze as much gain 
out of them as possible, were long continued. I had great 
difficulty also in teaching them cleanly habits, and order 
and system in their proceedings. Yet each year a sensible 
general improvement was effected. 

The retail shops, in all of which spirits were sold, were 
great nuisances. All the articles sold were bought on 
credit at high prices, to cover great risks. The qualities 
were most inferior, and they were_ retailed out to the 
workpeople at extravagant rates. : I arranged superior 
stores and shops, from which to supply every article 
of food, clothing, etc., which they required. I bought 
everything with money in the first markets, and con- 
tracted for fuel, milk, etc., on a large scale, and had the 
whole of these articles of the best qualities supphed to 
the people at the cost price. The result of this change 
was to save them in their expenses full twenty-five per 
cent., besides giving them the best qualities in every- 
thing, instead of the most inferior articles, with which 
alone they had previously been supplied. 

The effects soon became visible in their improved 
health and superior dress, and in the general comfort 
of their houses. 

This measure tended also to weaken their prejudices 
against me. But it was long before the majority of the 
people could be convinced that I was earnestly engaged 
in measures to improve their permanent condition. At 
length an event occurred which overcame their preju- 
dices, and enabled me to gain their full confidence. We 
were now (1806) receiving a large amount of our supply 
of cotton from the United States, and in consequence of 
diplomatic differences between their government and 
ours, the United States laid an embargo on their own 



88 THE LIFE OF 

ports, and no cotton was allowed to be exported, and it 
was not known how long this embargo might continue, 
or to what ultimate consequences it might lead. The 
prices of all kinds of cotton immediately advanced so 
rapidly and so high, that the manufacturers of the 
article were placed in a dilemma. The master spinners ] 
had to determine whether to stop their machinery and 
discharge their workpeople (which most of them did), or 
to continue to work u]) the material at the high price it 
had attained, and run the risk of a great and sudden fall 
in the price of the raw material and of their manufactured 
stock, should the embargo be removed. Some adopted 
the one course, and some the other. 

We were now spinners on a large scale, and to proceed 
in our operations was most hazardous. To discharge 
the workpeople, whom I then had more than half 
trained to my wishes, and who, if I discharged them 
from our employment, would have suffered great 
privations, would be, as it appeared to me, cruel and 
unjust. I therefore concluded to stop all the machinery, 
retain the people, and continue to pay them their full 
JiAvages for only keeping the machinery clean and in good 
working condition. I continued to do this as long as 
the embargo was maintained. It was four months before 
the United States government terminated the embargo, 
and during that period the population of New Lanark 
received more than seven thousand pounds sterling for 
their unemployed time, without a penny being deducted 
from the full wages of anyone. 

This proceeding won the confidence and the hearts of 
the whole population, and henceforward I had no 
obstructions from them in my progress of reform, which 
I continued in all ways, as far as I thought my monied 
partners would permit me to proceed, and indeed until 
their mistaken notions stopped my further progress^ 

Soon after I left Manchester and was established as 
the sole managing partner at New Lanark, proposals 
were made to the Chorlton Twist Company, our Man- 
chester firm, for the purchase of our Chorlton mills, and 
the negotiation terminated by the sale of them to 



ROBERT OWEN 89 

Messrs. Birley and Hornby, our former Blackburn 
customers, who yet retain them, having made con- 
siderable additions to tht^m. Thus ended my com- 
mercial interest in Manchester, more than half a century 
ago ; and great and extraordinary have been the 
changes in the town from that period to the present. 
Few, if any, of its then leading men in commerce or the 
professions are now living, and a new generation has 
arisen who know me no I. 

Some account of my friendship, partnership, and transac- 
tions with the late celebrated Robert Fulton, the inventor 
and^ introducer of the profitable steamboat into the 
United States of North America. 

This will be a proper place, before I take leave of 
Manchester, for me to state some particulars respecting 
my connexion with that ultimately ill-used man of 
genius and high enterprise, Robert Fulton, who did so 
much for his country, which did so little for him. 

In 1794, Robert Fulton and myself were boarding 
inmates at No. 8 Brazen Nose Street, Manchester. We 
became friends, and he in confidence informed me, that 
in prosecuting an invention which had occurred to him, 
for more expeditiously and cheaply digging or raising 
earth in forming canals, and in obtaining a patent for 
the invention, he had expended all his funds, and he 
knew not, except by disposing of part of the interest in 
his patent, how to obtain more, for all his means and 
credit were exhausted. He said there was a canal to be 
constructed near Gloucester, and if I could supply him 
with funds to go there and see the commissioners 
appointed to carry it into execution, he might perhaps 
succeed in obtaining a contract for digging a portion of 
it, and might thus bring his new patent into notice 
I' and profitable action, and he would give me half of 
the interest in his invention, the success of which was 
however very problematical. I supplied him with funds 
.ind he went to Gloucester, 

My first written communication from him is dated 



90 



THE LIFE OF 



the 20th of November 1794, and is filled with curious 
calculations respecting his new digging machine. His 
first letter to me is dated the 26th of December 1794, 
informing me of his intention to go to Gloucester about 
the 1st of January 1795, giving additional calculations, 
and suggesting new improvements in his machine, and 
ending by saying — " I will send you a sketch and 
" description after digesting the subject." And although 
he was then in considerable pecuniary difficulties, to 
show the buoyancy of his spirits, he concludes thus — 
Please to write to me immediately, and let me know 
how the improvement in the model succeeds. Present 
my best respects to Mr. Moulson, and my volunteer 
friend, Mr. Marsland, and his good lady. By ' volun- 
' teer friend,' I do not mean that Mr. Marsland is, or 
should be, a fensible, — but a volunteer, in the corps 
of benevolence and unanimity, the principles of which 
contributed much to my amusement, and which I 
remember with so much pleasure. That all men may 
be drilled to this glorious exercise, God of His infinite 
mercy grant." 

The next document in succession I find to be articles 
of agreement of partnership between Mr. Fulton and 
myself, which I give here in full as a curiosity to his 
friends in the United States. These articles were as 
follows : — 



" Minutes of agreement made this seventeenth day of 
December 1794, between Robert Fulton, of the city of 
London, engineer, of the one part, and Robert Owen, of 
Manchester, in the county of Lancaster, cotton manu- 
facturer, of the other part. 

" Whereas the said Robert Fulton hath lately invented 
and obtained his Majesty's Royal Letters Patent for the 
exclusive exercise for a term of fourteen years of a certain 
machine for transferring boats and their cargoes to and 
from higher levels and lower levels in and upon canal 
navigations independent of locks, of which machine 
thirty parts or shares (the whole into thirty-two parts 
being divided) are now vested in the said Robert Fulton. 



or 



ROBERT OWEN 91 

And also hath invented and shortly intends to make 
application for letters patent for a certain other machine 
for removing earth out of canals to the banks thereof in 
cases of deep digging without the use of wheelbarrows, 
the sole and whole property in which is now vested in 
the said Robert Fulton. And whereas the said Robert 
Fulton and Robert Owen have agreed to become co- 
partners in the said machines and in the exercise thereof 
at the time and upon the terms hereinafter mentioned, 
that is to say : — 

" That the said Robert Owen shall immediately ad- 
vance to the said Robert Fulton the sum of sixty-five 
pounds to be by him employed toward putting the said 
machines in motion, and that when and as soon as the 
said machine for removing earth shall clear two-pence 
per cubic yard of the contracts for which it may be 
 engaged, or the machine for transferring boats shall 
raise a five-ton boat to any height not exceeding two 
hundred feet in ten minutes (the construction of which 
shall not amount to half the sum annually expended in 
locks), or previous to the execution before stated, at the 
option of the said Robert Owen, the said Robert Fulton 
and Robert Owen shall become co-partners and jointly 
! interested in the said machines and in the whole benefit 
• to arise from the working and use thereof for the tenn of 
fourteen years, or until the expiration of the term hmited 
or to be hmited in the said respective letters patent for 
fthe exclusive exercise of the said machines in the pro- 
portions following, that is to say — 

" That the said Robert Fulton and Robert Owen shall 
be entitled to the said earth-removing machine and to 
the benefit thereof in equal proportions ; and that the 
said Robert Fulton shah be entitled to fifteen of the said 
thirty parts or shares of the said boat-raising machine 
and the benefit to arise therefrom ; and the said Robert 
Owen to the remaining fifteen shares thereof. And the 
said Robert Fuhon shah at the commencement of the 
said co-partnership, or as soon afterwards as the said 
Robert Fulton shall be enabled so to do, by proper 
assurances, as the counsel of the said Robert Owen shall 



92 THE LIFE OF 

advise, assign a proportionate part or share in the said 
machines and in the letters patent already and hereafter 
to be granted for the exercise thereof to the said Robert 
Owen accordingly. 

" That the said Robert Owen shall advance the sum 
', of four hundred pounds, as the business may require, to 
the said co-partnership, which shall be lodged in a bank 
by the said parties, to be by them employed toward the 
expense of completing and working the said machines 
when and as the same shall be wanted. 

" That an account shall be taken quarterly from the 
date hereof, of the profits, expenditure, and loss arising 
from the working of the said machines, and that in such 
account the said Robert Owen shall have credit given 
him for one half of the said sum of four hundred pounds, 
and of all such other sums of money as he shall advance 
(the said sum of sixty-five pounds only excepted), as a 
debt owing by the co-partnership, and shall be paid the 
same out of the first profits arising from the said business ; 
and that then the profits shall be divided between the 
said parties in the proportion before mentioned. 

" That neither of the parties shall assign his share or 
interest either in the said letters patent or in the profits 
to arise from the exercise thereof, without the consent 
of the other first had and obtained in writing. 

"That the same Robert Fulton shall, from the date 
hereof, and after the commencement of the said co-partner- 
ship, to the end of the same, apply his whole time and 
exertions in the said business ; but that the same Robert 
Owen shall not be obhged so to do until one of the said 
machines shall be put in motion to the effect herein- 
before mentioned, at which time the said Robert Owen 
shall likewise apply his whole time and exertions to 
forward the same. 

" That neither of the parties shall use the effects or 
credit of the co-partnership, but for its sole benefit and 
in the regular course of business. 

" That any invention, speculation, or other business 
which may suggest itself to either part}' during the said 
co-partnership term, which may be likely to be pro- 



J 



ROBERT OWEN 93 

iuctive of any advantage, shall be the joint property of 
.he said parties. 

"That neither of the parties shall during the said 
:o-partnership engage in any other business or employ- 
iient, undertaking or speculation, other than that of this 
;o-partnership, without the consent of the other of them ; 
ind in which case the said parties shall be jointly and 
equally interested therein. 

" That all notes, bills, bonds, and other securities for 
noney shall be signed by both the said parties ; and if 
lot so signed, shall be taken as given on the separate 
iccount of the party giving the same ; except bills of 
'xchange in the common course of business, which may 
>e signed by one of the parties on behalf of both in the 
aid firm of the said co-partnership. 

" That the parties shall inform each other of all 
natters relating to the co-partnership. 

" That neither of the parties shall lend money to or 
nake contracts with any person or persons whom the 
)ther shall have forbidden to be connected with ; if he 
loes, in one case he is to pay the sum lent to the cash of 
he co-partnership, and in the other to bear the loss, if 
my, on such contracts himself. 

"That the expenses of all such journeys as are evi- 
lently taken for the benefit of the co-partnership, and 
ill other expenses and the losses of the business, if any, 
hall be borne by the co-partnership ; and if deficient, 
iy the parties themselves, in the same proportions in 
. vhich the same parties are interested in the profits. 

" That neither of the partners shall give bail for or 
)ecome bound with any person without the other's 
onsent in writing, nor do any act whereby the partner- 
ihip may be prejudiced. 

" That proper books of account shall be kept 

"That all monies, bills, and notes shall on receipt be 
entered in the cash book of the said co-partnershij). 

" That a general account shall be taken at the end of 

he said co-partnership or its dissolution ; and that then 

'he parties shall pay their respective shares of the debts 

I )wing by the partnership, and that the machines and 



94 THE LIFE OF, 

other slock shall be sold by public sale, and the amount 
thereof divided between the said partners in the pro- 
portions before mentioned. 

" To give bonds to each other for the payment of 
their respective shares of the debts. 

" In case of the death of either party, the surviving 
partner shall continue to carry on and conduct the said 
business in what manner he shall think proper ; and in 
case the deceased partner shall leave either a wife or 
children, the survivor shall pay quarterly to the executors 
or administrators of the deceased partner one moiety 
of the profits arising from the said business during the 
said term ; and in case the deceased partner shall not 
leave either a wife or children, then that the surviving 
partner shall pay to the executors or administrators of 
the deceased partner only the fourth part of the said 
clear profits payable as aforesaid. 

" And at the expiration of the said co-partnership the 
stock shall be pubhcly sold, and the money arising 
therefrom divided between the surviving partner and 
the executors or administrators of the deceased partner, 
in proportions equal to their respective shares of the 
profits in the cases last before stated. 

" Robert Fulton, Robert Owen." 

This took place during the interregnum between my 
leaving Mr. Drinkwater and my commencement as a 
partner in the Chorlton Twist Company in Manchester. 

The next paper of Mr. Fulton's is an account of his 
debt to a Mr. Thomas Lenning, which he requested me 
to pay for him. Then follows a long letter from Mr. 
Fulton to me, with new calculations and diagrams of 
more improvements on his former invention, and con- 
cluding — " When the rhino is gone, I will write to you." 
Then follow seven letters in rapid succession, from the 
14th of January to the 26th of February 1795, with new 
calculations, various sketches of new machines and 
improvements, and asking for more money. 

He had had a previous unsettled contract with a Mr. 
McNiven, a canal contractor, to whom he had requested 



ROBERT OWEN 95 

me to send a letter from him to Mr. McNiven, with 
proposals for a settlement, but Mr. McNiven would not 
agree to the conditions Mr. Fulton had proposed. I had 
therefore to write to Mr. Fulton to advise him to come 
from Gloucester, whence his letters were dated, to Man- 
chester, to settle this business, as Mr. McNiven had 
threatened to adopt strong measures to enforce a settle- 
ment. It seems that he then came to Manchester, and 
made new proposals to me, to continue the partnership, 
or to make my advances to him a debt, which he would 
repay me with five per cent, interest ; and it appears 
that I preferred and accepted the latter conditions. The 
following is the memorandum of proposals made by Mr. 
Fulton, dated 17th March 1795 :— 

" Manchester, lyth March 1795. 

" Memorandum.— Mr. Robert Owen having advanced 
the sum of £93 8s. in part towards promoting the two 
lirojects of running boats mdependent of locks, and 
removing earth out of canals— it is hereby agreed that 
the said Robert Owen shall advance to the said Robert 
Fulton a further sum, not exceeding £80, to enable him, 
the said Robert Fulton, to make a fair experiment on 
the earth-removing apparatus ; that on finishing such 
machines, should the said Robert Owen think proper to 
] iroceed in the partnership as per contract, he shall be at 
lull Hberty so to do. But should a partnership be pre- 
sented to the said Robert Fulton previous to finishing 
the said machine, he shall be at liberty to accept of the 
same on the proposal of the said Robert Owen. And in 
Hich case, the said Robert Fulton to pay to the said 
Robert Owen, five per cent, per annum, lor the monies 
advanced until the said Robert Fulton shall be enabled 

) refund the principal. 

^ " Robert Fulton. 

My next letter from him is dated the 2nd of November 
1795, regretting his inability to pay me any part ot Ins 
debt. My next letter from him is dated London the 
19th of September 1796, still saying he could not pay 



96 THE LIFE OF 

me, but informing me that his new speculations were 
beginning to be successful in some tanning improvement, 
in addition to his canal contract, which continued to 
give him prospects of ultimate success. My next letter 
from him is dated London, the 28th of April 1797, and ' 
being of a more cheering nature, and more satisfactory 
as to his prospects and future proceedings, I give it entire. 

" London, April 28th, 1797. 

" Dear Sir, — 

" Yesterday Mr. Atheson presented me with your kind 
letter, and I beg you, together with all my old com- 
panions, to accept my most sincere thanks for the friendly 
sentiments and good wishes they entertain in my favour. 

" It was my intention to write to you about the i8th 
of next month, at which time I shall have a bill due, and 
I hope to be in possession of cash. 

" The arrangement I have now made, I hope will 
crown my wishes ; having sold one fourth of my canal 
prospects for £1500 to a gentleman of large fortune and 
considerable enterprise, w^ho is gone to reside at New York. 
Of this ;^i5oo, I shall receive ;^5oo on the 17th of next 
month — ;£5oo in six months, and £500 on my arrival in 
America, which I hope will be about June '98. 

" Now, my friend, this being the state of my money 
prospects, it becomes necessary that I should deal equal 
with all my creditors, whose patience in waiting the result 
of my enterprise I shall long remember with the most 
heartfelt satisfaction, in which, thank Heaven (some men 
would say please the pigs), I have succeeded. 

" In the appropriation of the first ;f5oo, it is stipulated 
between my partner and me, that I should go to Paris 
and obtain patents for the small canal system — this I 
calculate will cost me about ;f200. Of the remaining 
;^300, I will send £60 as your portion, and pay you the 
remainder in six months, which, I hope, will answer your 
purpose. I shall also be happy to pay any loss you 
may sustain by paying interest. 

" In about three weeks I mean to set out for Paris 
and hope to return in time to be with you at Christmas ; 



ROBERT OWEN 97 

and about this time next year I expect to sail for America, 
where I have the most flattering field of action before me, 
liaving already converted the first characters in that 
country tc my small system of canals. My seusalions 
(Ml this business are consequently pleasing — and I hope 
it will please all my friends ; to whom lemember me 
kindly. To the Mr. and Mrs. Marsland, Moulston, 
Scarth, Clarke, Jolly, and the whole assemblage of 
Worthies, remember me, good Owen. 

" Adieu my friend for this time, 
" Believe me, sincerely yours, 

" Robert Fulton." 

I had one more letter from him, dated also from London, 
of the 6th of May, having paid me ^60, and promising 
the remainder in five months ; and I had no subsequent 
communication from him before or after his return to 
the United States. 

The money which he received from me enabled him 
to go to Glasgow, where he saw Bell's imperfect, and, as 
to profit, impotent steamboat, on the Clyde, which was 
not capable of going, without cargo, more than five miles 
an hour. Fulton saw immediately in what the defect 
lay, and knowing how to remedy it, immediately pro- 
ceeded to the United States, and did more to promote 
their rapid progress to great prosperity, than anyone 
living ; and I consider the little aid and assistance 
which I gave to enable him to bestow so great advantage 
on his country and the world, as money most fortunately 
expended. 

While Fulton was with us in Manchester, forming one 
of a circle of inquiring friends, who very frequently met, 
he was considered a valuable addition. The late Dr. 
John Dalton, as I have before stated, was one of this 
circle, and Coleridge came occasionally from his college, 
during vacations, to join us. 

I must now return to my progress in Scotland. 

I had one son born in a year after my marriage,— but 
he died in infancy. Another, named Robert Dale, was 
born the end of the second year. William Dale, two 

7 



98 THE LIFE OF 

years afterwards. Then followed two daughters — 
Anne Caroline and Jane Dale — about two years between 
each. Then David Dale and Richard ; and my youngest 
daughter, Mary, closed the number of my family. 

In the summer we lived in the cottage in the gardens 
in the centre of the village and works, and in winter we 
resided with my father-in-law in Charlotte Street, 
Glasgow. I rode on horseback frequently to and from 
Glasgow, where our warehouses and offices for our stock 
of cotton and yarns, and counting-houses for the trans- 
action of our receipts and payments, were situated. 
In winter, as stated, we lived with Mr. Dale, and he was 
much attached to the family, and became gradually 
more and more confiding in me. He was one of the most 
liberal, conscientious, benevolent, and kind-hearted men 
I have met with through my life. He was universally 
respected for the simplicity and straightforward honesty 
of character. His good nature was often much imposed 
upon, and he gave away large sums, often in mistaken 
charities, which were pressed upon him through his 
being the pastor of upwards of forty churches or con- 
gregations, dissenters from the Church of Scotland, 
composed chiefly of poor persons, learned in the peculiar 
cause of their dissent, but otherwise uninformed as to 
general knowledge. Mr. Dale received all these kindly 
and hospitably, and was truly a good pastor to them, 
in every sense of the word. He was a bishop among 
them, without receiving anything from his flock ; but 
on the contrary, expending his private fortune freely 
to aid and assist them. 

From my marriage to his death, he and I never ex- 
changed one unpleasant expression or an unkind word ; — 
and this was the more remarkable, because our religious 
notions were very different at the period of my marriage, 
and we distinctly knew this difference. But Mr. Dal 
being sincerely religious, was most charitable to tlios' 
who differed with him. We had frequently many friendl 
discussions respecting our convictions on religion, 
took my ground with him on the error of all religion 
in placing any virtue in the faith or belief in theirl 



ROBERT OWEN gg 

respective dogmas. I held that belief never was and 
never could be in the power of anj^one ; that it was 
forced upon all by early instruction, or by conviction 
of the strongest evidence made upon the mind ; that in 
either case the individual was compelled to have the 
faith or belief, whatever it might be ; and that it was in 
every instance an involuntary act of the mind, and for 
which no one could be justly or rationally praised or 
blamed, rewarded or punished. And as all religions 
were based on the presumed power of man to believe or 
disbelieve by the power of an independent will of his own 
creation, and as this supposition was opposed to all facts 
all the religions of the world were emanations of dis- 
ordered or misinstructed minds, although in many cases 
supported by the most sincere, benevolent, and well- 
intentioned individuals, who had been so impressed with 
their truth and importance, that they, like the equally 
mistaken patriots of the present day, often willingly 
sacrificed their lives in defence of their faith or of the 
religious notions which, unknowing the cause whence 
arising, they were compelled to have. 

I told him I could no more force my mind to believe 
that which he had been made conscientiously to believe, 
! han he could force his own mind to believe as I had been 
compelled to believe ; that that which had been forced 
into his mind as divine truth, was made to appear to me 
as ignorant human falsehood, and which, whenever 
brought under discussion with me, I was conscientiously 
compelled to endeavour to disprove. 

After a certain time, finding these facts could not be 
justly denied, and being extremely liberal and tnithful. 
he admitted them, and acknowledged I was consistent 
il according to my view of human nature ; but he often 
concluded our discussions, which we always continued 
in the kindest spirit and with full charity for each 
other's opinions, by saying, with one of his peculiar kind 
and affectionate expressions (for I had become a great 
avourite with him) — " Thou needest be very right for 

thou art very positive." And I am sure he deeply 
reflected on all I said. 



100 THE LIFE OF 

In this manner and in this spirit all our discussions 
upon religion terminated ; but after sometime, when 
each party knew the other's opinions, these discussions 
ceased and our conversations were generally directed 
to elicit some practical measure of improvement for the 
poor and workpeople, or to some domestic affairs. But 
such were the feelings created in me by his natural 
simplicity, his almost unbounded liberahty and bene- 
volence, and his warm - hearted kindness that my 
affection for him daily increased as long as he 
lived. 

I have previously mentioned that he was a partner 
with Mr. George Macintosh, father to Charles, who in- 
vented the manufacture of india-rul:)l)er into the well- 
known " Macintoshes " for preserving from rain ; and 
as I advised Mr. Dale to terminate some of his many 
business establishments, he wished me to go with his 
partner, Mr. George Macintosh, into Sutherland, where 
the cotton mill in which they were partners was situated. 
This was at that period (1802) a formidable undertaking. 
There were no steamboats, no mail coaches, not even 
the common stage coach, and the roads were in a 
wretched state, carried over the tops of the hills, having 
been made under the direction of General Wade as 
military roads, in a supposed enemy's country to prevent 
surprise. The usual mode of travelhng was on foot or 
on horseback, or by very slow going carriage vehicles. In 
one case we had to engage a chaise, horses, and driver to 
go the whole journey and back with us. It is useful to 
notice the progress of travfelling and of civilization, in 
this part of the British dominions. Our engagement 
with the owner of the carriage and horses was — to pay 
thirty shillings a day for each day, until our return ; to 
travel on the average not more than twenty miles a day, 
— and that upon those roads was considered a hard day's 
work for horses and driver ; and so we found it. We were 
also to pay all tolls and the driver, — but I do not recollect 
whether we were to feed the horses or not ; bat, how- 
ever that might be, we had generally to walk up all the' 
hills, and down many of them, and occasionally, when 



u 



ROBERT OWEN loi 

the hill was long and steep, we had to assist the horses 
by pushing behind the carriage. 

Mr. Macintosh knew everything on this route, the 
principal houses, and who occupied them ; being himself 
a Highlander, born in Ross-shire, higlily intelligent, 
humane, and an excellent travelling companion. He 
had, from love of his country, induced Mr. Dale, who 
first commenced cotton spinning in Scotland at the New 
Lanark establishment in partnership with Mr. (after- 
wards Sir Richard) Arkwright, to join him (Mr. Macintosh) 
in this cotton mill in Scotland — called the " Spinning 
Dale Cotton Mill," with a view of introducing this new 
machinery into the North Highlands, and to give employ- 
ment to the people. Mr. Dale sent instructed people 
there to manage the business for him and Mr. Macintosh, 
but he himself never went there. 

Our journey was to me one of great interest. I had 
never been in the Highlands. The scenery and every- 
thing connected with the country were new to me, and 
on this occasion I had an excellent traveUing companion. 
After we arrived in the Highlands we found it difficult 
enough to make out the average of twenty miles a day, 
but I was amply gratified by the wild scenery through 
which we passed, and was amused with the primitive 
accommodations we met with among the mountaineers, 
for there was at that period very httle travelling through 
those districts. 

Sir Walter Scott was at this time unknown to fame, 
and the Highlands were very seldom visited by the 
EngUsh ; but Mr. Macintosh well knowing the country 
and its customs, we passed on our way, though slowly, 
much better than I anticipated at the commencement 
of our journey. 

As an evidence of our rate of traveUing — one day, as 
usual, we were walking up one of the long hills, and were 
overtaken by one of the young men of tlie country, who 
appeared to be about twenty-five years old, and who was 
going some distance in our direction. We entered into 
conversation with him, and found liim well acquainted 
with the locality for a considerable distance around, and 



102 THE LIFE OF 

we obtained much useful information from him before 
we attained the summit of the long hill, when Mr. 
Macintosh and I got into the carriage to descend on the 
other side. Our new companion, as the horses could 
only proceed at a slow walk, such was the then state of 
the road, for some time accompanied us by the side of 
the carriage, and continued our conversation. But our 
progress was so slow that at length he said — " Really, 
" gentlemen, I am very sorry to leave you, — but I cannot 
" delay my journey any longer," and bidding us " good 
" morning," he soon left us far behind, and in a few 
minutes was out of sight. I said — " Mr. Macintosh, this 
" is really too bad — here are we with a carriage, a pair of 
" horses, and a driver, — and this young man on foot 
" cannot wait our slow movements. How much more 
" independent he is, than we are with these appendages ! " 
He said that many of these young men thought nothing 
of walking fifty or sixty miles in the day for pleasure, 
and occasionally more, if necessity required them to 
extend the distance. 

We soon began to enjoy the fresh air of the mountains, 
and being obliged to wait long at our stages for feeding 
and resting the horses, we made frequent excursions to 
see the best views and the finest scenery within our reach. 
I enjoyed the exhilarating mountain breezes very much, 
and we found a great increase to our appetite, especially 
after travelling a long stage before breakfast, on which 
occasion the landlord's eggs, etc., suffered a great 
diminution. 

This journey added considerably to the strength of 
my constitution, and to my surprise I found, such was 
the keenness and purity of the air, with the exercise we 
took, that, contrary to my former habit, I could take 
the spirit manufactured then so pure in the Highlands, 
in moderate quantity, without suffering any incon- 
venience, but which practice I never could adopt in the 
Lowlands. 

In passing through one of the extraordinary glens on 
our route, inclosed on either side with high mountains, 
Mr. Macintosh said — " I have great cause to remember 



ROBERT OWEN 103 

"this glen, for on one occasion, when I was passing 
" through it alone on horseback, and when I was about 
" the middle of it, I was suddenly surprised by an eagle 
" darting close by me, which startled me from abstract 
" musings in which I was intently occupied at the time, 
" and looking around me I saw two large eagles hovering 
"above me, and I soon discovered that they intended 
" to make a morning feast upon me, and upon the pony 
" on which I rode,- — for immediately one of them again 
" darted direct at my eyes. Fortunately I had a short 
 strong riding whip with a long lash, and with tliis I 
" parried their attacks, which they made singly, one 
" some minutes after the other, and I had the greatest 
" difficulty in guarding my head against their repeated 
" attempts at my eyes, which were evidently their aim. 
" If they had attacked me both at the same time, their 
" swiftness and power were such that I doubt whether I 
" could long have resisted their united forces ; and never 
" did I feel the escape from imminent personal danger 
" so much as when I cleared the glen and was freed from 
" those ferocious and powerful birds." 

We at length arrived at Inverness, where Mr. Macin- 
tosh was well known to the authorities of the burgh. 
lie made known to them who his travelling companion 
was, — whom I represented, — and that the object of our 
journey was to see what could be done towards extending 
the cotton manufacture in the north Highlands ; which 
measure had been for some time a favourite plan with 
}.Ir. Macintosh, who, from seeing Mr. Dale's success in 
\arious places in the south of Scotland, had a strong 
desire to thus benefit his native district. 

From respect and regard for Mr. Macintosh we were 
officially sohcited to accept the honorary freedom of this 
inyal and loyal burgh, and we were invited to a pubhc 
uinner, to be given on the occasion, at which the Provost 
jiresided. After dinner the freedom of the burgh was 
! 'resented to us in curious boxes prepared for the pur- 
I 'ose, and given with great official formality. The usual 
1 i'inj)limentary speeches and replies were made. This 
was the first time I witnessed the pubhc proceedings 



104 THE LIFE OF 

of a royal burgh in Scotland, — but afterwards I saw 
more of them, to my cost, in election matters. In this 
case we were much gratified with the kindness and dis- 
interested hospitality of the authorities of Inverness, 
where, after travelhng so long through the Highland 
districts, I was surprised to hear the English language 
spoken in great purity by the inhabitants generally. 

At length we crossed the Moray Firth, and attained 
the utmost extent of our travels northward,, and arrived 
at " Spinning Dale Mills." The works were not ex- 
tensive, and were in ordinary condition ; and we 
remained only long enough for me to discover what 
improvements to recommend without going to too great 
expense, for the locality was unfavourable for extension 
or for a permanent establishment. Mr. Dale soon after 
our return sold his interest in it, and induced Mr. Macin- 
tosh to follow his example. 

Upon our return we visited several respectable 
Highland families, remaining a longer or shorter period 
with each family. I kept a journal of this journey, 
which in my many changes of residence and extensive 
travelling since, has been mislaid, — ^^vhich I regret ; for 
our visits were very interesting, and the kindness, 
hospitality, and good sense of the parties to whom Mr. 
Macintosh introduced me, gratified me very much at 
the time, and left a pleasing impression on my mind. 
The names of the parties and places of residence I cannot 
now recall to memory, but Mr. Grant, of Logan, was 
one of them, and with whose conversation I was much 
interested. 

Feeling always the importance to the human race of 
the knowledge which I had acquired of the true prin- 
ciples of the formation of character, and of the over- 
whelming influence of circumstances, or of good or bad 
conditions, in forming character, — perceiving also that 
the happiness or misery of our race depended upon an 
accurate knowledge in principle and practice of this 
formation, — I always endeavoured in every new society . 
to introduce and enforce these subjects by the most plain 
and simple arguments and explanations. All subsequent 



ROBERT OWEN 105 

experience tended to prove to me the endless crimes, 
errors, and evils, created by, and necessarily emanating 
from, the grossly deceived imagination which led our 
earliest and most ignorant ancestors to take it for 
granted, despite of the hourly opposing facts to disprove 
their false notions — " that each one forms his own 
" qualities, and therefore should be made responsible 
" to his fellow-man and to God for them." Seeing vividly 
the immense evil consequences arising from this most 
fatal of all errors, it gradually became the great business 
of my life to endeavour to convince all parties with whom 
I came into communication, of the lamentable conse- 
quences which have necessarily arisen from it to the 
human race, through all past ages, — of its obstruction 
to knowledge of ourselves (the most valuable of all 
knowledge) — of its creation of sin and misery, while 
without it, ignorance, sin, and misery would be now un- 
known over the world, — and to the total destruction of 
the principle of charity, morality, and justice. Its evils 
were always present to my mind, and my habit became 
uniform to oppose it everywhere, under all its varied 
forms and vicious results. 

It was this habit of my mind that induced Hazlitt 
some years after this period to say in his writings that I 
was " a man of one idea." Had he said that I was a man 
of one fundamental principle and its practical conse- 
quences, — he would have been nearer the truth. For 
instead of the knowledge that " the character of man is 
" formed /or and not by him," being "one idea," — it 
will be found to be, like the little grain of mustard seed, 
competent to fill the mind with new and true ideas, and 
to overwhelm in its consequences all other ideas opposed 
to it. 

It was upon this tour to the Highlands of Scotland, 
that on our different visits to Mr. Macintosh's hospitable 
friends I began my mission to openly propagate my 
•' new views of society " ; and this was in the summer of 
1802, above half a century ago. 

The argument with which I was the most frequently 
met, was, not that the principle which I advocated was 



io6 THE LIFE OF 

untrue, or in any particular unsound ; but that it was 
utterly impracticable. And impracticable because it 
would overturn all the existing ideas of right and wrong, 
— all the institutions of society, — and would revolutionize 
both man and all his proceedings. The argument, so 
far as the overturning of all existing ideas of right and 
wrong, and the changing of all the institutions of society, 
is correct ; and it is the knowledge of this extensive and 
overwhelming change, without any correct knowledge ot 
what the change will lead to, or how it is to be peaceably 
and beneficially for all effected, that so far has deterred 
the authorities of the world in churches and states from 
allowing the subject to be fairly and freely investigated 
from its foundation through all its ramifications as it 
will affect the practice of society in every department of 
life. The human mind over the world, as it has been 
hitherto taught and filled from birth with false and most 
incongruous ideas, has no clear conceptions of truth in 
principle, or of right and wrong in practice ; hence its 
incongruity, contests, wars, and universally irrationa't 
conduct at this day over the world. All the nations of 
the earth, with all the boast of each respecting their 
advance in what they call civilization , are to-day governed 
by force, fraud, falsehood, and fear, emanating from 
ignorance in governors and governed. For all are 
lamentable sufferers from so governing and being so 
governed. Truth, goodness, wisdom, and happiness 
will be for ever unattainable under any state of society, 
based, as society ever has been and now is based, upon 
.the supposition that each one forms his own qualities, 
possesses a free will to believe or disbelieve, or to love 
or hate persons or things at pleasure, — and that map 
ought to be responsible to God and society for his qualities 
of mind and body, for his belief or disbelief, for his love 
or hatred, and for all his actions proceeding from them. 
And, once for all, I now, at the near approach of eighty- 
six years (1857), after a life of great and extraordinary! 
experience among all classes, creeds, and colours, andj 
in many countries, state, upon the clearest conviction 
forced on my mind, that all the petty schemes of reform j 



ROBERT OWEN 107 

proposed by any political or religious parties, short of 
this radical change in principle and practice, and making 
the practice without deviation, in outline and detail, 
consistent with the principle, are not only of no value, 
but that they are mischievous obstructions to the im- 
mediate attainment of goodness, wisdom, and happiness, 
to all of the human race. 

It was this knowledge of human nature, consistently 
applied to practice, that enabled me at twenty years of 
age to govern most successfully five hundred men, 
women, and children, and to conduct one of the most 
difficult manufactures to a high degree of prosperity 
over all competitors. It was this knowledge that, at 
the period of the history of my life which I am now 
narrating, induced me to undertake to govern a more 
difficult and extended population, amidst all manner of 
counteractions and opposing forces, on these new prin- 
ciples, — and with what success will be seen as I proceed 
with my narrative, to which I now return. 

Mr. Dale and Mr. Macintosh sold the " Spinning Dale 
" Mill," and Mr. Dale and Sir William Douglas sold the 
mill at Newton-Douglas. The Catrine Mills, in Ayrshire, 
which Mr. Dale possessed in partnership with Mr. 
Alexander of Ballochmyle, were also sold, to Messrs. 
Kirkman Finlay and Co., of Glasgow. 

These sales released Mr. Dale from much anxiety, and 
allowed him to pass the remainder of his life more quietly 
and much more to his satisfaction. During summer, 
while we were hving at New Lanark, Mr. Dale occasionally 
came to remain for a short time with us. His situation 
as director of the Bank of Scotland in Glasgow, pre- 
vented his being long absent from that city. Year after 
\ear he witnessed the changes which were in progress— 
Ihe improved condition and increased industry' of the 
people; and thev presented a striking contrast to the 
state of the estabhshment when we purchased it. He 
said to the people, " If the miUs had been managed as 
" they now are, and you had worked for me as you arc 
" now working for Mr. Owen, I would not have sold the 
" establishment to strangers." At this time I had but 



io8 THE LIFE OF 

one-ninth interest in the partnership, — ^but I had one 
thousand a year as sole manager, and Mr. Dale would 
have preferred, could we have foreseen fevents, that it 
should have remained entirely in the family. 

When I have stated that in improving society I would 
effect the change by superseding existing evil conditions 
by good ones, the question has often been asked — How 
will you begin? My reply has been, "In the same 
" manner that I commenced the change in New Lanark. 
" I studied the existing local causes which were creating 
" the evils and errors, and I gradually superseded these 
" causes by others less productive of evil — by such 
" causes as were calculated to produce beneficial instead 
" of evil effects." And thus, to act rationally, must 
the change be effected everywhere. The local causes 
producing evil in all situations must be well considered, 
and then measures properly adapted to those circum- 
stances should be devised to supersede the evil causes 
by good. 

But in this practice the population of the world is 
even now a novice, or very imperfectly informed. In 
consequence of the false fundamental principle, " that man 
''forms himself to be what he is," — few, if any, know what 
are evil and what are good conditions, and how to super- 
sede the evil by the good. And hence the failure of all 
churches and governments to train any portion of the 
human race to become rational, or to become good, wise, 
and happy. While if they had understood this practice 
at an early period, the entire population of the world, 
thousands of years past, would have been so surrounded 
by good conditions only, that all would have enjoj'ed a 
state of existence in which from birth all would have been 
forced, without individual rewards or punishments, 
but solely through the influence of surrounding good 
conditions, to become good, wise, and happy. 

To prepare the population for this change, to show them 
by example the effects of so simple a practice, had now to 
become the business of many years of my life, and I set 
about it in good earnest. 

Had I then had to commence de novo in creating my 






ROBERT OWEN 109 

own combination of conditions, tliey would have been 
very different from mere cotton mill combinations — very 
different from those which existed at tliis jieriod in the 
village and works of New Lanark. There would iia\-e 
been no difficulty in forcing, without individual punish- 
ment or rewanl, a good character upon all ; nor in 
enabling them with pleasure to surround themselves at 
all times with a superfluity of the most valuable wealth, 
if I had had the means to create, on a new foundation 
and site, the combination of conditions which can alone 
effect these results. Society has never yet put it into 
my power to show the world an example of these con- 
ditions, — although it is the highest and most permanent 
interest of all that this example should he given in my 
lifetime, because my experience in scientific practical 
arrangements for superseding evil by good conditions, is 
' the only experience of that character yet known to the 
world. 

I had a very different and a far more difficult task to 
perform at New Lanark. I was obliged to commence 
with combination of vicious and inferior conditions — 
but conditions to which the population had been long 
"accustomed, and to many of which they were strongly 
attached. The difficulty of undoing and overcoming that 
which has long been wrong, greatly exceeds the difficulty 
of putting matters right from the beginning. That which 
I could have done comparatively perfectly in two years, 
had I possessed the means unfettered by partners and 
ignorant prejudices, I could not effect under the erroneous 
combination of a cotton spinning establishment, such 
as then existed at New Lanark, with the most devoted 
attention to the subject, in the thirty years during which 
I directed the operations of that establishment. Nor 
could such an establishment ever be made tolerably 
perfect in my estimation, with the conditions necessarily 
connected with a mere manufacturing establishment. 
Its foundation is an error ; and its superstructure could 
be amended only by an entire re-creation of new con- 
ditions. ' 

But the new conditions with which I propose to sur- 



no THE LIFE OF 

round the human race must be everywhere introduced 
while present conditions exist. It should, however, be 
distinctly understood, that the conditions of the proposed 
new state of human existence, must commence on new 
sites ; for those of the old can never be united to make 
a consistent, rational, true, and beneficial society. >A11 
therefore that I could expect to accomplish at New 
Lanark, was to ameliorate to some extent the worst evils 
of a fundamentally erroneous system. { Yet, in the esti- 
mation of the public, the change which was effected at 
New Lanark exceeded all expectation. Those strangers 
who came to scrutinise and examine it, said that the 
change appeared to them, until they witnessed it, to 
be utterly impracticable. 

I here make these explanations, because the public 
supposed that I made New Lanark the model of the 
system which I advocated, and that I wished the world 
to be composed of such arrangements as New Lanark 
exhibited in its improved state. Although before I had 
half accomplished what I ultimately effected there, the 
improvement in the condition of the workpeople was 
such that the strangers who visited the works were 
satisfied ; and, compared with all other similarly situated 
workpeople, these were happy, and publicly expressed 
their full content with their condition, — still, I knew too 
well the inferiority of their mind and condition, and the 
injustice they were yet suffering, to be satisfied for them, 
— knowing how much more society could beneficially do 
for them, and for all other classes. 

Let it therefore be kept in everlasting remembrance, 
that that which I effected at New Lanark was only the 
best I could accomplish under the circumstances of an 
ill-arranged manufactory and village, which existed be- 
fore I undertook the government of the establishment. 

After the events which had taken i)lnce at New Lanark 
in consequence of the American embargo upon tlieirl 
own ports, I had the confidence of the workpeople heartily 
with me, and then I urged forward with greater rapidity] 
my measures for the improvement of their condition, 
physically and morally. , Finding their temptations too 



ROBERT OWEN in 

strong for them to be honest and sober, and steadily 
and regularly industrious, I devised new conditions to 
counteract these temptations. I adopted checks of 
various kinds in all the departments of the business, to 
render theft impracticable without almost immediate 
detection. In one department in which theft had been 
carried on to a ruinous extent, and in which a hundred 
thousand of the kind of objects pilfered passed daily 
through four different set of hands, I devised a plan by 
which, without counting, should one be taken, the loss 
would be at once discovered, and in whose department it 
occurred. I had also a daily return presented to me 
every morning of the preceding day's operations, and 
frequent balances in every department. 
flBut that which I found to be the most efficient check 
upon inferior conduct, was the contrivance of a silent 
^monitor for each one employed in the establishment. 
This consisted of a four-sided piece of wood, about two 
inches long and one broad, each side coloured — one side 
black, another blue, the third yellow, and the fourth 
white, tapered at the top, and finished with wire eyes, to 
hang upon a hook with either side to the front. One of 
these was suspended in a conspicuous place near to 
each of the persons employed, and the colour at the 
front told the conduct of the individual during the 
preceding day, to four degrees of comparison. Bad, 
denoted by black and No. 4, — indifferent by blue, and 
No. 3, — good by yellow, and No. 2, — and excellent by 
white and No. i^Then books of character were provided, 
for each department, in which the name of each one 
employed in it was inserted in the front of succeeding 
columns,. which sufficed to mark by the number the daily 
conduct, day by day, for two months ; and these books 
were changed six times a year, and were preserved ; by 
which arrangement I had the conduct of each regislered 
to four degrees of comparison during every day of the 
week, Sundays excepted, for every year they remained 
ill my employment. The superintendent of each dejiart- 
inent had the placing daily of these silent monitors, and 
ihe master of the mill regidated those of the superin- 



112 THE LIFE OF 

tendents in cacli mill. If anyone thought that the 
.su]>erintendent did not do justice, he or she had a right 
to com]>lain to me, or, in my absence, to the master of 
tlie mill, before the number denoting the character was 
entered in the register. But such complaints very rarely 
occiured. The act of setting down the number in the 
book of character, never to be blotted out, might be 
likened to the supposed recording angel marking the 
good aijd bad deeds of poor human nature. 

It was gratifying to observe the new spirit created by 
these silent monitors. The effects and progress of this 
simple plan of preventing bad and inferior conduct were 
far beyond all previous expectation. Each silent moni- 
tor was, as stated, so placed as to be conspicuous, and 
to be seen to belong to its own individual. I could thus 
see at a glance, as I passed through each room of every 
factory or mill, how each one had behav^ed during the 
preceding day. 

At the commencement of this new method of recording 
character, the great majority were black, many blue, and 
a few yellow ; gradually the black diminished and were 
succeeded by the blue, and the blue were gradually 
succeeded by the yellow, and some, but at first very few, 
were white. 

For the first eight years I was continually occupied in 
training the people, improving the village and machinery, 
and in laying the foundation for future progress. It was 
intended as much for an experiment for the benefit of 
the world, as for cotton spinning, so far as such an 
experimental establishment could be applied for such pur- 
pose, with its radical defects. My time, from early to 
late, and my mind, were continually occupied in devising 
measures and directing their execution, to improve the 
condition of the people, and to advance at the same time? 
the works and the machinery as a manufacturing estab- 
lishment. 

During this period my father-in-law's health began t<> 
decline. We had acquired a sincere friendship and 
strong affection for each other. He, a genuine good a.nd 
religious man, — while I was a conscientious believer in 



ROBERT OWEN 113 

the fundamental error of all religions. Yet we were as 
cordially united in feeling as two men could be. Each 
respected the conscientious feelings of the other, and 
upon these differences the utmost charity prevailed on 
both sides. He was the only religious man I ever knew 
who possessed real charity for those who so differed 
from him. He gave me his full confidence, and asked 
my advice on all his affairs, and adopted rriy recom- 
mendations, I think, in every instance. 

In his last illness I was, by his earnest request, con- 
tinually with him ; he always wished me to give him his 
medicines, and he was unwilling to take them from any 
one else. 

When he thought that he could not live much longer, he 
requested me to tell him what I thought he should do for 
others not of his own immediate family, having already 
made his will as to them. The late Mrs. Dale had left 
two maiden sisters and one married one, and I knew their 
family expected Mr. Dale, who had been always very 
liberal to them, would remember them in his will. But 
laving five children and expecting many grandchildren, 
le did not think it necessary to do so, as their immediate 
elatives were wealthy, although their own incomes were 
imited. 
I said—" I am sure they will feel very much dis- 
appointed." " Well," he said, " write down what you 
 think should be done for them." At that time I 
hought Mr. Dale's property was much more valuable 
han from many changes it afterwards proved to be. 
therefore wrote what I intended to be a codicil to his 
\ ill, leaving each of these ladies one hundred a year for 
lie, and making some other legacies, the amount of 
vhich I do not recollect. 

These ladies had one brother living, domg well, con- 
i. cted with high famihes, and himself a well emi)loyed 
uiter to the signet m Edinburgh, and another brother 
kceased. General Campbell, who had been Deputy 
Governor of Gibraltar, and commandant under His 
^oyal Highness the late Duke of Kent. General 
' mpbell was a very superior officer and a great favounte 
8 



114 THE LIFE OF 

with the Duke. In consequence of the General's eminent 
services, his eldest son, the present General Sir Gu} 
Campbell, was made a baronet, and upon a visit to m<- 
while I resided at Braxiield (to be afterwards mentioned) 
he met with Miss Fitzgerald, the daughter of Lord 
Edward Fitzgerald, who was then upon a visit with our 
neighbour Lady Ross Bailey, of Bonnington, whose 
eldest son. Sir Charles Ross, Bart., had married Lady Mary 
Fitzgerald, sister of the Duke of Leinster. Sir Guy anci 
Miss Fitzgerald were married at Bonnington, and I ga\ c 
the lady away, being also her co-trustee with the Dukt 
of Leinster, her uncle. 

These circumstances I mention to show the wealthy 
and superior connexions of the Campbell family, which 
induced Mr. Dale to say that he thought the legacif 
which I recommended him to leave to the Misses Camp- 
bell were not called for, and could not be reasonabl . 
expected. 

I knew, however, that the disappointment of the^ 
ladies and their brother would be very afflicting to theiu 
if they were forgotten. _ Soon after I had written tiic^ 
letter containing these proposed legacies, the brothei 
arrived from Edinburgh, and reading the paper which I 
had written, he became very anxious that Mr. Dale should 
sign it, and urged him very much to do so ; but Mr 
Dale was very firm, and decided not to sign it. " Then,' 
Mr. Campbell said, " it will be useless, and as a dead 
"letter"; — but the more Mr. Dale was solicited tht 
more unwilling he became to accede, and at length h« 
said, " I leave with my son-in-law to act after my death 
" as he may decide," — and thus this matter was con 
eluded. Mr. Campbell was much respected as the heac 
of a religious sect, and a popular W.S. 

In two or three days afterwards Mr. Dale died, and Mi 
death was felt as a great public loss, — for he was uni 
versally respected, and was loved by all who knew him 
There was a peculiarly attractive and winning bene 
volence in his manner, that won the hearts of all who wer 
known to him, — but especially of those who were ad 
mitted to his familiarity. To me, who had his full con | 



ROBERT OWEN (^115 

ndence in all his affairs for the last six years of his life, 
and to whom lie was most affectionately kind, his loss, 
a> a parent and confidential friend, to whom I was 
attached in a manner only known and felt by myself, 
was as though I had been deprived of a large part of 
myself. The morning after his death the world appeared 
a blank to me, and his death was a heavy loss to and 
severely felt by every member of his family. 

The inhabitants of Glasgow made his funeral a pubhc 
one. They closed their shops, suspended their business, 
and attended the funeral of the man without guile, 
benevolent and kind to all, regardless of creed and 
country. 

To return to the New Lanark establishment and its 
population. 

In searching out the evil conditions in which the 
workpeople were involved, their domestic arrangements 
for rearing their children from infancy appeared to me 
especially to be injurious to parents and children, and 
my thoughts were now directed to measures which 
should, as far as practicable under our circumstances, 
relieve both from the worst of the evils which they were 
suffering. 

The houses of the poor and working classes generally 
are altogether unfit for the training of young children, 
who, under the limited space and accommodations of 
these dwellings, are always in the way of their parents, 
who must be occupied about their daily affairs ; the 
children are therefore spoken to and treated just the 
reverse of the manner required to well-train and well- 
educate children. And in ninety-nine cases out of a 
hundred, parents are altogether ignorant of the right 
method of treating children, and their own children 
especially. These considerations created in me the 
first thoughts respecting the necessity of an inkint 
M-liool, to be based on tlie true j^rinciple of forming char- 
it ter from the earliest period at which the infants could 
leave their parents. . 

These children were now surrounded by evil conditions. 
1 wished to take them, as much as our establishment 



Ii6 THE LIFE OF 

could be made to admit, out of those evil conditions, and 
to place them within better conditions for forming their 
tempers and habits. I was surrounded with difficulties 
to oppose the carrying of my views into practice. To 
erect and finish a building for my purpose would require 
an expenditure in the first instance of about five thousand 
pounds, — and a considerable annual outlay afterwards. 
But this I estimated would gradually be amply repaid 
by the improved character of the children, and the im- 
proved condition of the parents. I had then, when the 
building should be erected, to overcome the prejudices 
of the parents against sending their children so young to 
school. I had to meet the objections of my partners, 
who were all good commercial men, and looked to the 
main chance, as they termed it, — which was a good return 
for their capital. And I was opposed in all my views by 
the parish minister. In contemplating this new meas. 
ure, my mind led me to the necessity for making arrange- 
ments to well-form the character of the rising population 
of New Lanark from the earliest period to maturit}', 
as far as a cotton-spinning estabhshment could be 
made to effect it, and commercial men to agree to it. 
I therefore laid the plan as deep and wide for this pur- 
pose as the means under my control would admit. 

My mind had been early deeply impressed while in 
Manchester with the importance of education for the 
human race. I had watched and aided the progress of 
Lancaster in his early attempts to commence something 
towards a beginning to instruct the poor, and had 
encouraged him to the extent that my means permitted 
And when the Church set up Dr. Bell in opposition to 
Lancaster, I was inclined equally to encourage Dr. Bell 

I immediately perceived the fundamental error of 
both Church and Dissent ; but the beginning of some 
education, however defective, was much better than 
the entire neglect of it ; and I confidently expected that 
when once commenced it would gradually progress 
towards a much more matured state. I therefore 
assisted Lancaster, from first to last, with a thousand 
pounds, and offered to Dr. Bell's committee a like amount 



ROBERT OWEN 117 

if they would open the national schools to children of 
parents of every creed ; but I offered to give them only 
half the sum if they persisted in their rule to shut tlie 
doors against all except those professing the creed 
of the Church of England. The committee of the 
national schools debated this proposal of mine for two 
days, and at length decided, by a small majority f»f 
votes, as I was informed, to receive the five lumdred 
pounds, keeping their doors closed against Dissent ; and 
dechned to open them for a gift of double the amount. 
1 thus saved my five hundred pounds, and I had the 
satisfaction to learn that the result of those two debates 
was to cause the doors of the national schools to be 
opened to Dissent in about twelve months afterwards. 

In following up the subject from that period to the 
present, my mind has attained the knowledge of the all- 
importance of education in its true meaning, for forming 
a good character, not merely for the present period, but 
permanently and universally for the human race. 

Inmaking preparationfortraining therising generation 
in the village of New Lanark, I had not the means to 
create anew the extended arrangements required to 
give a good and valuable permanent character to all. 
[ was compelled by circumstances to use such means 
as were placed within my power, and in consequence of 
the many obstacles opposed, to proceed only at a snail's 
[jace. I began in 1809 to clear the foundation for the 
infant and other schools, to form the new character of 
rhe rising population ; but until the first of January 
1816 I was prevented carrying my scheme into actual 
[practice by the events to be narrated. 

I had by this time (1809) made such progress m 
training the people in better and more sober and in- 
3ustrious habits, and in discovering the capacity of 
he establishment for more extended operations, that I 
ecommended to my partners in London and Manchester 
he advantages that might be derived by the changes 
ind reforms which I advocated. The statements which 
i made to them went beyond their views and alarmed 
hem by their extent. The leading partners from each 



ii8 THE LIFE OF 

house came from London and Manchester to see what I 
had done and was doing. They stayed on a visit to me 
for several days, and after inspecting everything, and 
hearing what I had further to recommend, they ex- 
pressed themselves highly pleased with the progress 
made and with the present condition of the whole 
establishment. They said they would communicate to 
our other partners my views as I had explained them, 
and would take them into consideration. Upon their 
return the}^ decided to present me with a large silver 
salver, with a very flattering inscription engraved upon 
it, and I concluded that my plans for future progress 
would be agreed to. But some of the parties were 
timid, and were afraid to agree to my extended recom- 
mendations ; and after some months' consideration, 
some more of the acting and principal partners came 
again to hear the full outline and detail of that which 
I proposed to do. 

I explained to them my intended measures, step by 
step, and stated the beneficial effects which I expected 
they would produce. When I had fully delivered myself 
of all I intended to say upon the subject, and to which 
they listened with great interest, I was struck and much 
amused by the reply of their appointed spokesman. He 
said, " Each of your propositions is true individually; 
" but as they lead to conclusions contrary to our edu- 
" cation, habits, and practices, they must in the aggre- 
" gate be erroneous, and we cannot proceed on such new 
" principles for governing and extending this already 
" very large establishment." M}^ reply was, " I can 
" govern and conduct this population, and direct the 
" establishment only upon the principles which appear 
" to me to be true, and through the practice which I 
" understand, and which hitherto has always been 
" successful." They however seemed to be doubtful, 
and to hesitate what to say or do ; for they saw I was 
decided to manage, while I remained the managing 
partner, in the way I knew would succeed the most 
effectually. Seeing the dilemma in which they aj^peared 
to be, I said, " If you are afraid to proceed with me, I 



ROBERT OWEN 119 

" will offer you a sum for the establishment, which I 
" will either give for it, or accept from you. and in the 
" latter case the establishment shall be yours and under 
" your own control." The reply was, " Your offer is 
" fair and liberal. What is the sum you fix as its value ? " 
I said, " Eighty-four thousand pounds." After some 
short conversation among themselves they replied, 
" We accept your offer, and the establishment is yours." 
I thus for the second time fixed the price for these mills. 

I had previously had applications made to me, to 
join me in partnership whenever an opportunity offered, 
from two wealthy and influential merchants of Glasgow, 
who stood high in estimation as commercial men, carry- 
ing on very extensive foreign trade in two separate es- 
tablishments. They had both married daughters of 
Mr. Campbell of the Island of Zura, which island was 
his property, and he was a near relation of Mrs. Owen. 
Sometime previous to this change in the New Lanark 
estabhshment Mr. Campbell of Zura had requested me 
to receive and keep for him at interest twenty thousand 
pounds, which he said, for family reasons, he did not 
wish his son-in-law to know that he possessed ; and at 
this period it had been in my keeping for some time. 
I put this for greater security for Mr. Campbell into the 
firm of the New Lanark Company, although it was 
entrusted to me individually. I knew nothing until 
afterwards of the reasons which induced Mr. Campbell 
to entrust me with the keeping of his money in pre- 
ference to his son-in-law. 

When it was known that I had purchased the New 
Lanark property Mr. Dennistown and Mr. Alexander 
Campbell, the son-in-law of Mr. Campbell of Zura, claimed 
the promise of joining me in the business, and we agreed 
upon terms ; and as soon as this arrangement was known 
to Mr. John Atkinson, one of the acting partners in the 
firm of Borradale and Atkinson, who were of the firm 
of the " New Lanark Twist Company," and who kni:w 
all the particulars of the establishment, he. Mr. John 
Atkinson, requested to be admitted into our new 
partnership, and his request was acceded to, and we com- 



120 THE LIFE OF 

menced under the new firm of the " New Lanark Com- 
pany," leaving out the word " Twist," to make the 
necessary distinction. We were also joined by Mr. 
Colin Campbell, a partner of Mr. Alexander Campbell 
in another firm. 

Our late firm had continued for ten years, and oi; 
balancing the accounts it appeared that, after payin- 
the capitalists five per cent, per annum for their capital 
the profits to the firm amounted to sixty thousani 
pounds. 

It was now a partnership of five, and divided int<) 
shares unequally, — Mr. Colin Campbell having the least 
and I the greatest share, and I retained the thousand a 
year for the management of the concern. We were 
proceeding successfully in our business operations at 
New Lanark for some time under the new firm, and I 
had commenced building the new schools for the forma- 
tion of character, when I discovered a strong spirit ol 
dissatisfaction in the two sons-in-law of Mr. Campbell 
of Zura. Ihey had learned, through Mr. Atkinson, that 
their father-in-law had deposited the twenty thousanr- 
pounds with me in preference to them, and they becam*- 
very jealous of me in consequence of this preference. 
They appeared at once to have been filled with the spirit 
of undying revenge ; for they commenced a system of 
annoyance from the day they made the discovery, to 
the day of their deaths, which happened in the same year. 
They objected to the building for the schools, and said 
they were cotton-spinners and commercial men carrying 
on business for profit, and had nothing to do with edu- 
cating children ; nobody did it in manufactories ; and 
they set their faces against it, and against all m)' measures 
for the improvement of the condition of the workpeople. 
'-■ They objected to all the improvements I had in pro- 
gress for the increased comforts of the villagers, to my 
scale of wages for the people, and of salaries to the clerks 
and superintendents, which upon principle, and also for 
ultimate profit, were what the f>ublic deemed liberal. 
I proceeded, however, in my own way, until they gave 
me formal notice not to proceed with the schools, I 



ROBERT OWEN I2T 

then said, — " As I see you do not like my mode of 
" managing the people and the works, and as I can 
" conduct the establishment successfully only in my 
" own way, I resign the management as exclusive 
" manager, and retain my interest as one of the partners, 
" and I will relinquish the salary of a thousand a year 
" rather than be obliged to proceed contrary to my own 
" convictions." This did not satisfy their wounded 
feelings. They would dissolve the partnership. 

I said — ' ' If you desire to do so I will name a sum which 
" I will give or take for it." No. They would not agree, 
either to buy or sell upon that condition, — but the works 
should be brought to sale by public aiiction. 

However nmch I disliked such proceedings, finding 
that they were determined to carry matters to the 
utmost extremity I made no further attempt to oppose 
the course they intended to pursue. They kept the 
books of the concern, and had all its funds in their 
keeping. Mr. Atkinson was ambitious and very desirous 
of power and profit. I soon found they were all leagued 
together, by their systematic proceedings, and were 
determined if possible to ruin me, in character as 
manager of such an establishment, and in my pecuniary 
means. After 1 resigned the management, they with- 
held all funds from me, and would not advance me 
sufficient for my house expenses. Although having, as 
it soon afterwards appeared, more then seventy thousantl 
pounds of mine invested in the establishment, they 
refused to give me any part of it until after the sale ; 
and I was obliged to borrow for my domestic expenditure, 
;md my family and myself were thus greatly annoyed 
luring the last year of this partnership. 

Previous to the sale they took measures to circulate 
reports to deteriorate the value of the New Lanark 
establishment, and to lower my character as manager 
of it. They stated that I had visionary and wild schemes 
for the education of the. children and the improvement 
of the character of the people— schemes that no one 
except myself ever thought of or believed to be prac- 
ticable, they said they had given.eighty-four thousand 



122 THE LIFE OF 

pounds for the establishment, and they did not think it 
now worth forty thousand pounds, and should be too 
happy to obtain that sum at the coming sale. Measures 
were adopted by them to circulate these opinions, not 
only in Glasgow and Scotland generally, but in London 
and in all the large towns over the kingdom. The object 
was to deter any parties with capital from joining me in 
partnership, and thus, at the public sale, to depreciate 
the property, that they might purchase it enormously 
below its value, and by so doing deprive me and my 
family of our means of future support. 

They acknowledged, however, that they had no other 
objection to my management than what they called my 
visionary schemes for educating and improving the 
condition of the children and workpeople, and my 
giving too high wages and salaries. In fact, they knew 
nothing about the true principles of conducting such an 
establishment to make it permanently successful. They 
imagined an ignorant economy to be better than an 
enlightened and liberal treatment of the people and of 
our customers. 

While they were thus endeavouring to obtain the 
establishment at very far less than they knew to be 
half its value, I went to London sometime before the 
sale, to see to the printing and publishing of four essays 
which I had written on the formation of character, and 
my partners supposed I was occupied only with such 
public measures, and with the parties who were engaged 
with myself in promoting means to forward Dr. Bell's 
and Mr. Lancaster's plans for educating the poor, and in 
other public matters which were then beginning to 
occupy the attention of benevolent men, for this was at 
the commencement of the new era for ameliorating the 
condition of the poor, and for educating their chil- 
dren, — ^and during this year (1813) I was thus much 
occupied. 

I was, however, also engaged in forming a new partner- 
ship for carrying forward the establishment at New 
Lanark. I was completely tired of partners who were 
merely trained to buy cheap and sell dear. This occu- 



ROBERT OWEN 123 

pation deteriorates, and often destroys, the finest and 
best faculties of our nature. From an experience of a 
long life, in which I passed through all the gradations 
of trade, manufactures, and commercell am thoroughly 
convinced that there can be no superior character formed 
under this thoroughly selfish system. Truth, honesty, 
virtue, will be mere names, as they are now, and as they 
have ever been. Under this system there can be no 
true civilization ; for by it all are trained civilly to 
oppose and often to destroy one another by their created 
opposition of interests. It is a low, vulgar, ignorant, 
and inferior mode of conducting the affairs of society ; 
and no permanent, general, and substantial improvement 
can arise until it shall be superseded by a superior mode 
of forming character and creating wealth. ' 

I at this time published a pamphlet for private cir- 
culation, stating the preparation which I had made to 
conduct the establishment at New Lanark on principles 
to ensure the improvement of the condition of the people 
as well as to obtain a reasonable remuneration for capital 
and for its management. These were circulated among 
the best circles of the wealthy benevolent, and of those 
who desired with sincerity to commence active measures 
for the improvement of the condition of the poor and 
working classes ; with a view of obtaining among them 
partners who would assist, and not retard, my intended 
future operations, and who would not exact from those 
they employed too much labour for too little wages. 
Such partners I found, possessing these views to a 
greater extent than I had anticipated, in Mr. John 
Walker, of Arno's Grove ; Jeremy Bentham, the 
philosopher ; Joseph Foster of Bromley ; William 
Allen of Plough Court ; Joseph Fox, dentist ; and 
Michael Gibbs, subsequently Alderman and Lord Mayor 
of London — all of whom were willing to become partners 
with me if the establishment could be bought at a fair 
price at the sale. 

During this period my partners in Glasgow supposed 
I was only attending to public business, and that I had 
abandoned all idea of resuming my post, and of pur- 



124 THE LIFE OF 

chasing the establishment, which had been advertised 
for several months to be sold by public sale in Glasgow, 
on a day named. As the time drew nigh, I returned to 
Glasgow, and Messrs. Allen, Foster, and Gibbs returned 
with me, but remained in a hotel, unknown personally, 
or as to their object in visiting Glasgow. 

My old partners had made themselves so sure of 
becoming the proprietors of New Lanark, that they 
had invited a large party of the principal merchants and 
persons of their circle to dine with them after the sale, 
to commemorate the purchase, and to rejoice with them 
on their new acquisition of this extended establishment. 
They thought they had, by the reports which they had 
so industriously circulated far and wide, sufficiently 
deteriorated its value, and had frightened all parties by 
calling the measures which I recommended, for educating 
the children and improving the condition of the work- 
people, wild and visionary, and they expected no one 
would be found to bid for it, and that they should be 
then enabled to purchase it at forty thousand pounds, 
the price at which they intended to put it up for sale, 
and if no party bid that price for it, then they were to 
be the successful parties, and to become the owners of 
New Lanark. 

I did not meet them until the morning of the sale, to 
decide upon what should be what is called the upset 
price, Or the price at which, if any one bid that sum, and 
no competitors bid more, the property becomes sold to 
him. The first question which I asked them was — 
" What do you propose shall be the upset price ? " They 
said, as I expected, forty thousand pounds. I said — 
" Will you now take sixty thousand pounds for the 
" property ? " " No, — we will not," was their immediate 
reply. " Then it shall be put up at sixty thousand 
" pounds." And they were under the necessity in 
consequence of their reply to admit of this decision. 

My proposed new partners while we were all met in 
London asked me the price which I thought the property 
was now worth. I said we should not let it be purchased 
from us at less than one hundred and twenty thousand 



ROBERT OWEN 125 

pounds. And it was concluded that I should be em- 
powered to bid to that amount. 

On the morning of the sale I instructed my solicitor 
in Glasgow, Mr. Alexander Macgi-egor, whom I always 
found to be a most honourable man in his profession, 
and a sound adviser upon all difficult questions, to bid 
at this sale for me. One of the conditions of sale was 
that the lowest bidding at each time should be one 
hundred pomids. I requested him never to bid at any 
one time more than one hundred pounds, and to follow 
up the bidding to one hundred and twenty thousand 
pounds, and if the other parties should bid up to that 
sum then to come to me, as I should be in the room, for 
further instructions. 

The sale had excited great interest in Glasgow, for I 
had become very popular in Scotland, and a belief 
existed that I was to be oppressed and victimized that 
day, by the influence and capital of my opponents, who 
were very wealthy, — and many of my friends and theirs 
were present. I took my station at the end of the room 
in a position where I could quietly observe all that passed. 
My opponents, who had connected with them a junior 
but wealthy partner of Mr. Alexander Campbell, were 
all there in person, to bid for themselves — and they 
came in with great confidence in their bearing, and full 
of excited hopes, — for they had not heard that I had 
any one to support me. It was a memorable day in 
many respects, both to me and to the public. 

The sale commenced, and the property was put up at 
sixty thousand pounds. Mr. Macgregor bid one hundred 
pounds more. My opponents bid at each bidding, for 
some time, one thousand pounds in advance, — Mr. Mac- 
gregor one hundred only. This mode of bidding con- 
tinued until the parties had advanced the price to 
eighty-four thousand. At this period my opponents 
seemed at fault, and retired into a private room to con- 
sult together. They returned, and bid live hundred at 
the next bidding, — Mr. Macgregor always immediately 
following their bidding with his advance of one hundred 
pounds. 



126 THE LIFE OF 

From this period until the bidding advanced to one 
hundred thousand pounds my opponents bid sometimes 
by five hundred and sometimes by one hundred at each 
bidding. But before they had attained this point, their 
appearance and manner gradually changed. They be- 
came pale and agitated, and again retired to consult. 
Returning to the sale after Mr. Macgregor had bid one 
hundred upon their advance to one hundred thousand, 
they again resumed bidding one hundred each time, 
until they bid one hundred and ten thousand, — and Mr. 
Macgregor bid one hundred and ten thousand one 
hundred. Their agitation now became excessive. Their 
lips became blue, and they seemed thoroughly crest- 
fallen. 

I had never moved from my position, or appeared 
interested in the proceedings. But now one of the sons 
of Mr. Campbell of Zura, brother-in-law to Mr. Dennis- 
town and Mr. Alexander Campbell, came to advise me 
not to proceed higher, but to allow them to become the 
purchasers at so good a price. I requested him not to 
interfere, and to be silent, for my plans were decided, 
and I must watch the proceedings of the sale. My 
opponents returned into the room apparently more 
excited than ever. Mr. Kirkman Finlay, who was the 
leading commercial man at that time in Glasgow, and 
was a friend of both parties, had been present for some 
time, and he now left the room, saying sufficiently loud 
to be heard by all present — " The little one " (meaning 
the one hundred bid) " will get it." This saying ap- 
peared again to stimulate them, and they bid again in 
their former manner until they bid one hundred and 
fourteen thousand, — and Mr. Macgregor immediately as 
before bid one hundred and fourteen thousand one 
hundred, and then my opponents linaJly stojiped bidding 
and the property was knocked down to me. 

It seemed the old partners had not expected this 
opposition, and had not jnepared the intended new 
partner for buying at such a price, and they left the room 
to induce him to agree to the advanced biddings. The 
old partners would have proceeded and possibly would 



ROBERT OWEN 127 

have gone beyond my estimation, but they could not 
induce Mr. Colin Campbell, their intended new partner, 
to advance one bid more. 

Mr. John Atkinson, who had been a partner with me 
in the establishment from the beginning, and who there- 
fore best knew its value, went immediately from the 
sale room, while his feelings were highly excited, to Mr. 
Finlay (who had returned to his business before the sale 
had concluded), and said, with great emphasis — " Con- 
" found that Owen ! He has bought it, and twenty 
" thousand pounds too cheap ! " These were the part- 
ners who for so many months had been crying down the 
value of the establishment, and saying they would be 
glad to get forty thousand pounds for it ! 

But this was not the only disappointment my op- 
ponents experienced that day. Having previously, as 
has been stated, invited a large party to dine with them 
on that day, to rejoice with and to congratulate them on 
becoming the sole proprietors of New Lanark, — they 
could not countermand the dinner and their invitations. 
Their friends met accordingly. The dinner was sump- 
tuous, and the wines were various and choice. But when 
the company met, the spirits of the principals were below 
zero, and, as I was afterwards informed by some who 
were present, the dinner passed almost in silence. 

A Colonel Hunter (a good, honest, frank, straight- 
forward man, proprietor of one of the newspapers of 
Glasgow, and a talented person) was one of the guests. 
He was very popular with the leading parties in the 
city, and by no means unfriendly to me. By the time 
the cloth was drawn, and the wine and the time for 
toasts had arrived. Colonel Hunter had acquired a 
knowledge of the result of the day's sale, and of all its 
particulars. He saw at once the false position in wiiich 
the parties had placed themselves. That they were 
baffled in their scheme which they had supposed so well 
laid, and had ruined their reputation by this want of 
success. Had they succeeded, they would, in the 
estimation of commercial men, have stood higher than 
ever. But, as I have said, the Colonel was a straight- 



128 THE LIFE OF 

forward, bold, honest man, and feared no one ; and he 
was determined to make these parties feel the new 
position in which they had placed themselves. He 
therefore asked permission to propose a toast, which 
was readily acceded to, and he gave " Success to the 
" parties who had that morning sold a property by public 
" sale for one hundred and fourteen thousand one 
" hundred pounds, which a little time ago they valued 
" only at forty thousand pounds ! " adding, " Fill a 
" bumper to a success so wonderful and extraordinary ! " 
His toast, however, instead of arousing the spirits of my 
opponents, acted, I was told, as an additional damper. 
Seeing this, the Colonel followed it up by saying, 
" What an enormous good bargain they had made, and 
" how happy they must think themselves to be freed 
" from Robert Owen's visionary schemes, and to get 
" out of him such a large profit." And in this manner 
he kept all the evening before them the contrast between 
their former pri^, which they would have been too 
happy to receive, and the one hundred and fourteen 
thousand one hundred pounds which they had obtained. 
In this manner he continued to annoy them during the 
evening. 

They had engaged Mr. Humphreys to be their 
manager, and had brought him to the dinner, and 
thinking him to be my mainstay in the management of 
the works at New Lanark, they tempted him that night 
to leave me, and promised to find him a superior and 
more profitable situation. This was in the spirit of 
revenge on the part of Mr. Dennistown and Mr. Alexander 
Campbell, because their father-in-law preferred to in- 
trust his money with me, rather than with them. 

They had married cousins of Mrs. Owen, and were 
therefore relatives ; and I now began to feel much for 
their new position, and I would willingly have served 
them if I could, and if they would have allowed me to 
do so But their anger and revenge seemed to increase 
with every movement of my subsequent success, until 
their deaths, which took place within a year from the 
sale of the mills, and which I believe was occasioned by 



ROBERT OWEN 129 

the disappointment and vexation arising from it and 
from the other circumstances which followed and pro- 
ceeded from it. These were occurring continually to 
annoy them. Even the first morning after the sale, it 
appeared in the Glasgow newspapers that the inhabitants 
of New Lanark had arranged to have a party waiting in 
Glasgow to learn the result of the sale, and to proceed 
by express to inform them who had become the pur- 
chaser of the establishment, and that when the express 
announced to them that I had bought it, there was an 
immediate universal illumination, except in the house 
occupied by Mr. Humphreys, who had been bribed by 
the other parties, and who was then dining with them 
in Glasgow, and who had gone down in the morning 
expecting to return the next day as sole manager of 
New Lanark, under the direction of the intended new 
firm of Messrs. Dennistown, Campbell, and Atkinson. 

Mr. Humphreys had great cause afterwards to regret 

this defection from one who had been his best friend for 

ii more than twenty years. He could serve under good 

I direction, but could never succeed when left to his own 

resources. 

The newspapers informed him and his new masters of 

this illumination, and of the great rejoicings of the 

ij workpeople on account of the works being again pur- 

i chased by me. 
But my opponents thought they had one chance yet 
left, and for one day they entertained the hope that the 
new parties who had associated with me would not be 
found sufficiently wealthy to give the security required 
I to make good the purchase. In this hope also they 
were disappointed. For when I declared who were the 
i purchasers, it was soon discovered that one of them, 
Mr. John Walker, of Arno's Grove, Southgate, could him- 
self purchase the whole establishment twice over. 

The honourable simplicity of this gentleman's character 

was exemphfied at our first meeting. I had previously 

published my first four essays entitled New View oj 

I Society. The first two were published in 1812, and 

the last two early in 1813. He had read them, and had 

9 



130 THE LIFE OF 

heard that I was about to form a new partnership, of 
persons wilhng to engage to carry forward the estabhsh- 
ment on the principle of educating the children and 
improving the general condition of the workpeople. 
Mr. Walker was a most disinterested benevolent man, 
highly educated, possessing great taste in the arts, 
himself a superior amateur artist, well versed in the 
sciences, and a perfect gentleman, in mind, manner, and 
conduct, throughout his hfe. He had never been in 
any business, and was untainted with any of its de- 
teriorating effects. He was born of very wealth}^ 
parents, who were of the Society of Friends, but who 
under peculiar circumstances allowed him to go with 
and under the direction of a superior accomplished 
person, a friend of the family, to finish his education 
from the age of twelve at Rome, where he remained 
several years, and made the best possible use of his time. 
He had been the least injured by the present false system 
of forming character and constructing society, of all 
whom I have met through my long life in this or any 
other country. He possessed a good town house in 
Bedford Square, and a superior country house, called 
Arno's Grove, the former residence of Lord Newbery. 
He had greatly improved it, had accumulated a greater 
variety of exotics in his pleasure ground, and had in his 
museum probably one of the choicest collections of 
specimens of various objects of natural history, that any 
private gentleman possessed. He was considered to be 
a member of the Society of Friends ; but in his language, 
habits, and external appearances in dress and carriage, 
he could not be distinguished from others of liis standing 
in society, except for his correct taste in all his arrange- 
ments and appointments. 

Our first interview was characteristic of this extra- 
ordinary, superior, and good man. He had heard that I 
was about to form a new partnership to forward measures 
in which I was engaged to improve the condition of the 
working classes, and thus gradually to open a new view 
of a very superior state of society to all classes. He 
therefore applied through some of his friends to have 



ROBERT OWEN 131 

an interview with me. respecting my intended new 
partnership at New Lanark. We met, and after being 
introduced, he said — " I have been informed that you 
" are about to commence a new partnership at New 
" Lanark, with the view of showing how much our 
" manufacturing population might be improved, bene- 
" ficially for themselves, their employers, and the 
" country. May I ask if my information is correct, and 
" if it is, what are the arrangements which you propose ? " 
I said — " I propose to form a partnership of thirteen 
" shares — each share to be ten thousand pounds ; and 
" I intend to hold five of those shares, and that over 
" five per cent, for our capital and risk, the surplus gains 
" shall be freely expended for the education of the 
" children and the improvement of the workpeople at 
" New Lanark, and for the general improvement of the 
"condition of the persons employed in manufactures." 
He replied — " Will you allow me to take three shares ? " 
Having been informed of his character, respectability, 
and responsibility, I immediately assented ; and this 
was all that passed on his placing thirty thousand pounds 
at my disposal. He continued in the firm until his 
death, but never saw the establishment. 

Another member of the Society of Friends who joined 
me in this good work was Joseph Foster of Bromley — a 
man without guile, possessed with the genuine spirit of 
charity and kindness, and who had one of the most 
expanded and liberal and well-informed minds, next to 
Mr. John Walker, last named, that I ever met with 
among the Society of Friends. He was ever a universal 
peace maker, and, with the previous exception, less a 
sectarian than any of the Society of Friends known to 
me, although I was introduced to and made acquainted 
with the leading members of the Society. He had one 
of the ten thousand pound shares. 

A third partner was also of the Society of Friends — the 

well-known William Allen, of Plough Court, Lombard 

Street. He was active, bustling, ambitious, most 

I desirous of doing good in his own way (as a large majority 

 of the Quakers are), and had kind feelings and high 



132 THE LIFE OF 

aspirations; but he was easily impressible, and was 
therefore much more unsteady in mind and feeling than 
the two preceding partners. He was, however, at this 
time popular, and a great favourite among his sect, 
and one of its chief leaders. He had one share allotted 
to him,— for his friends John Walker and Joseph Foster 
were very desirous that he should join our party. 

The next who applied for a share in this unique under- 
taking was the celebrated Jeremy Bentham, who spent a 
long life in an endeavour to amend laws, all based on a 
fundamental error, without discovering this error ; and 
therefore was his life, although a life of incessant well- 
intended industry, occupied in showing and attempting to 
remedy the evils of individual laws, but never attempting 
to dive to the foundation of all laws, and thus ascertaining 
the cause of the errors and evils of them. He had little 
knowledge of the world, except through books, and a 
few deemed liberal-minded men and women, who were 
admitted to his friendship— such as James Mill, Dr. 
Bowring, Mr. and Mrs. Austin, Francis Place, Lord 
Brougham, and a few others ;— and these formed his 
world. It was most amusing to me to learn the difficulty, 
owing to his nervous temperament, that he had in 
making arrangements for our first interview after I 
had agreed to accept him as one of our associates in the 
New Lanark firm. After some prehminary communi- 
cation with our mutual friends James Mill and Francis 
Place, his theij two chief counsellors, and some corre- 
spondence between him and myself, it was at length 
arrived at that I was to come to his hermit-like retreat 
at a particular hour, and that I was, upon entering, to 
proceed upstairs, and we were to meet half-way upon 
the stairs. I pursued these instructions, and he, in 
great trepidation, met me, and taking my hand, while 
his whole frame was agitated with the excitement, he 
hastily said—" Well ! well ! it is all over. We are 
" introduced. Come into my study ! " And when I 
was fairly in, and he had requested me to be seated, he 
appeared to be relieved from an arduous and formidable 
undertaking. He had one share, and his friends have 



> ROBERT OWEN 133 

stated that it was the only successful enterprise in which 
he ever engaged. He, like Mr. Walker, never saw the 
New Lanark estabhshment. 

The next share was given to Joseph Fox, a dentist, a 
friend of William Allen — a respectable well-intentioned 
dissenter, of some denomination, from the Church of 
England. 

The last share was given, at the urgent request of 
the last named (Joseph Fox) to his relative Mr. Michael 
Gibbs, subsequently the well-known Church-Warden, 
Alderman, and Lord Mayor — a Church of England man, 
a conservative, and a man, as I believe, of good intentions, 
fair abilities, and business habits. 

Three of these gentlemen — Joseph Foster, William 
Allen, and Michael Gibbs — were, until after the sale, 
since my arrival m Glasgow, incognito. But the day 
after the sale they declared themselves my partners, 
and who the others were. This declaration put a 
termination to the last hopes of my former partners, who 
clung to the expectation that they might have'some 
pretence to object to the parties who had united with 
me in the purchase at the sale. 

The necessary writings to transfer the property from 
the one party to the other detained my new partners 
and myself some days in Glasgow before they were all 
ready and legally executed. In the meantime the in- 
habitants of New Lanark waited my return to them 
with impatience, and begged I would let them know 
when they might expect me. As soon as I could ascertain 
when our business would be completed, I informed them 
of the day appointed for my return. We went to Lanark 
in a coach with four horses — it being then two heavy 
stages, and the last a rise of nearly seven hundred feet, 
bat through a beautiful district. The inhabitants of 
the old and new towns of Lanark had sent scouts to 
watch our progress, and to give information by signals 
how far we had advanced. It was a line day, and we 
had the carriage opened in order that my new friends 
might see the country. When we arrived within a few 
miles of the Royal Burgh of the Old Town of Lanark, 



134 THE LIFE OF 

we heard a great shout at some distance, and we soon 
saw a great multitude running towards us, which at first 
much alarmed my Quaker friends. I did not know 
what to think of the number of people and the noise 
which they made on approaching us. They called out 
to the postillions to stop the horses, and before we were 
aware of their intentions they had untraced the horses 
from the carriage, had desired the postillions to take 
them on to Lanark, and, heedless of our urgent entreaties, 
they began to drag the carriage, and now it was up hill 
almost the whole distance to the Old Town through 
which we had to pass. But their numbers were such, 
and they relieved each other so continually, that they 
went forw^ard quicker than our horses could have dragged 
us up those steep hills. 

On looking at them I was surprised at seeing at first 
few faces that I knew, and therefore I could not well 
understand the movement. But I soon learned that 
the inhabitants of the Old Town had requested to be 
allowed to join the inhabitants of the village of New 
Lanark in the demonstration of kind feeling and of 
rejoicing on the return of the old manager and proprietor 
to his old residence and establishment, and had begged 
that they, the Old Lanarkers, should have what they 
called the honour and pleasure of conveying the carriage 
and its inmates to their Royal Burgh, and that then the 
inhabitants of the village should take us from Old 
Lanark to the establishment. This arrangement ac- 
counted for the many faces new to me. 

The hurraing of the people, and their joyous excite- 
ment along the road, aroused the attention of the whole 
country to discover the cause of such rejoicings and 
unusual proceedings. At length the procession arrived 
at Old Lanark, where our reception from all, the windows 
and doors being filled with women and children and old 
people, was most cordial. I was greatly amused with 
the perfect amazement and astonishment of my Quaker 
friends, who had never before been in the midst of such 
an exciting scene ; but after their alarm had subsided 
they became more and more interested and pleased to 



ROBERT OWEN 135 

see so much strong feeling exhibited for their new partner. 
But when the New I.anarkers took the direction of the 
carriage and procession from the Old Town to the New, 
and then taking us through all the streets of the village 
and back again through the grounds to my residence at 
Braxfield, about a quarter of a mile out of the village, 
they were almost overcome with the gratitude, affection, 
and delight, which were expressed in the countenances 
of the parties from the windows and in the street, and 
with the varied means by which they endeavoured to 
greet and welcome our arrival among them. My new 
partners seemed to congratulate themselves that they 
had become connected with such people and such an 
establishment. It was a day and proceeding which I 
shall never forget. It interested me deeply, and, if 
possible, increased my determination to do them and 
their children all the good in my power. 

I never was ambitious of popular applause. I generally 
sought to avoid it. But on this occasion, thus taken 
l:)y surprise, and thus welcomed by parties whom I had 
directed for fourteen years, I was truly gratified, and 
also on account' of my new partners witnessing the 
spontaneous feelings of the people. The unsophisticated 
expression of these strong feelings was the more un- 
expected from a Scotch population when the change 
was from a majority of Scotch proprietors to a firm 
exclusively English. But so it was, and my new 
partners, after remaining some days with me, returned 
liome delighted -with their mission, and they highly 
gratified the other London partners by their description 
of it. 

But it was not so with my late partners. Some party 
had sent to the Glasgow newspapers a full account of 
our procession and extraordinary proceedings, and this 
was a new source of very great annoyance to them. 
And this annoyance was increased not a little, when 
upon balancing the accounts of our four years' partner- 
ship, it was found, after allowing five per cent, for the 
capital employed, that the net profit was one hundred 
and sixty thousand pounds. 



136 THE LIFE OF 

I had now a new field opening to me, and I prepared 
to make the most of it to forward the improvements 
which I contemplated. The most mgent were the 
arrangements I had so long contemplated to improve 
the conditions in which the youngest children of the 
workpeople were now placed, and to introduce another 
principle on which to form their character and conduct, 
their training and education. 

I therefore commenced by hastening the building for 
the intended infant and other schools, and began to 
devise measures of relief for all engaged as workers in 
manufactories — seeing as I did how much, in many 
respects, they were injured and deteriorated by the 
change from the former more independent domestic 
mode of spinning and weaving at home, to being em- 
ployed like slaves in large factories. 

But I must now return to bring up other parts of my 
history to this period, at which my public life may be 
said to have fairly commenced. 

I have said that Mr. Dale left four daughters some 
years younger than Mrs. Qwen. Mrs. Dale having died 
when her eldest daughter was only twelve years old, the 
latter had the care of the house and of her younger 
sisters from that period. Mr. Dale being at the head 
of a numerous dissenting sect, and Mrs. Dale from a 
religious family, the children had what is called a thorough 
good religious education, and had the kind and amiable 
disposition of their father — Mrs. Dale having died six 
or seven years before I knew the family. But I always 
understood that she also was amiable and religious. 
Their general acquaintances and more intimate friends 
were therefore naturally professors of religion, and 
much time was occupied in what the family had been 
taught to think were their public and private religious 
duties. While other parts of education were deemed of 
far less importance, and had been therefore less attended 
to during Mr. Dale's life. After his death, the four younger 
sisters lived with us for some years. Their names were 
Jane, Mary, Margaret, and Julia. 

About a quarter of a mile from the New Lanark Mills 



ROBERT OWEN 137 

was Braxfield House, the seat and birthplace of the late 
and then well-known Lord of Session, until he received 
the title of Lord Braxfield. This judge of the Supreme 
Court of Scotland was dead but unburied when I took 
possession of the New Lanark establishment. He had 
been very friendly to Mr. Dale, gave him great encourage- 
ment to establish his works near to him, and was to his 
death an excellent neighbour. He entailed the Braxfield 
property on his family ; and his eldest son, Mr. Macqueen, 
who had married Lady Lilias, the daughter of the late 
Earl of Eglington, succeeded to his property, and had 
possessed it about eight years, when they offered to rent 
it to me ; and as the house at the mills had become too 
small for my family, with the increase of Mrs. Owen's 
sisters and the necessary increase of servants, I took it 
upon the longest lease Mr. Macqueen could give by the 
clauses of the entail by which he held it. 

We regretted the loss of this family ; for they were 
always good and kind neighbours, especiaDy Lady 
Lilias, who was more generally at home than Mr. 
Macqueen. 

It was a beautifully situated residence, and I improved 
the grounds immediately after I entered upon the house. 
This was now our summer residence, and in winter we 
occupied the house Mr. Dale had built and had lived in 
many years and until his death. We kept our own 
carriage and horses, and also a carriage and horses and 
servants for my sisters-in-law. Our establishment there- 
fore became an expensive one. 

Discovering that a mere religious education was a 
very imperfect one for the general association of society, 
I determined that Mrs. Owen's sisters, who after their 
father's death came naturally under our charge, should 
have also the advantages of a more extended secular 
education, such as was then given in the most select 
seminaries for young ladies in England. But first, that 
they might see and know their own country, I took 
them soon after their father's death a tour over Scotland 
and England, and visited in both countries every place 
deserving the attention of young travellers ; and after 



138 THE LIFE OF 

they had remained three or four years with us, I sought 
for some time to find superior houses of instruction in 
London, in which they could finish their education, and 
I visited many educational establishments before I could 
satisfy myself that they were select and substantial for 
the purpose required, and were not mere pretences. 
That the four might make a more rapid progress, they 
were divided into pairs — the two eldest, Jane and Mary, 
were placed with Mrs. Olier, Grosvenor Street, and 

Margaret and Julia with Miss Lane in . In these 

more private and select seminaries the four remained 
for some years, and longer than was anticipated when 
they went. They put off their return quarter after 
quarter, finding their situations comfortable and 
improving ; for both the establishments proved equal 
to the recommendations received of them, and to my 
expectations on previously visiting and inspecting them. 

They returned home in the year , and we had 

kept up their full establishment at Braxfield ready to 
receive them from a much earlier period than that at 
which they returned. The Jadies with whom they were, 
advised them at the termination of each quarter to 
continue to proceed with and to finish their studies, 
and as they were now of sufficient age they were left to 
decide for themselves. 

Mr. Dale some years before his death had purchased 
a country residence called Rosebank, about four miles 
from Glasgow, on one of the roads leading to New 
Lanark, and which we occupied after his death. This 
estate afterwards, in the division of the property, was 
given to these young ladies. After they returned home 
they were eagerly sought in marriage ; but although 
several opportunities were given them to marry men of 
wealth and superior standing in the commercial world, 
they for some time rejected every offer made to them., 
and they seemed disinclined to engage themselves until 
they had seen more of the world. I then took them to 
France, Switzerland, and Germany, and they were 
introduced to some of the most eminent men and women 
of that day in those countries. 



ROBERT OWEN 139 

Previous to this tour on the Continent, the third in 
age of the four, Margaret, died, greatly lamented by us 
all, for there was a sincere and cordial affection between 
all the members of the family. There appeared to be but 
one heart and mind and interest among them, until they 
were separated by the marriage of the two eldest. 

The Rev. James Haldane Stewart, a relative of Mrs. 
Owen's family by the mother's side, was the first who 
successfully paid his addresses to Mary, the second 
unmarried. He was after some time accepted by her, 
and they were married while Mary and her two other 
sisters were living with us, and I gave her away on the 
day of her marrriage, and we accompanied them on their 
marriage tour for some days. 

The eldest of the four, Jane, was also, not long after- 
wards, married to a cousin, who also, with Mr. Stewart, 
was an EvangeHcal clergyman of the Church of England, 
and was son of the late General Colin Campbell, formerly 
Governor Commandant of Gibraltar, under his Royal 
Highness the late Duke of Kent. 

Juha, the youngest, was so strongly attached to her 
sister Jane, and Jane to her, that they would not be 
separated, and they have always lived together through 
their Uves to the present time. 

I had always, since I first knew these children of my 
own bringing up, until they were married, a great affec- 
tion for them, and a strong interest in their welfare, but 
these marriages naturally altered our relative positions, 
and although a continued affection was kept up between 
all the famines, — yet as my mission and the mission of 
Mr. Stewart and Mr. Campbell, who were as zealous and 
conscientious in their cause as I have been in mine, 
were so opposite to each other, our visits and intercourse 
were less frequent than they would have been had our 
views of human nature and society been similar. 

They, I have no doubt, sincerely and affectionately 
lament my disbehef in the truth of any of the reUgions 
of the world. While I as sincerely and affectionately 
lament the imbecihty of mind which instruction from 
birth in any of these rehgions inflicts on all who are 



140 THE LIFE OF 

thereby made conscientious believers in any one of 
them. These rehgions are the cause of creating less 
charity for opinions, and more repulsive feelings for 
mere imaginary notions, incomprehensible to every one, 
than all other causes united. I felt that the intercourse 
between us was one of continued forbearance on both 
sides. Each knew the other's conscientious convictions ; 
each respected the feelings of the other ; and each was 
in constant fear of unintentionally hurting the feelings 
of the other. Under these circumstances our visits 
became less and less frequent, although my affection for 
my sisters-in-law remains unabated. 

It was long amusing and gratifying, at an earlier 
period, to receive letters from my dear and truly affec- 
tionate sister Mary, who, after her kind sayings in the 
first portion of her letters, always concluded with the 
most earnest solicitude that I would believe in her faith ; 
never suspecting that belief is in no one's power, and 
that therefore there can be no merit or demerit in any 
faith or belief whatever. I was always gratified by her 
extreme anxiety for my conversion, for I was sure she 
ever retained a sincere affection for me, as did her sisters, 
all of whom were most desirous I should think on religious 
matters as they did. There could not be more amiable, 
affectionate, well-intentioned young persons than they 
always proved themselves to be ; and yet after the mar- 
riages of the two elder to the church, our intercourse 
gradually diminished after the death of their eldest 
sister. 

It is true that rehgions have been and to this day are 
the strongest causes of repulsive feelings between indi- 
viduals and nations ; and while any of these deranging 
systems of the human intellects shall be forced into the 
young mind by the insane contending sects over the 
world, the spirit of universal charity and love must 
remain unknown among all nations and ]ieoj)les. Living 
for so many years as I did, owing to my marriage and my 
various partnerships, with religious persons of various 
sects, I became too conscious of the deteriorating in- 
fluences upon the individuals, and upon the constniction 



ROBERT OWEN 141 

and practice of society. It made nie glaringly aware 
that these religions materially injured the finest natural 
qualities, and that while any of them prevailed, they 
would be a permanent obstacle to the peace, progress in 
knowledge, charity, and love, and happiness of the 
human race. I vividly perceived and was made con- 
scious of these effects through every day. of my life, 
from the time I attained my tenth year. ^ Religions are 
to-day the great repulsive powers of society ; dividing 
husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and 
sisters ; and are ever-burning firebrands wherever they 
exist. For proof to demonstration of this — witness the 
present state of mind, feelings, and conduct, of all the 
religions in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. The 
being who shall devise the means to terminate these 
spiritual insanities will be the greatest friend to the 
human race that has yet lived. \ 

From an early period of life, seeing the innumerable 
evils daily experienced from the error on which all 
rehgions have ever been based, knowing the immense 
and incalculable happiness that the human race could 
attain if freed from them, and being made ardently to 
f desire the future progress in knowledge and rational 
enjoyment of my race, — there is no sacrifice at any period, 
which I could make, that would not have been wiUingly 
and joyously made to terminate the existence of religion 
on earthj WilHngly and joyously — because I should 
have ha3 far more happiness in sacrificing my life, 
knowing that my race should be thus placed in the 
right path to peace, progress, wisdom, and happiness, 
than I could have in living among my fellow-men while 
made to become irrational by those rehgions. The 
rehgions of all sects have no charity or true affection for 
those they deem unbelievers. While unbelievers in 
their dogmas, who know the cause of the beliefs of all 
the religions and of all the convictions over the world, 
have charity for them all ; and seeing that these dogmas 
are opposed to facts, and are inconsistent with ascertained 
truths, pity those who believe in them in proportion to 
their ignorance of what constitutes truth. The rehgious 



J 

142 THE LIFE OF 

over the world have less charity for the opinions of those 
who differ from them, than those who are irreligious from 
a true knowledge of human nature have for those persons 
whose instruction has made them to be of some one of 
these insane compounds of belief, which are all equally 
called religion. 

Having been so many years in the midst of these so- 
called very pious proceedings, I was made but too 
conscious of their deteriorating and baneful effects upon 
the judgment or rational faculties of the kindest and 
best dispositions, and of the abject prostration of mind 
in the teachers of these absurdities. 

One of the most generally learned, intelligent, and 
acute men I have met with, was Ramoun Roy, to whom 
for some time, while he was the guest of the Messrs. Hare 
of Bedford Square, we were next door and very intimate 
neighbours ; — and we were mutually much attached to 
each other. After our minds had been fully opened to 
each other, I asked him (as he stated that he knew 
accurately, having long studied them, all the religions 
of the East and West that had made any lasting progress 
in society) if he knew one in which the priests did not 
say — " Believe as I tell you to believe, disbelieve what 
" I tell you to disbelieve, reverence me, and pay me well, 
" and you will go to heaven when you die. But if you 
" do not these things, you will be everlastingly punished." 
He hesitated for some time, and then said — " I have 
" recurred to all the religions I know, and I must admit 
" that that which you have stated is the essence of each 
" of them." But more of Ramoun Roy hereafter. 

In everything I attempted for the advance and per- 
manent benefit of the human race, and in the very best 
objects, I was always checked and obstructed in my 
straightforward and honest progress by religion, I was 
always thus obliged to take a devious course, and to 
obtain thereby a less perfect result. 1 

By this period of my life (from 1810 to 1815), my four 
Essays on the Formation of Character, and my practice 
at New Lanark, had made me well known among the 
leading men of that period. Among these were the 



ROBERT OWEN 143 

Archbishop of Canterbury, — the Bishop of London, 
afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, — Burgess, Bishop 
of St. David's, — Mr. Wilberforce, — W. Godwin, — Thomas 
Clarkson, — Zachary Macaulay, — Mr. Thornton, banker, 
— ^Wilham Allen, — Joseph Foster, — Hoare, senr., banker, 
— the first Sir Robert Peel, — Sir Thomas Bernard and his 
particular friend the Bishop of Durham, Barrington, — 
the Rev. William Turner of Newcastle, — Mr. Wellbeloved, 
Principal of the Manchester College in York, — the Bishop 
of Peterborough, — and many others whose names have 
faded from society, and many whom I have forgotten. 
But I must not forget my friends of the political econo- 
mists — Messrs. Malthus, James Mill, Ricardo, Sir James 
Macintosh, Colonel Torrens, Francis Place, etc., etc. 
From these political economists, often in animated dis- 
cussions, I always differed. But our discussions were 
maintained to the last with great good feeling and a 
cordial friendship. They were liberal men for their time ; 
friends to the national education of the people, but 
opposed to national employment for the poor and unem- 
ployed, or to the gi^eatest creation of real wealth, — ^which 
surprised me in men who professed to desire the greatest 
amount of wealth to be produced, but which could only 
be effected by the well-directed industry at all times of all. 
It was a singular circumstance that in my discussions 
with Mr. Malthus, which were frequent (and my own 
impression was that at last he became very doubtful of 
the truth of principles which he had so ingeniously main- 
tained), Mrs. Malthus always took and defended my side 
of the argument. 

So with Sir James Macintosh. He used to say that 
after Lady and Miss Macintosh had visited New Lanark 
they became my warm disciples, and that they always 
vindicated the principles and practices of human nature 
agj advocated them. 

' I was always at a loss to account for the tenacity with 
which these men of considerable natural powers held to 
the principle of not preparing national reproductive or 
beneficial occupation for all who required it ; and I 
could account for it only on the knowledge that there was 



144 THE LIFE OF 

not one practical man among the party of modern 
political economists. Their views and false principles 
have governed the administrations of this country and 
have influenced public opinion for the whole of this 
century ; and a more artificial and miserable existence, 
or more hypocrisy in general society, is not to be found, 
amid all its surface splendour, than in Great Britain and 
Ireland at this day. There is no heart or soul in the 
general intercourse of society ; and instead of the open, 
direct, frank, and most beneficial and delightful language 
of truth — of mind speaking without reserve to mind ; 
the common practice of the great majority of society in 
public and private is a mere conventional talk^ meaning 
little or nothing, or else falsehood. The most important 
truths relative to the essential business and happiness of 
life, are tabooed in general society ; and its talk is a 
confused mass of incongruous and most inconsistent 
ideas about morality and religion, respecting which none 
appear to have been taught one rational idea ; because 
they have been precluded so long by the priesthoods of 
the world from investigating their own nature — an in- 
vestigation to enable them to discover what manner of 
beings they have been created to be. And therefore 
nature has been and is outraged in all proceedings con- 
nected with the human race. At this day, all their 
proceedings over the world are grossly irrational for the 
attainment of the object which all have in view — namely, 
their own happiness. For the creation of happiness for 
the human race, two things have been always required. 

Firstly. — A really good character for all from birth 
to death. 

Secondly. — A superfluity of real wealth at all times 
for all. 

Because the arrangements or conditions (or as some 
would say the "circumstances") which are necessary 
to produce and secure these results, would give in per- 
petuity to the human race all that they could desire as 
mortals upon our globe. 

But all the authorities of the world, from the earliest 
known period, have been ignorant how to form the 



ROBERT OWEN 145 

arrangements, or to create the conditions or circumstances 
by which these two results could be attained. And 
hence alone the present poverty, vice, and misery of 
mankind over the world. All parties in all countries are 
now like hounds at fault in hunting for their game. They 
feel that the good and superior character is necessary for 
happiness. They feel that wealth is necessary for their 
happiness. They desire to attain both. They are 
anxiously in search of them. While the priesthood of 
the world, owing to their own misinstruction, give a 
wrong direction to the human faculties, and thus prevent 
the possibility of the authorities of the world discovering 
where they are at fault, and how to attain the path 
which alone leads to the knowledge which they all seek. 

The discovery which has been made of the sciences by 
which both these results are to be obtained, makes this 
the most glorious era in the life of man. For it will lead 
him direct to the road to that happiness which his nature 
has been made strongly to desire, and which to this day 
he has evidently sought in vain. 

An imperfect development of the human faculties 
when humanity was in its infant state, created the 
necessity for a priesthood, with its good and evil conse- 
quences. As the development advanced, and as real 
knowledge grew from the accurate observation of facts, 
the error of one priesthood after another became too 
obvious to be maintained by the most advanced minds, 
, and new religions were to be invented, less obviously 
erroneous. And as the certain or fixed sciences were 
discovered and progressed, the belief in, or the reliance 
upon, these latter inventions diminished, until now, in 
the minds of the most advanced in substantive knowledge 
derived from facts, religious feelings, of the old character 
of religion, have not only ceased altogether, but the evils 
now everywhere produced by the obstructions which they 
create to the formation of a good and superior character 
for all, are seen to be, as they are, the greatest of all 
existing evils. And until they shall be overcome, and 
the human mind shall be cleared from all religiousfallacies 
and all dependence upon religious forms and ceremonies ^ 
10 



146 THE LIFE OF 

it will be vain to expect to make the human race to 
think and act rationally, or to look for anything approach- 
ing to general permanent happiness. 

The first consideration with the leading minds of the 
world should be, how to combine the conditions which 
can insure from birth the formation of a good and rational 
character for the human race, and to unite with these 
(for they cannot exist separately) the conditions to 
create wealth at all times in superfluity for all. This 
combination is unknown even to the most advanced in 
all countries, and has now to be taught to all, and it is 
by far the most important lesson that the human race 
has to acquire. When men can be taught to create and 
combine the conditions to properly cultivate all the 
faculties, propensities, and powers of human nature, 
and to train all in the habit of exercising all of them 
regularly to the point of temperance for each faculty and 
propensity, — then, and only then, will men know how to 
form a good, valuable, and superior character for all, or 
to train man to beconle a rational being. And when 
they shall be taught to create and combine with these 
conditions, others which will enable all to produce 
superior and intrinsically valuable wealth in abundance 
for all, at all times, then will mankind become rational, 
and make a greater progress in real knowledge and per- 
manent happiness in one year, than under existing con- 
ditions they can make in a century, — or, indeed, as 
long as the present irrational conditions, emanating from 
a false fundamental principle, or rather imagination, 
shall be maintained by the erroneously instructed 
authorities of the world. 

The great defect which exists in all countries is the 
false instruction given to those who have to govern, 
whether in churches or states ; and this great evil has 
now to be overcome. But not to be overcome by force, 
or by abusive language. Reason and common sense are 
the true and only weapons which can ever succeed. All 
that have conscious life have been created to desire 
happiness. The authorities of the world in churches and 
states desire to attain happiness. It is impossible that 



ROBERT OWEN 147 

the individual members of any church or state can acquire 
anything approaching to permanent happiness under the 
false and artificial conditions under which all of them are 
placed. While under other conditions, based on a true 
knowledge of the laws of human nature, each one may be 
made to become from birth rational and consistent in 
principle and practice, natural in all their proceedings and 
conduct, and permanently happy through life. 

Knowing and feeling as I did the all-importance of 
education for the mass, as a preliminary to the ultimate 
true formation of character, I was so profuse or extrava- 
gant, as I have stated, in my encouragement of Joseph 
Lancaster and Dr. Bell, in their measures to make a 
beginning in this country to give even the mite of in- 
struction to the poor which their respective systems 
proposed to do, because I trusted that a beginning might 
be made to lead on gradually to something substantial 
and permanently beneficial to society. 

Mj- next move in this direction was to encourage 
Lancaster to come to Scotland (where the new manu- 
facturing system was involving the children of the 
working classes in new conditions, unfavourable to 
I knowledge, to health, and to happiness), to create a 
public opinion to assist to counteract these evils. He 
came to Glasgow in 1812, and a great public dinner was 
to be given to introduce him into Scotland, as a great 
friend to the instruction of the poor on a new invented 
economical plan, by which one man could instruct a 
thousand children, n^ 

Joseph Lancaster was now becoming well known and 
celebrated for this mechanical invention and instruction, 
and (his arrival in Glasgow created much excitement) 
among the friends to the education of the poor. Lan- 
caster, knowing that I was acquainted with the peculiar 
customs and rehgious prejudices of the Societ}^ of Friends, 
of which he was a member, made it a. special condition, 
before he could consent as a Quakerito attend a public 
dinner for his reception into Scotland^ that I would con- 
sent to be its chairman. This office was quite new to me. 
I believed myself unequal to the task, and was umviliing 



■^ 



148 THE LIFE OF 

to undertake it. But the meeting, owing to Mr. Lan- 
caster's obstinacy, could not be held on any other con- 
dition. I was therefore constrained to agree to his 
wishes, and the Rev. Ralph Wardlaw, then the most 
popular preacher and friend to the education of the poor 
in Glasgow, was appointed croupier, or deputy-chairman. 
At this period I was on the most friendly terms with 
many of the professors of the universities of Edinburgh 
and Glasgow, and on this occasion I was supported on 
the right and left by Professors Jardine and Mylne, two 
who at that time stood high in public estimation. (It 
was on announcing the object of the meetin g in my 
opening speech, that I first _declared in public my §^ti- 
Xnents on the true formation ol character, anqfmy 
princl|5l:e'Tliat man~was essentially fhe creature m/the 
circumstances or conditions in which he was placeq/ and 
that I advocated the necessity for preparing m.easures to 
p lace the rising gener ation._witMft---^;eed--aad—superio r 



ETrcumstances. \\ ^[Vhat'l then said took the meeting by 
surpriseT^rnttTseemed electrified. The professors were 
highly delighted, and the whole assembly became far 
more enthusiastic in their continue d applau se when I con- 
cluded, than I have ever witnessed in a Scotch audience ; 
and I afterwards received from Mr. Kirkman Finlay, 
then the great man in Glasgow, who was at the time in 
London, a most flattering and encouraging letter. [My 
speech is given in the Appendix.] ) 
7 T his spontaneous ajB iHJOYal byji£-jumieixm&-literary 
partie s present, • and the reception given to ' Joseph 
Lancast^rrJTiduced.iiie to_write my-j&nst four essays on 
A New View of Society, and on the formation of character. 
The first two essays were published at the end of t-his year 
(1812), and the last two in the beginning of 1813.J 

In all my projected improvements for educating and 
improving the condition of the children and workpeople of 
New Lanark, I had no coadjutors in my near connexions, 
partners, or friends, until I formed my last partnership in 
181 4. Previously one and all connected with and around 
me, except Mr. Dale while he lived, opposed my views 
with all the arguments they could muster against them ; 



ROBERT OWEN 149 

and I lost two sets of partners by persevering in what they 
called my visionary plans. But when I published these 
four essays on the formation of character, explanatory 
of the principles and practices on which I had been 
acting, I was surprised at the manner in which they were 
received by the public, and especially by the higher 
members of the then administration and of the churches ; 
for the heads of both were most anxious to see them 
previous to their publication. Lord Liverpool and his 
Cabinet, with Dr. Sutton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
and the English and Irish bishops of that day, were 
favourable to my views and friendly to myself. My 
chief communications at first were with the leading 
members both in church and state ; for I wished them 
to see and know all I was doing and intended to do, 
being conscious that all parties from the highest to the 
lowest would be benefited by my views of society, 
whenever they should be carried fully and honestly into 
practice. 

When I had written the first two essays on the new 
views, I gave them to read to the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, and when I had just finished in MS. the third and 
fourth, I met the Archbishop and told him of my pro- 
gress. He expressed a great desire to see them, and 
asked me to bring them to Lambeth the next day, which 
I did, and read to him the third essay, and then thought 
that he would be too fatigued to hear the fourth also 
at the one sitting. " No," he said, " I am too anxious 
" to hear it, and I request you will proceed." I continued 
to its conclusion, and saw as I read how much the subject 
engaged his attention and interested his feelings. When 
I had finished, he said, with the greatest kindness in his 
manner, " I am sure, Mr. Owen, you will not desire me 
" to express an opinion upon what you have now read. 
" But I am deeply interested in the whole subject, as 
" you have stated it, and I should be glad to learn from 
" you from time to time how you succeed. Will you 
" correspond with me ? "^ was then hving in Scotland, 
either at New Lanark or at Rosebank near Glasgow. 
But at that period several individuals had been and 



150 THE LIFE OF 

were then being prosecuted for publishing sentiments 
and opinions less opposed to the existing order of things 
than those expressed in these essays, and I intended to 
pursue the subject until I could produce a public opinion 
to change the fundamental principle on which society 
was based, knowing that nothing short of that could 
effect any substantial and permanent good for the 
people of any country. I therefore hesitated for the 
moment ; and the good and penetrating Archbishop 
saw my embarrassment, and divined its cause, and 
immediately added, " Perhaps you would not Hke to 
" correspond with the ' Archbishop of Canterbury ' and 
" would not object to communicate with Dr. Sutton." I 
said I was much obliged to his grace for his consideration 
of my position, for I could say things to Dr. Sutton that 
I might hesitate to say to the Archbishop of Canterbury. 
His grace replied — " Then Dr. Sutton will have pleasure 
" in corresponding with Mr. Owen " ; and from that day 
to his death the Archbishop was at all times most friendly 
to me, and was perhaps the most liberal Archbishop of 
Canterbury that has ever filled the office. 

I also sent copies of the essays to Lord Liverpool, the 
Prime Minister of that day, and afterwards requested an 
interview with him respecting them, which he immediately 
granted, fixing the next day for our meeting. It was 
in his private house, in the drawing-room, and I found 
Lady Liverpool with him, to whom he introduced me. 
He said — " Mr. Owen, Lady Liverpool has been so 
" interested in reading your Essays, that she has re- 
" quested to be present at our conversation, as she takes 
" a warm interest in these subjects. I hope you have no 
" objection to her being present." I said — " Quite the 
" reverse, my Lord ; for I am very desirous to induce 
" the ladies to take into their consideration the cause 
" which I advocate, and especially the subject of edu- 
" cation, now becoming so useful, and so important to 
" be given to all of the female sex." The conversation 
was continued with much interest for a long period, and 
Lady Liverpool, who aj^peared most amiable and 
intelligent, gave great attention to it, and entered into 



ROBERT OWEN 151 

it with the spirit of a true philanthropist. She hoped 
that much would be now done to ameliorate the con- 
dition of the working classes, and to raise their characters. 
Near the conclusion of our conversations, she said — 
" We have a very promising young man just come to us, 
" whom Lord Liverpool has made his private secretary, — 
" he is the son of Sir Robert Peel, and is just come from 
" the University.where he stood high at his examinations, 
" and we have hope that he will attain distinction as he 
" acquires experience." This was the lamented late Sir 
Robert Peel, with whose father I was for many years 
afterwards intimate and in almost daily communication. 

I now formally communicated the four Essays to the 
Government before I would publish them. They had 
them examined and closely investigated, and their reply 
to me afterwards was — " We see nothing to object to in 
" them." 

Lord and Lady Liverpool had previously expressed 
their pleasure in reading and studying them, and their 
strong approbation of them. 

The members of the Government, represented by Lord 
Sidmouth, who was secretary for the home department, 
then said — " What do you now propose to do with the 
" essays ? " I replied — " Being conscious that the views 
" of society which I have advocated in them are much 
" opposed to existing prejudices, and being very anxious 
" not to mislead the public on subjects of such great 
" permanent interest, and as to the changes they must 
" lead to, I am most desirous not to be mistaken in the 
" principles on which the proposed changes are based. 
" I therefore recommend that measures should be 
" adopted the most likely to detect any error which 
" they may contain, and for this purpose I will, if the 
" government approves, have two hundred copies printed, 
" and bound with alternate blank leaves, and these copies 
" you can send to the leading Governments of Europe 
" and America, — to the most learned Universities in 
" Europe, — and to such individuals as you may deem 
" best calculated to form a sound judgment upon them, 
" — requesting these parties to make any objections 



152 THE LIFE OF 

" upon the blank leaves which may occur to them, and se 
" then to return them to you ; and that they should be 
" afterwards supplied with other copies when perfected." 
Lord Sidmouth said — "The proposal, Mr. Owen, is fair 
" and honest, and if you will send the two hundred copies 
" printed and so bound, they shall be sent as you have 
" desired." They were supplied accordingly, and Lord 
Sidmouth had them forwarded to the Governments, 
Universities, and learned individuals. After due time 
allowed, a considerable number of them were returned 
to the Government, and I was sent for to examine what 
was written on the blank leaves. I went carefully over 
the remarks which had been written, but it was a matter 
of surprise to Lord Sidmouth and myself, that among all 
the observations returned, none of the writers directly 
objected to any of the facts, principles, or conclusions, 
but they only remarked that such other parties, naming 
them, M'ould object to so and so. 

As no objection of moment had been made directly 
by any parties, and as the' Essays appeared to be generally 
much approved of, Lord Sidmouth then asked me what 
I proposed next to do with them. I replied — " To 
" print and publish them, that they may undergo the 
" ordeal of public opinion, — if the Government has no 
" objection." His Lordship said — " None whatever. 
" And when they are ready, pray send me a sufficient 
" number for our bishops, and I will forward one to each." 
They were sent to Lord Sidmouth, and he afterwards 
told me that he had supplied one to each English arch- 
bishop and bishop. The Archbishop of Armagh was in 
London, and Lord Sidmouth said he would be pleased if 
I would call upon him, which I did, and found with him 
Mr. Edgeworth the author, the father of the celebrated 
Miss Edgeworth. Mr. Edgeworth asked the Arch- 
bishop if he might remain with us, for, he said, " I have 
" read that man's works, and he has been in my brains 
" and stolen all my ideas." We had much conversation, 
and the parties appeared greatly interested with the 
further explanation of my new views of society. The 
interview ended by the Archbishop requesting me to 



ROBERT OWEN 153 

send him a sufficient number of copies for each of the 
Irish bishops. And I conclude these paved the way 
for the warm and cordial reception I afterwards ex- 
perienced from them, when, in the year 1822-23, 1 visited 
Ireland, and held my great public meetings there, in 
Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast, etc., etc. 

At this period John Quincey Adams was the American 
Minister to our Government, and when I was introduced 
to him, a short time before he left this country, he 
asked me for a sufficient number of copies of my Essays, 
which were now become very popular, for the governor 
of each state in the Union, and he would undertake that 
they should be faithfully dehvered, and with his recom- 
mendation. I sent them, and on my arrival some years 
afterwards in the United States, I ascertained that they 
had been received, and had prepared the way for the 
general good reception which I met with from the 
Government and many of the leading men and statesmen 
of that country. 

These Essays were so popular, that all the first pub- 
lishers, both in the city and at the west end of the 
metropolis, were ambitious to have their names attached 
to them. Five superior editions were rapidly disposed 
of under the sanction of their united firms, — Richard 
Taylor and Company being the printers. 

Finding the Essays were much valued by the first class 
of minds, and wishing to place them in the highest 
quarters, I had forty of them bound in the best manner 
in which I could procure the first workman to bind them, 
and of these I prevailed on the Government to send a 
copy to each of the Sovereigns of Europe and to their 
chief Minister, and thus they became generally known 
among the highest class and most advanced minds before 
1817. It was in 1813 -14 that the superiorly bound copies 
were sent to the Sovereigns and their Prime Ministers, 
while Napoleon Bonaparte was in Elba. At this period 
I was much engaged in London with these measures, 
and also in forming the new partnership with more 
liberal and benevolent parties than my former commercial 
men, — although many of these were good men, according 



154 THE LIFE OF 

to their notions of commercial goodness. While I was 
thus employed, one of my sisters-in-law, Margaret, was 
taken dangerously ill, and I was suddenly called home 
on her account, where I was detained until after her 
death and funeral. 

I had left in London with Mr. Francis Place the re- 
mainder of the superbly bound copies of my essays, for 
him to take charge of until my return to town. While I 
was absent, a general officer called upon Mr. Place, and 
said — " I learn that Mr. Owen has sent copies of his work 
" to the Sovereigns of Europe and to the authorities in 
" America. I am on my way to Elba, and if you will 
" intrust a copy with me for the Emperor Napoleon, I 
" will undertake to put it into his own hands." Mr. 
Place very judiciously gave him one of those copies, 
and there is no doubt it was safely conveyed to him ; 
for I learned afterwards from Sir Neil Campbell, British 
Agent at Elba, through the following circumstances, that 
Napoleon had received, it. 

I was intimate with General Brown, who returned 
from India after being forty years there, and I was a 
frequent visitor and guest at his table. Of our party 
was Mrs. Dyce, the wife of General Dyce, and sister to 
Sir Neil Campbell. Both this lady and General Brown 
took a warm interest in my New View, and when Sir 
Neil returned from Elba after Napoleon's escape, Mrs. 
Dyce was desirous that I should meet her brother Sir 
Neil. For this purpose a dinner was given at No. 8 
Curzon Street, by General Brown, that we might be intro- 
duced, and Mrs. Dyce requested that I would bring a copy 
of my Essays for her brother, which I did, and presented 
the volume to him after dinner. He looked at it with 
some surprise, and said, " I have certainly seen a copy of 
" this before. Oh ! I recollect ! While I was at Elba, 
" General Bertram came to me with a book in his hand, 
" a copy of this work, and said he had been sent by 
" Buonaparte, to ask me whether I knew the author, 
" for he was much interested with its contents." (There 
was much said about Napoleon in it.) " I looked at the 
" title page, and said I did not know the work or the 



ROBERT OWEN 155 

" author, and Bertram appeared disappointed." I was 
subsequently informed that Buonaparte had read and 
studied this work with great attention, and had de- 
termined on his return to power, if the Sovereigns of 
Europe had allowed him to remain quietly on the throne 
of France, to do as much for peace and progress, as he had 
previously done for war, and that this was the cause of 
his letters to the Sovereigns of Europe on his return, con- 
taining proposals for peace instead of war. But they 
knew not, and did not believe, that he had changed his 
views and was sincere in his declaration. The result 
of their refusal to listen to him is now matter of history, 
and it is useless to speculate on what so extraordinary a 
character would have done, had he been permitted to 
rei^n over France in peace. 

fHaving published and put into general circulation my 
four Essays on the formation of character, and having 
thus opened to the public my New View of Society, my 
attention was directed to measures of a public character, 
with a view to obtain some permanent substantial relief 
for the children, young persons, and adults, employed 
in the rising and rapidly increasing manufactories of 
wool, cotton, flax, hemp, and silk, in which it had be- 
come the practice to employ very young children, as 
well as those of every age above them.' My experience 
now (1815) had continued without ceasing for twenty- 
five years in the cotton-manufacturing business, and 
having at an early period freely opened the mills in which 
I was interested to my brother cotton-spinners, and having 
been the first spinner of fine cotton (that is, of thread 
from No. 120 to upwards of No. 300), all the manufac- 
tories of the kindgom were as freely opened to me, and 
I visited most of them from north to south, to enable me 
to form a correct judgment of the condition of the children 
and workpeople employed in them. I thus saw the im- 
portance of the machinery employed in th^se manufac- 
tories and its rapid annual improvements. \ I also became . 
vividly alive to the deteriorating condition of the young 
children and others who were made the slaves of these 
new mechanical powers. And whatever may be said 



156 THE LIFE OF 

to the contrary, bad and unwise as American slavery 
is and must continue to be, the white slavery in the 
manufactories of England was at this unrestricted period 
far worse than the house slaves whom I afterwards saw 
in the West Indies and in the United States, [and in many 
respects, especially as regards health, food, and clothing, 
the latter were much better provided for than were these 
oppressed and degraded children and workpeople in 
the home manufactories of Great Britain. 

As employer and master manufacturer in Lancashire 
and Lanarkshire, I had done all I could to lighten the 
evils of those whom I employed ; yet with all I could do 
under our most irrational system for creating wealth, 
forming character, and conducting all human affairs, I 
could only to a limited extent alleviate the wretchedness 
of their condition, while I knew that society, even at this 
period, possessed the most ample means to educate, 
employ, place, and govern the whole population of the 
British Empire, so a^ to make all into full-formed, 
highly intelligent, united, and permanently prosperous 
and happy men and women, superior in all physical and 
mental qualities. In my own experience I had at this 
time discovered the true principles of forming character, 
and how easy it would be to give a good, useful, and 
superior character to all of our race, by a consistent 
rational application of those principles to practice over 
the Empire. That the circumstances and means of 
adaptation were not then prepared for such a change, and 
it was evident that much more preparation must be made 
before governments and people could be sufficiently 
instructed and interested on this all - important subject, 
and before they could be prepared for this new view of 
society. Every step of my experience forced me more 
and more strongly to feel the necessity of preparing 
governments and people through a persevering system of 
new instruction, to fit both for the change which I had 
in view. 

But so wedded were both to old superstitions, old 
associations of ideas, and old habits, that the time re- 
quired to adapt them to receive the principles and to 



ROBERT OWEN 157 

comprehend the practice greatly exceeded my early 
anticipations. I thought previous to experience, that 
the simple, plain, honest enunciation of truth, and of its 
beautiful application to all the real business of life, would 
attract the attention and engage the warm interest of 
all parties ; and that the reformation of the population 
of the world would be comparatively an easy task. 
But, promising as many things appeared at first, as I 
advanced I found superstitions and mistaken self- 
interest so deeply rooted and ramified throughout society, 
that they resisted the coup de grace which I now began 
to prepare to give to them when matters could be 
adapted to promise success. 

In 1814 I had formed a new partnership with men 
pledged to assist my views for the reformation of society 
in my way in practice. I therefore commenced 
measures accordingly. My first step was to call a meet- 
ing of the manufacturers of Scotland in 1815, to be held 
in the Tontine, Glasgow, to consider the necessity and 
policy of asking the Government, then under Lord 
Liverpool's administration, to remit the heavy duty then 
paid on the importation of cotton, and to consider 
measures to improve the condition of the young children 
and others employed in the various textile manufactures 
now so rapidly extending over the kingdom. The 
meeting was presided over by the Lord Provost of 
Glasgow, and was very numerously attended by the 
leading manufacturers of that town. I stated to the 
meeting my objects in calling it, and iirst proposed that 
an application should be made to Government to remit 
the tax upon the raw material of the cotton manufacture. 
This was carried unanimously by acclamation. I then 
proposed a string of resolutions to give relief to the chil- 
dren and others employed in cotton, wool, flax, and silk 
mills. They contained the same conditions which I 
afterwards embodied in a Bill, which I induced the first 
Sir Robert Peel to propose for me to the House of 
Commons. 

The propositions were read by me to the meeting ; 
but although all were enthusiastically in favour of asking 



/. 



] 



153 THE LIFE OF 

for the remission oi the tax, not one would second my 
motion for the rehcf of those whom they employed. 
I then dechncd to proceed with them in the business of 
the meeting, and it therefore came to nothing. But I 
told them I should take my own course in both measures, 
independently of them. 

' rNew Lanark was now becoming the most celebrated 
. estabhshment of the kind at home or abroad, and was 
j visited by strangers from all i:)arts of the world, averag- 
ing yearly, from that period until I left it to go to 
the United States, ten years later, not less than two 
thousand.! 

On returning from the Glasgow meeting to this 
establishment, I immediately sent to the Lord Provost 
of Glasgow, as chairman of the meeting, a copy of the 
address which I had read, and sent copies of it also to 
the Government and to every member of both Houses of 
Parliament. I also had it published in the London and 
provincial press. 

This address made ' me yet better known to the 
Government, and was afterwards a passport for 
me to all the members of both Houses of Parliament, 
and it created a considerable sensation among the 
upper classes and the manufacturing interest over the 
kingdom. 

As soon as I had made this address thus public, I pro- 
ceeded to London to communicate with the Government, 
and to learn what it would do on both subjects. I found 
the impressions made by my address were favourable to 
my views. I was referred to Mr. Nicholas Vansittart. 
afterwards Lord Bexley, respecting the remission of the 
tax. I was well received by him, and in our conversation 
he asked me some question which I cannot now remember, 
— but my prompt decided reply made him blush like 
a sensitive maiden on account of his previous want of 
knowledge on the subject. The tax was fourpence per 
pound, and he said he would remit the whole, except 
to the amount of a small portion of a penny, which he 
said would be retained for some Government object or 
arrangement. 



ROBERT OWEN 159 

The Government was also favourable to my views for 
the relief of the children and others employed in the 
growing manufactures of the kingdom, if I could induce 
the members of both Houses to pass a Bill for the purpose. 
This was a formidable task to attempt to effect ; for by 
this time the manufacturing interest had become strong 
in the House of Commons, and yet stronger in its out-of- 
door influence with the members, whose election was 
much under its control. But I made up my mind to try 
what truth and perseverance could effect. 

I waited personally on the leading members of both 
Houses, and explained to them my object, which was to 
give some relief to a most deserving, yet much oppressed 
part of our population. I was in general well received, 
and had much promise of support, especially from the 
leaders of various sections into which parties were then 
divided. Lord Lascelles, member for Yorkshire, after- 
wards Earl of Harewood, and at that period the most 
influential member of the House of Commons, offered me 
his full assistance, and requested me to use his name 
with mine in calling meetings of the members of both 
Houses to promote my proposed Bill when introduced 
into Parliament. 

When by these means the leading members of both 
Houses had become interested and were desirous the Bill 
which I had prepared should be introduced, a final meet- 
ing was conjointly called by Lord Lascelles and myself 
of the members of both Houses who had taken with us 
the greatest interest at former meetings to forward the 
measure, now to consider, as I was not a member, who 
should be requested to take charge of the Bill and to 
introduce it into the House of Commons. The first Sir 
Robert Peel was now a member of the House of Commons, 
was an extensive manufacturer, and stood well with the 
Government and the House generally. But I had never 
applied to him or to any other manufacturer in the House, 
and it was not known to the meeting how he might view 
my proposals. The members present at this meeting 
(which, with the previous ones, was held at the King's 
Arms Hotel, New Palace Yard, Westminster, and was 



l6o THE LIFE OF 

numerously attended) suggested that if Sir Robert Peel 
would introduce the Bill, he would be a very fit person to 
carry it through the House of Commons. The meeting 
wished to know whether I had any objection to Sir 
Robert Peel's taking charge of the Bill, if he would under- 
take it. He had never been present at any of our meet- 
ings, and I did not know how, as a manufacturer, he was 
incUned to act, and I believed that so far he was alto- 
gether unacquainted with our proceedings. But I could 
have no objection to him if he was willing to accept the 
charge. The meeting asked me if I would endeavour to 
ascertain his views upon the subject, and I consented 
to do so. My calling upon him for this purpose was 
the first intimation that Sir Robert Peel had of these 
proceedings. 

When I informed him of the support which I was 
offered from the leading members in both Houses, he very 
willingly accepted the office, and agreed to attend the 
next meeting of the favouring members, that he might 
learn their wishes as to'the best mode of proceeding. He 
did so ; and at that meeting all the arrangements were 
concluded for introducing the Bill into the House of 
Commons with all the clauses as I had prepared them. 

Had Sir Robert Peel been so inclined, he might have 
speedily carried this Bill, as it was, through the House 
of Commons, during the first session, in time for it to 
have passed triumphantly through the Lords. But it 
appeared afterwards that he was too much under the 
influence of his brother manufacturers ; and he allowed 
this Bill, of so much real importance to the country, 
the master manufacturers, and the working classes, to 
be dragged through the House of Commons for four 
sessions before it was passed, and when passed it had 
been so mutilated in all its valuable clauses, that it be- 
came valueless for the objects I had intended. 

At the commencement of these proceedings I was an 
utter novice in the manner of conducting the business 
of this country in Parham^ent. But my intimate acquaint- 
ance with these proceedings for the four years during 
which this Bill was under the consideration of both 






ROBERT OWEN i6i 

Houses, opened my eyes to the conduct of public men, 
and to the ignorant vulgar self-interest, regardless of 
means to accomplish their object, of trading and mer- 
cantile men, even of high standing in the commercial 
world. No means were left untried by these men to 
defeat the object of the Bill, in the first session of its 
introduction, and through four years in which, under one 
futile pretence and another, it was kept in the House of 
Commons. 

Children at this time were admitted into the cotton, 
wool, flajc, and silk mills, at six, and sometimes even at 
five years of age. The time of working, winter and 
summer, was unlimited by law, but usually it was four- 
teen hours per day, — in some fifteen, and even, by the 
most inhuman and avaricious, sixteeen hours, — and in 
many cases the mills were artificially heated to a high 
state most unfavourable to health. 

The first plea of the objectors to my Bill was, that 
masters ought not to be interfered with by the 
legislature in any way in the management of their 
business. 

After long useless discussions, kept up to prolong time, 
this was at length overruled. 

The next attempt was to prove that it was not in- 
jurious to employ these young children fourteen or fifteen 
hours per day in overheated close rooms, filled often 
with the fine flying fibre of the material used, particularly 
in cotton and flax spinning mills. Sir Robert Peel most 
unwisely consented to a committee being appointed to 
investigate this question, and this committee was con- 
tinued for two sessions of Parhament before these wise 
and honest men, legislating for the nation, could decide 
that such practices were detrimental to the health of 
these infants. 

The Bill as I prepared it was assented to by all the 
leading members of both Houses, except the trading and 
manufacturing interests, including cotton, wool, flax, 
and silk mill-owners. Sir Robert Peel, yielding to the 
clamour of the manufacturers, first gave up wool, flax, 
and silk, and they were struck out at the commencement, 
II 



i62 THE LIFE OF 

although at that time flax spinning was the most un- 
heahhy of the four manufactures. 

During the first two sessions occupied by the committee 
to inquire whether the health of 5'oung children em- 
ployed in overheated cotton mills for fourteen, fifteen, 
and sometimes sixteen hours per day, was deteriorated, I 
sat with the committee, the only uninfluenced advocate 
of the cause of these children, whose minds and bodies 
I knew from considerable experience were materially 
and cruelly injured. But my evidence, being that of a 
master manufacturer, and of one conducting in ci)nncxion 
with these manufactures a population, young and old, 
of two thousand five hundred, was deemed by the active 
manufacturers opposed to the various clauses of my 
proposed Bill, to be too strong to be overcome, especially 
as my practice in the extensive mills which I conducted 
was in accordance with the several clauses of the Bill, as 
I proposed it first to the House through Sir Robert Peel. 

The manufacturer^ who attended to oppose these 
measures clause by clause therefore consulted among 
themselves how they could diminish the influence of my 
evidence with the Government and the members of both 
Houses. They said — " Surely we can find out by going 
" to Lanark something that he has done or is doing, that 
" will diminish the great influence which he now pos- 
" sesses with these members and with the Government " : 
a happy suggestion as it was deemed by this strong party 
of rich and influential men as master manufacturers. 

Mr. Houldsworth, a great cotton-spinner from 
Glasgow, and another, whose name I do not recollect, 
were dispatched to my neighbourhood on a mission of 
scandal - hunting. They soon learned that the parish 
clergyman of Old Lanark was an enemy to my pro- 
ceedings at New Lanark. He resided about a mile 
distant from the former, and was well informed of 
everything done at New Lanark since I undertook its 
direction, now about sixteen years. This, they thought, 
would be the very man for their purpose. The Rev. 
Mr. Menzies had j)reached in and }iresided over the town 
of Lanark for twenty years, and there was no perceptible 



ROBERT OWEN 163 

change for the better among his parishioners ; while 
in sixteen years there had been at New Lanark a change 
from a very low state of morals, to a general conduct 
which was so superior as to attract the attention of 
the most distinguished in rank, station, and character, 
both at home and from all countries. This progress at 
New Lanark had aroused the jealousy and enmity of Mr. 
Menzies, whom, however, I had always treated as a 
neighbouring clergyman, and had often invited to dine 
at my house, and when some of the first noblemen and 
gentlemen of the county were dining with me. 

" This," thought Mr. Houldsworth and his master 
manufacturing companion m official search of scandal, 
" is the man for our purpose." And away they posted 
to his house. They said — " The manufacturers of the 
' kingdom have appointed a committee to watch the 
' progress of a very injurious Bill which your neighbour, 
' Mr. Owen, has had influence sufficient to introduce 
' into Parliament, which Bill pretends to direct us how to 
' conduct our business. We want therefore to diminish 
' the influence of his evidence, for he is the only master 
' manufacturer who advocates the bill. But his evi- 
' dence has great weight with the members of Parliament 
' and with many of the members of Government. Do 
' you know anything of Mr. Owen's proceedings, by 
' which, if made known to these parties, his influence 
' would be diminished or destroyed ? " " Yes," replied 
Mr. Menzies, " I do. On the first of January this year 
'' (1816), on opening what he calls his ' New Institution 
' ' for the Formation of Character,' he delivered an 
' address to all his workpeople, and he invited the noble- 
' men and gentry of the county and the clergymen of 
' every denomination to be present, and this address 
' was of the most treasonable character against Church 
' and State." " That is the very thing for our purpose. 
' Do you know anything else against him ? " " No. 
' But he gives as much encouragement to the dissenting 
' ministers of this place as to me ; and he invites them 
' as much to his village, — which, considering I am the 
' authorized minister of his parish, he ought not to do. 



l64 THE LIFE OF 

" And he encourages some dissenting meeting houses in 
" New Lanark, and these being opened on the Sabbath, 
" they keep many away who would otherwise attend the 
" parish church and my ministry." " And you attended 
" to hear this treasonable address from Mr. Owen on 
" opening his Institution ? " " No. He invited me, 
" but I was obliged to be absent on some parish business. 
" But Mrs. Menzies and my family were all there. It 
" was a great meeting, and many of our highest gentry 
" were present." " How many persons do you suppose ? " 
" The largest schoolroom, with its galleries, was filled, 
" so that no room was left for more ; and they say there 
" were twelve hundred present. And there was music, 
" vocal and instrumental ; but no one saw the per- 
" formers or knew where it came from." " Did Mrs. 
" Menzies on her return home immediately relate to you 
" what she had heard and seen ? " " Yes. And being 
" so much accustomed to hear my sermons, and to give 
" a true account of tliem to me afterwards, she is quite 
" competent to carry away the substance of any public 
" discourse which she may hear, and at this meeting she 
" was assisted by my children who were mth her." 

The manufacturers were delighted with this in- 
telligence, and asked if he knew anything else against 
me. He could not say he did, " Well — this will be 
" sufficient, if you will return with us to London, and will 
" state these facts to the Government. And we will 
" P^-y you for your time and trouble, and will pay all 
" your expenses." " I will go with you willingly, — for 
" this is a dangerous man in our neighbourhood, where, 
" by his pretended philanthropy, he has gi^eat influence, 
" and especially by directing the extensive operations of 
" so large an estabUshment, and employing more than 
" two thousand people." 

The party, thus agreed, hastily posted up to London, 
and immediately asked the Secretary of State, Lord 
Sidmouth, for an audience on most important business. 
An interview was granted them. The manufacturers, 
with Mr. Menzies, who were all primed by the committee 
of manufacturers how to act and what to say, went in 






ROBERT OWEN 165 

full feather to the appointment made by the Secretary of 
State, whom for nearly two years I had been in the habit 
of frequently visiting in his office, and, at his request, 
without asking for any formal appointment. When 
these gentlemen had been severally formally introduced 
to his lordship, he asked them the nature of their import- 
ant business. " We have come to make a charge against 
" Mr. Owen, Lord vSidmouth." " Ah ! what is it ? I 
" know Mr. Owen very well." " This gentleman is Mr. 
" Menzies, who is minister of the parish church in the 
" county town of Lanark, in the near neighbourhood of 
" New Lanark." I should have said previously that it 
so happened that, as I was going to attend the committee 
of the House of Commons on the Factory Bill, I met this 
party on their way to Lord Sidmouth ; when Mr. 
Houldsworth said on passing, for we were all on speaking 
terms, and apparently friendly, — " I would not be in 
" your shoes to-day for a trifle " — looking at the same 
time significantly important. I knew not then what he 
could mean, and passed on to the committee, which sat 
day by day, taking the most extraordinary evidence in 
favour of the health of cotton mills, and to prove that the 
health of young children and youth was not injured by 
working in them fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen hours 
per day ! 

But to return to the party with Lord Sidmouth. 
" Well, Mr. Menzies," said his lordship, " what is your 
" charge against Mr. Owen ? " "I have to state that on 
" the first of January last, at the opening of what he calls 
" a ' New Institution for the Formation of Character,' to 
" which all his people and the neighbouring gentry were 
" invited, he delivered one of the most extraordinary, 
" treasonable, and inflammatory discourses that has 
" ever been heard in Scotland." " Indeed ! " said 
Lord Sidmouth. " And you were present and listened 
" attentively to the whole of what he said ? " " No, my 
"lord, — I was not present; but my wife and family 
" were, and several ministers living in the neighbourhood, 
" and the gentry near." " And you know all the address 
" contained ? " "I know from the report of my wife 



i66 THE LIFE OF 

" and others that it was most treasonable and in- 
" flamniatory." " Is this all the charge you have to 
" make against Mr. Owen ? " " Yes, my lord." Lord 
Sidmouth then asked the deputation (and he appeared 
fully conscious of the animus of this proceeding) whether 
they had any further accusation to make. " No, my 
" lord, we have no other charge to make." " Then I 
" dismiss your complaint as most frivolous and uncalled 
" for. The Government has been six months in pos- 
" session of a copy of that discourse, which it would do 
" any of you credit to have delivered, if you had the 
" power to conceive it." And he bowed them out. 

They returned, first to their committee, and gave an 
accurate account of their reception and the result. The 
whole of which, and the previous proceedings at Lanark 
with Mr. Menzies, were the same day graphically com- 
municated to me by one of their own committee, who 
had become so disgusted with these and other of their 
doings, that he \vould no longer act with them. The 
next day I saw Mr. Houldsworth, who looked most de- 
jected, and had not a word to say for himself. 

I sat with this Factory Committee of the House of 
Commons every day for two sessions, and was on one 
occasion examined by it as a witness in favour of the 
Bill in its original state, limiting the time of working the 
mills to ten hours per day, — the age of admission for 
children to work in them for that time, to twelve, — for 
the boys and girls to be taught to read and write previously 
to their admission, — and the girls in addition to be taught 
to sew and cook, and to do the general domestic duties oi 
a poor man's house, — -and the factory to be kept clean 
and frequently whitewashed. 

My evidence, as an extensive mill owner, who had in 
his own practice adopted these regulations in his estab- 
lishment, which at this time employed upwards of two 
thousand, the great majority children and young persons, 
had an influence not to be overcome by any ordinary or 
fair means. Therefore the manufacturing members of 
the House, who were in strength upon this committee, 
resorted to the most unfair means in their examination, 



ROBERT OWEN 167 

especially Sir George Philips, of the cotton-spinning 
firm of Philips and Lee, of Salford, who, taking ad- 
vantage of tlie position ho held, took upon himself I0 
question me at great length on my religious lielief, and 
on various other matters, so unjustifiable and irrelevant 
to the business before the committee, that at the end of 
this long examination of me by this rival cotton-spinner, 
or (as many of his class were now called, from their great 
wealth and their tyranny over their workpeople) cotton 
lord, he was called to order by Henry, afterwards Lord 
Brougham, who also moved that the whole examination 
of Sir George Phihps, so totally unconnected with the 
business of the committee, should be expunged, and it 
was so decided without one dissentient. 

I was so disgusted at the delays created by these 
interested members, and at the concessions made to them 
by Sir Robert Peel during the progress of the Bill through 
the Houseof Commons, that after attending the committee 
every day of its sitting during two long sessions, I took 
less interest in a measure now so mutilated, and so unlike 
the Bill which had been prepared by me ; and I seldom 
attended the committee, or took any active part in its 
further progress. My place during the third and fourth 
year of its being kept before the committees of both 
'Houses of Parliament was occupied chiefly by Mr. 
Nathaniel Gould, of Manchester, and Mr. Richard 
Oastler, of Yorkshire, known as the " king " of the 
Yorkshire operatives. And both made much popular 
character by their well-intended efforts. 

It may be remarked here, that this Bill has since been 
almost continually before Parliament for improvement 
after improvement, and yet it has not been suffered by the 
master cotton-spinners to attain the full benefits contained 
in the Bill when first introduced, at my instance, by 
Sir Robert Peel, although the clauses as they then stood 
would have been, if carried, as beneficial for the masters 
as for the workpeople, and greatly more^advantageous to 
the general interests of the country. \But in this and 
in all other cases between the tyranny of the masters and 
the sufferings of their white slaves, the error is in reality 



i68 THE LIFE OF 

N in the system of society, which creates the necessity" for 
tyrants and slaves, neither of which could exist in a true 
and rational state of societyi 

While these proceedings were in progress, what was 
called the revulsion from war to peace had created 
universal distress among the producers in the British 
Islands. Barns and farmyards were full, and warehouses 
were weighed down with all manner of productions, and 
prices fell much below the cost at which the articles could 
be produced. Farm servants were dismissed, and no 
employment could be found for them, the manufacturers 
being in the same situation as the farmers, and obhged to 
discharge their hands by hundreds, and in many cases 
to stop their works altogether. The distress among all 
workpeople became so great, that the upper and wealthy 
classes became alarmed, foreseeing that the support of 
the hundreds of thousands unemployed, if this state of 
things continued, must ultimately fall upon them. 
This was in 1816, t^e first year after the conclusion of 
peace. 

A great meeting was called by the upper classes to 
consider the cause of and remedy for this distress,which 
puzzled all our political economists, and confounded our 
most experienced statesmen. The meeting was held 
in the City of London Tavern, presided over by the Duke 
of York, and attended by all the great people and pro- 
minent men of the day. At this time I was on friendly 
terms with several of the English bench of bishops, 
particularly the Archbishop of Canterbury (Sutton), the 
learned Bishop of St. Davids (Burgess), the benevolent 
and liberal Bishop of Durham (Barrington), and the good 
honest Bishop of Norwich (Bathurst). Upon the morn- 
ing of this great meeting, at which all the high official 
personages were expected to attend, and to subscribe 
for the immediate support of the suffering workpeople, 
I was engaged to breakfast with the Bishop of Norwich. 
After breakfast the Bishop said to me — " Mr. Owen, I 
" shall be expected to be present at this meeting and to 
" subscribe my mite, and as I cannot to-day con- 
" veniently attend, will you have the kindness to offer 



ROBERT OWEN i6q 

" an apology to the meeting for my absence, and to 
" subscribe ten pounds for me ? " — giving me that sum. 
I did what he requested, and I perceived that many were 
surprised that the Bishop had given his commission to 
rne in preference to any other. 

1 All at the meeting appeared to be at a loss to account 
for such severe distress at the termination of a war so 
successful and the commencement of a peace so advan- 
tageous, as it was thought, to this country. But all 
that was done was to appoint a committee of the leading 
statesmen and political economists and practical men of 
business to investigate this difficult subject. Such com- 
mittee was then named, and the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury was appointed its chairman, and a large subscription 
to give immediate relief was entered into. ' 

Among the committee were the leading political 
economists and Malthusians, who at this period were 
making great pretensions to superior knowledge, and 
whose opinions governed British home politics for many 
years after, and have continued to do so almost to the 
present time. 

Not long ago their real leader, and that of the Whig 
party, Francis Place, a most energetic and well-inten- 
tioned man, about a year before his death, confessed 
to me that he was mistaken in all his expectations, and 
was no longer able to see his way in national affairs. 
He had always agreed with me on the necessity of edu- 
cating the people ; but was opposed to me on the neces- 
sity of giving national employment to the unemployed 
who desired to work. He was a conscientious, firm, hard 
Whig and modern political economist, mistaken in all 
hi^ political views, except upon education, and of that 
he had only Whig knowledge. His opinion was, that the 
poor should work out their own way as he had done, — 
and he had been successful. 

Upon this committee my name appeared — by whom 
proposed and seconded I never knew ; and I was much 
surprised to find it there. My friend Mr. Mortlock's 
name was also upon the committee, — which was ap- 
pointed to meet the next day. 



170 



THE LIFE OF 



Mr. Mortlock was a true liberal philanthropist, most 
active in the cause of the poor and working classes, and 
well known among the leading men of the day. We 
agreed that I should breakfast with him, and that we 
should go together to the first meeting of this intendcd- 
to-be-important committee. 

At breakfast Mr. Mortlock (who was the head of the 
firm at 250 Oxford Street, London, the great china ware- 
house) inquired of me whether I knew the cause of this 
new and most extraordinary general distress among the 
producers of wealth, at the commencement of a peace so 
satisfactory and honourable to the nation. I explained 
to him my views on the subject, but said, " No doubt the 
" leading men, especially some of the prominent political 
" economists, who I see are upon the committee, will give 
" a much fuller and better explanation of this subject, as 
" they are in possession of all the knowledge of the 
" Government derived from every national source, and 
" I expect we shall obtain much valuable new information 
" from a committee appointed as this has been." 

We attended the meeting, and sat together, not far 
from the chairman, who, as I have said, was the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury (Sutton). 

I had anticipated a great addition to my knowledge 
from attending this committee of the supposed most ex- 
perienced public men of the day that could be nominated 
to assist the Archbishop. I listened with the most 
fixed attention to sjieech after speech, from those who 
took upon themselves the task of enlightening the com- 
mittee upon this extraordinary new state of the country 
at the commencement of so gratifying a peace. I was 
confounded, amazed, and greatly disappointed with tbe 
verbiage uttered first by one leading public man and then 
by another and another, until the most prominent and 
forward had expressed all they had to say. But the 
meeting was not satisfied with any of these attempts to 
explain the cause of this unusual general distress, and 
my friend Mr. Mortlock was quite uneasy in his seat, 
while attending to speech after speech, amounting as he 
said to nothing relevant to the subject before them, and 



ROBERT OWEN 171 

he repeatedly urged me to tell the meeting what I had 
explained to him at our breakfast. 

Uneducated as I was, and then inexperienced in public 
speaking, I had the greatest dislike and even horror of 
standing up and formally attempting to address such a 
meeting. But my friend had become so urgent with 
me that I should speak, that at length he attracted the 
notice of the chairman, who, hearing what he was saying 
to me, said, — " Mr. Owen, — we know you have had great 
" experience among workpeople, and have given, as evi- 
" denced by your lately published essays, which I have 
" read and studied, much thought to these matters. 
" I therefore request you will favour the meeting with 
" your sentiments upon this subject, which appears to 
" be so much a mystery to every one." I could not now 
escape rising. But explanations at a breakfast table, 
and formally addressing such a meeting, were to me at 
that period two very different things. I had to force 
myself to overcome my diffidence and mistrust of my own 
powers. 

I said the cause of this apparently unaccountable 
distress seemed to me to be the new extraordinary 
changes which had occurred during so long a war, when 
men and materials had been for a quarter of a century 
in such urgent demand, to support the waste of our 
armies and navies upon so extensive a scale for so long a 
period. All things had attained to war prices, and these 
had been so long maintained, that they had appeared to 
the present generation the natural state of business and 
public affairs. The want of hands and materials, with 
this lavish expenditure, created a demand for and gave 
great encouragement to new mechanical inventions and 
chemical discoveries, to supersede manual labour in 
supplying the materials required for warlike purposes, 
and these, direct and indirect, were innumerable. The 
war was a great and most extravagant customer to farmers, 
manufacturers, and other producers of wealth, and many 
during this period became very wealthy. The ex- 
penditure of the last year of the war for this country 
alone was one hundred and thirty millions sterling, or an 



172 THE LIFE OF 

excess of eighty millions of pounds sterling over the peace 
expenditure . And on the day on which peace was signed, 
this great customer of the producers died, and prices fell 
as the demand diminished, until the prime cost of the 
articles required for war could not be obtained. The 
bams and farmyards were full, warehouses loaded, and 
such was our artificial state of society, that this very 
superabundance of wealth was the sole cause of the exist- 
ing distress. Burn the stock in the farmyards and ware- 
houses, and prosperity would immediately recommence 
in the same manner as if the war had continued. This 
want of demand at remunerating prices compelled the 
master producers to consider what they could do to 
diminish the amount of their productions and the cost 
of producing, until these surplus stocks could be taken 
out of the market . To effect these results, every economy 
in producing was resorted to, and men being more ex- 
pensive machines for producing than mechanical and 
chemical inventions and discoveries, so extensively 
brought into action during the war, the men were 
discharged, and the machines were made to supersede 
them, — while the numbers xmemployed were increased 
by the discharge of men from the army and navy. 
Hence the great distress for want of work among all 
classes whose labour was so much in demand while the 
war continued. This increase of mechanical and 
chemical power was continually diminishing the demand 
for and value of manual labour, and would continue to 
do so, and would effect great changes throughout society. 
For the new power created by these new inventions and 
discoveries was already enormous, and was superseding 
rnanual power. 

Here I was asked by Mr. Colquhoun — the celebrated 
city magistrate and political economist, who had lately 
published his Resources of the British Empire — how much 
I thought this new mechanical and chemical power 
now superseded manual labour. ^ I replied that I had 
not the data from which I could make an exact state- 
ment of the amount to the committee ; but from observ- 
ing these new powers in action over the kingdom, I knew 



1/^ 
ROBERT OWEN 173 

the amount must be very considerable. Mr. Colquhoun 
said — " But give the committee some idea of what you 
" suppose it to be." " I do not like to express myself 
" on so important a subject without some fixed data , 
" beyond general observations." Several voices from 
various members of the committee exclaimed — " Do, Mr. 
" Owen, give us some notion of your impressions on this 
" subject." I said — " Imperfectly informed as I am, I 
" am most unwilling, on a subject so new and yet so 
" important to society, to state a crude opinion merely 
" from general observation." The committee now 
appeared to be much agitated and excited, and became 
most urgent that I should name some amount as the 
extent to which this new power superseded manual 
labour. 

The population of the British Isles was at this period 
(1816) in round numbers about seventeen millions. 
Pohtical economists estimated one-fifth of the population 
to be producers. But as women and young children 
had latterly been made to attend machinery, it would be 
more safe to say one-fourth were producers — or that the 
wealth of Great Britain and Ireland was annually pro- 
duced by the manual labour oifour millions and a quarter, 
assisted by rnechanical and chemical power. Knowing 
this, I said— t" It now must exceed the whole amount of 
" manual producing power." " What ! Mr. Owen ! " 
exclaimed Mr. Colquhoun and many others — "exceed 
" the labour of more than five millions ! Five millions ! 
" it is utterly impossible." I assured the committee 
that I knew it must very far exceed five millions, and 
that this was the cause why manual labour was so 
little in demand.' I said that at this time I was directing 
in my establishment at New Lanark in Scotland, 
mechanical powers and operations superintended by j! 
about two thousand young persons and adults, which \\ 
operations now completed as much work as sixty years 
before would have required the entire working population 
of all Scotland. This statement more and more sur- 
prised the leading members of the committee. The 
Archbishop said — " The statements you have made are 



174 THE LIFE OF 

" very interesting and important. But what is the 
" remedy for the existing distress ? " I said — " To find 
" the remedy for this new artificial state of society, is 
" not an easy task. But a remedy can be found for 
" every artificial evil, and I think I perceive the remedy 
" for this evil." " Can you now state this remedy ? " 
" No — I am not prepared, — not expecting to be thus 
" called upon. I came only to hear the remedies of 
" those much more experienced in public affairs than 
" myself." The Archbishop said — " Would you object 
" to make a report on this subject to an adjourned 
" meeting of this committee ? " "If your Grace and 
" the committee desire it, I will do the best I can to 
" prepare such report." 

The Archbishop asked the committee if it was their 
wish that I should prepare a report, giving my views of 
the remedy. They unanimously expressed a desire that 
I should do so. I consented, and the meeting was im- 
mediately afterwards adjourned. 

I was at this time in regular daily attendance upon the 
committee of the House of Commons on Sir Robert 
Peel's Factory Bill, as it was now called ; and the 
master manufacturers were continually in search of 
evidence to support their cause against their work- 
people, and among other of their doings, they had been 
at considerable expense to collect the number of spindles 
at work in all the cotton mills over the kingdom. This 
to me valuable document they presented to the Factory 
Committee of the House of Commons the day after the 
meeting of the committee which I had attended to con- 
sider the cause of and remedy for the new and extra- 
ordinary distress among the farm labourers and manu- 
facturing operatives. This document was brought to 
the committee by the masters, to show the magnitude 
and importance of their cotton-spinning operations as a 
national branch of business, and that therefore the legis- 
lature should not in any way interfere to interrupt its 
progress and prosperity. It would have been a just pro- 
ceeding on their part to have shown also the enormous 
profits that had been made by them in this branch during 






ROBERT OWEN 175 

the previous years, and how well they could afford to 
give the relief asked for by the Bill, as first presented 
from me to Sir Robert Peel to be introduced into the 
House. This document, however, served an important 
purpose, which the master cotton-spinners never an- 
ticipated. It enabled me to estimate with considerable 
accuracy the amount of manual labour which was super- 
seded by the machinery employed in cotton-spinning 
alone. I found this amount at that time to exceed and 
supersede the manual labour of a population of eighty 
millions, and it will be seen by official documents how 
much this manufacture has increased since 1816,/ 

As soon as I had obtained this document, and had 
made my calculations, I took them to Mr. Colquhoun, 
the most advanced political economist in a knowledge of 
facts of any British subject. While he was preparing his 
elaborate work On the Resources of the British Empire, 
to enable him to do it justice, all the national documents 
and records bearing upon the subject had been sub- 
mitted to his inspection. When I explained to him these 
calculations, which made certain the results which I 
stated, I have seldom seen any one more surprised. 
After a little reflection he said — " A mystery to me while 
" I wrote my late work is now explained. During the 
" late expensive, and I may say most lavish and extrava- 
" gant war expenditure, I found the real wealth of the 
" nation, although also borrowing large sums, to be 
" year by year considerably on the increase, and I could 
" not account for or divine the cause of such extraordinary 
" and apparently contradictory results. I would have 
" given much for this information when I was writing 
" my book ; for I could then have made the work of 
" much more interest and value to the public and to the 
" Government. But," he continued, " if one branch of 
" one manufacture supersedes the manual labour of a 
" population of eighty millions — what must be the 
" amount superseded by all the new mechanical and 
" chemical powers which have been introduced into the 
" operations of industry in the British Islands since the 
" inventions of Arkwright and Watt ? Can you form 



176 THE LIFE OF 

" any estimate of this amount ? " I replied — " I have 
" no correct data to guide me, except the document I 
" have now brought, and whiBh the master manufacturers 
" have made out. From this document, however, I can 
" plainly perceive that, with the remaining branches in 
" the wool, flax, and silk manufactures, the new powers 
" will much exceed the manual labour of two hundred 
" millions of population. But including all other branches 
" of business over the kingdom, it must be at present 
beyond all means to estimate with any pretensions to 
accuracy. And it must be far beyond any conceptions 
of our statesmen or of any class." " Yes," he said, — 
it would be unwise to make any other statement yet, 
than that of the two hundred millions, as within your 
data of calculation. But the information which you 
have now given to me I esteem of important value — 
indeed I know not how it can be overrated by public 



<( 



(< 



men." 



It being mentioned in public by Mr. Colquhoun that 
it was ascertained from documents which were trust- 
worthy, that the new mechanical and chemical powers 
within this kingdom superseded the manual labour of a 
population of upwards of two hundred millions, that 
amount became regularly stated afterwards in the writing 
and public speeches of all the modern political economists 
— none of them knowing whence their new information 
proceeded. 

I now turned my attention to consider the report which 
I had engaged to make to the Archbishop's Committee 
to inquire into the cause of and remedy for the existing 
distress among all classes of workpeople, exclusive of 
domestic servants. While I was thus occupied, the 
Government, but especially the Whig interest and the 
political economists, who were now becoming one party, 
became alarmed by the number of workpeople now out 
of employment and claiming their natural and legal 
right for support from the nation. I It was at this time, 
when the suffermgs of the unemployed were extreme, 
that the pohtical economists conspired against the just, 
natural, and legal rights of those who could not find em- 



ROBERT OWEN 177 

ployment, and who had no other means of Hving except 
from national support, stealing, anl prostitution. They 
did not take into account that the wealth of the nation 
had increased in a much greater ratio than thepoor's-rate. 
The political economists, by reasoning from a false prin- 
ciple, knowing little of human nature, and less of the 
powers of society when rightly directed, had hardened 
their hearts against the natural feehngs of humanity, 
and were determined, aided by their disciples the Whigs, 
to starve out the poor from the land. And their measures 
did starve millions in Great Britain and Ireland, without 
attaining economy for the nation or diminishing the 
number of the poor. The plans which they induced the 
nation to adopt, starved the weakest and best of the poor, 
and drove others to theft, nmrder, and the poor females 
to prostitution. And these measures were adopted while 
there was abundance of uncultivated land, and an enor- 
mous accumulation of wealth squandered in useless wars 
which a little common sense could easily have avoided, 
and in as ignorant foreign speculations in mines, loans, 
and all manner of wild schemes, which promised, however 
fallaciously, a high interest for capital. 

The rapid accumulation of wealth, from the rapid in- 
crease of mechanical and chemical power, created 
capitalists who were among the most ignorant and 
injurious of the population. The wealth created by the 
industry of the people, now made abject slaves to these 
new artificial powers, accumulated in the hands of what 
are called the monied class, who created none of it, and 
who misused all they had acquired. Their proceedings 
proved by their results how ignorant and totally unequal 
to their position these men were. Many of them singly 
(had they possessed a knowledge of their own nature and 
of the powers of that nature when united and combined 
into a rational system of society, based on common sense, 
derived from common everyday facts) could, by the 
proper use of their funds, have set an example, without 
diminishing those funds, which, from its success and 
superior good results, all others must have followed. 

At this period I was unconscious of the gross ignorance 
12 



178 THE LIFE OF 

which a false fundamental principle, or rather notion of 
a crude undeveloped imagination, had inflicted on the 
entire population of the world, thus making their reason- 
ing faculties, until the sciences were far in advance of 
imaginary, baseless notions, far worse than useless 
For this misdirection of the rational faculties of hu- 
manity, has led all nations and people through all manner 
of insane absurdities. And to a very great extent these 
remain in full activity at this day. 

In considering the report which I had been so un- 
expectedly called upon to make to the committee for 
taking into their consideration the cause of and remedy 
for the great existing aistress among the poor and work- 
ing classes in the British Islands, I reasoned according to 
the most obvious principles of plain common sense. 

The war had continued so long (nearly a quarter of a 
century) that the British population had adopted a war 
state of sociejty, and with Bank of England notes being 
made a legal tender, this state of warfare might have con- 
tinued without intermission, and the country would have 
proceeded year by year, as it had done during the years 
of the war, to increase rapidly in wealth. The great war 
consumer of wealth having suddenly ceased, the demand 
for the consumption of war on so magnificent a scale at 
home and abroad at once terminated, and this produced 
what was then called the revulsion from war to peace. 
This new state of national affairs (for it was new in the 
history of nations) alarmed and confounded the states- 
men of that period, and they looked around for help 
from some quarter. 

There were at this time a few naturally strong-minded 
active men, including Malthus, Mill, Ricardo, Colonel 
Torrens, Hume, and Place. The last possessing more 
energy and practical knowledge, having risen from the 
working class, was the soul of the party. They with 
some others formed the new school of modern political 
economists, as they were then called. These were all 
well-intentioned, clever, acute men, close reasoners and 
great talkers upon a false principle — and this reminds 
me to add to their number Dr. Bowring and Jeremy 



ROBERT OWEN 179 

Bentham, who were prominent members of this new 
school. 

I With all these I was intimate and upon friendly 
terms, Jeremy Bentham being one of my New Lanark 
partners, — and this his friend and agent Dr. Bowring 
said was his only successful pecuniary speculation. 
With all these really clever, and as I have said un- 
doubtedly well-intentioned men, I had day by day much 
discussion, but carried on by each of them in the most 
friendly manner, and most frequently when breakfasting 
with them, and before their business of the day com- 
menced. 

I was most desirous to convince them that national '\ 
education and employment could alone create a perman- / 
eut rational, intelligent, wealthy, and superior popu- / 
lation, and that these results could be attained only by a \ 
scientific arrangement of the people united in properly ) 
constructed villages of unity and co-operation as I then y 
called them. While they, on the contrary, strongly r-v 
desired to convert me to their views of instructing the Nrn 
people without finding them national united employ-^ \S 
ment, and of a thorough system of individual com- 

, petition. The one may be called the system of universal 

' attraction, — the other, that of universal repulsion. 

I I was now too much a man of business, and too ex- 

tperienced in knowledge of human nature, not to per- 
ceive strongly the utter impossibihty of succeeding in 
I permanently improving the condition of any population 
I by any half measures. No people or population can 
p be made good, intelhgent, and happy, except by a 
I rational and natural education and useful employment 
I or occupation, giving equal exercise to body and mind 
I under healthy conditions. 

I iThese pushing, busy, and ever-active pohtical econo- 
I mists advocated the principle of individualism, with 

I education according to the then notions of national 
p education for the poor, and with the full extent of 

II individual responsibility for their conduct through life. 
IjAnd what were then called the liberal and advanced 
I minds of the public were decidedly in their favour, aided 



i8o THE LIFE OF 

also by the prejudices of all past ages. And they 
succeeded in converting the Government and the public 
to their notions and practices. 

1 knew the utter weakness and fallacy of the notions 
and practices which they were inducing all parties to 
adopt. I And were it not that these changes would of 
necessity lead the pubhc onward to higher and better 
principles and practices, I should have very much pre- 
ferred the old Conservative system of governing with 
more ignorance, but with greatly more humanity to 
the poor, their dependents, and the working classes, — 
all of whom were better provided for and less worked, in 
more healthy situationsji The old aristocracy of birth, 
as I recollect them in my early days, were in many respects 
superior to the money-making and money-seeking aris- 
tocracy of modern times. 

And now the Government, inoculated with all the 
inexperienced notions of the modern political economists, 
commenced the most stringent measures in making 
laws against the natural rights of the poor and working 
classes, and in favour of the wealthy and powerful. 
Laws which were sure to increase poverty, crime, dis- 
content, and misery, and ultimately to render a change 
in practice as well as in principle unavoidable. That 
change is now before us, and will be the revolution of 
revolutions, and will secure the permanent well-doing 
and happiness of the human race. 

By the experience which I had now had (first for ten 
years in Manchester, with a population of five hundred, 
and now for upwards of sixteen years at New Lanark in 
Scotland, with a population of two thousand five hundred 
solely under my direction and advice, socially as well as 
in their employments), I had ascertained to a great 
extent practically how populations should be trained, 
educated, and occupied, to make them good, intelligent, 
and happy. I had discovered that by acting on an obvious 
principle respecting human nature, it was practicable, 
with the certainty of a law of nature, ultimately to make 
the human race good, wise, and happy. And having this 
knowledge deeply impressed on my mind, I was induced, 



ROBERT OWEN i8i 

against the prejudices and educated errors of the popu- 
lation of the world, to determine not to cease but with 
life any efforts which I could make with my means, to 
effect this great change in the principle and practice of 
the human race. 

By my own experience and reflection I had ascertained 
that human nature is radically good, and is capable of 
being trained, educated, and placed from birth in such 
manner, that all ultimately (that is, as soon as the gross 
errors and corruptions of the present false and wicked 
system are overcome and destroyed) must become 
united, good, wise, wealthy, and happy. And I felt 
that to attain this glorious result, the sacrifice of the 
character, fortune, and life of an individual was not 
deserving a moment's consideration. And my decision 
was made to overcome all opposition and to succeed, i 
or to die in the attempt. 

By my experiment at New Lanark, continually opened 
to the public, — by the publication of my four Essays on 
the formation of character and a new view of society, 
which had been widely circulated among all classes at 
home and had been sent by our Government to all foreign 
Governments, to the most learned universities at home 
and abroad, and had been presented by our Government 
to the bench of bishops, — by the advocacy of the cause 
of the workpeople, — and by the introduction of my Bill 
into the House of Commons for their relief, — with my 
announcement, previously unthought of, declaring the 
large amount of new artificial power to supersede 
manual power, — my name had become well known, and 
my influence at this period with the Government, Parlia- 
ment, and people was considerable and on the increase. 

But in proportion as my name and proceedings became 
public, the opposition from the most bigoted and pro- 
fessedly rehgious of all sects began to show itself. And 
from that period it was active and was daily on the in- 
crease. Before the day which was named for the next 
I meeting of the Archbishop's committee, I had the report 
prepared for it. But previous to this meeting, the 
Government, with the pohtical economists to support 



i82 THE LIFE OF 

them, had decided upon carrying into practice their 
stringent laws against the poor and working classes, and 
for this purpose a committee of the House of Commons, 
called " Sturges Bourne's Committee on the Poor Laws," 
was appointed, composed of the leading members of 
both parties. It was deemed by far the most important 
committee of the session, and consisted of forty members, 
and had commenced its sittings when I presented my 
report to the Archbishop's committee. 

When in my place I had presented the report and had 
explained the outline of the remedy which I proposed, 
the Archbishop and the committee appeared to be taken 
by surprise, and appeared at a loss what to say or do. 
After some private communication between the leading 
Government party in the committee and the Archbishop, 
the latter addressed me, and said — " Mr. Owen, — this 
" committee is not prepared to take into its consideration 
" a report so ^extensive in its recommendations, so new 
" in principle and practice, and involving great national 

changes. It is better adapted for the consideration 

of Mr. Sturges Bourne's Poor Law Committee of the 
"House of Commons, and which is now sitting. We 
" therefore recommend you to present it to that com- 
" mittee." I said — " If that is the wish of your Grace 
" and of this committee, I will do so." 

Mr. Brougham, afterwards Lord Chancellor Brougham, 
was a member of this Poor Law Committee, and through 
him I gave notice to the committee that I had such a 
report to present to it, and that I was willing to be 
examined as a witness upon their Bill. A day was 
appointed for my examination. 

At this period I was little aware of the deep-laid con- 
spiracy which had been entered into by the upper classes 
against the natural and to this period legal rights of the 
poor and working classes. It was now beginning to be 
developed through this committee. 
•^ I attended the committee on the day appointed in 
the morning, as I was to be the first examined. When I 
entered the committee room I found the forty members 
present, and most formally arranged. I had the report 



i< 



ROBERT OWEN 183 

and plans for explanation with me. I placed and ar- 
ranged them in order, and then waited the commencement 
of my examination. The members more immediately 
connected with and under the influence of the Govern- 
ment, had been made acquainted by the Archbishop's 
committee with the outline of the report which I now 
intended to present and more fully to explain by my 
exammation. I now perceived that the leading members 
were in private and apparently very interesting con- 
versation in an undertone, which prevented my hearing 
what was said by any speaker. After I had thus waited 
for some time, they appeared to come to some conclusion. 
I was personally known to all the members, and was upon 
friendly terms with some of them ; but I was prepared 
for a severe and most scrutinizing examination, as the 
Conservative members knew that my views respecting 
the poor and working classes differed materially from 
theirs. 

After I had thus waited for some time with all my 
documents and plans opened out on the table, making, I 
have no doubt a display formidable to the leading 
members of the committee, the chairman, Mr. Sturges 
Bourne, formally addressed me, and said — " Will you, 
" Mr. Owen, have the kindness to withdraw for a short 
" period into the next room ? The members of the 
" committee desire to have some private discussion, — 
" after which we will send for you to be examined." 

I withdrew into the adjoining apartment, where, being 
well supplied with paper, pens, and ink, I immediately 
occupied myself with writing, as it was my custom never 
to be unoccupied. The committee met early, and no 
other witness was summoned on that day. I was thus 
busily engaged the whole day, expecting every moment 
to be sent for, until the bell rang to call the members to 
the House, and then Mr. (now Lord) Brougham came to 
me and said, — " Owen, we have been discussing all day 
" whether you should be examined or not, and we have 
" come to no decision yet. The debate is adjourned until 
" to-morrow morning at ten, when you must again attend 
" the call of the committee." 



^i84 THE LIFE OF 

I thought this a strange proceeding, and could not then 
divine the cause. 

In the morning I attended in the waiting room at ten 
o'clock, and occupied myself as on the previous day, — 
no other witness having been called. The whole day 
passed as before. The discussion continued with closed 
doors until the bell rang for the attendance of the 
committee in the House, — when Mr. Brougham, who was 
known then to be friendly to me, as he has been through 
our lives, came and said — " Well, Owen, this is an 
' extraordinary business. The committee has been in 
' close discussion for these two whole days, and only 
' just now has come to a decision, when, by a small 
' majority, it has been decided that you shall not be 

* examined by the committee." I said — " It is indeed 
' strange and most extraordinary, as the members know 
' how much I have studied these subjects, and how much 
' extensive experience I have had with the working 
' classes. But it is of little consequence. I will find 
■' means to^enable the public to learn my views on this 

* subject." 

In a day or two I published in the daily newspapers 
an examination of myself, such as I imagined the best- 
informed of the committee would have made, and thus 
were the views of those members of the committee who 
were opposed to my being examined completely frustrated. 
1 should have liked very much to hear what was con- 
tended for by both parties during those two days' 
discussions. Those debates would now be a valuable 
document to prove the conspiracy of the upper against 
the natural and legal rights of the lower classes. 

My name was now still more known to the public as a 
friend to the poor and working classes, and as a general 
reformer of existing evils. I considered what step I 
should next take to promote these views, yet so new to 
many. I decided to call a public meeting in the City of 
London Tavern, " to consider a plan to relieve the 
" country from its present distress, to re-moralize the 
" lower orders, reduce the poor's rate, and gradually 
" abolish pauperism with all its degrading consequences." 



ROBERT OWEN 185 

But previous to these meetings several of the Foreign 
Ambassadors in London, to whom my four Essays on 
the New View of Society had been presented, requested 
to be introduced and known to me, and among these 
especially was Baron Jacobi, the Prussian Ambassador, 
who had communicated my Essays to the then Sovereign 
of Prussia, who so much approved of them as to write an 
autograph letter to me, expressing his high approbation 
of my sentiments on national education and on govern- 
ment, and stating that he had in consequence given 
instruction to his minister of the interior, to adopt my 
views on national education to • the extent that the 
political condition and locality of Prussia would admit. 
And the next year (1817) this measure was commenced, 
and it has been carried out to the present time. Baron 
Jacobi warmly advocated my views, and being known 
to be on friendly terms with me, was requested by Prince 
Esterhazy, the then Austrian Ambassador in London, to 
introduce him to me, that he might hear the explanation 
of my " new views " from myself. They came to me 
together, and the Baron introduced the Prince to me ; 
but as I did not hear very well, I did not catch the title 
or name, and I received the Prince as one of the ordinary 
members of the Foreign Aristocracy, and had a long, 
free, and interesting conversation with him. 

I had then in my apartment the model of the first or 
preliminary community for the poor. He inspected this 
very closely, and I gave him a full explanation of its 
intended working in practice. He took a deep interest 
in the subject, was very frank and familiar, and at 
parting expressed himself in very friendly terms. I 
•remained ignorant of the title and character of my very 
inquisitive and intelligent visitor, until I next met Baron 
Jacobi, who explained who and what he was. 

I had conversed with him as man to man. Not 
knowing that he had any title, I gave him none, and when 
he asked me what character I intended to form by my 
New View I replied — " Full-formed men and women 
" physically and mentally, who would always think and 
" act consistently and rationall)^" This reply seemed 



iS6 THE LIFE OF 

to make a strong impression upon him, and the Baron 
informed me that he had expressed himself well pleased 
and much interested in this oar first interview. The 
Prince was ever afterwards my friend, and upon sub- 
sequent occasions was most useful to me. 

I had been and was making great and substantial 
progress with my New Lanark expt riment, and it was 
now becoming widely known, and attracted the attention 
of those in advanced stations at home and abroad. I 
had now completed, and furnished according to my new 
mode of instruction by sensible signs and familiar con- 
versation, the first institution for the formation of the 
infant and child character — the infants being received 
into it at one year old, or as soon as they could walk. 

The parents at first could not understand what I was 
going to do with their little children at two years of age, 
but seeing the results produced they became eager to 
send their infants at one year old, and inquired if I could 
not take them yet younger. 

I charged the parents, that it might not be considered a 
pauper school, threepence per month, or three shillings a 
year, for each child, and of course they paid this most 
willingly. The expense of this establishment of three 
gradations of schools was about two pounds per year for 
each child. But the difference between the three shillings 
and two pounds was amply made up by the improved 
character of the whole population, upon whom the school 
had a powerful influence for good. 

The children were trained and educated without 
punishment or any fear of it, and were while in school by 
far the happiest human beings I have ever seen. 

The infants and young children, besides being in- 
structed by sensible signs, — the things themselves, or 
models or paintings, — and by familiar conversation, 
were from two years and upwards daily taught dancing 
and singing, and the parents were encouraged to come 
and see their children at any of their lessons or physical 
exercises. 

But in addition there were day schools for all under 
twelve years old, after which age they might, if their 



ROBERT OWEN 187 

parents wished, enter the works, either as mechanics, 
manufacturers, or in any branch — for we had iron- and 
brass-founders.forgers, turners in wood and iron, machine 
makers, and builders in all branches, having continually 
buildings to repair and erect and machinery on a large 
scale to repair and renew. The annual repairs alone of 
the establishment cost at this period upwards of eight 
thousand pounds. 

I also organized arrangements to supply all the wants 
of the population, buying every thing for moneyonalarge 
scale in the first markets, and supplying them at first cost 
and charges. They had previously been necessitated to 
buy inferior articles, highly adulterated,'^'at enormous 
prices, making their purchases at small grocery and 
grog shops, chiefly on credit ; and their butcher's meat 
was generally little better than skin and bone. By the 
time the arrangements to provide for the whole circle 
of their wants in food, clothing, etc., etc., were com- 
pleted,some of thelarger families wereearning two pounds 
per week, and the heads of these families told me that 
my new arrangements to supply their wants saved them 
in price ten shillings weekly, besides the great difference 
between deteriorated and the most inferior qualities 
I and the best unadulterated articles. The grocery and 
grog shops speedily disappeared, and the population soon 
relieved themselves from the debts previously contracted 
to them. 

All the houses in the village, with one hundred and 
fifty acres of land around it, formed parts of the estab- 
lishment, all united, and working together as one 
machine, proceeding day by day with the regularity of 
clockwork. The order of the whole was such, that Mr. 
Henry Hase, the well-known cashier for so many years 
of the Bank of England, and who reorganized the ar- 
rangements of the bank, when on his first visit to me, 
after he had examined the whole with great minuteness 
and continually increasing interest as he advanced in his 
task, said — " Mr. Owen, this must be the work of some 
" generations. How long has it been in progress to 
" attain this high perfection of systematic order ? " I 



i88 THE LIFE OF 

informed him it had been entirely conceived by me and 
constructed under my immediate direction in sixteen 
years, no one knowing the results which I hai in view 
while proceeding with the several parts to dovetail one 
with the other to form an entire whole. He was so much 
gratified by the extended systematic order that as long 
as he lived he came every year with Mrs. Hase to visit 
me at Braxfield, my place of residence, which was at a 
convenient distance from the estabhshment, so as not 
to be annoyed by it, while the house was situated in the 
midst of beautiful scenery. 

I have already mentioned the measures which I adopted 
for the detection and prevention of theft, and for 
registering the conduct of the workpeople, and the bene- 
ficial effects which resulted. The poor workpeople were 
exposed to the strongest temptations, and their thefts 
were encouraged by the cotton weavers who were numer- 
ous in the neighbourhood of the establishment. The 
detection of the parties purloining was miser}' to them 
and most annoying to me, who knew how their character 
had been ill-formed, and the unfavourable surroundings 
in which they were placed in this particular. My object 
was to prevent, not to punish crime ; and by the plan 
which I adopted, I could detect the loss of^a single bobbin 
in any one of the four sets of hands through which they 
had aaily to pass. Thus was theft effectually prevented 
and while this change was in progress I never had one 
punished, although many were detected. 

There were four large mills filled with machinery, old 
and ill-arranged. 1 his was replaced and the whole newly 
arranged. Under the old arrangements the stairs were 
continually crowded with carriers with baskets, convey- 
ing the produce of the lower into the higher rooms, and 
with others meeting them with the empty skips and 
baskets. I therefore devised means, until then unprac- 
tised, to take all up and bring all down without the use of 
stairs. 

I was greatly averse to punishments, and much 
preferred as far as possible simple means to render 
punishment unnecessary, as it is always unjust to the 



ROBERT OWEN 189 

individual. To prevent punishment by the overlooker 
and masters of departments who had been accustomed to 
, whip and strap the children and young people, and who 
often from ignorance abused their authority, I invented 
j what the people soon called a telegraph, which I have 
I already described. This was the preventer of punish- 
ment. There was no beating, — no abusive language. 
I passed daily through all the rooms, and the workers 
I observed me always to look at these telegraphs, — and 
' when black I merely looked at the person and then at 
the colour, — but never said a word to one of them by 
way of blame. And if any one thought the inferior 
colour was not deserved by him as given, it was desired 
that complaint should be made to me. But this seldom 
occurred. Now this simple device and silent monitor 
soon began to show its effects upon the character of the 
workers. At first a large proportion daily were black 
and blue, few yellow, and scarcely any white. Gradually 
the black, were changed for blue, the blues for yellow, 
and the yellows for white. And for many years the 
permanent daily conduct of a very large majority of 
those who were employed, deserved and had No. i 
placed as their character on the books of the establish- 
; ment. Soon after the adoption of this telegraph I could 
j at once see by the expression of countenance what was 
/ the colour which was shown. As there were four colours 
I there were four different expressions of countenance 
I most evident to me as I passed along the rooms. 
) Never perhaps in the history of the human race has 
so simple a device created in so short a period so much 
\ order, virtue, goodness, and happiness, out of so much 
ignorance, error, and misery. How lamentable is it that 
the priesthood of the world and the governments of 
nations are yet ignorant of the immense happiness and 
goodness which they could so easily create by adopting 
simple and obvious means to prevent ignorance, poverty, 
crime, disunion, and misery ; instead of encouraging by 
their unwise conduct and proceedings the increase of 
poverty, crime, disunion, and wretched destitution, and 
then adopting the most unjust and cniel laws to punish 



190 THE LIFE OF 

in the helpless those evils to society which their unwise 
teaching and governing have previously created. 

Whenever the trial shall be honestly made and 
persevered in, to govern the population of the world on 
its true principle, and by practical measures to prevent 
ignorance, poverty, disunion, crime, and misery, it will 
be found to be an easy task and most economical to make 
all nations and peoples good, wise, and continually 
increasing in happiness. 

The simple expedient of the little coloured telegraphs 
did me another essential service. I had promised my 
new partners, who generally were men of truly benevolent 
dispositions, and who desired to improve the condition 
of the working classes in their way, that I would buy 
the business in which we were about to unite our interests, 
give them five per cent, per annum for the capital which 
they thus entrusted to my direction, while I continued 
my plans and views for the general amelioration of all 
classes at home and abroad. In this pursuit, as I had to 
visit London often during the sittings of Parliament, and 
thus to be absent in person from New Lanark for weeks 
and sometimes months, it was necessary for me to make 
my arrangements to prevent the establishment suffering 
by my absence so long from it. The arrangements made 
for this purpose were such, that I had an accurate daily 
return sent to me of the detailed results in every depart- 
ment of the manufacturing process, by which I knew the 
real results of our daily progress by an almost instant 
inspection of figures on half a sheet of paper, more readily 
than I could have known them without such daily report 
by the most close daily personal attention ; and as the 
daily report of each coloured telegraph was entered in the 
character books every night, all knew that on my return 
to the establishment I should inspect these books and 
see how every one had behaved on each day of my 
absence. 

I had divided the establishment into four general 
departments, and had taken great pains and had given 
much attention to train the four persons whom I placed 
at the head of each of these departments to understand 



ROBERT OWEN 191 

my views respecting them and the mode of governing 
those placed under their immediate direction. Upon 
leaving the estabhshment when I expected to be absent 
for a long period, it was my practice to call these four 
together, and to explain fully what I wished to have done 
in each department during my absence. And on my 
return I uniformly found my wishes fulfilled, and my 
instructions faithfully followed. 

I also adopted the same practice with the teachers in 
the three gradations of the schools, and with as much 
success as I could expect from young persons of both 
sexes, inexperienced in a correct knowledge of human 
nature, and therefore not always capable of making the 

i due allowance for the varied natural character of each 

1 child. 

' I had before this period acquired the most sincere 
affections of all the children. I say of all — because every 
child above one year old was daily sent to the schools. 
I had also the hearts of all their parents, who were highly 
deUghted with the improved conduct, extraordinary 
progress, and continually increasing happiness of their 
children, and with the substantial improvements by 
which I gradually surrounded them. But the great 
attraction to myself and the numerous strangers who now 
continually visited the establishment, was the new infant 
school ; the progress of which from its opening I daily 
watched and superintended, until I could prepare the 
mind of the master whom I had selected for this, in my 
estimation, most important charge, — knowing that if 
the foundation were not truly laid, it would be in vain to 
expect a satisfactory structure. 

It was in vain to look to any old teachers upon the old 
system of instruction by books. In the previous old 
schoolroom I had tried to induce the master to adopt 
my views ; but he could not and would not attempt .to 
adopt what he deemed to be such a fanciful " new- 
"fangled" mode of teaching, and he was completely 
under the influence of the minister of the parish, who was 
himself also opposed to any change of system in teaching 
children, and who considered that the attempt to educate 



192 



THE LIFE OF 



and teach infants was altogether a senseless and vain 
proceeding. I had therefore, although he was a good 
obstinate "dominie" of the old school, reluctantly to 
part with liim, and I had to seek among the population 
for two persons who had a great love for and unlimited 
patience with infants, and who were thoroughly tractable 
and willing unreservedly to follow my instructions. The 
best to my mind in these respects that I could find in 
the population of the village, was a poor, simple-hearted 
weaver, named James Buchanan, who had been pre- 
viously trained by his wife to perfect submission to her 
will, and who could gain but a scanty living by his now 
dying trade of weaving common plain cotton goods 
by hand. But he loved children strongly by nature, and 
his patience with them was inexhaustible. These, with 
his wilHngness to be instructed, were the qualities which 
I required in the master for the first rational infant school 
that had ever been imagined by any party in anj^ 
country ; for it was the first practical step of a system 
new to the world ; — and yet with all my teaching of all 
classes of the public, it is still little understood in prin- 
ciple, and not at all yet conceived in practice, although 
the high permanent happiness through futurity of our 
race depends upon the principle and practice in all their 
purity being correctly carried into execution by all 
nations and people. 

Thus thesimple-minded, kind-hearted JamesBuchanan, 
who at first could scarcely read, write, or spell, became 
the first master in a rational infant school. But infants 
so young, also required a female nurse, to assist the 
master, and one also who possessed the same natural 
quahfications. Such an one I found among the numerous 
young females employed in the cotton mills, and I was 
fortunate in finding for this task a young woman, about 
seventeen years of age, known familiarly among the 
villagers as " Molly Young," who of the two, in natural 
powers of mind, had the advantage over her new com- 
panion in an office perfectly new to both. 

The first instniction which I gave them was, that they 
were on no account ever to beat any one of the children, 



ROBERT OWEN 103 

, or to threaten them in any manner in word or action, 

t or to use abusive terms ; but were always to speak to 

; them with a pleasant countenance, and in a kind manner 

and tone of voice. That they should tell the infants 

and children (for they had all from one to six years old 

i under their charge) that they must on all occasions do 

all they could to make their playfellows happy, — and 

that the older ones, from four to six years of age, should 

take especial care of younger ones, and should assist to 

teach them to make each other happy. 

These instructions were readily received by James 
Buchanan and Molly Young, and were faithfully adhered 
to by them as long as they remained in their respective 
situations. 

The children were not to be annoyed with books ; 
but were to be taught the uses and nature or qualities 
of the common things around them, by familiar con- 
versation when the children's curiosity was excited so 
as to induce them to ask questions respecting them. 

The room for their play in bad weather was sixteen 
feet by twenty, and sixteen feet high. 

The schoolroom for the infant instruction was of the 
same dimensions, and was furnished with paintings, 
chiefly of animals, with maps, and often supplied with 
natural objects from the gardens, fields, and woods, — 
the examination and explanation of which always ex- 
cited their curiosity and created an animated con- 
versation between the children and their instructors, 
now themselves acquiring new knowledge by attempting 
to instruct their young friends, as I always taught them 
to think their pupils were, and to treat them as such. 

The children at four and above that age showed an 
early desire to understand the use of the maps of the four 
quarters of the world upon a large scale, which were pur- 
posely hung in the room to attract their attention. 
Buchanan, their master, was first taught their use, and 
then how to instruct the children for their amusement, — 
for with these infants everything was made to be amuse- 
ment. 

It was most encouraging and delightful to see the pro- 

13 



194 THE LIFE OF 

gress which these infants and children made in real 
knowledge, without the use of books. And when the 
best means of instruction or forming character shall be 
known, I doubt whether books will be ever used before 
children attain their tenth year. And yet without books 
they will have a superior character formed for them at 
ten, as rational beings, knowing themselves and society 
in principle and practice, far better than the best-in- 
formed now know these subjects at their majority, or 
the mass of the population of the world know them at 
any age. 

Human nature, its capacities and powers, is yet to be 
learned by the world. Its faculties are unknown, un- 
appreciated, and therefore misdirected, and wasted 
lamentably in all manner of ways, to the grievous injury 
of all our race through every succeeding generation. 

When the beautiful and most wonderful organs, facul- 
ties, propensities, powers, and qualities of humanity, for 
the attainment of high excellence and happiness, shall 
be understood, and shall be rationally taught by one 
generation to its successor, truth will be the only language 
among men, and the pure spirit of enlightened charity 
and love will pervade the entire of the human race. 
And how simple is truth and real knowledge, when un- 
mixed with the errors and prejudices of ignorance, and 
with a want of knowing how to apply practical measures 
to bring truth and knowledge into the common affairs of 
life ! Here, with the most simple means as agents, two 
untaught persons, not having one idea of the office in 
which they were placed, or of the objects intended to be 
attained, accomplished, unknown to themselves, results 
which surprised, astonished, and confounded the most 
learned and wise, and the greatest men of their generation . 
James Buchanan and Molly Young, by being for some 
time daily instructed how to treat the infants and 
children committed to their charge within the surround- 
ings which had been previously created and arranged 
for them, produced results, unconsciously to themselves, 
which attracted the attention of the advanced minds of 
the civilized world — results which puzzled the most ex- 



ROBERT OWEN 195 

perienced of them, to divine the power which could 
mould humanity into the beings they came to see. 

[ After some short time they were unlike all children of 
such situated parents, and indeed unlike the children of 

j any class in society. Those at two years of age and 
above had commenced dancing lessons, and those of lOur 
years of age and upwards singing lessons, — both under 
a good teacher. Both sexes were also drilled, and be- 
came efficient in the military exercises, being formed 
into divisions, led by young drummers and fifers, and 
they became very expert and perfect in these exercises. 
But to teach dancing, music, and military discipline 
to these infants and children, was an abomination to the 
Society of Friends, and I now had three partners who 
were Friends, and who were among the most distinguished 
in their society — John Walker of Arno's Grove, Joseph 
Foster of Bromley — both men of high, liberal, and 
superior minds, with the kindest dispositions, — and 
William Allen, a man of great pretensions in his sect, a 
very busy, bustling, meddling character, making great 
professions of friendship to me, yet underhandedly doing 
all in his power to undermine my views and authority in 
conducting the new forming of the character of the 
children and of the population at New Lanark. Yet 
such were the extraordinary good effects produced by 
these un-Quaker-like proceedings, that not a word was 
said by any of them for some years after our partnership 
commenced, and it was only after a lapse of some years 
that William Allen made objections, saying that his 
society did not approve of them. 

Now, as I had anticipated, dancing, music, and 
military discipline, conducted on the principles of charity 
and kindness to all of humankind, were among the best 
and most powerful surroundings for forming a good and 
happy character, that could be introduced. As a proof 
of these results, — when Joseph Foster and William Allen 
came from London, as they did occasionally, to visit me 
at the establishment at New Lanark, I often found them 
in the dcincing and singing rooms when the exercises 
were going on, and enjoying the new scenes of happiness 



196 THE LIFE OF 

which, as Quakers from birth, they had never previously 
.-^witnessed. Dancing, music, and the military discipline 
will always be prominent surroundings in a rational 
system for forming character. They give health, un- 
affected grace to the body, teach obedience and order in 
the most imperceptible and pleasant manner, and create 
peace and happiness to the mind, preparing it in the best 
manner to make progress in all mental acquisitions. 

From this rational infant school have arisen all the un- 
successful attempts to form a second with similar results. 

The second attempt to form one was made by the 
Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Brougham, John Smith, 
banker, M.P. ; Benjamin Smith, M.P. ; Henry Hase, 
Esq., cashier of the Bank of England ; and, I believe, 
James Mill, afterwards of the India House. Lord 
Brougham, John Smith, and Henry Hase had frequently 
visited New Lanark and enjoyed the goodness, happiness, 
and intelligence of the children in these rational sur- 
roundings, constituting the institution for the formation 
of this new character ; and being benevolent men, they 
naturally desired that so much goodness and happiness 
should be if possible extended to all other poor children. 
They asked me whether, if they could form a party to 
establish one in London, I would give them James 
Buchanan to be the master of their school. I replied — 
" Most willingly, for I have pupils who can take his 
"place without any injury to my school." 

I had thought, from the daily instruction which, 
when at the establishment I had as it were drilled into 
him for years, that he could now act from himself in a 
practice which under my direction, with the aid he 
received from Molly Young, appeared so easy to execute. 
But I found he could proceed no further in the practice 
than he had done for some time. 

The gentlemen named formed a party to carry the 
proposed scheme into practice, and a school was erected 
and furnished, and James Buchanan and his family 
went to London, and he was appointed master, with 
full powers over the school. 

I now had to appoint and instruct a successor to James 



ROBERT OWEN 197 

Buchanan, and soon one of the new trained pupils, who 
had passed through our schools, and who was therefore 
much in advance of his former master as a scholar and 
in habits, became greatly his superior, and by his youth 
and vigour, aided by a fine enthusiasm in the cause, 
which I had been enabled to create in him, a rapid advance 
and improvement were made in the first year after 
James Buchanan had left the school, and he, James 
Buchanan, never afterwards saw it. 

Now I expected he would have had his new school in 
Westminster equal to the one he had been so much ac- 
customed to for so long a period. But though he was a 
willing servant, to attend to the instructions given to 
him, as far as his good-natured limited powers would 
admit, it proved that he had neither mind nor energy to 
act for himself. It was some time after this second 
school was established and in full action, before I could 
leave New Lanark, having to train my new young master 
to direct the infant school in my absence. This young 
man had been systematically trained through our three 
schools in the institution for forming character, and his 
character had been well formed. He had imbibed the 
true spirit of the system, and was eager to be taught the 
means to carry the improvements which I wished into 
practice. He was full of faculty for the employment, 
and at sixteen years of age was the best instructor of 
infants I have ever seen in any part of the world. 

While these matters were in progress at New Lanark, 
the fame of its infant school and of the institution for 
the formation of character was noised abroad and 
created much excitement, and travellers of distinction, 
home and foreign, came increasingly year by year to 
see what they called the wonders of New Lanark. 

Knowing that inspection alone could give any adequate 
impression of the results produced here. I freely opened 
the whole establishment to the full investigation of all 
comers. I said to the public — " Come and see, and 
" judge for yourselves." [And the public came — not by 
hundreds, but by thousands annually. I have seen as 
many at once as seventy strangers attending the early 



198 THE LIFE OF 

morning exercises of the children in the school. At this 
period the dancing, music, military discipUne, and geo- 
graphical exercises were especially attractive to all 
except " very pious " Christians. Yet even these last 
could not refrain from expressing their wonder and 
admiration at the unaffected joyous happiness of these 
young ones, — children of the common working cotton- 
spinners. 

Being always treated with kindness and confidence, 
and altogether without fear, even of a harsh word from 
any of their numerous teachers, they exhibited an un- 
affected grace and natural politeness, which surprised 
and fascinated strangers, and which new character and 
conduct were to most of them so unaccountable, that they 
knew not how to express themselves, or how to hide 
their wonder and amazement. 

These children, standing up, seventy couples at a time, 
in the dancing room, and often surrounded with many 
strangers, would with the utmost ease and natural grace 
go through all the dances of Europe, with so little 
direction from their master, that the strangers would be 
unconscious that there was a dancing master in the 
room. 

In their singing lessons, one hundred and fifty would 
sing at the same time, — their voices being trained to 
harmonize ; and it was delightful to hear them sing the 
old popular Scotch songs, which were great favourites 
with most strangers, from the unaffected simplicity and 
heart feehng with which these songs were sung by these 
children, whose natures had been naturally and rationally 
cultivated. 

In their military exercises they went through their 
evolutions with precision equal, as many officers of the 
army stated, to some regiments of the line ; and at their 
head in their marchings were six and sometimes eight 
young lifers, playing various marches. The girls were 
thus disciplined, as well as the boys, and their numbers 
were generally nearly equal. And it may be here re- 
marked, that being daily brought up together, they 
appeared to feel for and to treat each other as brothers 



ROBERT OWEN 199 

and sisters of the same family ; and so they continued 
until they left the day schools at the age of twelve. 

Their lessons in geography were no less amusing to 
the children themselves and interesting to strangers. 
At a very early age they were instructed in classes on 
maps of the four quarters of the world, and after be- 
coming expert in a knowledge of these, all the classes 
were united in one large class and lecture room, to go 
through these exercises on a map of the world so large 
as almost to cover the end of the room. On this map 
were delineated the usual divisions of the best maps, 
except there were no names of countries or cities or 
towns ; but for the cities and towns were small but 
distinct circles to denote their places — the classes united 
for this purpose generally consisted of about one hundred 
and fifty, forming as large a circle as could be placed to 
see the map. A light white wand was provided, sufficiently 
long to point to the highest part of themap by the youngest 
child. The lesson commenced by one of the children 
taking the wand to point with. Then one of them would 
ask him to point to such a district, place, island, city, 
or town. This would be done generally many times in 
succession ; but when the holder of the wand was at 
fault, and could not point to the place asked for, he had 
to resign the wand to his questioner, who had to go 
through the same process. This by degrees became most 
amusing to the children, who soon learned to ask for the 
least-thought-of districts and places, that they might 
puzzle the holder of the wand, and obtain it from him. 
This was at once a good lesson for one hundred and fifty, 
— keeping the attention of all alive during the lesson. 
The lookers on were as much amused, and many as much 
instructed, as the children, who thus at an early age 
became so efficient, that one of our Admirals, who had 
sailed round the world, said he could not answer many 
of the questions which some of these children not six 
years old readily replied to, giving the places most 
correctly. 

This room was also their class reading apartment. It 
was forty feet b)? twenty, and twenty-two feet in height. 



200 THE LIFE OF 

with a gallery at one end to accommodate strangers. 
At these lessons from six to eight masters and mistresses 
were usually present, who were quite tenacious enough 
about their reading according to rule. 

From this room strangers were taken to the adjoining 
apartment (the great writing, accounting, and lecture 
room), in which were 250 or 300 children busily engaged 
at their respective desks, writing or accounting ; and, 
like the reading, according to the best modern arrange- 
ments. This apartment was ninety feet long, forty 
wide, twenty-two high, with a gallery on three sides, and 
with a pulpit, from which to lecture, at one end. 

It was from this pulpit that I addressed an audience 
of about 1200 when I opened the institution. When I 
had delivered about one-half of my address, I sat down, 
and immediately a chorus of music was heard, but no 
one saw whence it proceeded, and all were greatly 
surprised. Musicians and singers had been placed in 
the adjoining apartment, from which a door opened in 
the gallery; and the music thus softened, appeared, as 
many of the audience expressed themselves, like divine 
music, they not knowing how or whence it came. 

This institution for the formation of character, with 
the establishment of New Lanark generally, while I kept 
its immediate direction, was considered by the more 
advanced minds of the world one of the greatest modern 
wonders. Its results after I had united all its various 
parts as one whole, working day by day, year after year, 
for a quarter of a century, with the regularity of a well- 
constructed timepiece, attracted the attention of the 
governments and priesthoods of the world, and all of 
them were sorely puzzled to discover the cause and means 
by which those results were created and maintained. 

Among the more distinguished of the thousands who 
came to see, examine, and criticize these previously 
unheard-of proceedings, were the late Emperor of Russia, 
with nine or ten of his nobles and attendants, and 
among them his favourite friend and physician, Sir 
Alexander Crighton. They remained my visitors for 
two nights. The Emperor was nmch pleased with my 



ROBERT OWEN 201 

two youngest sons, who were then at home. At his meals 
he always would have one on his right hand and the other 
on his left, and he had one at each hand while going 
through the establishment, and while viewing the various 
beautiful natural scenes immediately around the esta- 
blishment, including the now celebrated Falls of the 
Clyde. 

The Emperor (at this time the Grand Duke Nicholas) 
was, as I was informed, recommended to visit the estab- 
lishment by his mother, the reigning Empress, who had 
been much interested in the results produced in it, 
having had an account of them from the Duke of Holstein- 
Oldenburgh, a near relative of the imperial family, and 
who, with his brother, had some time before spent 
several days with me, taking a great interest, day by 
day, while they remained my guests, in thoroughly 
examining for themselves every part of this complicated, 
but to all observers easy- working, machine of a scholastic 
and manufacturing society, of a population of 2500 souls, 
provided in a superior manner with all they required at 
prime cost, without any trouble or loss of time to one 
family in the village. 

Before the Grand Duke left me he kindly inquired 
what I intended to do with my two sons. Not being 
aware of the intention of the Grand Duke to offer to 
take them under his patronage and protection, I simply 
replied — "To train them as cotton manufacturers" — 
in consequence of which answer they were retained to 
be made useful, independent, practical scientific men, 
instead of being made dependent on court favour, and 
subjected to all the evils of courtly favour or disfavour, 
as might have happened to them. 

At that time there was an outcry and great alarm 
created by the Malthusians, who asserted that Great 
Britain was over-peopled, and that the sufferings of the 
poor and the want of employment for so many of the 
working classes arose from an excess of population. 
The modern political economists were daily forcing these 
notions prominently on the public. In a two hours' 
conversation with the Grand Duke before he left me, he 



202 THE LIFE OF 

said, " As your country is over-peopled, I will take you 
" and two millions of population with you, and will 
" provide for you all in similar manufacturing com- 
" munities." I thanked his Imperial Highness for this 
most liberal offer ; but being then independent in 
pecuniary matters, and much attached to New Lanark 
and its population, both now so much of my own creation, 
I also declined this most liberal imperial offer. The re- 
jection of his intended kindness to my two sons, and my 
thus declining this magnificent offer, I have no doubt 
left an unpleasant feeling of independence of courtly 
favour. And in two other instances, with members of 
this highly talented imperial family, I unintentionally, 
from ignorance of courtly etiquette, must have appeared 
to act rudely to them. 

At an earlier period the Grand Duchess of Oldenburgh, 
afterwards Queen of Wiirttemberg, visited London. She 
had heard from the Duke of Holstein-Oldenburgh the full 
particulars respecting the New Lanark establishment, 
and that I was then in London on a visit with my 
partner, Mr. Walker, of Arno's Grove, Southgate ; but 
as I then had much public business to transact in 
London, I was resident at his town house, 49 Bedford 
Square. The Grand Duchess having learned I was in 
town, sent her chief attendant to invite me to visit her, 
and appointed an early hour the following morning for 
my visit. I went accordingly, and was not only politely, 
but kindly and frankly received. She requested me to 
sit on the sofa on which she was sitting, and our con- 
versation was continued without interruption for full 
two hours. This was at the period when the allied powers 
and their armies were in Paris. Her brother, the 
Emperor Alexander, was, with the Sovereigns of Austria 
and Prussia, engaged there in preparing the treaty of 
peace, to establish permanent harmony in Europe, and 
he was considered to be liberal in his views, and friendly 
to all kinds of improvements. I was desirous to explain 
to the Duchess my New Views of Society, which she 
appeared readily to accept ; and I wished her to interest 
her relative the Emperor in these views for the general 



ROBERT OWEN 203 

improvement of society. She said the Emperor was very 
desirous to promote hberal views generally throughout 
society, as far as his position would admit ; but that he 
- could not do altogether as he wished. He could go only 
so far with improvements in Russia, as he could carry 
the leading nobles with him ; but his success in the 
termination of this long war would give him more power 
to act according to his wishes. She would explain my 
views to him on her return home. She then began to 
talk of the great pleasure expressed by the Duke of 
Holstein-Oldenburgh with their visit to me while they 
were my guests, and she entered freely into conversation 
respecting family matters and domestic interests, gradu- 
ally becoming easy and familiar in her manner, as with 
an equal. I was at this time a mere cotton-spinning 
manufacturer, unacquainted yet with the etiquette of 
courts, and especially with that of imperial families, 
and not then knowing that in such interviews the move to 
terminate the visit should always come from the imperial 
personage. Ignorantly and innocently supposing I had 
trespassed too long on the time and patience of her 
Imperial Highness, I concluded the interview by rising 
and taking my leave of her, — on which I perceived too 
late the error I had committed, seeing the mixed surprise 
and disappointment expressed in the countenance of the 
Grand Duchess. 

After the late Emperor of Russia's visit with his nobles, 
came Princes John and Maximihan of Austria, 
Foreign Ambassadors, many bishops, and clergy 
innumerable, — almost all our own nobihty, — learned 
men of all professions from all countries, — and wealthy 
travellers for pleasure or knowledge of every description. 
But the establishment was at all times as freely open to 
the inspection and close examination of the merely in- 
quisitive seeker for some fault to publish it, or to the in- 
telHgent traveller on foot who sought for knowledge to 
promote its practice, as to those of high rank and 
distinction. 

These visits of inspection were valuable lessons to me 
of human nature in all its varieties of manners, habits, 



204 THE LIFE OF 

prejudices, and knowledge ; the latter of which I en- 
deavoured to collect from each, according to their measure 
of it. It was a matter of deep interest to me to observe 
the effects which these to all new measures in practice 
made upon each visitor. Some of these effects made a 
stronger impression on my mind than others, and as I 
have occasionally related them, they have not yet escaped 
my memory. And as a few of them may interest a 
portion of the public, I will now relate them. 

A very intelligent and evidently well-disposed clergy- 
man came to visit the schools especially, having heard so 
many extraordinary reports of them, to which he could 
not give credit. After a calm, patient, and evidently 
deeply interested attention to all he saw, and a full 
examination of all the proceedings in the three schools, 
and then through the whole establishment, — he said to 
me, with great feeling in his manner — " Mr. Owen, 
' what I have seen here has interested me most deeply. 
' I came here a sceptic to your views of humanity. 
' But what I have mtnessed to-day is altogether a new 
' human nature to me. It is so strange and incom- 
' prehensible to me, how you have obtained such results, 
' that if my brother, in whose honest integrity I have 
' not the slightest doubt, had told me on his personal 
' knowledge that they existed, I could not have believed 

* him. Nothing short of my own full inspection, exam- 

* ination, and ocular demonstration, could have removed 
' my scepticism, and have left the dehghtful impression 
' which I have received." 

On another occasion, of a visit from a lady of the 
highest rank of our own nobility, who with her party 
came to see what were now called the far-famed wonders 
of New Lanark, — after inspecting the dancing, music, 
and all the other lessons and exercises out of doors of 
the infants and children in their playground, while 
attentively witnessing their kindness of manner to each 
other, their unaffected, unrestrained, joyous happiness, 
and remembering their proficiency in their indoor exer- 
cises, this lady said to me, with tears in lier eyes — 
" Mr. Owen, I would give any money if my children 



ROBERT OWEN 205 

" could be made like these." And truly those who were 
trained from infancy through these schools were by far 
the most attractive, and the best and happiest human 
beings I have ever seen. Their manner was unaffectedly 
graceful, and, when spoken to by strangers, naturally 
polite, with great innocent simpHcity. The total 
absence of all fear, and full confidence in and affection 
for their teachers, with the never-ceasing expression of 
perfect happiness, gave these children of working cotton- 
spinners a character for their age superior to any I have 
yet seen, — but yet not nearly equal to that which will be 
universally produced, when the surroundings before and 
after birth shall be made rational for the formation of 
character and the conducting of society. 

My own children — seven of whom grew to manhood 
and womanhood knowing nothing of punishment 
through their lives — were, and those living are, such as 
few parents have ever been blessed with. Yet were 
they in some respects without the peculiar advantages 
which I was enabled to give to what I called my great 
family of associated children. 

My good and kind-hearted wife, in consequence of 
knowing how much time I spent among this great 
family, and seeing the great mutual affection which 
existed between them and myself, would jokingly say — 
" Why, you love those children better fhan your own ! " 
And no one who was with them as much as I was, could 
avoid having a great affection for them. And although 
some were of course more affectionate and attractive in 
their natural character than others, my instructions to 
their teachers were, that they should never show partiality 
for any, — for it would be doing injustice to the others. 
This, as I felt by myself, was not a very easy task for 
the teachers to learn and practise ; but after some time 
it was pretty well adhered to. 

Let society adopt common sense surroundings and 
measures to form a good and superior character for all 
children from their birth, and none will be able to refrain 
from loving them ; and this is the only mode under 
heaven by which man can be made to love his neighbour 



2o6 THE LIFE OF - 

as himself, and only under the practice of the federated 
family commonwealths and federated nationalities. 

The other incident vividly on my memory was the 
visit of the late Lord Stowell and his daughter — after- 
wards Lady Sidmouth. They came one day late in the 
afternoon, and the gatekeeper of the entrance into the 
working part of the establishment came to me while 
I was engaged in the superintendence of some of the 
operations, and said that " Lord Stewart " and his 
daughter wished to see the establishment. Not knowing 
who Lord Stewart was, I said — " Request them to come, 
" and conduct them here." They came, and I com- 
menced to show them the machinery, and while thus 
engaged, a servant came from Braxfield, which was 
about a quarter of a mile from the centre of these multi- 
tudinous operations, to annoimce dinner, and I said — 
" My Lord, will you take a family dinner with me, 
"and afterwards we can see more of the works and the 
" evening proceedings of the adults in the schools ? " 
His Lordship, turning to his daughter, said — " What do 
" you say ? Shall we accept Mr. Owen's invitation ? " 
" Yes, by all means," was her reply. 

After dinner, over our wine, the conversation turned 
to politics and the state of the country, — when I observed 
that it was much to be regretted that there was not one 
superior statesman living, to do justice to the enormous 
means which the country possessed to secure its per- 
manent propserity and the happiness of its population. 
" What ! " said his Lordship, — " do you not think there 
" is one superior statesman, equal to this task ? " lajdng 
great emphasis on the word one. " No, my Lord, — 
" there does not appear to me one competent to this 
" task." The conversation continued animated for 
some time, the ladies being absent. 

We then returned to the works, to see the evening 
instruction and amusements of the adult part of the 
population, after the business of the day had terminated. 
Some were at reading, some at writing lessons, others, 
more advanced, were reading for their pleasure. Some 
were in the dancing, and some attending the music 



ROBERT OWEN 207 

rooms, — all busily engaged according to their inclinations. 
All this amused and interested his Lordship and his 
daughter, and when these visits had terminated, they 
returned to their hotel at Old Lanark. 

While his Lordship was dining with me, his servant 
was dining with my servants in the hall ; and on my 
return home after the departure of my guests I learned, 
to my surprise, that it was not Lord Stewart, but Lord 
Stowell, who had but lately been Sir William Scott. 
In the morning I went to Old Lanark to call to ask my 
last night's visitors to come to see the infant and the 
other day schools, which I said were in reality the most 
interesting parts of the estabhshment ; and also to 
apologize to his Lordship for calling him Lord Stewart. 
Their time, he said, would not permit them to return to 
New Lanark to see the infant and other schools, of which 
they had heard so much ; for their engagements com- 
pelled them to proceed on their journey immediately 
after they had concluded breakfast. His Lordship 
added jocularly — " We members of the Government are 
" very like highwaymen ; for we change our names so 
" often that it is no wonder we are not known, or that 
" one is so often mistaken for another." 

It would, however, be endless here to enumerate the 
persons of distinction, for birth, talent, or wealth, who 
visited the establishment ; and the numbers coming 
continually increased while I remained to conduct it. 
Some who were more connected with particular events 
I must enumerate. 

Dr. Hammel, the Russian collector of knowledge for 
his court, was often a visitor with me, and his visits were 
always acceptable, and instructive on many subjects. 

The present Baron Goldsmid, then a young married 
man, hearing of the success in teaching children, and 
especially infants, asked to come and stay some time with 
me, to see and learn the principles and practices, that 
he might apply them in the education of his yoimg family 
as they came and as they grew up. He applied himself 
with great industry to his task, and his success was 
equal to his industry. After remaining some time, he 



2o8 THE LIFE OF 

returned, and communicated the knowledge which he 
had seen in practice to Mrs. (now Lady) Goldsmid, one 
of the best of wives and mothers ; and together they 
trained and educated a family of eight, as nearly ac- 
cording to the system of New Lanark, as a conscientious 
adherence to the Jewish religion would admit. Often 
have I been an inmate on the most friendly terms in 
this family — many times for weeks together ; but on no 
one occasion did I ever hear an unpleasant expression 
between the young persons composing the family, or 
between parents and children, — and this through a 
period of nearly, if not quite, half a century. 

Among the many foreign Ambassadors who came was 
the good Baron Just, the Ambassador for so many years 
of the late King of Saxony to this and other countries. 
He was now about to terminate his official duties at our 
court, and to retire into private life, for which he told me 
he had at length obtained his sovereign's consent. 
Baron Just was a very interesting character, and a truly 
good and most unassuming philanthropist. He came to 
visit me, stayed some time, and took a deep interest in 
the investigation of my views and of their application to 
the population of New Lanark. He expressed his hearty 
approbation of all he witnessed, and said he should never 
forget what he had heard and seen. This was an ex- 
pression which I so often heard from my visitors, that 
I received it as their impression for the time, and I 
remembered it only as the expression of the natural 
feelings of the parties at the moment. But not long 
after the Baron left me, he returned to Dresden, and to 
my great surprise I received from the King, with com- 
plimentary letters from the Government, through the 
Prime Minister and Baron Just, a large gold medal of 
merit, with the impress of his Majesty ; and for which 
I have always felt that I made a very inadequate reply. 
I was engaged in working with long foresight for the 
emancipation of the population of the world, and es- 
pecially of the ill-directed and ill-placed working classes. 
I was jealous and fearful of too much courtly favour, as 
it miglit impede my future progress. I therefore never 



ROBERT OWEN 209 

until long after made this royal gift public ; knowing that 
my so doing would retard my progress in gaining the 
confidence of the men whom I intended to instruct and 
direct for their good at a future period. 

My public proceedings had now attracted the attention 
of several members of our Royal Family. The Duke of 
York sent a messenger to request I would visit him. But 
I could never discover the object which his Royal High- 
ness had in view ; for our communication was very 
common-place, and without interest to me. Their 
Royal Highnesses the Dukes of Kent and Sussex some- 
times came to me while residing in Bedford Square, and 
once especially they came to see the cubes which I had 
invented to exhibit to the eye the proportionate amount 
of the different classes of society according to Mr. 
Colquhoun's division of them in his Resources of the British 
Empire. On this particular occasion the Royal Dukes 
brought some of their friends among the nobility to see 
these cubes, which, simple as they were, the public 
deemed a useful curiosity. I placed these cubes on the 
table in the order of their bulk, to explain them to the 
royal personages and the noblemen present. The cube 
representing the working class was put the lowest, and 
the series gradually ascended to the cube representing 
the Royal Family and Lords Spiritual and Temporal, 
with their families ; and when I placed this last cube on 
the top, it appeared so strikingly insignificant, com- 
pared with all below, and especially when compared with 
the cubes representing the working and the pauper 
classes, that the Duke of Sussex impulsively pushed the 
elbow of his royal brother, saying — " Edward, do you 
" see that ? " And the whole party for the moment 
seemed confused, feeling and seeing the real weakness of 
their class as to numbers, compared with all the others. 

From that period I was often with one or other of 
these Royal Dukes, or more frequently with both 
together, at Kensington Palace. But more of these 
liberal royal brothers in my subsequent proceedings. 
I must now return to narrate other events connected 
with the infant school. 

14 



2io THE LIFE OF 

When James Buchanan went to London to organize 
and take charge of the first infant school, intended to be 
after the model of the original school at New Lanark, 
which had attracted and was attracting so much atten- 
tion at home and abroad, I had to remain at the establish- 
ment much longer than usual, to instruct my young new 
infant-schoolmaster in the advanced measures which I 
wished him to adopt, finding him to possess the right 
spirit and much good talent for the task. He so rapidly 
took up my views, that in a short period the school and 
children were greatly improved and in advance of the 
state in which they were when James Buchanan left his 
situation. 

But simple and weak-minded as poor Buchanan was, 
I had taken so much time and trouble to instruct him, 
and had so endeavoured continually to arouse his 
energies to perceive the importance of the task com- 
mitted to him, that I fully expected he would in his new 
position organize and establish his new school after the 
model of the first, with which he had been made so 
familiar in its practice. But great were my surprise and 
horror when I first visited the second infant school, which 
was situated in Westminster, and was under the auspices 
of great names and good men, but who themselves knew 
nothing of the requisite practice, and could not therefore 
give poor Buchanan the aid and support which he re- 
quired, and without which it was now evident to me 
he could do little or nothing that was efficient. On 
entering the school, the first object which I saw was 
Mrs. Buchanan, whom I had never seen in the New 
Lanark school, brandishing a whip, and terrifying the 
children with it ! Buchanan I saw in another part of 
the room, apparently without authority or influence, 
and as much subject to his wife as the children. Upon 
my unexpected appearance an attempt was made to hide 
the whip, but the countenances of the children were so 
different from the open, frank, and happy expression of 
my children at New Lanark, that they at once told me 
their position, and the extent of ignorant management 
to which they had to submit. The room was something 



ROBERT OWEN 211 

of the form of one of the New Lanark infant rooms, but 
the school was governed in the spirit and manner of the 
old irrational schools, with the difference only that the 
children were younger than those received in the old 
schools. f?i 

While this school was thus so grossly mismanaged by 
Mrs. Buchanan and her husband (though said to be 
after the model of New Lanark, to which it had no 
resemblance), a person, afterwards well known as 
William Wilderspin. came frequently to see James 
Buchanan and his wife, and to see their operations in the 
school. 

The Society of Friends, hearing so much of the New 
Lanark infant school from the public press, confirmed 
by their respected and known members, John Walker, 
Joseph Foster, and William Allen, — became desirous of 
having one under their own immediate patronage ; and 
they erected a school in Spitaltields, and appointed 
William Wilderspin to be the master of it. Being in- 
formed of this third school, I went to see it, and on 
conversing with Wilderspin, I learned he had been often 
to see the Westminster school. I told him that was a 
very inferior model to copy ; and finding him very 
desirous and willing to learn, and much more teachable 
than my first master, having much more talent and tact 
for the business, I gave him general and minute in- 
struction how to act with the children, and to govern 
them without punishment, by affection and unde^dating 
kindness. Hf seemed fully to appreciate this attention 
to him, and requested I would come as often as I could 
to instruct him and give him the benefit of my experience. 
I did so, and had great pleasure in thus teaching him, 
finding that no part of my instruction was disregarded, 
but that what I recommended was faithfully followed. 
And he became an apt disciple of the spirit and practice 
of the system, so far as the outward and material mode 
was concerned. But as a first step towards forming a 
rational character for a rational system of society, he 
had no powers of mind to comprehend it. And I 
did not attempt to advance his knowledge so as to 



212 THE LIFE OF 

unfit him to act under the patronage of his then 
supporters. 

When Wilderspin had attained such proficiency in 
managing the infants as his imperfect acquirements 
admitted, he pubhshed a work explanatory of what he 
had accomphshed, and recommended the system to the 
attention of the pubhc. And in the first edition (for he 
afterwards pubhshed several editions) he acknowledges 
his great obligation to me for my attention and the 
trouble I had taken to instruct him in a knowledge of the 
spirit and practice of the system . So far Wilderspin was 
honest and sincere ; and had it not been for the so-called 
pious and the would-be over-righteous he m.ost likely 
would have continued so ; for so long as I visited him 
there was no appearance to the contrary. Subsequent 
events, as we shall see, proved that he could not resist 
the temptations held out to him by the religious, or 
those who professed to be so. 

I have dwelt so long on the infant school established 
at New Lanark, because it was tlie fir st rational step 
ever carried in^qjpractice towai:d&^^3er-miBg-a-fa4;ional 
cTiaracter for the human race ; j.nd ^because of the many 
important sjabsequent.jneasures to_aZELcIf4l-gave rise, 
and which will be narrated in tT ieir order of tim e. These 
wiTich llaviFbeeii'^tated ivtT:'e^ut prelimmaryTneasures, 
of little importance in comparison with those which 
succeeded ; but they will serve to make the events 
which followed better understood. 

I have now to narrate the public proceedings which by 
my means were set in action in 1817, and which aroused 
the attention of the civilized world, alarmed the govern- 
ments, astounded the religious sects of every denomina- 
tion, and created an excitement in all classes, such as 
seldom occurs, except in cases of revolution. It was the 
public announcement of a new and strange system of 
society, by an ordinarily educated cotton-spinning 
manufacturer. It was a proceeding unprecedented in 
the annals of history, and its consequences have been 
fermenting to this day, and are continuing to ferment, 
throughout society, and will now advance without 






ROBERT OWEN 213 

retrogression until they shall so regenerate the human 
mind, that it shall be " born again," and will entirely 
change society over the world, in spirit, principle, and 
practice, giving new surroundings to all nations, until 
not one stone of the present surroundings of society shall 
be left upon another. For in consequence of this change 
" old things will entirely pass away and all will become 
" new." 

The proceedings which lirst publicly announced to the 
world the rational and only true system of society 
for the human race, occupied the excited attention of the 
civilized world especially during the summer and autumn 
of 1817, and to a considerable extent afterwards, until 
I left this country in 1824, to go to the United States 
to sow the seeds of it in that new fertile soil — new for 
material and mental growth — the cradle of the future 
liberty of the human race — a liberty yet so little under- 
stood by the present population of the United States, 
as well as by that of all the old states. Liberty is a word 
continually used, but nowhere yet understood. For 
true liberty can exist only in a society based on a true 
knowledge of humanity, and constructed to be consistent 
with that foundation, in all its parts and as a whole. 
This will constitute the rational system of society, which 
is to give i)ractically the greatest individual liberty that 
human nature can enjoy. Because it will of necessity 
make each one good, wise, and happy ; and such only 
can ever be trusted with the full amount of individual 
liberty. 

This was the announcement of that new state of exist- 
ence upon earth, which, when understood and applied 
rationally to practice, will cordially unite all as one good 
and enlightened family, — will enable all rapidly to 
progress in knowledge and wisdom, and to enjoy without 
interruption the highest earthly happiness to which man 
can attain. 

The proceedings connected with these first public 
meetings, which I held in the City of London Tavern, 
were minutely and accurately narrated in all the London 
morning and evening newspapers, published for general 



214 THE LIFE OF 

news at that period. And in this work the Times took 
the leading interest. And until the meeting at which I 
emphatically and solemnly, at the risk of all that men 
hold dear, even to life itself, denounced in the strongest 
terms all the religions as they were taught to the world, 
the Times was the warmest in my praise and in praise 
of the measures which I recommended, — often giving 
columns in the same paper to the development of the 
system as I gave it to the public — as may be seen by 
referring to its pages from the 30th of July to the loth 
of September 1817. 

The attention of the public was first called to these 
extraordinary proceedings by the publication of my 
report to the committee for the relief of the manufacturing 
and labouring poor, his Grace the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury (Sutton) in the chair. This report being considered 
by that committee to be too large and important in a 
national view for their consideration, requested me to 
present it to the Committee of the House of Commons 
on the Poor Laws, then sitting with the foregone deter- 
mination to rob the poor of their just and until then 
their legal rights, — that is the right to efficient relief 
when unable to work or to find employment, and that 
that relief should be given in accordance with the dictates 
of humanity for suffering poverty, and not in the cruel 
manner in which it is now scantily doled out to them 
in the present practice at many workhouses. 

The animus of this Committee of the House of Com- 
mons on the Poor Law might be deduced from the fact 
that I was known by all the members of the committee 
to possess at least as much practical knowledge of the 
working classes and of the cases of poverty among them, 
as any witness which they examined, and was now 
considered an authority on the subject. Yet, as I have 
already stated, this committee debated for two whole 
days, with closed doors, whether or not I should be 
examined by them ; and at the end of the second day's 
debate it was decided by a small majority, after I had 
been invited to attend the committee for examination, 
that I should 7iot be examined. The cause of this w^s 



ROBERT OWEN 215 

evident. The majority of the members (who had made 
-' up their minds, influenced by the Malthusian irrational 
notions of over-population, to depress the poor out of 
existence, instead of finding them employment at decent 
living wages) knew that my evidence would go far to 
defeat their object, by recommending my- own remedy 
for poverty and crime, — namely, " a rational education, 
" and reproductive employment by the nation, for those 
" who were unable to have themselves so instructed, or 
" to find employment, and that they should be treated 
" like human beings, and not as the outcasts of society." 

The proceedings connected with this announcement of 
a new system for governing the affairs of men, excited so 
much interest in the public mind, that in addition to 
their publication in extenso in every London morning 
and evening newspaper, I generally purchased thirty 
thousand additional copies, and had one copy sent to the 
minister of every parish in the kingdom, one to every 
member of both Houses of Parliament, one to each 
of the chief magistrates and bankers in each city and town 
and one to each of the leading persons in all classes. 

But these were not sufficient to satisfy the general 
\ public with the proceedings connected with my public 
iaeetings, and with my announcement of a new system 
m principle, spirit, and practice, for the government of 
the human race. To meet this extraordinary excitement 
in the general public, I published three broadsheets, 
numbered one, two, and three, containing the details of 
these public proceedings, as published in the Times and 
m the other London morning and evening papers. Of 
these I published forty thousand copies ; and such was 
the eagerness to procure them, that the forty thousand 
were called for in three days, and I was then constrained 
to stop so expensive a process, — foii I found that these 
meetings, and giving them the extra pubhcity necessary 
for the great ultimate object which I had in contem- 
plation, had already in two months required from me four 
thousand pounds — newspapers then costing yd. and 8d. 
each.\ 

Intending to pave the way to supersede the present 



2i6 THE LIFE OF 

false and wicked system, as I had discovered it to be, 
by the true and good system for governing the human 
race and new-forming the character of all humanity, 
I knew it was useless to wage a little or a covert war 
against a system established through the proceedings 
of all past times in the minds and habits of the present 
generation, and that ultimate success could be antici- 
pated only from an open front attack, taking the bull 
by the horns, and fairly pitting truth, so far denounced 
by all parties, against falsehood supported by the powers 
of this world — rightly declared to be the " powers of 
" darkness " — for the populations of all nations had been, 
and even now are, governed by thick mental darkness. 

I well knew that the man who should have the temerity 
to openly denounce this system of thick mental dark- 
ness, must anticipate the opposition of that power, by 
and through all its darkest means of acting. My mind, 
however, was made up for the contest, whatever might 
be its consequences. 

I must now refer for particulars to these printed papers 
— one, two, and three, which are given in the Appendix. 
Numbers one and two contain the documents which 
prepared the public for the first of these meetings, and 
which were published, as will be seen on reference, on the 
30th of July and on the 9th and loth of August 1817, 
while they announced the meeting to be held on the 14th 
of the same month. These explanatory notices were 
widely published by the London newspapers, and created 
universal excitement ; for, before the hour of meeting 
on the 14th, the large room of the City of London 
Tavern, in which all great public meetings were then 
held, was crammed to its utmost, the wide stairs crowded 
to excess, and hundreds waiting outside to gain admit- 
tance. And during the meeting many thousands came 
who were obliged to return, there being no chance of 
entrance for them. The meeting created the deepest 
interest, and was conducted with calm order. ; While I 
delivered the address there was a silence of riveted 
attention. But towards the conclusion of the meeting, 
the violent and most ignorant of the democracy, so 



; 



ROBERT OWEN 217 

called, endeavoured to excite a tumult, and did create 
disorder. But those who came with a view to investigate 
and to attend to business rationally, soon put an end to 
it by moving an adjournment. 

The next day the public were surprised to see the 
meeting reported in every London morning and evening 
newspaper, and my address accurately given in each. 
This was one of the occasions when I purchased upwards 
of thirty thousand newspapers in the day, and forwarded 
them, Avith my name printed on the corner of the wrapper. 
Each paper was also franked by some member of 
Parliament ; and these were franked by Lord Lascelles, 
the then most influential member of the House of 
Commons, who had previously so much assisted .me in 
the preliminary measures to introduce my Bill for the 
relief of children and others employed in manufactories, 
mills, etc., and who was afterwards Earl of Harewood. 

On this occasion I sent more extra newspapers than 
usual, and had the addresses previously prepared, so 
that they went in such numbers to the post office, that 
the secretary had to send an official minute to the 
Treasury, saying that Mr. Owen had sent so many extra 
newspapers, that all the mail coaches of the kingdom had 
to be delayed twenty minutes beyond their regular time 
of leaving London. I was informed that the stoppage of 
the mails, and the publication of my address in extenso 
in every morning and evening paper of the day (I believe 
of sixteen papers), had seriously alarmed the Govern- 
ment, which I by no means intended to do ; for the 
Governrnent had been on all occasions most friendly to 
me, and\ I afterwards learned from the Dean of West- 
minster, who had been private secretary to Lord Liver- 
pool for some time, that his Lordship and many of his 
Cabinet were converts to the New Views which I 
advocated^j 

On being informed of this alarm of the Government, 
which was heightened by all the London and many of 
the provincial newspapers being loud in praising my 
measures, and giving great aid to the circulation of them 
among all classes, making me decidedly the most popular 



2i8 THE LIFE OF 

man of the day, — I asked Lord Liverpool for an inter- 
view, two days before the second meeting, which had been 
adjourned to the 21st of August to give all parties suffi- 
cient time to take their measures in opposition to it. 
The interview was immediately appointed for twelve 
o'clock the next day at his Lordship's private house. 
The door was opened before I had time to ring the bell, 
and I was shown at once into the apartment of the 
private secretary, who was then Mr. Peel, afterwards 
the talented and celebrated prime minister, — the second 
Sir Robert Peel, — who on my entering arose, and said 
with great deference in his manner, " My Lord Liverpool 
" will see you immediately," — and then remained stand- 
ing while I was seated for two or three minutes, when 
Lord Liverpool came hastily from his private room 
adjoining, to request me to walk in. 

I mention these particulars here to show the effect 
which my extraordinary popularity produced on the 
Government ; and it was equally paramount with the 
population of all classes. 

Lord Liverpool gave me a seat, and with considerable 
diffidence and agitation in his manner, said — " Mr. Owen, 
" what is your wish ? " — in a tone of voice and with an 
expression of countenance as much as to say, — " Your 
" wishes shall be gratified." And I beheve the Govern- 
ment would have given me any place or station, or almost 
anything I should ask ; for it was evident that they felt 
they were at my mercy. Such had been the influence of 
surrounding circumstances, one succeeding another, and 
over which I had had but little control ; and I was as 
much surprised by these new and strange events and 
proceedings as the Government and the people. But 
this popularity produced a different effect upon me than 
to cause me to think of any private advantage or worldly 
consideration. I had pondered well after the first meet- 
ing, what course to pursue to gain ultimately the great 
object which it was indelibly impressed on my mind that 
I must endeavour against all hazards to attain, — that 
is, the change of a false, wicked, and most cmel system of 
society, creating misery to all, — for the true, just, mercj- 



ROBERT OWEN 219 

ful, and good system of society, that will ultimately 
secure the permanent progress in knowledge and wisdom 
and the unceasing happiness and rational enjoyment 
of all. 

I knew that the population of the world, in spirit, 
principle, and practice, was unprepared for the change 
which I foresaw must be the ultimate destiny of the 
human race. I had calmly considered the obstacles to 
be overcome, to give a new mind and new habits to all 
of human kind. I had discovered that the great obstacle 
to all substantial and lasting progress and improvement 
among men, was the Religions of the nations of the earth, 
and that unless this difficulty could be overcome, man- 
kind must remain in perpetual bondage to the most 
gross and childish ignorance — an ignorance destructive 
of all the rational faculties of humanity. 

I knew the deep-seated prejudices of all people in 
favour of their respective religions, and that millions 
were prepared to die rather than to abandon them. 
But I knew also that until they could be made to abandon 
them., for a consistent practical religion, based on 
different ideas of the Great Creating Power of the 
Universe, — man could not be made to attain to the rank 
of a reasonable, rational, and happy being. 

After the first meeting, several of the religious papers 
were loud in calling upon me to declare my views of 
religion, and in their demands to know what rehgion I 
possessed. Under all these considerations I communed 
with myself what course I should pursue at the adjourned 
meeting, and I had decided upon that course before this 
interview with the Prime Minister. I therefore rephed 
to his Lordship's question, that all I desired was, that 
his Lordship and his Cabinet would allow their names 
to be upon the committee of investigation which I should 
propose at the meeting the next day, with an equal 
number of the leading members of the opposition in 
both Houses, if my proposed resolutions should be 
carried. 

On my saying this, I never saw any one so immediately 
relieved from an apparent great anxiety, — and his 



220 THE LIFE OF 

Lordship replied in the most confiding manner, " Mr. 
" Owen, you have full liberty to make any use of our 
" names you desire and which you may think useful to 
" your views, short of imphcating us as a Government." 
I thanked his Lordship, who came with me into the 
private secretary's apartment, when Mr. Peel again rose 
and stood until I left Lord Liverpool, who, at my de- 
parture was a very different man from what he appeared 
when the interview commenced. 

But what was the course which I had determined to 
pursue at the adjourned meeting, which now excited the 
greatest interest throughout the metropolis and the 
country ? What I intended to say was too important 
to be left to the inaccuracy of reporters at a pubhc 
meeting ; and all the conductors of the daily morning 
and evening papers had applied to me for copies of what 
I intended to say in my address the next day. In order 
that no one might have a preference over the others, I 
told them that if they would come to me when my 
address should be about half dehvered, they should be 
supplied with copies of the whole address. I had there- 
fore sixteen copies made of the address as I intended to 
deliver it, having a blank space left in them by the 
copiers, for me afterwards to fill up before I gave them 
to the parties applying for them at the meeting, and these 
I filled in the morning before going to the meeting. I 
gave no one the least idea of what my intentions were, 
because I knew that no one was then prepared to com- 
prehend my motives, views, and conduct, and that every 
one would, with their mind and feehngs, have strongly 
advised a different mode of proceedings. 

Knowing that what I should say at the meeting would 
be published the next day in the London morning and 
evening newspapers, that the public mind was highly ex- 
cited over the subject, and that what should be said by 
me would be widely circulated over the civilized world ; 
— and knowing also that unless a deathblow could be 
given to all the existing false religions of the world, 
there could be no hope for man's hberation from the 
bondage of ignorance, disunion, and misery ; — and feeling 



ROBERT OWEN 22 1 

that in my then position I was the only individual living 
who had the slightest chance to accomplish such a task, 
— I resolved to dare the deed, knowing that it was at 
that period at the hazard of hfe only that it could be 
done ; and my determination was. at a particular part 
of my address, to denounce and reject all the religions 
of the world. _^^,..^  

When I went to this meeting," ever to be remembered 
in the annals of history, no one except myself had any 
notion of what I intended to do and to say in the part 
of the address alluded to. The pubhc mind of the metro- 
polis on the morning previous to the commencement of 
the meeting was in a most excited state. The then 
friends of my views, so far as I had disclosed them, came 
in continually increasing numbers, — the great majority 
of these being of the best disposed among the upper 
classes in Church and State, and of the upper portion of 
the middle classes, who were sincerely desirous to improve 
the condition of the poor and working classes, if it could 
be done in order, in peace, and without a revolution of 
violence. 

At this period I had had no public intercourse with the 
operatives and working classes in any part of the two 
Islands, — not even in the metropolis. They were at this 
time strangers to me and to all my views and future 
intentions. I was at all periods of my progress, from my 
earliest knowledge and employment of them, their true 
friend. While their democratic and much mistaken 
leaders taught them that I was their enemy, a friend to 
all in authority, and that I desired to make slaves of 
them in these villages of unity and mutual co-operation. 

On the other hand, my opponents had -been most 
industrious in marshalling their forces, and they were 
led to the meeting by the popular orators of the day, 
and these were encouraged in their opposition by the 
leading active members of the then popular school of 
modern political economy. 

This meeting was densely crowded, although held at 
noon, and again hundreds and thousands had to be dis- 
appointed who could not gain admittance, and many 



222 THE LIFE OF 

waited until five o'clock before any moved to allow of 
their entrance, and even afterwards, until its dismissal 
at seven, it remained crowded ; for as soon as any retired 
others who were waiting immediately occupied their 
places. 

Knowing what I intended to do, I went alone, that no 
one might be implicated in my proceedings. When I 
went to this meeting I was on the morning of that day 
by far the most popular individual in the civilized world, 
and possessed the most influence with a majority of the 
leading members of the British Cabinet and Government. 
I went to the meeting with the determination by one 
sentence to destroy that popularity, but by its destruc- 
tion to lay the axe to the root of all false religions, and 
thus to prepare the population of theworldfor the reignof 
charity in accordance with the natural laws of humanity, 
— or, in other words, in accordance with all facts and 
common sense or consistent reason. 

I commenced my address, and continued amidst much 
applause and cheering from the friends of the cause 
which I advocated, until I approached that part in which 
I denounced all fhe religions of the world as now taught ; 
when by my manner I prepared the audience for some 
extraordinary proceeding. And when I in a firm voice 
said — "A more important question has never been put 
" to the sons of men — Who can answer it ? Who dares 
" answer it ? but with his life in his hand — a ready 
" and willing victim to truth, and to the emancipation 
" of the world from its long bondage of error, crime, and 
" misery ? Behold that victim ! On this day ! in this 
" hour ! even now ! shall those bonds be burst asunder, 
" never more to re-unite while the world lasts! What 
" the consequences of this daring deed shall be to 
" myself I am as indifferent about, as whether it shall 
" rain or be fair to-morrow ! Whatever may be the 
" consequences, I will now perform my duty to you 
" and to the world. And should it be the last act of my 
" life, I shall be well content, and shall know that I 
" have lived for an important purpose. Then, my 
" friends ! I tell you, that hitherto you have been pre- 



ROBERT OWEN 223 

" vented from knowing what happiness really is, solely 

" in consequence of the errors — gross errors " The 

meeting here became excited to the highest pitch of 
expectation as to what was to follow ; and a breathless 
silence prevailed so that not the slightest sound could 
be heard. I made a slight pause, and, as my friends 
afterwards told me, added a great increase of strength 
of feeling and dignity to my manner, of which at the 
time I was wholly unconscious, and in that state of 
mind I finished the sentence, as stated in paper No. 3, 
and I then again paused for some seconds, to observe 
the effects of this unexpected and unheard-of declara- 
tion and denouncement of all existing rehgions, in one 
of the most numerous public meetings of all classes 
ever held in the British metropolis under cover and at 
midday. 

My own expectations were, that such a daring de- 
nouncement in opposition to the deepest prejudices of 
every creed, would call down upon me the vengeance of 
the bigot and superstitious, and that I should be torn to 
pieces in the meeting. But great was my astonishment 
at what followed. A pause ensued, of the most profound 
silence, but of noiseless agitation in the minds of all, 
— none apparently knowing what to do or how to 
express themselves. All seemed thunderstruck and 
confounded. My friends were taken by surprise, and 
were shocked at my temerity, and feared for the result. 
Those who came with the strongest determination to 
oppose me, had, as they afterwards stated to me, their 
minds changed as it were by some electric shock, and 
the utmost mental confusion seemed to pervade the 
meeting, none venturing to express their feelings j and 
had I not purposely paused and waited some demon- 
stration from the audience, I might have continued my 
address in the astonished silence which I had produced. 
But when I did not proceed, and while I evidently waited 
for some expression of the feehng of the audience, after 
the long pause in silence, about half-a-dozen clergymen 
who had attentively listened to all I had said, deemed it 
incumbent upon them on account of their profession to 



224 THE LIFE OF 

attempt to lead the meeting by a few low hisses. But 
these, to my great astonishment, were instantly rebutted 
by the most heartfelt applause from the whole of the 
meeting, with the exception stated, that I ever witnessed, 
before or since, as a public demonstration of feeling. 

I then said to the friends near me — " The victory is 
" gained. Truth openly stated is omnipotent." 

I then proceeded, and finished my address, which was 
again loudly cheered. A long debate followed, by those 
who desired to defeat my proposed resolution ; but it 
was evident that the great majority of the meeting who 
had been present from its commencement desired the 
resolution to be carried, for the appointment of a com- 
mittee to investigate my plans for the relief of the poor. 

My opponents seeing this, now sent out their emissaries 
to bring in numbers to fill the places of those gradually 
retiring, and the political economists, whose leaders were 
there, determined to speak against time, and to keep 
the meeting open until the workpeople could be brought, 
when coming from their work at seven o'clock, to vote 
without knowledge of what had been said or done. By 
this time the respectable part of the audience had been 
tired out, or had left and gone to their dinner. I had 
accomplished my object, and was nov/ indifferent what 
became of the resolution, knowing that lor a considerable 
time I had destroyed my popularity with those who had 
been taught to believe and not to think, and these were 
legion. When the vote was taken, there was great 
confusion, for much excitement had been created by 
those who were opposed to giving real and permanent 
relief to the poor and working classes. Even at the con- 
clusion the majority were decidedly in my favour ; — 
but, to terminate the meeting peaceably, I decided that 
the resolution was negatived, and then terminated the 
meeting. 
\ I have from that day to this considered that day the 
most important of my life for the public : — the day on 
which bigotry, superstition, and all false religions, 
received their death-blow. \ For from that day to this 
they have been gradually losing their strength and 



ROBERT OWEN 225 

power, and dying their natural death in all advanced 
minds over the world, and soon they will cease to make 
the human race irrational, divided, and wicked, and to 
retain them in ignorance of God or nature, of themselves, 
and of the road to wisdom and happiness. 

The deed was done. Truth had escaped, as it were by 
a miracle, from the hitherto never unfixed grasp of the 
false religions of the nations of the earth. And it was 
sent on the wings of the press to the people of all lands, 
in such a manner as ultimately to destroy all falsehood, 
bigotry, superstition, disunion, ignorance, crime, and 
misery, and to ensure a continued progress without retro- 
gression of knowledge, union, wisdom, and happiness. 

Few, if any, had the slightest idea of the effects which 
these proceedings were to produce over the public mind 
of the world. Their influence commenced immediately, 
has continually increased from that day to this, and will 
continue to increase until the old system of the world 
shall cease from the earth, and truth, charity, and y 
wisdom shall govern the human race to the end of time. /^ 

In all my travels subsequently into foreign countries, 
these meetings had prepared for me a kind and reverential 
reception among the highest and most advanced minds 
with whom I came into communication. In Jamaica, 
St. Domingo, Mexico, the United States, and the 
Continent of Europe, they were a perpetual passport 
of introduction to the most distinguished for talent and 
station, and prepared a reception for me everywhere, 
which I had not anticipated, being unconscious at the 
time of the effects of their influence upon these parties 
whom I had been trained and educated by my previous 
antecedents to think so very much my superiors. It was 
only after a long experience of this kind of reception 
from the highest in rank, station, and elevation of mind, 
that I became fully conscious of the undying effects 
which they had produced. These continued results 
tended to confirm me in the irresistible power of truth, 
when unmixed with error and declared openly without 
fear of man. But at home the old adage was confirmed, 
that " a prophet has no honour in his own country." 

15 



226 THE LIFE OF 

From this eventful day to the world, the religious and 
party underlings were set to work to counteract by all 
their usual means these daring proceedings on the part 
of a mere manufacturer of cotton. It was true that I 
was deemed, and was often styled about this period, the 
prince of cotton-spinners. But what of that ? I was 
a mere cotton - spinner, a man of trade, one whose 
business was to endeavour to buy cheap and sell dear, 
and to take, according to mercantile notions, every 
" fair " advantage of the ignorance and weakness of my 
fellow- traders. The machinations, secret and open, of 
the religious sects in our country now commenced, and 
they continued to increase until these parties found they 
had done all they could against my name and influence. 
And now they are surprised that all they have said and 
done has had so little permanent effect upon the reflecting 
and superior members of society. 

My political opponents were also not idle in their 
opposition. But their proceedings were frank and open, 
and never unkind or unpleasantly hostile. They were 
however numerous and powerful, for they included all 
who thought the union of the human race in family 
commonwealths impracticable, and who preferred the 
individual system, whether the social was or was not 
practicable. 

But my friends were also alarmed, and many of them 
terrified, at what they called my daring temerity, in 
direct opposition to the deepest impressions made on 
the minds and habits of so large a portion of the popu- 
lation of all countries ; and some were ever afterwards 
afraid of my society, because of the religious prejudices 
which were arising against me. 

As a proof of the impression which my declaration at 
the last meeting against all the rehgions of the world 
had made on the British public, my friend Henry 
Brougham, since known as Lord Brougham, and Lord 
Chancellor of England, saw me the day after the meeting 
walking in the streets of the metropolis, and came to me, 
saying — " How the devil, Owen, could you say what 
" you did yesterday at your public meeting ! If any of 



ROBERT OWEN 227 

" us " (meaning the then so-called Liberal party in the 
House of Commons) " had said half as much, we should 
" have been burned alive, — and here are you quietly 
" walking as if nothing had occurred ! " 

It is true that at that time no other individual could 
have ventured upon this open attack upon all that most 
men hold so dear, except at the risk of character, fortune, 
and life ; and when I went to the meeting I felt uncertain 
whether I should return alive. It was my antecedents 
alone which saved me, and my enthusiasm in the cause 
which I had espoused alone sustained me through the 
trying crisis, and gave me the victory over the prejudices 
of the human race. But I never felt more strongly than 
at this period, that none of the power which carried me 
through these measures with the success which attended 
them was of my own creating, and that not the least 
merit was in any way due to me. 

On calmly recurring to these three addresses, it is now 
evident to me, through the experience which time has 
given, that the knowledge of the good and superior 
Spirit which directed and controlled all my public pro- 
ceedings, was at the period when they occurred far in 
advance of the age ; but that these proceedings were 
then necessary to arouse society' from its then lethargic 
state of insanity, inflicted upon all by the repulsive and 
absurd religions of the world, and to prepare its popu- 
lation gradually to overcome the sevenfold bondage of 
prejudice, with which the antedecents of man's existence 
upon the earth had enveloped his rational faculties 
and reasoning powers. My public proceedings at this 
period (1817) were considered to be several hundreds, 
some said thousands of years in advance of that period ; 
and they were at least fifty years in advance ; for it is 
only now, with all my incessant public teaching, that these 
inexpressibly important truths to the human race begin 
to be understood by the most advanced minds in any 
part of the world. How little even yet do the unreflecting 
portion of our race (and this is more than ninety-nine in 
every hundred) know of the immense — of the in- 
calculable difference for human progress and happiness 



228 THE LIFE OF 

between the repulsive or individual system for governing 
the affairs of men and forming their character, and the 
attractive or united system ! It is the difference between 
heaven and hell upon the earth. The one has amply 
succeeded in producing the latter; — the other, when 
adopted in practice in its entirety and full purity, will 
in high perfection produce the former ; and heaven will 
universally reign over the earth to the end of time. 
But it was necessary that all the various sufferings of hell 
should be experienced in time, and narrated for eternity, 
in order that the succeeding everlasting joys of heaven 
might be increased and heightened by the contrast. 
And thus recorded, will hell, or the sufferings of the past 
period of our race, be held in eternal memory, to give 
the highest practical enjoyment to all possessing immortal 
life. And this is the everlasting good which evil has 
been destined to produce ; for without this hell, heaven 
could not be comprehended. And thus will arise the 
greatest good out of the greatest evil ; and the Supreme 
Power of Creation will be justified to the universe. My 
earliest thoughtful impressions were, and they have been 
published in some of my early Avritings, that the evils 
experienced on earth were to serve as a foil or contrast 
to increase the happiness of heaven. 

The impression made on the foreign mind by the 
wide circulation of the new world of ideas for practice, so 
openly advocated by me in these ever-to-be-remem.bered 
meetings, was such as to bring many foreigners to see 
me and the now far-famed New Lanark schools and 
establishment. Among the first was Julian de Paris, at 
that period well known in France, and remembered 
by me from his attentions whenever I afterwards visited 
Paris, and also from a little incident which occurred 
on his first coming into the village. On that occasion 
he inquired for me at the entrance of the works, in which 
I was engaged explaining the system and showing the 
practice to several distinguished strangers ; and when 
we were passing from one part of the works to another, 
he came to me and requested to know where he could 
find my father, as he was told in the lodge he was in the 



ROBERT OWEN 229 

mills or schools. I suppose I must then have appeared 
in his eyes young for my years ; lor when I jocularly 
told him that I and my father were one, he seemed lost 
for a moment, and much confused. But he said — 
" Are you indeed the Mr. Owen who held those extra- 
" ordinary public meetings in London ? " I assured him 
it was none other ; and it was some time before he re- 
covered from his surprise and regained his self-possession. 

Soon after this came Professor Pictet, the celebrated 
savant of Geneva, one of the best and most learned men 
of his age, and who for his many superior qualities will 
be long remembered in Switzerland, especially at Geneva, 
and also in Paris, in which city he was a prominent 
official character for many years. He came to invite 
me to Paris, and to Switzerland and the Continent 
generally ; assuring me of a kind and warm reception 
from the first men of the day in France, Switzerland, 
and Germany. He said that his particular friend Cuvier, 
the celebrated French naturalist, and Secretary to the 
French Academy in Paris, would come over and meet us 
in London, and we could return with him to Paris. He 
remained some time with me, and I was greatly pleased 
with him, and he appeared to be, as he said he was, highly 
gratified with his visit ; taking deep interest in the school 
and in the establishment generally ; but especially in 
the school ; for he had been for four years one of the four 
Commissioners of Education for France, as well as having 
been ten years a Tribune of the same country. 

We went together to London, where I transacted 
much business with my professed disciples, previous to 
my intended visit to the Continent, that they might 
promote my " new views " in my absence. 

I had informed him that I knew nothing of the French 
or of any other language than my own. He said that 
would make no difference. He would be my constant 
companion and interpreter on my journey. And he 
knew personally almost all the leading and distinguished 
men on the Continent. 

I, however, took letters of introduction from the 
French and other foreign ministers, and from leading 



230 THE LIFE OF 

personages ; and his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, 
on being informed by me that I was going to Paris, said 
he would give me an introduction to his friend the Duke 
of Orleans (afterwards King Louis Philippe), if I desired 
to see and converse with him, and which letter I re- 
ceived with pleasure. At the time appointed M. Cuvier 
arrived, with Madame Cuvier and her daughter, — for 
Madame had been previously married, and was a widow 
with this one daughter when she was married to M. 
Cuvier. 

At this period it was intended to make this now most 
celebrated savant a minister of state, and he came to 
England with a view to make himself acquainted with 
our laws and mode of governing. He appeared to be 
soon satisfied, for he did not remain long in England. 
A French frigate was sent to bring him and his party to 
France. M. Cuvier, his lady and daughter, with Pro- 
fessor Pictet and myself, made up the whole of the party, 
and after landing at Calais, we travelled in the same 
carriage to Paris, where we arrived and settled ourselves 
to remain some weeks. 

I was now immediately introduced into the midst of 
the highest learned political men and women of France 
and other countries then in Paris. 

My first visit was to the Duke of Orleans, to whom 
the Duke of Kent's letter gave me a ready and welcome 
introduction. The Duke received me more as a friend 
than as a stranger, commencing by expressing his high 
regard and friendship for his Royal Highness of Kent and 
Strathern, and then entering familiarly into a narrative, 
confidential at that period, of the delicate position which 
he held in relation to the other and then reigning branch 
of the Bourbon family. 

At this period the political state of parties in France 
was peculiar. The Bourbons reigned by the external 
powers of Europe, but France was Buonapartist, and a 
truce appeared to have taken place between the parties, 
for at the time of my visit the leading men of both 
were upon friendly terms. But the Duke said — " The 
" reigning family are jealous of me. They are afraid 



ROBERT OWEN 231 

" of my liberal principles. I am watched, and I feel it 
" necessary to be guarded in my private and public 
" conduct. I therefore live very quietly, and take no 
" active part in any of the movements -of the day. But 
" I observe all that takes place, and the day may come 
" when I may have more liberty to act according to my 
" views of the necessities of the times." He was at this 
time a thoughtful, watchful character, and rather timid 
than otherwise. My views were too well known, he 
said, to allow him openly to appear to countenance me ; 
and all my movements would be known whilst in France. 
My friend and companion Professor Pictet was not then 
with me, for the Duke spoke English well and most 
fluently, and our interview was most private. It con- 
tmued for upwards of an hour ; but afterwards I had no 
personal communication with him during my then stay 
in Paris. 

The next day the Professor proposed that we should 
visit the Prime Minister, to whom I was introduced by 
the Professor, and I presented my letter from the French 
Ambassador in London. We were cordially received, 
and had a long and by degrees a frank and friendly 
interview, — the Minister expressing his high admiration 
of my practical measures at New Lanark, of which he had 
heard many accounts from several parties who had wit- 
nessed them, all of whom were lavish in their praises of 
what they had seen. And he said he was deeply interested 
as a statesman in my late public proceedings in London, 
which, he added, were he was sure too profound and 
too advanced for immediate adoption. But he said they 
were true, and would be, after many conflicts, ultimately 
universally adopted, and would become the practice 
of the world. The Minister seemed much disinclined to 
terminate the interview, which continued an uiiusual 
length of time, and when we departed he came with us 
through three apartments en suite connected with his 
own most private reception room. Not being yet in- 
itiated in the customs and forms of courts and courtiers, 
I thought nothing of this, but supposed it to be of 
common occurrence ; but upon leaving the house, the 



232 THE LIFE OF 

Professor said, " I have never seen that done before. 
" I have been, during fourteen years' residence in France, 
" very often with the chief Minister, and frequently with 
" persons of distijiction. On leaving, the Ministers come 
" to their own door, and take leave. When they deem 
"it necessary to pay more than usual attention, they 
"come through the first room and then take leave. If 
" they intend to the visitor much respect, they come 
" through the two rooms, and then take formal leave. 
" But I never before saw the Minister accompany his 
" visitors through the three apartments, and attend to 
" them as he did to us on this occasion." And in this 
manner was the inexperienced cotton-spinner initiated 
into the so-called great ways of the great world. 

I was next introduced by my friends, Cuvier and Pictet, 
to La Place, the wide-world-known astronomer. And 
then to Alexander Von Humboldt, who then was in 
Paris pursumg his scientific investigations. And we four 
— La Place, Cuvier, Pictet, and myself — afterwards often 
met at the house of one or other of the two fust, to con- 
verse freely upon public affairs interesting to the popu- 
lation of all countries. La Place and Cuvier were at the 
head of their respective sciences. Professor Pictet was 
at the head of the savants of Europe. And I was now 
considered by these men as the advanced mind in a prac- 
tical knowledge of human nature and the science of 
society. It was to me at first most surprising to discover, 
in La Place and Cuvier especially, but less so in Pictet, 
their childish simplicity on all subjects relative to human 
nature and to the science of society. They sought my 
society eagerly, to question me on these subjects, 
apparently quite new to their studj', they having so 
long had their minds fixed on their own respective 
sciences, that they had never entered the field of in- 
vestigation on these subjects, so familiar to me. While 
I had been as far behind in a knowledge of their subjects, 
so familiar to them, and which they themselves had ex- 
tended, to the gratification of the learned world. They 
seemed to have lived to this period in worlds of their 
own. For they appeared to be devoid, out of their own 



ROBERT OWEN 233 

made world, of a knowledge of the common everyday 
world. It was a common report at this time that 
Professor Cuvier had been, on his return from London, 
immediately made one of the Ministers of State ; but 
that from some cause or other he remained Minister for 
one day only. Probably, if this was true, it was because 
governing, especially at that period, was so foreign and 
opposed to his own studies and associations of ideas. 
M. Alexander Humboldt was less frequently one of our 
coterie ; but I never met him without a strong liking and 
attraction for the quiet, unobtrusive simplicity of his 
manner, and his willingness to impart the valuable know- 
ledge which he possessed without any appearance of 
ostentation, a knowledge which he had with so much 
industry so well acquired. He always seemed to me to 
be a full true man, without any of the ordinary failings 
of humanity. And I have never met him since without 
these impressions of his character being more strongly 
confiimed. 

Professor Pictet seemed to be much respected by all 
parties, and he was on friendly terms with the leaders 
of the more liberal views, and especially with those men 
who had survived and had passed with credit through 
the Revolution, and who were generally respected and 
esteemed among the liberal statesmen of the day. 

Some of these names I especially remember. One 
was Count de Boissy d'Anglas, who, upon my being 
introduced to him, received me, to my no little surprise, 
with open arms and a salute on each cheek, from a rougher 
chin than I had ever so encountered, — for he was the first 
man from whom I received such a salute. I found he 
was a warm and ardent disciple of mine, — open, frank, 
and honest in the avowal of his principles, and in his 
adherence to rational liberty. 

Another was Camille Jourdain, so well known through 
all stages of the Revolution. He appeared (agreeing 
with Professor Pictet's statement of him, and they had 
been long known to each other) to have been one of the 
superior men engaged in that extraordinary struggle for 
liberty, a thing so little understood by all the contending 



234 THE LIFE OF 

parties, and less practised by them when in power. 
There were, throughout this dreadful contest, no indi- 
cations of a knowledge of human nature, of charity for 
humanity, or of wisdom in conduct. It was severe 
general suffering, to produce small results. 

A third on my memory was the Duke de la Roche- 
foucault, who had from patriotic motives established on 
his estate in the country, what at that time in France 
was considered a large cotton-spinning manufactory. He 
wished me to see it, and took me with him into the 
country. I examined the whole business as then carried 
on at the Duke's risk and with his capital. I found by 
this investigation, that I was manufacturing the same 
numbers of fineness of yarn or thread, but of much better 
quality, at the New Lanark establishment in Scotland, 
at fourpence per pound cheaper than the Duke's. One 
penny per pound upon the annual produce at that time 
at New Lanark, was £8000 sterling — which sum multi- 
plied by four, gives a gain upon the same quantity, over 
the Duke's, of thirty-two thousand pounds per year. 
Evidently therefore the Duke required a high duty on 
English (British) cottons to enable him, and all similarly 
situated, to proceed. But it was equally evident that 
the French people had to pay this duty to their own manu- 
facturers, to enable them to continue their w-orks. 

I had what was then called the honour of sitting in 
the celebrated French Academ}', of which my constant 
friend, Cuvier, was secretary. 

And thus for six weeks did the Professor and myself 
luxuriate amidst the elite of the most distinguished men 
then in Paris ; and I lost no opportunity of obtaining 
the best thoughts of these superior characters, and here 
I discovered for the first time one advantage from not 
knowing any other than my native language. 

I had continually the highly learned and gifted 
Professor Pictet for my companion and interpreter, well 
known to all the foremost men in France, from his long 
official residence in it, and, liberal as he was, so much 
respected for his attainments and high character, that 
he was the only person allowed by Napoleon to miport 



ROBERT OWEN 235 

monthly a box of English publications unopened and duty 
free. With such a friend, guide, and interpreter, our 
visits were always to men and women of high standing 
for some eminent qualities, and our conversations were 
therefore always on the investigation of some important 
knowledge, worth the trouble and time of interpreting. 
And, from one cause or another, I was made during 
this period, through the Professor's means and others, 
the lion of Paris. Knowing the defects of early edu- 
cation, the little instruction I had received from others, 
the little I really knew of the mind, habits, and manners 
of the great world, and being then and for a long time 
afterwards unconscious of the deep and widespread 
impressions which had been made by my publications 
on the formation of character, my practical measures, so 
long pursued at New Lanark, and latterly my public 
meetings and proceedings in London — I was continually 
at a loss to account for the extraordinary deference and 
attention which was paid to me by all these parties. 
But so it was. 

After this effective sojourn of six weeks in Paris under 
these favourable circumstances, adding greatly to my 
experience of the learned and great world, the Professor 
and myself, joined before setting out by my sisters-in- 
law, proceeded towards the Professor's native country 
and his home in Geneva. Our journey was one of every- 
day pleasure. In the course of it two events occurred 
to add to my experience, and which made an impression 
on my memory, although they were of a light nature. 

On crossing the Jura, the weather being warm and 
pleasant, we walked much to enjoy the pure air and 
grand scenery before and around us, and the carriage 
slowly followed us at some distance. The Professor and 
myself were cosily engaged in some interesting dis- 
cussion, walking slowly, my sisters walking on at some 
distance in advance of us. They were dressed in the 
English fashion of the time, and they passed an ordinary 
house, at which were standing at the door three or four 
young women well dressed in their fashion. We were so 
much behind, and being dressed as travellers usually 



236 THE LIFE OF 

were who passed that way, we did not appear to these 
natives to belong to the ladies who had just passed by 
them, and they were making merry with the strange 
dresses and appearance of the strangers, and the Professor 
heard them say — ' ' Did you ever see such frightful dresses ? 
" How could people think of wearing them ! " I think 
my sisters on that occasion wore riding habits and hats, 
expecting to ride some part of the day on mules. We 
passed on, and soon joined our advanced party, and the 
first thing my sisters said was — " Did you ever see such 
" frights ? How could any people so disfigure them- 
" selves ? " My sisters-in-law were at this time young 
travellers in a foreign country, and had not yet been in 
Switzerland, to see, to them, the still greater variety 
of strange costumes. " Yes," I rephed, " we saw them, 
" and heard their strongly expressed surprise at the 
" frights who had just passed, and they making merry 
" with the strange figures you had made yourselves." 
This was a lesson which they never afterwards forgot. 

Shortly after this occurrence, and when we had walked 
until we had made ourselves very warm, we had to cross 
a cold, clear running stream, at which the Professor took 
out a pocket-handkerchief, dipped it in the stream, and 
while it was saturated with water, put one corner of it 
into his mouth and then threw it over his fine bald head. 
I exclaimed — " Professor ! what are you doing ? You 
" will give yourself a death cold ! " He smiled, and said, 
" I am experienced in these matters. Although very 
" cold water is dangerous taken internally when thus 
" heated, it is most refreshing when applied on the out- 
" side and on the head as you now see, and it carries off 
" the extra heat in the most agreeable manner." And 
so I discovered it was in his case ; for at every stream we 
passed he repeated the same operation and appeared 
indeed to be greatly relieved by it from the effects of heat 
during the remainder of the day's journey. 

Our first view of Mont Blanc before we entered 
Switzerland made a deep and lasting impression upon 
those of the party who had not before seen it. The 
atmosphere was most favourable for seeing it to the 



ROBERT OWEN 237 

greatest advantage in its most magnificent beauty, with 
tints as various as the rainbow. Tlie Professor, who had 
passed and repassed the point of view very often, said 
he had never seen it to greater advantage. We there- 
fore entered this country of endless magnificent and 
beautiful scenery, with favourable prepossessions, and 
were during our stay never disappointed. 

On our arrival at Geneva we found that the Professor 
had arranged to make everything most convenient for 
our comfort. He had residing with him his daughter, 
Madame Prevost, a charming, highly gifted woman, just 
such as it was natural to suppose that the beloved 
daughter of the Professor, brought up under his im- 
mediate tuition, would be. I say beloved, — because it 
was delightful to witness the affection which was most 
evident in every look and word between them. 

I was gradually introduced to all the elite in and around 
Geneva. The brother of the Professor was the celebrated 
statesman of Geneva, who negotiated on the part of 
Switzerland, and obtained advantages and privileges 
which were deemed important, when the congress of 
sovereigns met in 1818 at Aix-la-Chapelle. Among 
many others, I was also introduced during this visit to 
Madame Necker, the sister of Madame de Stael, the 
celebrated opponent of Napoleon I. Madame Necker 
was the widow of M. Necker, the well-known Minister 
in France, and she was esteemed superior in many 
respects to her better-known sister. She was on the 
most friendly terms with the Professor's family, was 
often of our party, and we as frequently with her, for 
her society was always interesting and highly instructive 
and suggestive. 

The Professor had made my New View of Society 
very popular at Geneva, and they were always the 
favourite topic of conversation with Madame Necker 
and the Professor's daughter, who were never tired of 
pursuing it through all its ramifications, to its beautiful 
results, ending in the practice of the Millennium over the 
Earth, and the cordial union of the race as one superior 
and highly enlightened family. 



238 THE LIFE OF 

At this time Captain Hall, the well-known visitor to 
Napoleon at St. Helena, arrived at Geneva, lull of the, 
to him, important event of twenty minutes' conversation 
with so great a personage. He had made a narrative 
of this visit, so minute, and worked up with so much 
dramatic effect, that upon every occasion when we met 
him in different parties he occupied about two hours in 
giving the details, and as they were given each time pretty 
much in the same order, and often in the same words and 
phrases, the two ladies mentioned were, after they had 
once heard it, especially annoyed. The Captain's mind 
was one of detail, and he evidently attached the greatest 
importance to this, to him, wonderful event, while the 
minds of these ladies were in search of principles which 
could be applied in practice permanently to benefit 
humanity. 

I could not help observing on these occasions how 
little a mind of detail comprehends the mind formed 
and accustomed to generalization. The first compre- 
hends little of the associations of ideas in the mind of the 
latter ; while the latter often undervalues the utility in 
practice of the first. In many cases where these qualities 
are unmixed, one being wholly accustomed to details, 
and the other to generalize, the parties cannot imder- 
stand each other. In this case Captain Hall had no 
interest in those subjects which were thought to be so 
important by some of his impatient listeners. 

I now took my sisters-in-law to see the most prominent 
scenes of nature's beauty in these Cantons, so full of 
such scenes, and which have been so often described as 
to be familiar to every reader and continental traveller. 
While on this excursion, stopping at a hotel about mid- 
way up the shore of the lake of Geneva, we were met by 
my old and greatly respected friend, Mr. Joseph Strutt 
of Derby, with his two daughters. Thus meeting, we 
agreed to prolong our stay there another day beyond our 
previous intention. I had promised a morning visit the 
next day to Mademoiselle de Stael, the daughter of the 
celebrated authoress, and afterwards the wife of the Duke 
de Broglie. We therefore arranged to dine on my return 



ROBERT OWEN 239 

at three o'clock, and I left my sisters and our friend to 
enjoy themselves in that beautiful situation in their own 
way, while I went early to Copet, the seat of the re- 
nowned Madame de Stael, who had but lately died, 
leaving her only daughter to lament this great bereave- 
ment. 

On my arrival I found among other visitors Monsieur 
Sismondi, and entering at once into a conversation 
mutually interesting, time was unnoticed, until I 
recollected my engagement to return and dine with my 
friends the Strutts and my sisters-in-law at the hotel, 
eight miles distant, at three o'clock, — when, taking out 
my watch, I discovered it was five o'clock, and I did not 
arrive at the hotel until six. But my friend very kindly 
excused my oversight under the circumstances in which 
I was placed. I met the same friend some weeks after- 
wards at Frankfort, when we remained in the same hotel, 
— and I just now recollect that one day while Mr. Strutt 
and myself were sitting after dinner there, it occurred to 
us that it might be possible perhaps, it being a superior 
hotel, for us to obtain a bottle of the genuine old hock, 
grown upon Prince Metternich's estate. Calling in the 
hotel-keeper, we asked if such a matter was practicable. 
He said — " I could obtain but six bottles of a particularly 
" good vintage, — it being divided among many, — and I 
" will with pleasure " (I believe we had become favourites 
with the landlord) " let you have one bottle. But the 
" price is high." " We will give your own price, and 
" shall be obliged in addition." The bottle was brought, 
and certainly, in the estimation of Mr. Strutt and myself, 
it was the most delicious wine we had ever drunk. Its 
price was ten f ranee. 

When my sisters had seen all they desired to see in 
Switzerland, they left me to pass over into Italy, and I 
rejoined the Professor, after first paying a visit to my 
partner, Mr. John Walker of Arno's Grove, Middlesex, 
and his family, who had taken up their residence for 
some time on the banks of the lake of^Lucerne. While 
remaining with thsm, I went with two of his sons to the 
top of Mount Rigi, and we arrived there in time to 



240 THE LIFE OF 

see that splendid sight, the sun rising, in a morning most 
favourable for seeing it to great advantage, displaying 
gradually all the beauties of that enchanting distant 
mountain and lake prospect, including parts of nearly 
all the Cantons. 

Of Mr. John Walker, just mentioned, I shall have 
occasion to speak in a future portion of these 
memoirs. 

On my return to Professor Pictet's at Geneva, we first 
made a visit to the three then most noted schools for the 
poor in Switzerland. The first was Father Oberlin's, a 
Catholic school conducted in a truly Catholic spirit by 
the good father of the Church, and with as little sectarian 
spirit in his proceedings as was practicable 'while he 
remained a member of his sect. This was a large school, 
well filled with the poorer class of children, well con- 
ducted on charitable principles, according to the old 
mode of teaching ; but it was quite evident that the 
heart of this good man was in it, and he had laboured 
hard and long to bring it to the state in which it was 
when I visited him at Friburgh, where the school was 
situated. This excellent man when informed by 
Professor Pictet of my school and establishment which he 
had seen and so frequently examined, became greatly 
interested to know how I obtained such extraordinary 
results, and became anxious to learn how to obtain them 
as I had done. His school consisted of boys of the 
usual age at which boys were sent at this time to school. 
I told him the plan which I pursued was a very simple 
one, and was obtained by a close and accurate study of 
human nature, not from books (for these were very 
generally worse than useless), but frcnn the infant, child, 
youth, and man, as formed under a false fundamental 
principle, as was evident by the entire past history of 
the human race. To form the most superior character 
for the human race, the training and education should 
commence from the birth of the child ; and to form a 
good character they must begin systematically when the 
child is one year old. But much has been done rightly 
or wrongly before that period. From that age no child 



ROBERT OWEN 241 

should be brought up isolated. Every child should now 
be placed in the first division of a school for infants of 
from one to three years of age, and from thirty to fifty 
in number, — the latter number easily to be superintended 
by a properly chosen female, — instead of, as at present, 
one or two or three infants of such age being thoroughly 
spoiled by the attendance upon them of young persons 
wholly ignorant of human nature. In this first division 
the foundation of a good and rational character may be 
easily laid, by attending to the formation of every habit, 
to their manner, their disposition, and their conduct to 
each other ; and in this respect I gave them but one rule 
or lesson for practice, and that was, from their entrance 
into the school, to endeavour to make each other very 
happy. And it is surprising how soon and how effectually 
this practice is acquired under a superintendent possessmg 
the required unceasing love for children, and who has 
been properly instructed before commencing the task. 
These children, to be well trained and educated, should 
never hear from their teacher an angry word, or see a 
cross or threatening expression of countenance. The 
tone of voice and manner should be, impartially to them 
all, kind and affectionate. They should be out of doors 
in good air at play, as much as the weather and their 
strength will admit. When beginning to be tired of 
play in their playground, they should be taken within 
the schoolroom, and amused by^the teacher, by showing 
; and explaining to them some useful object within their 
capacity to comprehend, — and a young, active, well- 
taught teacher will easily find and provide something 
that they will be interested in seeing and in hearing it 
I explained. While awake they should be actively occu- 
I pied either at this amusement or at play, and thirty to 
nfty infants, when left to themselves, will always amuse 
each other without any useless childish toys. In our 
rational infant school in New Lanark, a mere child's toy 
was not seen for upwards of twenty years. When, 
however, any infant felt inclined to sleep, it should be 
quietly allowed to do so. 

Punishment, in a rationally conducted infant school 
16 



242 THE LIFE OF 

will never be required, and should be avoided as much 
as giving poison in their food. 

The second division, from three to six, should continue 
to be treated in the same manner, except that their walks 
into the country should be frequent, and the objects 
brought to them for examination and explanation 
should be advanced in interest in proportion to the 
previous acquirements of the children, and to their age 
for better understanding them. 

Books in infant schools are worse than useless. But at 
six, so trained and educated, a solid foundation will 
have been formed for good habits, manners, disposition, 
and conduct to others, and, so far, a consistent and 
rational mind v/ill be given, varying in many particulars 
in different individuals, but all good and natural, 
according to their respective organizations. 

No marks of merit or demerit should be given to any , 
no partiality shown to any one. But attention to each 
should be increased in proportion to natural defects or 
deficiency of any kind, physical or mental. ' I see by 
" your school," I continued, " that it is after this age 
" that you, like other masters of schools, receive your 
" pupils. But to a great extent the character is made 
" or marred before children enter the usual schoolroom." 

The good father, feeling the truth of what I had stated, 
was yet anxious for more of my experience in forming 
character, and more anxious from the too favourable 
accounts which the Professor had given of what he had 
so often witnessed at New Lanark during his visits to 
me. I therefore proceeded, and stated that infants so 
treated, trained, and educated from one year of age, 
would at six compare without disadvantage, in mind, 
manner, and conduct, with young persons as usually 
treated, trained, and educated with books, at ten and 
twelve years of age, or even yet older. And I advised 
him to add, if practicable under his circumstances, such 
an infant school to his present one. But he said — " I 
" have no means ; and it is with great difficulty I can 
" procure funds to maintain what I have, and to do so 
" has cost me many sleepless nights." On leaving him 






ROBERT OWEN 243 

i said — " You are making great exertions to obtain, 
" under the system in which I see you must act, but 
" limited and very partial results." 

The great earnestness and benevolence of this in- 
dustrious poor cure of the Catholic Church, labouring 
under many disadv^antages, interested me very much. 

He said he was most at a loss to know how I had 
succeeded in avoiding punishment altogether in the 
New Lanark schools. I told him the secret was in the 
first division of the infant school, from one to three, in 
which school the affections of the children were secured 
to their instructors ; and that when their affections are 
obtained, the children will always with pleasure to them- 
selves exert their natural powers to their utmost extent. 
This result is most easily obtained by commencing the 
formation of character from one year of age, with num- 
bers about the same age united. ; When human nature 
shall be understood by the public, the advantages of this 
early formation of character will be duly appreciated, and 
every child when a year old will be placed in a rational 
infant boarding school. 

This good benevolent man eagerly inquired if there 
were any such infant boarding schools, — for I told him 
that mine were day schools only, and were in consequence 
imperfect for the formation of the best character which 
could be formed ; but that society was not yet so far 
advanced as to admit of the best character being formed. 
This, I told him, could be obtained only under an entire 
change of society in spirit, principle, and practice. He 
said — " Do you think that change can ever be effected ? " 
I replied that my settled conviction was that it could ; 
that I saw all the steps in practice by which the change 
could be made in peace and most advantageously for 
every individual, of every class and rank, over the 
world ; and that T should never cease my efforts to 
forward this change as long as life and health would 
admit. " But," he said, " you will be opposed by all 
" religions and Governments, and by the people whom 
" they govern, and whose educated ])rejudices in favour 
" of existing practices will be a difficulty insurmountable 



244 THE LIFE OF 

" in your way." " So I am told," I answered, " by men 
" of all parties. But my "knowledge of human nature 
" leads me to know that conviction does not depend upon 
" the will of the individual ; but that it depends upon the 
' ' strongest impression which can be made upon his 
" mind ; and I hope by degrees to create new impressions 
" upon the most advanced minds, and that they will 
" gradually make similar impressions upon the general 
" public mind." 

" You must have great faith in the truth of your prin- 
' ' ciples, to resolve upon such a course of conduct, against 
" such obstacles as you must meet by the way. I, 
" however, wish you all the success you desire, without 
" much expectation that it is possible for any one to 
" overcome the prejudices and apparent interests to be 
" encountered from all sects and parties in all countries." 

Thus we concluded our visit to the first Swiss poor 
school which I had seen. 

Our next visit was to Yverdmi, to see the advance 
made by Pestalozzi — another good and benevolent man, 
acting for the benefit of his poor children to the extent 
of his knowledge and means. He was doing, he said, 
all he could to cultivate the heart, the head, and the 
hands of his pupils. His theory was good, but his 
means and experience were very limited, and his prin- 
ciples were those of the old system. His language was a 
confused patois, which Professor Pictet could but im- 
perfectly understand. His goodness of heart and bene- 
volence of intention were evident in what he had done 
under the disadvantages which he had to encounter. 
His school, however, was one step in advance of ordinary 
schools, or the old routine schools for the poor in common 
society, and we were pleased with it as being this one 
step in advance, for the rudiments of common school 
education for the poor, without attention to their dis- 
positions and habits, and without teaching them useful 
occupation, by which to earn a living, are of little real 
utility. We left him, being much pleased with the 
honest homely simplicity of the old man. His one step 
beyond the usual routine had attracted and was attract- 



ROBERT OWEN 245 

ing the attention of many who had previously known 
only the common routine. 

Professor Pictet now said he would take me to a former 
partner of Pestalozzi, but a man very superior to him in 
talent and attainments, who had also a poor school, and 
another for pupils of the more wealthy and of the upper 
classes, even sons of princes. We therefore went to 
Hofwyl, and I was introduced by M. Pictet to M. de 
Fellenberg, in such a manner as to induce him to open 
his house and his heart to me, so as to make us very 
speedily acquainted with each other's views, and to 
I place me at once at ease and at home with him. Here 
the Professor and I remained partaking of M. de Fellen- 
! berg's hospitality for three days, — the Professor and 
■j M. de Fellenberg being previously old and much attached 
friends. I found M. de Fellenberg a man of no ordinary 
mould, — possessing rare administrative talent, and a 
good knowledge of human nature as formed under the 
existing system of society, but alive to its many errors 
and defects. After minutely inspecting his admirably 
conducted school of instruction and labour for the poor, 
under the immediate care of M. Verdi, and the schools 
of the upper class, with the improved cultivation which 
he had introduced on his estate around the establish- 
ment, — all of which we found in order, and the schools 
two or three steps in advance of any I had yet seen in 
England or on the Continent, — we spent the remainder 
of the three days in considering what could be done to 
bring society out of its present delusion and error. 

The Professor and M. de Fellenberg had both minds 
far in advance of things as they were, and were quite 
willing to proceed onward as fast and as far as their 
surroundings would permit them to proceed. They were 
in each other's confidence. The Professor had become 
a true convert to my views, and before the third day of 
our stay, M. de Fellenberg also became a disciple of the 
" new views." We then considered how far the Hofwyl 
establishment could be made to assist to prepare the 
way for the entire change which I contemplated. M. de 
Fellenberg had pupils of high rank from Russia and from 



246 THE LIFE OF 

various parts of Germany. But his known strong in- 
clination to liberal, not to say democratic principles, had 
created in the neighbouring despotic powers a suspicion 
that he might go too far in instilling these advanced 
liberal views into the minds and habits of his pupils. 
His school had been therefore placed under the sur- 
veillance of three commissioners, of German, Prussian, 
and Russian appointment, and their examinations of the 
schools were quarterly or half-yearly. One of these 
examinations took place while we were there, but it did 
not occupy much time, it being known to the Professor 
andM.de Fellenberg that the commissioners were friendly 
to them both. But there was indeed nothing that intelli- 
gent men could reasonably object to. 

The Professor explained to M. de Fellenberg the extra- 
ordinary results, as he considered them, which were pro- 
duced in the new infant school at New Lanark ; and in 
our conversation on this subject I strongly recommended 
him to commence an infant school in his establishment. 
At this time he had no boys in his school under ten years 
of age. He had never before heard of a rational infant 
school ; but he greatly approved of the principles and 
practices of it, as they were explained to him by the 
Professor and myself ; and he seemed much inclined to 
introduce one into his establishment, if he could make 
the necessary arrangements for one to unite harmoniously 
with the general arrangements now in practice and in 
progress. I learned afterwards that to add such a 
nursery as would be necessary in the situation, as well as 
to build suitable infant schools with playground, would 
too much derange his domestic and other arrangements, 
to permit him without great inconvenience and a large 
addition to his capital,which could not be easily obtained, 
to add properly constructed accommodations for this 
purpose, and that he rightly judged that it was better not 
to commence, unless he could do justice to the system; 
and he had at this time as much upon his hands as any 
one man could direct with the superior success which he 
desired, and with his limited capital. 

My two eldest sons, Robert Dole and William, were 



ROBERT OWEN 247 

now. the first sixteen, and the second fourteen years of 
age. They had received as good a private training and 
education as could be given to them by the aid of well- 
selected governesses and tutors, and their characters 
and habits, })hysical and mental, had been so far formed 
on rational principles, that I had no fears to send them 
from home to acquire foreign languages, and yet further 
to pursue useful studies, and to become more prac- 
tically acquainted with the ways of men in the old world, 
— so different in many respects to the half new world 
in which alone to this time they had been trained and 
so far educated. 

Knowing by experience the importance of the sur- 
roundings in which all parties, but especially the young, 
are placed, I looked everywhere for the best in which to 
place my sons, to complete their training and education. 
I had seen nothing to equal the existing and projected 
arrangements or surroundings at this establishment ; 
and on consulting with the Professor, he approved of 
my intention to propose to M. de Fellenberg to receive 
my two sons. There then had never been an English 
boy among his pupils, and he said he should have 
peculiar pleasure in receiving my two sons, as they had 
had a previous training and education at New Lanark. 
The terms were high, but not more than the superior 
house and school arrangements made necessary for the 
support of the pupils. I agreed to send my sons and 
place them under M. de Fellenberg's especial care and 
direction. I have ever remembered this visit with un- 
mixed pleasure, from the gratification I experienced in 
the friendly, frank, confidential communication of mind 
to mind on all subjects, enhanced by the mutual con- 
fidence each had in the other. 

When the Professor and I were with my partner, Mr. 
John Walker, it was arranged, — as I intended to visit 
Frankfort, and to be at Aix-la-Chapclle during the 
Congress of Sovereigns speedily to be held there, and as 
Professor Pictet had been my travelling companion and 
interpreter for sevieral months, — that Mr. Walker, who 
most kindly wished to promote my views, which I was 



248 THE LIFE OF 

going to promulgate in Frankfort and Aix-la-Chapelle, 
should take the place of the Professor, and should assist 
me in Germany, as the Professor had aided me in France 
and Switzerland ; and that I should return to the Pro- 
fessor on my way homeward. I very reluctantly parted 
from a friend who had been so kindly attentive and so 
essentially serviceable to me, with the peculiar views 
which I entertained, and in which he so thorouglily 
united, that wherever we went he tried to anticipate my 
wishes. But a more willing, amiable, and accomplished 
successor could scarcely be imagined, than the one I was 
so fortunate as to meet with in my friend and partner 
Mr. John Walker, with whom I had previously spent 
many a happy day at his residence, Arno's Grove, 
Southgate, Middlesex, where an occurrence took place 
which was deeply impressed on my memory, and the 
relation of which, with previous explanations, may here- 
after be useful to many. 

Mr. Walker was born of very wealthy parents of the 
Society of Friends, and by them was carefully trained as 
such until he was twelve years of age. At that age a 
highly gifted artistic and scientific gentleman, not of 
the society, but upon very friendly terms with the family, 
observing the superior and teachable qualities of his 
young friend, as he called him, pressed the parents to 
permit him to take their son to Rome, to which city he 
was going, and where he intended to remain to study 
the arts and sciences, and, seeing that young John had a 
strong natural taste for both, he would, if they would 
permit him to go with him, give him every advantage 
that Rome could offer to promote his progress in all his 
studies. The parents consented, and the pupil re- 
mained many years with his mentor, during which he 
made extraordinary progress in all the arts and sciences, 
for, with great natural abilities, continued study was his 
delight, and while he was progressing it was a constant 
source of happiness to him. How long he remained in 
Rome, and afterwards traveUing to acquire additional 
knowledge with his experienced, accomphshed friend, I 
do not recollect, but it was a long period. He told nie 



ROBERT OWEN 249 

that during his staj' the impression made upon his youth- 
ful mind by the extraordinary splendour and getting up 
of high mass, to engage the feehngs of the inexperienced, 
were so overpowering to the senses, that he was on one 
of these occasions nearly tempted to become a Catholic, 
and but just escaped by the advice of his friend from openly 
declaring himself to be a convert. He said that always 
afterwards, whenever the moments of his dehrium, as he 
called it, recurred to him, it was a source of the highest 
satisfaction to him that he then escaped the delusion. 
Such however were the attainments which he acquired 
under the direction of this accomplished and experienced 
mentor, that on his return to England he was readily 
elected member of the Royal Society ; but such was his 
natural retiring timidity, that only confidential friends 
living with him under his own most hospitable roof had 
any idea of his varied great acquirements. His fortune 
was ample, — he had married a lady in all ways most 
suitable to him, — and their esteem and affection for each 
other were ever evident through every day's proceeding. 
When I first knew them, on Mr. Walker's becoming my 
partner with others in the New Lanark Establishment, 
his country house was Arno's Grove, purchased by him 
from Lord Newman, as far as I remember, and his town 
house was 49 Bedford Square, which he allowed me to 
occupy as my home when my public proceedings de- 
tained me in London, making occasional visits to Arno's 
Grove when the family were absent from London. 

He had at this time a large family of fine well-grown 
and highly educated sons and daughters ; he had 
carriages and horses in the best condition, an extensive 
and well-selected library in his town and in his country 
residence, a rare and very expensive museum of choice 
specimens of nature in every department, and at 
Arno's Grove a more extensive and select arrangement 
of exotic plants from all climates than could be found in 
any private establishment at that time in the kingdom, — 
having one hundred and fifty acres chiefly in pleasure 
rounds around his house. 

Knowing all these particulars, and that he had an 



250 THE LIFE OF 

ample fortune to establish all his children in various 
professions and in wealthy and successful mercantile 
or manufacturing establishments (being decided, as he 
informed me, that all should have some occupation), I 
had a question on my mind to ask him while on one of my 
visits to him at Arno's Grove, to ascertain whether what 
I considered to be a universal fact had any exception. 
From reflecting upon the false base on which the human- 
made character of all through past generations to the 
present had been formed, and on which society in all 
its varieties over the world had been and was to this 
day constructed, — I had been compelled to believe that 
character so formed and society so constructed could not 
produce one happy man or woman, without some draw- 
back or cause of unhappiness. But in Mr. Walker's case 
I could not discover any private cause of unhappiness, 
and I was in consequence most desirous to be informed 
as to this fact. 

Walking one day alone with him in his oak wood, at 
some distance from the house, while in an interesting 
conversation (for all his conversations were highly in- 
teresting and instructive) upon the inconsistencies of 
society and the miseries which it created, I said — 
" My impressions are, and have been for a considerable 
" time, that society falsely based as it ever has been 
" could not create one truly happy man or woman, 
" except in some cases from unconscious ignorance, when 
" all the animal wants of our nature are satisfied ; but 
" since I have become so well acquainted with you, your 
" surroundings and your history, I think I have dis- 
" covered one who is intelhgent and is yet, in all his 
" private and individual relations, not only without 
" cause of unhappiness, but in the actual possession of 
" uninterruption of rational enjoyment." 

I then asked the question whether I was correct or 
not, for information on the subject which so much 
occupied my thoughts — the renovation of society by an 
entire change of system from its base, in prmciple, spirit, 
and practice. 

He said — " I am conscious of your motives," and with 



ROBERT OWEN 251 

the most natural simplicity and feeling in his manner 
he added — " I am not happy." I had enumerated to 
him the many superior surroundings, of family, fortune, 
and position, wliich he possessed, and his numerous 
sources of intellectual enjoyment, and that I could 
discover nothing left for him to wish for, all his family 
being at this time in strong health. In continuation he 
said — " All this is true ; and with respect to these 
" surroundings I have nothing more to wish for ; but 
" yet I am not happy." 

"May I, without intruding upon private or family 
" feehngs, ask the cause?" He replied — "To one so 
" well acquainted with human nature as you are, I 
" willingly answer your question. My parents were 
" very wealthy ; they had but myself and a sister to 
" provide for ; my fortune was therefore ample beyond 
" my means of lavish expenditure in pursuit of know- 
" ledge in every direction, and subsequently for the 
" highest comfort of my family ; and the confidential 
" union between us is, as you have now so often wit- 
" nessed, complete. But now that all these things have 
" been attained in a superior and most satisfactory 
" manner, nothing being deficient that wealth can 
" give, I feel daily the necessity of some regular occu- 
" pation, to call daily for active exertion, and to 
" force me, as it were, into physical and mental 
"activity." 

I said — " 1 can readily comprehend the want you feel, 
" and am satisfied that it is a law of nature that happiness 
" is unattainable through life except our physical and 
" mental powers are daily exercised to the point of 
" temperance." 

" It is," he said, " from my own experience in this 
" matter, that I seek employment for all my sons, that 
" they may not be subjected later in life to the want of 
" daily occupation." 

Such was the man who volunteered to be my com- 
panion and interpreter in Germany. 

We at once proceeded to Frankfort, where we remained 
until the meeting of the Congress of Sovereigns at Aix- 



252 THE LIFE OF 

la-Chapelle to which I intended to present memorials 
on the present state and future prospects of society. 

I wrote at Frankfort the two memorials which I in- 
tended to present, and had them printed for private cir- 
culation previous to the meeting of Congress, and they 
were printed in English, French, and German, in the 
same pamphlet. 

The Germanic Diet was now sitting in Frankfort, and 
was attended at this time by the representatives of 
twenty-two different governments. My letters intro- 
duced me to all the prominent learned and political 
characters now in the city, and it was crowded with 
strangers expecting the arrival of the Sovereigns and 
their Ambassadorial attendants from man}^ courts. 
But I had also, from my friend the late celebrated 
Nathan Rothschild, an especial letter to the late well- 
known Frankfort banker, the friend and host of the 
Emperor Alexander of Russia, M. Bethman, to whom I 
was much indebted for many attentions while I remained 
in that city. 

The secretary to the Congress of Sovereigns had 
arrived to wait the coming of the Emperors, Kings, 
etc., etc. He was the well-known politician M. Gentz, 
learned in all the policy of the leading despots of Europe, 
and in their full confidence, and therefore he had been 
appointed by them for this office of high trust and 
position. 

M. Bethman and the members of the Germanic Diet 
were, as I afterwards discovered, desirous to hear what 
could be said by this celebrated politician, the secretary 
to the Congress of Sovereigns, in favour of the old system 
of society, in opposition to what I had to say in advocat- 
ing the new system, which it was now known was the 
object of my visit to Frankfort. 

To bring about a discussion between us, M. Bethman 
had arranged to give a sumptuous dinner or banquet to 
all the members of the Diet, and to invite the secretary 
and myself. The secretary, no doubt, was in the secret 
of this arrangement, but I had not the least suspicion 
of it. The dinner was the most superb and complete 



ROBERT OWEN 253 

in all its qualities and accompaniments of any I had 
ever partaken of. My own habits having through life 
been very temperate and simple, in conformity with the 
laws of health, I could not avoid perceiving in this mode 
of life the causes of many diseases and of premature 
death. It would be a useful lesson to know how many 
who sat with me at that table are now living. 

When dinner was over, the conversation was soon so 
directed as to engage the secretary and myself in a 
regalar discussion, to which the others were attentive 
listeners, and in which they were apparently much 
interested. 

As the discussion proceeded from one point to another, 
I stated that now, through the progress of science, the 
means amply existed in all countries, or might easily be 
made to exist on the principle of union for the foundation 
of society, instead of its present foundation of disunion, 
to saturate society at all times with wealth, sufficient to 
amply supply the wants of all through life. What was 
my surprise to hear the reply of the learned secretary ! 
" Yes," he said, and apparently speaking for the 
governments, " we know that very well ; but we do 
" not want the mass to become wealthy and inde- 
" pendent of us. How could we govern them if they 
" were ? " 

This short speech opened my eyes at once to the 
impracticability of the present system of society in 
Europe being maintained under a rational system of 
education and employment for the people. They would 
soon become too wise, too wealthy, and too powerful, 
to be so irrationally treated, trained, educated, employed, 
governed, and placed, as they are now under every form 
of government in practice. And it should be now uni- 
versally and most emphatically made known to the 
population of the v/orld, that if it were treated, trained, 
educated, employed, and placed, in accordance with the 
most plain dictates of common sense, crimes would 
terminate, the miseries of humanity would cease, 
wealth and wisdom would be universal, and man would 
everywhere become a peaceable superior animal in all 



254 THE LIFE OF 

his animal nature, and yet more superior in his 
intellectual, moral, spiritual and united practical 
nature. 

After this confession by the secretary, the discussion 
lost much of its interest in my mind ; for I had dis- 
covered that I had a long and arduous task before me, to 
convince governments and governed of the gross ignor- 
ance under which they were contending against each 
other, in direct opposition to the real interests and true 
happiness of both. I now foresaw that the prejudices 
which I had to overcome in all classes in all countries 
were of the most formidable character, and that, in 
addition to illimitable patience and perseverance, it 
would require the wisdom said to be possessed by the 
serpent, with the harmlessness of the dove, and the 
courage of the lion. 

I had passed the rubicon, and was strongly impressed 
to proceed onward in a straight course, without turning 
to the right or to the left until the great object of my life 
was attained, or to die in pursuing the attempt. Having 
written the memorials which I intended to present to 
the Congress of Sovereigns, being on friendly terms 
with many of the diplomatic persons at this eventful 
period in Frankfort, I was visited one day by the 
Russian Ambassador, a German, and a fine, open-hearted, 
frank character by nature, and thus friendly when not 
engaged in diplomatic discussions with diplomatists. I 
had the intended memorials in MSS. preparing for the 
printer, and I read them to him, that I might have the 
benefit of his opinion respecting them. When he heard 
me read — " That I was not influenced in these proceed- 
'' ings by considerations of wealth, privileges, or honours, 
" for these already appear to me as the playthings of 
" infants," — he suddenly started back, expressing great 
emotion and surprise. I said, " I see you think the 
" words you have read are too strong for sovereigns." 
" Oh no ! " he replied, " I am too delighted to hear them ; 
" for that is the only way to make any useful impression 
" on such kind of fellows." He spoke English well, but 
I do not know whether he understood our meaning when 



ROBERT OWEN 255 

he applied the term " fellows " to Emperors, Kings, 
etc., etc., etc. 

Another kind-hearted person was then connected with 
the Russian Embassy, waiting the arrival of the Emperor 
Alexander. This was Baron de Krudener, son of the 
celebrated Madame de Krudener, the spiritualist, living 
in Switzerland, whom the Emperor used to visit and 
consult through spiritual agencies respecting his mun- 
dane proceedings. 

This young man became much attached to me, and 
gave me as much useful information respecting passing 
events as he knew or could collect for me, keeping me 
well posted up as to the arrivals of the many great 
personages who were daily coming from all parts of Ger- 
many to pay their respects to the Emperor, his sovereign. 

He informed me that the Prince of Thurn und Taxis 
had arrived at my hotel, and being a relative of the 
Emperor, visits would immediately be exchanged between 
them. The Prince went to pay his respects to the Em- 
peror, and had not long returned before the Emperor 
came to return the visit. He was met on entering the 
public entrance leading to the Prince's suite of apart- 
ments, and I witnessed their meeting, which appeared to 
be most friendly and cordial. The Emperor remained 
with the Prince about twenty minutes. 

I had in the meantime provided myself with a copy of 
my memorials, intending to present them to the Emperor 
as he returned from his visit to the Prince. I offered 
them to him, but his dress fitted so tightly to his person, 
that, having no pockets, "he had no place in which he 
could put so large a packet. He was evidently annoyed 
by the circumstance, and said, as I thought angrily, 
" I cannot receive it — I have no place to put it in. 
" Who are you ? " " Robert Owen," was my reply. 
" Come to me in the evening at Mr. Bethman's," — and 
he passed on. 

I did not like his manner of speaking to me, and did 
not go ; which I afterwards regretted, for he was naturally 
amiable, and as kind-hearted as the surroundings of 
despotism would admit ; and I then might have in- 



256 THE LIFE OF 

tluenced him to some public beneficial purpose, for my 
influence among European governing parties was, as I 
learned afterwards, far greater than I was conscious 
of. But being a true lover of equal rights in the human 
race, I never could refrain from firmly repelling in manner 
what I deemed unnecessary assumption in any one. 

I had previously written a lett^er to the Emperor, 
and Count Capo D'Istria, his secretary, was directed to 
inform me that the Emperor of Russia was overwhelmed 
with engagements during his short stay in Frankfort, 
but that he would if possible give me an audience. 
I had several interesting interviews with Count Capo 
D'Istria, and I found him highly talented, and strongly 
inclined to investigate the most advanced liberal prin- 
ciples, expressing a strong desire that the time had 
arrived when the views which I entertained, and which I 
fully explained to him, could be generally adopted in 
practice. 

I may here remark, that in all my intercourse with the 
Ministers of despotic powers, I uniformly found them in 
principle favourably disposed to the introduction in 
practice of the new system of society, and that they 
gave me all the facilities and aid which their position 
would admit. 

My visit to Frankfort was an important event. It 
enlarged my views of the errors of the existing system of 
society, and of the thraldom to each other to which 
governments and governed were subjected, and how little 
both knew of the means by which their liberty of mind 
and action were to be obtained. My sympathy for 
both governments and people, under every form of 
government, was in consequence greatly increased, and 
my determination to unfetter both, and by simple truth 
to set the nations free, not by force, but by reason, was 
yet more strongly increased. 

But every step in advance required a deep insight into 
the effects produced on the minds of all classes in different 
countries by their respective surroundings. 

I discovered that I had to oppose the educated pre- 
judices and apparent interests of all parties, with the 



ROBERT OWEN 



257 



habits created by the irrational .surroundings emanating 
in all countries from the erior on which society from its 
commencement had been founded and to this day con- 
structed. My mission, then, was to bring forward the 
most important truths for man to know, and to bring 
them forward in such manner as to create the least angry 
excitement practicable, and to make a lasting impression 
on the public mind, so as gradually to undermine all 
that a system grossly false in principle, repulsive in 
spirit, and evil in practice had for so long a period estab- 
lished in all nations and among all people. My letters 
written from this city to my wife at this period will 
explain the feelings with which I pursued the object 
which so deeply engaged my thoughts. 

As soon as the Sovereigns met I hastened to Aix-la- 

Chapelle, and there completed the two memorials to the 

i governments of Europe and America. I then applied 

' to Lord Castlereagh, the representative, with the Duke 

of Wellington, of the British Government at this Congress. 

Lord Castlereagh in the most friendly manner promised 

! to present these documents to Congress under the most 

i favourable circumstances. He did so ; and it was stated 

' to me in confidence on my return to Paris, by one of the 

i Ministers of the Government, that those two memorials 

j were considered the most important documents which 

had been presented to the Congress during its sittings. 

As soon as I received the assurance from Lord Castle- 
reagh that he would take charge of the memorials and 
present them at the most favourable period to gain the 
attention of the Great Powers then assembled, I left 
Aix-la-Chapelle, to return to M. Pictet in Switzerland. 
I I should have previously stated that my kind friend, 
[Mr. Walker, left me at Frankfort, circumstances having 
occurred to make it necessary for him to return to his 
family. 

On returning to Geneva, I learned there was to be a 
neeting of the Swiss National Society of Natural History 
:o be held in Lausanne at that period, and that Professor 
Pictet, my friend, and so long my companion, was the 
^resident. He said all the most eminent men from the 

17 



258 THE LIFE OF 

different Cantons would be present, besides many dis- 
tinguished strangers ; and he proposed that I should 
accompany him, to which proposal, as one of my objects 
of travel was to meet and confidentially converse with 
men of mind of every cast of character, I readily con- 
sented. 

The members, from eighty to ninety in number, as- 
sembled on the Sunday, and the meeting commenced on 
the Monday morning, and terminated on Saturday 
evening. We all breakfasted, dined, and supped to- 
gether, and the meeting at meals and for business ap- 
peared like the meeting of a friendly family party, 
although composed of members of opposing creeds and 
politics. 

I was truly gratified with the spirit which prevailed 
among these parties from their meetingto their separation. 
I did not during the entire week hear an angr^' word or 
witness an unkind feeling among these learned men, 
met to promote useful knowledge in the spirit of charity 
and kindness. Among such a number of savants, each 
occupied for so long a period in giving and receiving 
valuable scientific discoveries, I never before or since 
witnessed so much unbroken harmony, or so little! 
ignorant selfishness. g 

Early in the week I was requested to ex])lain my 
views to the meeting. They appeared to create a lively ii 
sensation and much interest among the members, and c 
were the subject of much conversation while we remained o 
at Lausanne. I was unanimously elected an honorary it 
member of the society, and no doubt through the kind- ai 
ness of Professor Pictet, who was almost reverenced by w 
the members, as the promoter of science, and a father in m 
kindness and benevolence to them all. I w 

I was made one of the lions of the meeting. The cele-| w 
brated friend and tutor of the Emperor Alexander was 
the number, and received much notice. His name h 
escaped my memory. 

Many matters now requiring my attention in Englam 
and Scotland, I was obUged to hasten my departurw m 
homeward, and after remaining a few days longer ii ei 



ROBERT OWEN 259 

Geneva wath the Professor and his most interesting 
daughter, and visiting his circle of select friends, I most 
reluctantly took leave of the man who had rendered me 
so many important services, and who had shown me 
attentions and kindness which could not be surpassed. 

On my arrival in Paris I met with renewed attention 
from the friends and parties whom I had left there, and 
by one of the Ministers I was told that my two memorials 
had been presented to Congress, and that copies were 
immediately forwarded to the French Government, and 
that they were acknowledged by the members of the 
Congress to be the most important documents that had 
been received during its sittings. The subjects of these 
memorials were new to the members, and opened to them 
a wide field for investigtation and reflection. They were 
also prophecies which are now fulfilling in part, and will 
ultimately become fulfilled to their full extent. 

I found several years afterwards that these two 
memorials had made an extraordinary impression on the 
Sovereigns who were present, and upon the represen- 
tatives of those governments whose Sovereigns and heads 
were not present. As society progresses the subjects 
of these memorials will have to be considered by all 
governments and people. 

By this visit to the continent of Europe tlie general 
interest which had been excited by the extensive publi- 
cation of my proceedings in the previous year in the City 
of London Tavern was greatly increased, and to this day 
it remains, more or less, to influence both governments 
and people. Important general truths, openly declared, 
without mystery, mixture of error, or fear of man, and 
not promulgated for private, but for the public good, 
will always produce their natural effects, especially 
when given in the true spirit of charity and love for 
all. 

On my arrival in England I found myself at once in 
the midst of most exciting proceedings. 

The measures which I had adopted had aroused fears 
in various quarters for the continued maintenance of old- 
established prejudices and long-protected vested in- 



26o THE LIFE OF 

terests, known to rest on no solid base, and to be opposed 
to the general interests of society. 

New Lanark had become generally known, was popular, 
and its popularity was daily increasing. The New 
Rational Infant School which I had invented, and its 
unheard-of results, were blazed abroad, and excited great 
interest ; as also were the measures which I had adopted 
to obtain relief for children and others so unwisely em- 
ployed and oppressed by overwork in our manufactories, 
by a Bill in Parliament to stay these evils. 

Now all these measures, coming from one who had in 
the most public manner, in midday, denounced all the 
religions of the v/orld as now taught, as being the great 
obstacle to all permanent substantial improvement, the 
origin of all crime, and the cause to many of the most 
grievous evils in human existence, was far too much to 
be permitted without the whole power of the religious 
world being aroused to stay my course, and if possible 
to destroy the individual who had the temerity thus 
single-handed openly to oppose the greatest power of 
human creation, supported by the prejudices implanted 
in society during many centuries. 

The cause of the individual thus placed seemed to all 
utterly hopeless. But from his first daring onset he had, 
contrary to his own anticipations, not only escaped 
without personal danger, but for the daring act itself 
had received, from one of the most numerous and exciting 
public meetings ever held under cover in the metropoUs 
of the British Empire, the most heart -felt, overwhelming 
applause perhaps ever witnessed. 

But how was this ? — for the applause was almost unan- 
imous from all parties, friends and foes. It was not 
that these parties approved of a deed so daring against 
all the religions of the world, and of course against all 
the constituted authorities of the earth ; butiall present 
were conscious that on entering that meeting I was be- 
yond comparison the most generally popular character 
living, and all were at once (as many of my former 
opponents in principle afterwards acknowledged to me) 
struck, as it were by an electric shock, with the magni- 



ROBERT OWEN 261 

tude oi the self-sacrifice which I had thus made to truth, 
intended for the benefit of the human race. 1 

To that hour my society was courted by the most 
distinguished for talent, goodness, and station, and my 
influence with those in power was deemed to be greater 
than that of any private individual, being at this period 
well known personally to the leading members of both 
Houses of Parliament, and favoured by most of them. 
The audience upon that occasion were conscious that in a 
few minutes I had destroyed this unequalled popularity, 
the growth of many years. 

To that hour all the London morning and evening 
daily newspapers were unitedly warm in my praises, 
and in advocating my views for the relief of the poor, and 
for ameliorating the condition of the children and others 
employed in our manufactories. The impression of this 
great self-sacrifice was such on the meeting, that I had 
even after this daring denouncement for a considerable 
time a large majority in favour of the resolution which 
I proposed, to appoint a committee of the leading men 
of both parties to fully investigate the new views which 
I advocated. But the leaders of the out-of-doors violent 
party had come there determined to prevent its being 
carried ; and finding the majority strong against them, 
they agreed among themselves to speak against time. 
The House had been crammed full from eleven o'clock in 
the morning, many having come to secure seats even 
earlier, and this most excited meeting had continued until 
four o'clock, and the motion was going to be put, when 
these out-and-out opponents raised such a clamour against 
putting the resolution to the meeting, that for the sake 
of quietness and order they were allowed to go on speak- 
ing until about seven o'clock. Many of the most 
respectable part of the meeting left, for they were dis- 
gusted with this unreasonable proceeding ; for these 
violent men had sent out scouts to bring in their men 
to occupy the seats of those who had been fairly tired 
out with speeches having no real reference to the subject 
before them. 

But my mission for the hour and the day had been 



262 THE LIFE OF 

accomplished. I was satisfied, and was indifferent, or 
rather wished that the resolution should be lost, which 
it was not even yet by numbers ; but, yielding to the 
clamour, I advised my friends to permit the negative 
to be declared, rather than longer detain the meeting. 

The Rubicon was now passed, and I had my future 
measures to consider and adopt. 

The next day, as I had previously arranged, all the 
daily morning and evening papers had my address to the 
meeting published accurately, word for word. But the 
Times newspaper on this day for the first time had an 
article in addition opposed to my views, written I had 
reason to believe by a clergyman of the Church of 
England. 

By such a publication in all the newspapers my main 
point was gained, and I purchased that day more than 
thirty thousand additional newspapers, and sent them 
to the leading characters over the kingdom. Thus mak- 
ing such an open attack on the combined superstitions 
of the world as was never before made or as never could 
have been made by any one except under the peculiar 
and extraordinary circumstances in which I was placed 
when I went to that meeting. 

I was fully aware of the powers of darkness against 
which I had to contend, clothed in the religious garb of 
all the superstitions in the world. I was quite con- 
scious of the innumerable ramifications of vested interests 
and of the customs and habits of the various countries 
in favour of things as they were, and of the strong dislike 
to change. In addition to all these, I had made an im- 
pression on the minds of many of my friends, that I had 
destroyed my influence with the public for ever. In 
their opinion I had entered the meeting clothed in the 
garb of the highest and most valuable popularity, and 
I had left it disrobed of the entire garment, and hence- 
forward to be an isolated, unnoticed individual, without 
a thread of popularity for my use through life. ,. 

These sayings, however, influenced me not. I had 

previously made up my mind, not only to the loss of 

•Y popularity, but to the loss of liberty, fortune, and life ; 



ROBERT OWEN 263 

and I therefore considered I was the gainer of a great 
victory over prejudice, superstition, and the powers of 
the old system of falsehood, ignorance, poverty, disunion, 
and crime ; and I felt not onlj' strong in the power of 
truth, but conscious that by patience, perseverance, and 
consistency in the course which I had adopted, ultimate 
success was certain. 

It is an extraordinary fact, that under the innumerable 
contests in which I was destined to encounter the preju- 
dices or superstition of all parties for so many years, I 
never once felt the slightest misgiving or doubt that I 
should in the course of time overcome every obstacle, 
and that sooner or later the population as one man would 
admit the great and all-important truth for the permanent 
progress and happiness of all of human kind, " that the 
" character of man is before and from birth formed for 
" him," and that, with this knowledge, comprehended in 
all its bearings, a good, useful, and most valuable char- 
acter might with ease and pleasure be formed by society 
for every one from birth, and to some important extent 
even before birth, so as to improve the germ or natural 
organization before birth in an increasing ratio through 
every succeeding generation. 

With this impression deeply seated in the inmost 
recesses of my mind, no obstacle, no temporary defect, 
no abuse from the press or religions, created the slightest 
discouragement to my onward progress. Knowing how 
the characters of all were formed /or them, their abuse 
and violence only created a sympathy for them in pro- 
portion to their ignorance, and to the misery which that 
ignorance necessarily inflicted upon them. 

But on my return to England I soon found I must pre- 
pare for the full extent of opposition which my so public 
uncompromising denunciations against all the religions 
of the world naturally excited. And this opposition . 
continued without ceasing for upwards of thirty years,"t- 
following my footsteps wherever I went, using all the 
unfair means of established power and prejudices to 
frustrate every attempt I made to practically benefit 
poor suffering ill-used humanity. 



264 1'HE LIFE OF 

My antecedents, however, were a tower of strength to 
me, and enabled me whenever I was openly attacked to 
come off victor. But nothing short of these could for so 
long a period have sustained anyone against the extended 
unfair means adopted by the, no doubt in many cases, 
sincerely pious, and bigoted, of all the religious sects, 
trained to believe that by so doing, they, poor creatures, 
were doing their supposed God a great service ! 

But my antecedents were unassailable. I had steadily 
for more than a quarter of a century governed one 
population in England of five hundred and another in 
Scotland of two thousand five hundred, and had pro- 
duced, by a new mode of governing by love and wisdom, 
results never before witnessed, and a degree of happiness 
for twenty years, among the latter, never previously 
known to be experienced by any workpeople in any part 
of the world. 

I had been Lancaster's first and most confided-in patron 
as long as he remained in England. I had given him a 
thousand pounds to aid him in the founding of his germ 
of education for the poor in England, Ireland, and 
Scotland. 

I had offered a similar sum to Dr. Bell's committee 
for aiding him, if they would open their schools for 
children of all denominations, as Lancaster and his 
committee had done, but only half that amount if they 
continued to exclude all except those of the Church of 
England. As I have before stated, this offer was de- 
bated two days in full committee, and ultimately it was 
decided by a small majority to continue to exclude all 
dissenters from the Church and to accept only the five 
hundred pounds. But in twelve months afterwards I 
had the satisfaction to learn that the practice which I 
had advocated was adopted. 

I had caused a Bill to be brouglit into Parliament to 
give the best relief that such a despotic and evil devised 
system as our manufacturing system is would admit, and 
I exhibited in the manufactory at New Lanark the prac- 
tice recommended in the Bill as I first had it introduced 
by Sir Robert Peel into the House of Commons, where it 



ROBERT OWEN 265 

was allowed by him to be so altered as to be of little or 
no real utility. 

And I had now sacrificed every worldly consideration 
to perform a deeply impressed conscientious conviction 
of a duty, deemed far more important to perform than 
the preservation of life itself. 

These antecedents now constituted a shield which so 
protected me that no party in Church or State ever 
ventured to make an open attack upon me, or to 
impugn my motives. 

But the word " infidel " was the watchword of attack 
with all my opponents, and by attributing all that the 
imagination could be made to receive to be the worst of 
wickedness or the essence of evil, the objects of the de- 
luded pious and of the bigot were to a certain extent suc- 
cessful for many years against the progress of the system 
which I advocated, and which I have never ceased to 
advocate even to this day, knowing that the principles, 
spirit, and practice were too true and good to be ulti- 
mately overcome by all the powers of darkness and of 
mystification. My confidence that truth and goodness 
would, by patience and perseverance, overcome falsehood 
and evil, was never for a moment shaken ; and let me 
ask where now is the power that will fairly and openly 
attempt to defend the principle, spirit, and universal 
practice of the old system, by which the population of 
the world ever has been, and is at this day, so grossly 
misgoverned, or will attempt to disprove the divine 
truth, spirit, and practice of the system for the speedy 
change of the present wretched mode of forming the 
character and governing the population of the world, 
and to obtain the permanent happiness of our race ? 

I challenged to friendly debate the advanced minds of 
the world, to meet me at the Congress which I called to 
commence the 14th May 1857, to disprove what I have 
said of the old system, or to deny the plain and obvious 
facts from the knowledge of whicli the glorious new- 
existence of man willj^arise and be established for 
ever. 

Opposed by the underlings of the Church, by the 



266 THE LIFE OF 

conscientious pious, and by the bigoted and ignorant of 
all parties, especially by the cruel Malthusian political 
economists, yet have I been continually sustained by the 
best and the most advanced and independent among all 
classes. 

The most valuable of these, while he lived, was his 
Royal Highness the late Duke of Kent, whose real 
character for the last four years of his life is yet but little 
known to the public. His letters addressed to me, about 
thirty of them, will show the power and goodness of 
that mind which, had he lived to reign, would have given 
all his influence to have peaceably established truth in 
principle, spirit, and practice throughout the British 
Empire, and by the success of such a change in governing, 
would have induced all other governments to imitate 
his. 

In 1815 I first submitted to his Royal Highness the 
New View of Society, by which a new and very 
superior character could be permanently given to the 
human race. He immediately studied the subject, with 
a mind truly desirous of discovering the truth for useful 
practical application. He daily witnessed and strongly 
felt the hollowness, worthlessness, and hourly annoyances 
of what the world called greatness, and he ardently 
longed that simple nature in all its truthfulness should 
attain and assert her rightful dominion over the ignorant, 
undeveloped assumptions of man, flattered to his injury 
and to the destruction of common sense in all his asso- 
ciations of ideas and conduct, and made continually, 
by being trained in a false and wicked system, to call 
good evil and evil good, and thus to prevent the possibility 
of that union of the human race, through which alone 
happiness can ever be attained. 

During the period from 1815, and to the time of the 
ever-to-be-lamented death of his late Royal Highness, 
I often resided at 49 Bedford Square, the town residence 
of my friend and partner John Walker of Arno's Grove. 

Their Royal Highnesses the Dukes of Kent and 
Sussex, who at this period were much united in affection 
and pursuits, occasionally looked in upon me to study 



ROBERT OWEN 267 

the model which I had there, of the first new surroundings 
in which I proposed to place the poor and working 
classes, to train them out of their inferior habits and to 
give good and superior ones to their children ; and also 
to see and draw their own conclusions from inspecting the 
cubic proportions of the different classes of society, which 
I had directed to be made to exhibit to the eye the 
contrast between the amount in numbers of the govern- 
ing and the governed classes. 

On some of these visits the royal dukes would bring 
with them some members of the higher nobility. On one 
occasion the Duke of Kent observed one of them to point 
significantly to the great difference between the very 
small cube which represented the governing powers (the 
Royal Family and House of Peers) and the various classes 
governed by them, and looking at the Duke, as much as 
to say, — " Is not this rather a dangerous and levelling 
" exhibition ? " The Duke caught the expression, and 
said — " I see you imagine I have not studied this subject, 
" and that I do not foresee its ultimate results. I know 
" these will be a much more just equality of our race, 
" and an equality that will give much more security 
" and happiness to all, than the present system can give 
" to any ; and it is for this reason that I so much approve 
" of it and give it my support." 

And his Royal Highness was consistent in this conduct 
to the day of his departure into the sphere of spirits. 

Many of the so-called strong (sceptical) minds of the 
world will object to this last phrase " sphere of spirits." 
But I am compelled by the evidence of my senses to 
know that spirits occupy space, called by them spheres, 
and that they communicate with their friends here on 
earth, in their natural character, except that they are 
not visible as when living. I have had the unspeakable 
gratification and happiness of being visited by the spirit 
of his Royal Highness, who communicated with me in 
precisely his manner and phraseology as wlien conversing 
with me formerly, and spoke of his former domestic 
relations and interests, and gave me more valuable and 
important information respecting the spheres and past 



1 



268 THE LIFE OF 

events and personages than I could have conceived to be 
possible. 

This may be^^new to many who cannot believe in any- 
thing new which they cannot comprehend. 

A committee was formed to promote my " new views," 
and the Duke was its chairman. PubUc meetings of 
much interest were held with the same objects. His 
Royal Highness presided at these public meetings, and a 
better chairman for such meetings has seldom been seen ; 
for as a chairman over an audience of strong conflicting 
opinions, he was, in his manner and mode of conducting 
it, so faultless as to satisfy all parties with his fairness 
and just impartiahty. His sudden and premature de- 
parture hence made a great difference in the manner in 
which I had afterwards to carry on my contest with the 
old system. But no doubt, like all other proceedings 
throughout the universe, it was necessary, and for the 
best, to assist to bring about future events in the due 
order of nature. 

His Royal Highness died but a short period after he 
had arranged personally with me to come in the spring 
with the Duchess and the infant princess (our present so 
justly loved and popular Queen) to spend three months 
quietly with me at Braxfield, my then residence, beauti- 
fully situated on the banks of the Clyde, surrounded on 
all sides by romantic scenery, and at a convenient dis- 
tance from New Lanark, then unique in its arrangements 
and in its results, to produce as much goodness and happi- 
ness in a working population as the existing system of 
ignorance, falsehood, and evil would admit. 

During this intended visit we had proposed to consider 
in what manner the change of system could be gradually 
and peaceably made, so that, if possible, none should be 
injured, but all should be benefited by the change. The 
Duke's mind was one of high integrity, and of great firm- 
ness when he felt strongly that he was in the true path 
of right principle and beneficial practice, and his judgment 
and foresight greatly exceeded the aristocratic mind of 
Europe at that period. His letters evince the goodness 
of his disposition and his anxious desire to improve the 



ROBERT OWEN 269 

condition of the suffering classes, and he well knew that 
! all classes were suffering in different ways, and every 
suggestion which he made proved his practical knowledge 
of the present state of societ3% and of the difficulties to 
be overcome before the public mind could be fully 
prepared for such an entire change as he foresaw must 
be effected in principle, spirit, and practice before any 
real, substantial, permanent good could be effected for 
society. 

It was a great privilege to converse confidentially on 
these subjects with his Royal Highness, whose charity 
for the trained and educated weakness of all classes was 
a prominent feature in his character, which contained 
all the essential qualities for a great and successful re- 
former, without violence. 

After he had studied the New View of Society, and 
other works which I had written explanatory of the 
principles and spirit of the system for new-forming the 
human character from birth and in part even before 
birth, and for new-governing the human race, and when 
he had conversed much with me on these subjects, which, 
when he fully comprehended them, appeared to take full 
possession of his mind, he was desirous to leam from the 
best sources how these " new views " worked in practice. 
He had heard much in their favour from a variety of 
visitors to New Lanark, but he wanted fuller detailed 
accounts from parties on whose experience and unbiased 
judgnjent he could rely. He therefore first sent Dr. 
Henry Gray Macnab, his friend and honorary physician, 
requesting him to visit the estabhshment, and to remain 
sufficiently long to make himself fully master of all he 
saw, and to report to him accordingly. 
The Doctor came, and made his report. 
The Duke's friend General Desaix was in Scotland. 
His Royal Highness had a high opinion of the General's 
experience and knowledge of the world, and of his in- 
tegrity and judgment, and the Duke wished to have 
such a General's opinion, to compare it with that of his 
honorary physician. The General soon succeeded the 
phybician in'^ his visit ; made his examination during 



270 THE LIFE OF 

many days ; and made his report also in person to the 
Duke. After the Duke's last letter, wishing to see me in 
London, I visited him at Kensington, when he informed 
me that Dr. Macnab was so pleased and satisfied with 
all the results in practice, that he was become quite an 
enthusiast in the cause, and would do all in his power to 
promote it, and that he intended to print and publish 
an account of what he had seen — which he did. And 
that General Desaix was equally dehghted with the to him 
wonderful arrangement of a system formed of so many 
parts, and yet dovetailed into one whole, working day 
by day in perfect harmony, and the minds and conduct 
of the children in the three schools and the workpeople 
in every department appearing to form an essential part 
of that harmony. And both agreed that they never 
witnessed so much oneness of feeling and so much satis- 
fied happiness in any population, or indeed, they added, 
anjrthing approaching to it in these respects. 

"I am therefore," the Duke continued, "now, for 
" myself, fully satisfied with the principles, spirit, and 
" practice of the system which you advocate for new- 
" forming the human character, so far as human means 
" are concerned, and for new-governing the human race, 
" and I acknowledge myself to be a full and devoted 
" convert to your philosophy, in principle, spirit, and 
" practice. But," his Royal Highness continued, " we 
"must act with prudence and foresight. The Enghsh 
' are emphatically a j)ractical people, and practice has 
" great influence over them. I will with my family 
" visit you, as I have long wished to do, and will remain 
" a sufficient time to convince all parties that I had leisure 
" and every opportunity to examine and observe the 
" working in detail of every part of the system, and that 
" what I state to the public meetings which we will hold 
" on my return, and to Parliament in my place in tho 
" House of Peers, is from my own closely inspected 
" and fully examined knowledge ; and this will do more 
" to prevent small cavil and mere talking opposition 
" than any other mode that could be now adopted." 
I cordially agreed with his Royal Highness, and it was 



ROBERT OWEN 271 

so decided. We parted — and little did I suppose it was 
the last time I should see him in his earthly life. 

He presided as chairman of my committee for the 
last time on the first of December 1819. In the 
address of the committee to the public on that day 
the true character of the Duke is given by those 
who had so often witnessed his devotion to the cause 
which he foresaw was destined ultimately to change 
the condition of the human race, from all that was in- 
consistent and irrational, in forming their character by 
society, in producing and distributing wealth, in attempts 
to create union, goodness, knowledge, wisdom, love, 
charity, and happiness, — to all that will be consistent 
and rational in all these particulars. 

And here I must do justice to the firm integrity and 
strong sense of justice of his Royal Highness, and give 
some account of a branch of the Royal Family which, 
from a variety of causes, some of them mysterious, have 
suffered since the death of his Royal Highness poverty 
and destitution, which have called into action the 
characteristic quality for firmness or sometimes obstinacy 
of the Royal Family, and which obstinacy lost to this 
country the colonies of the now United States, destined 
to change the condition of nations, confused as it is at 
this day between slavery and a new state of existence, 
the latter being certain to prevail. 

The branch of the Royal Family alluded to has been 
known as Mrs. Serries, afterwards as the Princess Olive 
of Cumberland, and now as Mrs. Lavinia Serries, the 
only child of the latter. 

From the documents existing and carefully preserved, 
there can be no doubt of the legal claim of this family to 
their being the direct descendants of the Duke of Cumber- 
land, brother to his Majesty George III., and entitled 
to his rank and property. His Royal Highness the 
Duke of Kent introduced Mrs. Serries to me as his cousin, 
and as legally entitled to the rank of Princess Olive of 
Cumberland. He was deeply interested in her cause, and 
in that of her only daughter and child Lavinia. 

The Duke in his younger and inexperienced days, had. 



272 THE LIFE OF 

like all young princes of his time, outrun his income, and 
now suffered the inconveniences arising from a heavy 
debt. The New View of Society had opened his 
mind, naturally a very honest and sincere one, to a new 
world of superior existence for man upon the earth, and 
he became most desirous to adopt a new mode of life for 
himself, that he might the most effectually aid to pro- 
mote the change from all which now appeared to him to 
be error, to that which his new convictions compelled 
him to believe was true and right. The reading and 
studying of my first four Essays on the New View of 
Society and the Formation of Character, produced a 
similar effect upon Lord Liverpool, the then Prime 
Minister, upon several members of his Cabinet, and many 
other men of note and consideration. 

In consequence of this new mind being thus formed 
for his Royal Highness, he was determined to do as 
much justice to his creditors as his position would admit, 
and he limited himself to a comparatively small income, 
giving up a large proportion of it to gi-adually extinguish 
the debt which he had previously incurred, and it was 
ultimately discharged with interest, except several sums 
which at his request I advanced to relieve the wants 
of his cousin, and which, if I had taken from him a legal 
document for the amount, would also have been paid. 
But when in the month of November previous to his 
demise he offered and even pressed me to receive his 
note of hand for six months, when he proposed to pay 
me, I resolutely declined doing so, having the fullest 
confidence in his word, and never supposing, with his 
strong health and constitution, that there could be any 
risk of the continance of his life. 

I see he requests me in one of his letters at that date, to 
advance on his account to Mrs. Serries three hundred 
pounds, and a letter to me from Mrs. Serries contains an 
acknowledgment of five hundred pounds received from 
me by her on account of his Royal Highness and at his 
request. Also another sum of one hundred pounds ; 
and in other letters sums not especially stated. 

At this period I was making money rapidly, and set 



ROBERT OWEN 273 

little value upon it, except for its use to forward the great 
cause which so much occupied my attention, and it was 
not my intention at that time, knowing the Duke's 
limited means of expenditure, to ask for its return, until 
I should myself feel the want of it. He made me, as 
may be seen by his letters, acquainted with his financial 
affairs and domestic interests. 

These things are now past ; and looking back through 
the vista of so many years, I have asked myself why was 
the life of his Royal Highness cut thus short, and the y. 
world deprived of the first sovereign who was a convert 
to truth and to the just rights of humanity, and who 
possessed firmness which when in power would have 
stimulated him to attempt to bring over the aristocracy 
to his views of gradually reforming society for the per- 
manent benefit of all ? 

The reply is, as it now appears to me, that that 
aristocracy of powerful and wealthy families would not 
then have been prepared by a sufficient progress in general 
society to second his desires ; that he would have been 
opposed by the then all-powerful Church and State in- 
terests ; that contests and confusion would have arisen, 
and matters would not have been to-day so far advanced 
by the sovereign's premature attempt at reformation, 
as the civilized world, and especially the British Empire, 
now are, under the comparatively peaceable reign of her 
Majesty, and the gradual increase of scientific knowledge 
and real liberty, which have progressed in so remarkable 
a manner since she ascended the throne. 

And, little as the ignorant learned, and therefore 
presumptuous in opposing all new knowledge beyond 
their previously taught acquirements, may be prepared 
to believe in spiritual existences, I have the best evidence 
of my senses to know, that spirits do exist, and that they 
communicate now, in the best manner that their new 
state will admit, with the friends whom they have left 
living in their earthly form upon the earth. And from 
the highly gratifying communications which I have 
had from time to time with the spirit of his Royal 
Highness, I have reason to believe that from his de- 
18 



274 THE LIFE OF 

parture hence he has had a fatherly, watchful care over 
his daughter and her family, and over the interests of 
the British people. Also that he has had a strong, 
affectionate, brotherly interest in all the affairs and pro- 
ceedings of the King of the Belgians. 

The statement now made will surprise many whose 
minds have not yet been prepared for this advanced 
period of new knowledge so little anticipated by the 
learned universities, scientific men, and the philosophers 
and statesmen of the world. 

The learned conservatives, in Church, State, and 
literature, who so strenuously hold fast to old things 
which are to pass away, cannot admit into their minds 
new truths, based on new facts, previously vm known 
and unsuspected by them. 

To communicate in a material manner with our j)ast 
and now (except on particular occasions and by par- 
ticular persons) invisible relatives and friends, is an 
idea as monstrous to receive by the so-called enlightened 
of this day, as the monstrous statement of Galileo in his 
day, to the learned of that period, that the earth was not 
flat, but was a sphere in diurnal and annual motions of 
immense velocities. 

But yet more (to prove the irrational state to which 
a fundamental error has forced even men of advanced 
knowledge under this old system), M'hen facts too strong 
for the mind to resist are seen and felt to force con- 
viction, there is not sufficient moral courage openly to 
declare the truths which they are thus compelled to know. 

Such has never been the constitution of my mind. It 
could never take without examination anything asserted 
for truth ; and when convinced by the evidence of my 
senses, through the practical investigation of facts, of 
an important truth, the knowledge of which would 
benefit the population of the world. I have never 
hesitated on account of ])ublic opinion to make it widely 
known, and I yet continue the practice. 

I therefore now declare that no one, with sound 
judgment and a sincere desire to discover truth, can 
fairly and fully investigate the subject of these new 



ROBERT OWEN 275 

material manifestations, proceeding from some new 
cause, hitherto unknown to and unsuspected by the 
public, without being convinced that these mani- 
festations do actually come from the spirits of our de- 
parted friends, relatives, and others, and not from any 
other source, and that the communications thus made are 
in many cases highly important to the best permanent 
interests of society, and most gratifying and delightful 
to those who receive these manifestations from their loved 
friends and relatives. 

Of this character have been my communications with 
the spirits of many past worthies, who evidently possess 
a strong desire to improve the condition of the popu- 
lation of the world. 

Among these, in an especial manner, I have to name 
the apparent very anxious feelings of the spirit of his 
Royal Highness the late Duke of Kent (who early in- 
formed me there were no titles in the spiritual spheres 
into which he had entered), to benefit, not a class, a sect, 
a party, or any particular country, but the whole of the 
human race through futurity. And in this feeling he 
seemed to be strongly united with the spirit of my friend 
and warm disciple President Jefferson, and his particular 
friend the celebrated Benjamin Franklin. These three 
spirits have frequently come together to communicate 
to me the most interesting and valuable knowledge, 
with occasional notices of persons who when living were 
dear to these superior spirits. But never upon any 
occasion was there a trivial idea expressed by either of 
them. 

At one important seance these three spirits came in 
company with the spirits of Channing, Chalmers, Shelley, 
Byron, and several of the old prophets ; and on this 
occasion the spirits of eight of my deceased relatives were 
also present. Each one communicated with me through 
distinct different raps, in their strongly marked characters ;' 
as when in life upon the earth. 

The object of these extraordinary communications 
from the invisible spheres of spirits is uniformly stated by 
each of these advanced spirits, when asked separately 



276 THE LIFE OF 

and at different times, to be to reform the world and to 
unite the population as one family or one man. 

The spirit of the Duke of Kent has uniformly ex- 
pressed for me the same kindness, confidence, and 
affection so evident in his manner while alive upon the 
earth. 

I doubt not the truth of the frequent statements of 
these superior spirits, that these manifestations shall be 
increased more and more, until all sceptics shall be 
convinced of their reaUty, and the world shall be reformed 
and regenerated in character, conduct, and spirit. 

But I must now return to my material history. 

I had published a letter addressed to his Grace the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, on the union of churches 
and schools, which letter was printed and widely cir- 
culated, and it produced a powerful effect on the public 
mind, and prepared many members of both Houses of 
ParUament to begin to think it a duty not longer to be 
resisted to take some thought and to adopt some means 
to introduce national education into their legislative 
proceedings. 

This letter will be now useful to be republished, in 
the present confused, disordered, and irrational contests 
engaging public notice upon this all-important subject. 
And it is inserted in the Appendix. 

The public meetings which created so much excitement 
in 1817, — my memorials to the Sovereigns assembled in 
Congress at Aix-la-Chapelle, my public letter to the 
manufacturers, and this to the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, with the Bill for the relief of children, which was 
yet only in progress in the House of Commons, had 
aroused in many a great desire that an experiment should 
be made of one community, or that Parliament should 
at least fully investigate the principles and plans which I 
advocated and proposed. But the Church, then all- 
powerful, and a large majority of the old aristocracy, 
had now combined to prevent, to the extent of their 
means, direct and indirect, any pubhc or parliamentary 
investigation ; and as far as possible the Church took 
measures to prevent the circulation of my writings. 



ROBERT OWEN 277 

My first four Essays on a New View of Society and the 
Formation of Character had gone through five superior 
large editions, and all the leading and most respectable 
publishers were desirous of having their names to the 
work, and there those names are on the few copies re- 
maining in the hands of friends and in public and 
private libraries. 

But now the booksellers throughout the two Islands 
were warned by the supposed friends of the Church, that 
if they sold Mr. Owen's works, they should not sell any 
of theirs ; and from that time my works were not to 
be had at any so-called respectable booksellers in Great 
Britain or Ireland. And from this cause those esteemed 
the most respectable publishers were deterred from 
publishing any of my works, even those to which they 
had been previously so ambitious to put their names — 
works which had passed the ordeal of our Government, 
and had been submitted by it to the most learned 
universities and the most prominently learned men in 
the civilized world, who found no error in them ; works 
which, with my other proceedings, converted Lord 
Liverpool (the then Prime Minister), and Lady Liverpool, 
who in consequence requested to be admitted to our 
interviews, and who took an interested part in our 
conversation ; for she had a superior mind, with a kind 
and most amiable disposition. 

At one of these interviews in Fife House she said, — 
" Mr. Owen, we have had a young man lately come into 
" our office, who appears of much promise. His name 
" is Peel, and he is the eldest son of Sir Robert Peel." 
This was in 1815, when Mr. Peel had been lately made 
private secretary to Lord Liverpool — the same who in 
my next interview with Lord Liverpool, when I entered 
the private secretary's apartment to wait the announce- 
ment of my arrival to his Lordship, immediately stood 
up, and remained standing until I-ord Liveri)ool himself 
came to request me to come into his own apartment. 
The same who became the well-known Sir Robert Peel, 
Prime Minister of the British Government. 

But yet more, — the works which all the so-called most 



278 THE LIFE OF 

respectable publishers and booksellers were, on account 
of their substantial worldly interests, obliged to decline 
to publish or sell, Lord Sidmouth, while Secretary of 
State for the Home Department, requested copies of, for 
each of the English bishops ; which I gave him, and which 
he distributed to the bishops, the same works of which 
the Archbishop of Armagh, when Mr. Edgeworth, the 
author, and father of the celebrated Miss Edgeworth, 
was present, knowing what Lord Sidmouth had done, 
requested from me copies for all the Irish bishops, which 
I gave him, and which induced the Irish bishops, when I 
visited Ireland, almost as one man to give me the most 
kind and hospitable reception. 

These works had also been translated into foreign 
languages, and very many editions were published in 
the United States, where also they had prepared for me a 
warm national reception. For, as I have before stated, 
in 1816, when John Quincey Adams was the United 
States Ambassador in London, he applied to me, as 
these works were then widely circulating among the 
higher ranks and much commended, to know if I wished 
them to be introduced into the United States, for if I 
did, he should shortly return there, and if I would entrust 
him with copies for the President and his Cabinet, and 
for the governor of each State in the Union, he would 
assure me that they should be faithfully delivered. I 
was gratified by the request ; and afterwards, when in 
the United States, I found he had punctually performed 
his promise. And these rejected works of the book- 
sellers, and of course of the publishers, made me the lion 
of the time when I made the voyage and first visited 
the United States. They gave me a ready introduction 
to all the Presidents of the Republic, from John Adams 
downwards, and with him, Jefferson, Madison, Munro, 
John Quincey Adams, General Jackson, and Mr. Van 
Buren, by all of whom I was admitted into their con- 
fidence, and from whom I obtained their best thoughts, 
and the unbiassed results of their valuable experience. 
President Washington was dead before my first arrival ; 
but I was kindly welcomed and cordially received by 



ROBERT OWEN 279 

his near relative Judge Washington, of the Supreme 
Giurt of the United States. The particiilars of these 
interesting events will be given in future volumes of my 
life, should my earthly life be spared to write them. 

These works, imperially bound, were also gladly 
received by every sovereign in Europe, and by Napoleon 
the First when in the Island of Elba, in which he had time 
to study them, and did so, as I was afterwards informed 
by Major-General Sir Neil Campbell, who had been 
applied to at the request of Napoleon by Berthier (the 
Emperor's friend and favourite), to learn if Sir Neil knew 
anything of the author, which at that time he did not. 
It was stated that these works, in which the erroneous 
warlike proceedings of Napoleon were animadverted upon, 
had so far changed his views, that he said, should he be 
allowed by the other European Powers to remahi quiet 
on the throne of France, he would do as much for peace 
as he had previously done in war. 

Yet these works, so esteemed by the leading minds of 
the world, I was, through the influence of the Church and 
other religious sects, henceforth obliged to publish through 
the cheap and fearless liberal radical publishers ; and so 
with all my works written since, or to be written, as I 
have for some time been my own publisher, against all 
the poor mistaken powers of darkness, who yet dare not 
permit the light of truth to be seen, although they would 
themselves become speedily great gainers through the 
knowledge which the light of truth would bring to them. 
But their deeds are yet too dark to bear this light. 

The increase, however, of true charity, arising from 
the knowledge how their characters have been mis- 
formed for them, will now soon make a great change for 
them in the minds and feelings of all parties, when real 
mental liberty shall be attained, and truth for the first 
time in the histoiy of the human race shall be set free 
from the tyranny of ignorance and superstition ; and 
then knowledge, kindness, charity, love, and wisdom 
shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the seas. 

All may be assured that this glorious period is near at 
hand, an(l that tlie new spiritual manifestations are 



28o THE LIFE OF 

destined to be the great lever in this movement, and 
that the stone with which the builders-up of society 
refused to build, will become the chief stone of the 
corner. 

Notwithstanding the combined underhand opposition 
of the Church and all other religious sects, aided on all 
occasions by the Malthusian modern political economists, 
the principles which I advocated, and the public prac- 
tices, opened to all parties at home or from abroad, which 
I continued to pursue without turning to the right side 
or to the left, made great way daily with the thoughtful 
and disinterested among all classes. 

The poor law guardians in Leeds were in difficulties 
about maintaining their increasing poor, arising from a 
want of employment for those willing and able to work. 
They had turned their attention to the plans which I had 
so publicly spread abroad by my various publications, 
and I was requested to visit Leeds and give them a more 
full and detailed explanation of the practical measures 
which I recommended. In consequence I took there my 
model of the proposed new surroundings in which to 
place the working classes, and thus, if rationally followed 
up, to destroy poverty for ever from the face of the 
earth. 

On my arrival in Leeds, a public meeting was 
called, and the Mayor (George Banks, Esq.) presided. 
The meeting was crowded to excess. I explained 
my views, not only by word, but through the model, 
to the eye, the best of all modes of instruction. The 
meeting became enthusiastic in its applause, and 
was unanimous in its favour and warm approval, as 
intelligent unprejudiced minds must ever be, and which 
was afterwards evinced by the practical measures which 
the poor law guardians immediately commenced. [See 
Mr. Robert Oastler's and Mr, John Cawood's letters, 
which will be published in my correspondence.] 

They determined to appoint three delegates, upon 
whose practical knowledge, judgment, and integrity 
they could depend, to visit New Lanark, and to report 
what was the actual practice jn that now far-famed 



ROBERT OWEN 281 

establishment. Mr. Edward Baines, proprietor of the 
Leeds Mercury, and father of the present Right Hon. 
M. T. Baines, and of the present editor of the Leeds 
Mercury (of whom I will afterwards speak), Mr. John 
Cawood, a wealthy manufacturer, and an important and 
very active member of the town council, and Mr. 
Robert Oastler, a highly respected citizen of Leeds, and 
father of the afterwards popular and well-known Richard 
Oastler, were the delegates appointed. 

These gentlemen came — fully and closely examined 
the schools, mills, machine manufactories, brass and iron 
foundries, and the unique village arrangements for pro- 
viding food and clothes, and the pleasure grounds, etc., 
for the improvement, comfort, and happiness of the 
workpeople, the great majority, about 2500, remaining 
stationary inhabitants of the village, all of which was 
the property of the company. The report made by these 
gentlemen on their return was printed and widely cir- 
culated, and it is a full answer to the many would-be 
opposing objections ; because this superior condition 
of the schools, mills, and establishment generally, was 
effected without religious interference, and solely by 
the dictates of common sense, applied to the study 
of humanity, of its natural wants, and of the easy natural 
means of supplying those wants, as far as the irrationality 
of all religions would admit of these remedies being 
applied. 

All of these gentlemen while living, although differing 
from me in their religious views, were ever most kind 
and hospitable to me whenever I afterwards visited 
Leeds, and when I was with them their greatest pleasure 
seemed to be to converse about the schools, people, and 
establishment at New Lanark, as being the most ad- 
vanced working, and the best and happiest population 
they had seen, and they could not conceive how such 
results were attained. 

I was often much amused with earnest and sincere 
religious persons who came to visit and inspect the 
schools and establishment. After expressing their 
astonishment and great delight with the wonderful 



282 THE LIFE OF 

results, as they called them, which they saw, so com- 
plicated, and yet combined in such a manner as to work 
together with the regularity and harmony of clockwork, 
they would say — " Ah ! Mr. Owen, if you would but add 
" to all these beautiful proceedings our religious views, 
" your establishment would be perfect, and there would 
" be nothing more to wish for." 

I would then put a few questions to them in this man- 
ner — " You approve of what you have seen in practice 
" throughout all the departments of the establishment — • 
" schools, mills, village stores, and the appearance and 
" manners of the people ? " 

" Yes ; nothing that I have seen elsewhere " (or some- 
thing similar in meaning) " can be compared with the 
" order, system, and arrangement of the whole, or with 
" the evident harmony and delight of the children, or 
" the apparent self-satisfaction and happiness of the 
" workpeople." 

" But," I continued, " you are very desirous I should 
introduce your religious views ? " 

" Yes ; that is the only thing now required." 

I then would ask the well-meaning party, whether 
Churchman, Catholic, Dissenter, Quaker (or whatever 
might be the religious belief which they had been 
taught), whether they had ever seen such practical 
results produced by any persons possessing their religious 
opinions ? " No, they had not " — was the answer 
without exception, from every one ; and the number of 
those well-intentioned, kind-hearted men and women who 
came with the hope of converting me, each to their own 
peculiar religious views, and thus to save me from ever- 
lasting perdition, was very great, and continued so until 
I left the establishment. 

My final reply to all these kind friends was — " When 
" you can show me a similar practice created by those 
" of your belief, I will then investigate your particular 
" views of religion more fully than I have yet done. But 
" I have most conscientiously examined all the religious 
" faiths of which I could obtain authentic information, 
" yours among the number, and I have not yet di.s- 



ROBERT OWEN 283 

' covered one of them that was calculated to produce 
'.the practice which you have so highly approved. You 
* very naturally, as you have been taught, desire my 
' practice with your faith and religious prejudices. My 
' experience leads me to know that your religious views 
' and this practice are incompatible. They are like oil 
' and water, and never can be made to unite. Your 
' mind has been so trained and educated from infancy, 
' that you would conscientiously prefer your faith 
' without the practice, to having that practice without 
' the faith. I know this from having been much in the 
' interior of the various sects of religious minds, and 
' knowing well the limited circle of their ideas." 

I preferred the good and happy practice without these 
sectarian faiths, to any of them without the practice of 
goodness and happiness. 

Knowing well that pure love and charity, the only 
foundation for real goodness and happiness among the 
human race, and all the religions of the world as they 
have been taught to this day, are directly opposed to 
each other, and never can be united, my plans were all 
laid to gradually supersede these religions of opposing 
repulsive and irrational faiths, by the practical religion 
of love and charity for our race, irrespective of colour, 
country, class, sect, sex, party, or difference in natural 
organization or constitution ; and thus to attain happi- 
ness, the great object of humanity, as well as of all that 
have life. 

The religions of the world are and ever have been the 
real cause of all falsehood, disunion, and crime, and of 
all the miseries of the human race, as is so obvious at 
this day to all who can observe, reflect, and deduce 
sound or rational conclusions from such observations 
and reflections. 

This subject must be now fairly met in front, and 
without the shadow of turning from the direct road to 
real knowledge, goodness, and happiness ; for until this 
perpetual source of falsehood, disunion, crime, and all 
the miseries which these evils necessarily force upon the 
human race, be removed, it would be most vain and use- 



284 THE LIFE OF 

less to attempt or to talk of measures to give wisdom, 
wealth, goodness, and happiness to the human race. . 

Where now, among what people, shall we go to find 
the language of truth, and the practice of union, love, 
and charity ? And yet all these religions profess to 
teach truth, union, love, and charity. 

To all whose minds iDy false training and educating 
have been made irrational, not to say insane, what I am 
writing will appear as an unknown language, not one 
word or idea of which can they comprehend. And who 
has not from birth been thus injured, physically and 
mentally, by a false training and education, and by false 
human external conditions ? 

Humanity has ardently desired truth, union, good- 
ness, love, charity, liberty, equality, and fraternity. 
All these are necessary ingredients for the attainment of 
rationality, wisdom, wealth, goodness, and happiness. 
Shall we find these natural virtues and their results among 
the old nations of the world, in China, Japan, India, 
Persia, or in more modern nations — Russia, Turkey, 
Austria, France, Persia, or any of the other European 
kingdoms and principalities ; or in Popedom, or in 
Great Britain, or in the United States ? 

Listen, my friends of the human race, to the first voice 
of truth that has ever been fully spoken to you, and 
this universal truth shall set all nations free, and make 
man for the first time in his history, from his creation, 
a rational, good, wise, and happy being, having love and 
charity for all of his race, and through that knowledge of 
himself which can alone create universal love and charity, 
all will be united as one man, and each will thus, with the 
highest pleasure to every one, acquire the essence of the 
wisdom of all. And man will hereafter perpetually 
progress in wisdom, love, and happiness. Listen and 
open your ears and your minds to receive the most 
important truths that man has yet spoken to man. 

All the religions of the world a.Te based on total ignorance 
of all the fundamental laws of humanity, and of the 
facts of undeviating perpetual occurrence. 

Hence their hatred of truth, the All Good of Humanity. 



ROBERT OWEN 285 

Hence the two most advanced nations of modern times 
are now governed by falsehood, fraud, and force, and 
the population of Great Britain are held in such physical 
and mental (that is rehgious) bondage, that at this day, 
called an enhghtened period of human existence, all, 
from the highest to the lowest, in power and intellect, are 
afraid and dare not to speak the truth openly and fully 
before their fellow-men. And no wonder that all are 
thus cowed, and made so grossly irrational, when it is 
discovered that all religions are based on the false 
notions that man makes his own qualities of body and 
mind ; that he can beHeve or disbeUeve at his pleasure ; "^ 
and that he can love and hate at the dictates of others, 
or against his own natural feelings. 

These gross falsehoods are the sole cause of all dis- 
union and crime, and now of ignorance and poverty and 
all their evil consequences. 

Seeing and knowing this, and that the rehgions of the 
world, so deeply rooted as they are made to be by early 
training, are the horrid monsters, and united are the real 
demons of humanity, which swallow up all its rationality 
and happiness, can you, my reader, after one moment's 
reflection on what has been written in these pages, 
wonder that I should think so little of all worldly con- 
siderations, and of life itself, as I did when in the great 
pubhc meeting held in the metropolis in August 1817, I 
so openly and fearlessly dared to denounce all the , 
rehgions of the world, as containing too much error to 
admit of happiness even in paradise itself, were any of 
them to be suffered to enter to disunite its in- 
habitants, to create crime, and to destroy love and 
charity ? 

Fully conscious, as I am, of the misery which these 
religions have created in the human race, which they 
now create, and whidlthey must create while supported 
by the authorities of the world and a pubUc opinion of 
ignorant presumption, I would now, if I possessed ten 
thousand lives and could suffer a painful death for 
each, Nvilhngly thus sacrifice them, to destroy this Moloch, 
which in every generation destroys the rationality and 



286 THE LIFE OF 

happiness of about a thousand millions of my poor 
suffering feUow men and women. 

This knowledge and this feeling will explain, not only 
the cause of that denouncement in 1817, but that of the 
forty years' undeviating contest which I have waged 
against this monster of ignorance and wickedness ; for 
from the time I made that, to the world, astounding 
declaration against all the religions of the world, to the 
period when I write these lines, it will in six months be 
iMsi forty years that I may say," I have been grieved with 
" this generation," while it has been passing through the 
wilderness of ignorance and gross superstitions. 

During this period, as I fully anticipated, I have been 
reviled, denounced as an infidel, and opposed in every 
one of my various attempts to liberate the human mind 
from slavery, and from all poverty or the fear of it. 

Yet when I consider the magnitude of my supposed 
offending against what has hitherto been taught as true 
and good, I am surprised at the small amount of evil 
which I have suffered, and the extent of inward and out- 
ward happiness which I have enjoyed. 

Unknowing in what form or manner the Intelligence 
and Power exists, which creates, un-creates, and re-creates 
aU forms eternally throughout the universe — an In- 
telhgence and Power far beyond the faculties of humanity 
hitherto to comprehend — yet am I compelled to believe 
I that this InteUigence directs all things within the universe 
to produce the best possible ultimate results that the 
■f eternal elements of the universe will admit. And this 
I supreme Creating Mind, Intelligence, Energy, or call it 
what you will, has to me, in a wondrous manner, directed 
all my measures, without a particle of merit being in any 
way due to me, so as to enable me to sustain this long 
contest, not only without physical or mental injury, 
but, as far as I can judge, from mfknowledge of human 
nature under its present most unfavourable conditions 
and surroundings, with a greater degree of continually 
sustained happiness than has fallen to the lot of any I 
have known. 

This may have arisen from the convictions which I 



ROBERT OWEN 287 

have been compelled to receive respecting liunianity, 
and how the created and educated character of all men 
has been forced upon them. 

With this knowledge I have been obhged to feel pity 
and compassion for the characters called the worst, in 
proportion to their defects created for them by the 
ignorance of society, and for my most violent opponents, 
knowing that they thought they were doing their duty 
by opposing what they had been taught to call an infidel 
— yet such an infidel as would at any time willingly have 
sacrified his life for the happiness of all. 

The enjoyment of my life has been greatly promoted 
by the undoubted love and untiring kindness of all with 
whom I have ever lived, and of a numerous association 
of disciples, from whom I have continually recoiA'cd the 
most pleasant attentions, in many cases amounting to a 
devotion to which I was in no way entitled ; and I have 
often warned them against the injurious influence of 
names upon the independence of mind and of free thought 
on all subjects. 

I have had much difficulty in convincing many that 
the authority given to names had been through all past 
ages most injurious to the human race, and that at this 
day their weakness of intellect was destructive of mental 
power and independence. That truth required no name I 
for its support ; it substantiaUy supported itself. But 
that falsehood and error always required the authority 
of names to maintain them in society, and to give them 
ready currency with those who never reflected or thought 
for themselves. Had it not been for the baneful influence 
of the authority given to names, this false, ignorant, 
unjust, extravagant, cruel, and misery-producing system, 
of individual interest opposed to individual interest, and 
of national interests o])posed to national interests, could 
not have been thus long maintained through the centuries 
which have passed. The immense — the incalculable 
superiority of the true, enlightened, just, economical, 
merciful, and happiness-producing system, of union 
between individuals, nations, and tribes, over the earth, 
would have been long since discovered and practised, 



288 THE LIFE OF 

and the Millennial state of man upon the earth would 
have been now in full vigour and established for ever. 

What divisions, hatreds, miseries, and dreadful 
physical and mental sufferings have been produced 
Y by the names of Confucius, Brahma, Juggernaut, Moses, 
Jesus, Mahomet, Penn, Joe Smith, Mother Lee, etc., etc. ! 
If any of these could have imagined that their names 
should cause the disunion, hatred, and suffering which 
poor deluded followers and disciples have experienced, 
how these good or well-intentioned persons would have 
lamented that they had ever lived to implant such deadly 
hatred between man and man, and to cause so much 
error and false feeling between those whose happiness can 
arise only from universal union of mind and co-operation 
in practice, neither of which can any of the religions of 
the world, as now taught and practised, ever produce. 

Listen ! men of all religions, and especially the 
authorities and present directing powers of each ! and 
let what I am going to say sink deep into your minds, 
and ponder well upon every word which shall be stated. 

The reign of all your religions is coming to an end. I 
trust it will be a peaceful and happy termination for 
yourselves, and a joyful one for all the nations of the 
earth. And should it not be so, it will be because you 
have been trained and educated from birth in error, and 
have thus been made to be obstinate in error, against 
glaring universal facts, right reason from those facts, and 
against the plainest dictates of common sense. 

" What ! " you will all now naturally exclaim, " are 
" you going to deprive us of our long cherished religion, 
" on which our hopes of heaven depend, and by which 
" loss you will leave the human mind baseless for good, 
" and a wild waste of errors and of misery ? " 

No ! my friends, I am not going to deprive you of 
religion ; only of its errors ; for true religion can alone 
create and secure permanently the goodness, the wisdom 
(which includes knowledge and its right application to 
all human affairs), and the everlasting happiness of man 
through all his changes through eternity. 

" What," you will now ask, " is this true religion } " 



ROBERT OWEN 289 

It is the essence of all your religions, freed from the 
garbage with which man in his inexperience of his own 
nature, and while his reasoning faculties have been 
undeveloped and in the progress of their growth, has 
more or less surrounded the modicum of truth in each, 
which all of you have most innocently called and believed 
to be Ithe true religion. This essence is the spirit of pure, 
undefiled, universal love and charity for man, appliedx"' 
to daily practice in voice, manner, and act, and of love 
for that energy and power which composes, decomposes, 
and recomposes perpetually the elements of the universe, 
and which is called God, or by some term similar in 
signification f but which term or word, so used, makes a 
different impression upon minds differently combined by 
nature, and differently trained and educated. 

Now, as man can do no good to this, to us, yet mys- 
terious ever-acting power throughout the universe, or 
God, man has no other rational means of showing his 
love to God, except through his unceasing love in daily 
practice to man, and in showing mercy to all that has 
life, as far as is practicable with safety to his own life 
and rational existence. 

Now this true religion of love and charity, evident in 
voice, manner, and act, daily to all of human-kind, and 
in showing mercy to all sentient life, will create an 
entirely new system in forming the character of the human 
race, in constructing society through all its ramifications, 
and in governing all human affairs. This great change, 
as it will be given to the world through me as the human 
agent, would be, according to past unfortunate custom, 
called the " Owenian " system of society. Now " Owen- 
"ian" has no more meaning than any of the names of 
authority through past ages, and which have created 
such deadly feud, hatred, and sufferings between different 
divisions of the human race ; and in future every means 
"should be adopted to prevent this most lamentable prac- 
tice through the future history of man upon the earth. 

This new state of existence may be called " The 
" Millennium " ; or " The Rational State of Human 
Existence " ; or " The Natural State of Man, arising from 

19' 



290 THE LIFE OF 

his Physical and Mental Powers being rationally de- 
veloped" ; or " The Union of Humanity for the Happiness 
of All " ; or " The Brotherhood of the Human Race " ; 
or by any other yet more expressive designation. But 
avoid personal names, as you would avoid a serpent or 
a hungry boa constrictor. 

I will now return to the narrative of my life. The 
establishment at New Lanark had created great excite- 
ment among the active public, making many friends and 
many opponents — and well it might. 

Its friends saw in the distance a possible escape from 
disunion, sin, and misery. Its opponents saw in the 
distance the destruction of their so much cherished 
sectarianism, vested interests, and private property. 
These were powerful forces on both sides. 

I soon perceived that the enlightened good were 
arranging themselves on the one side, the ignorant and 
prejudiced good, with the ignorantly selfish, on the other. 
The first in favour of my "new views," the last in 
favour of " things as they are." 

I I find on referring to my correspondence, that my 
Observations on the Mamifacturing System, and the 
measures which I had proposed to remedy some of the 
great evils which it had produced, and to prevent the 
yet greater which it was in its present state calculated 
to create, had made a favourable impression for me 
among all the members of the Cabinet, particularly with 
Lords Liverpool, Sidmouth, and Castlereagh, and Mr. 
Canning, the Queen, Prince Regent, Dukes of York, 
Cumberland, Kent, Sussex, Cambridge, and Gloucester, 
Prince Leopold, Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Kent, 
and in fact with all the members of the Royal Family, 
and with considerable numbers among the highest 
nobility and most distinguished men and women of the 
day, — as will be seen when my correspondence is pub- 
lished. ' 

My Essays on the New View of Society and the 
Formation of Character had, as I have stated, now passed 
through five superior editions, had been translated into 
Frencli and German, and had attracted the attention of 



ROBERT OWEN 291 

the leading European and American governments, and 
were well received by most of them, and not opposed by 
any of them. [See the letters of my foreign corre- 
spondents, addressed to myself and to my friend and 
partner, and agent with foreign governments, John 
Walker, Esq., of Amo's Grove, Southgate, Middlesex.] 

I had also with me Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Thornton, and 
Mr. Charles Grant, Chairman of the Court of Directors 
of the East India Company, and father of Lord Glenelg, 
who, with his brother the eloquent Member of Parliament, 
who had afterwards an ofhcial appointment in India, 
! were most friendly to my views, and to a greater or less 
I extent aided and promoted them ; as also did, perhaps 
to a somewhat less extent, on account of his sectarian 
views, Mr. Zachary Macaulay, father of the present 
famous historian and former eloquent M.P. 
I Among innumerable others who took a lively interest 
in aiding my measures were Lord Lauderdale, of whom 
more hereafter. Also the Marquis, and especially the 
Marchioness of Hastings, while the Countess of Loudon, 
and after her marriage with the Marquis ; the Earl of 
Harrowby ; his brother Mr. Rider ; John Smith, Esq., 
M.P. ; Mr. Hoare, senior, banker ; Henry Hase, chief 
cashier of the Bank of England ; Mr. Nathan Roths- 
child, the celebrated founder of his house, and the truly 
good and excellent Madame Rothschild, of both of whom 
more hereafter ; Mr. (now Sir Isaac) Lyon Goldsmid, his 
lady, and their family, of whom also more hereafter ; 
Sir Charles Gray, late Governor of Jamaica, of whom I 
shall give an anecdote subsequently. ^ 
"I To these may be added, as especial friends, Viscount 
and Viscountess Torrington, Sir WiUiam de Crespigny, 
Mr. (afterwards Sir Robert) Listen, our, at the time, most 
efi&cient Ambassador to many courts — see later in rny 
history an interesting account of him in one of his visits 
to me. ' 

Of men of great practical knowledge who were much 
interested in my views and practical measures, were Mr. 
WiUiam Stmtt, of Derby, father of the lately made Lord 
Belper, and his brother Joseph, two men whose talents in 



292 THE LIFE OF 

various ways and whose truly benevolent dispositions 
have seldom been equalled. 

And as friends, although not disciples, the wealthy 
Richard Arkwright ; Mr. Samuel Oldknow ; the Mars- 
lands, of Stockport, Samuel and Peter ; Mr. Simpson ; 
Messrs. Maconnel and Kennedy of Manchester ; Messrs. 
Gott, Banks, Goodman, Cawood, Baines, etc., of Leeds ; 
all at the time brother cotton-spinners. 

Among the literary men and women who were friendly 
to my views were Mrs. Fletcher, so long, and I believe 
still considered Queen of the Unitarians, of whom more 
hereafter; Miss Edgeworth, Miss Porter, William Godwin, 
William Roscoe, Thomas Clarkson, of anti-slavery 
memory, and many of the liberal writers of the day, 
whose names, except that of John Minter Morgan, do 
not now occur to me. 

I Among those who were very friendly, but were opposed 
to me on some points of political economy or poHtics, were 
the Rev. Mr. Malthus ; James Mill, of the India House, 
and the friend of Jeremy Bentham, my partner in the 
New Lanark establishment, of whom more hereafter ; 
Messrs. David Ricardo, M.P. ; Joseph Hume, M.P. ; 
Francis Place ; Colonel Torrens ; Thomas Attwood, 
M.P. ; etc., etc. 

Among the leading radical reformers who were per- 
sonally very friendly, but yet were opposed to my 
New View of Society^ were Sir Francis Burdett, M.P. ; 
Major Cartwright ; Henry Hunt, M.P. ; WilhamCobbett, 
M.P. ; Feargus O'Connor, M.P. ; Mr. John Frost ; Mr. 
Ernest Jones ; and many others, i 

My knowledge of the formation of character enabled 
me to know how their characters were formed, and there- 
fore enabled me to differ from them in opinion and yet 
to do justice to their good intentions, although their 
measures always appeared to me to arise from want of 
a comprehensive knowledge of human nature and society, 
and from their supposing that violence and force could 
effect any permanent good, while mind remained un- 
converted. 

In fact, my New View of Society, and its apphcation 



ROBERT OWEN 293 

to practice, imperfect as it was at New Lanark, had 
aroused the dormant mind of the sectarian and sceptic 
world to investigate a new mine of knowledge, which, if 
followed through all its various ramifications, would 
lead to an entire change in principle, spirit, and practice ; 
but for such a radical change in thought and action, 
when these changes were first openly and fully an- 
nounced to the wondering world, now forty years ago, it 
was not prepared. And it has required the constant 
action of forty years upon the public mind of the civil- 
ized world, to prepare it for this change, which ulti- 
mately no power on earth can prevent or now much 
retard. 

This statement is thus confidently made, from a 
thorough knowledge that the existing falsely based 
system of societ)^ is permanently, in principle, spirit, and 
practice, highly injurious to every one of every rank and 
class, from the highest to the lowest, and from the most 
learned to the most ignorant ; and that the proposed 
truly based new system of society, for forming character, 
creating wealth, reconstructing society, and governing 
all the affairs of men, will ensure, without chance of 
failure, the permanent well-being, weU-doing, and per- 
petual progress in wealth, knowledge, wisdom, union, 
and happiness, of the human race. 

Perceiving these results, the best and most advanced 
minds at home and abroad have been at once attracted 
to the truth and inestimable value of the new system, 
when I have had an opportunity of fully explaining it 
to them. But they have, in many cases, said — " We 
" do not see how it is to be introduced into practice." 
Or, " It is too true, good, and beautiful to be adopted by 
" the present ignorant, deceptions, and selfish population 
" in all countries." Or, " The system which you ad- 
" vocate, although true in principle, and however 
" desirable, is, in the present state of society, im- 
" practicable." — Or some such conclusion. While the 
more advanced practical men were really desirous to 
see the experiment carried into execution. 

[See the subscriptions in Great Britain and Ireland for 



294 THE LIFE OF 

this object, and the letters of approbation of my views 
for practice and the expressions of desire to see the new 
system as I advocated it carried fairly into execution.] 

But the period for the adoption of this advanced 
phase in the liistory of humanity was not come. 

To clear away the rubbish of prejudices, so deeply 
implanted in aU minds by the errors of the existing false 
and most baneful system for forming character and 
governing the population of the world, required not only 
the open decided pubhc attack which I had made upon 
all the superstitions of the world, but a continued in- 
cessant attack on the errors of the whole system, in prin- 
ciple, spirit, and practice, for the forty years which have 
elapsed since that ever memorable denunciation of this 
undeveloped and misery-creating system was made. 

And it is now only that these prejudices have been 
sufficiently overcome in the advanced minds of the 
world, to admit of the new and true system of society 
being advocated, to produce a beneficial result for 
practice upon the public. 

I see by reference to my letters, that I attended a 
public meeting with the first Sir Robert Peel, to prevent 
if possible his son's measure, as chairman of the Bullion 
committee, to return to cash payments. 

Sir Robert was too much a man of business not to per- 
ceive the gross injustice of this measure, and the great 
I suffering it would inflict upon a large portion of the middle 
and lower classes ; and seeing and knowing the certainty 
of these results, he came to me in great agitation, to ask 
me to go with him to the meeting, to endeavour to create 
a public feehng against it, sufficiently strong to prevent 
the evils which his then inexperienced son and those 
friendly to his measures were about to bring upon the 
country. 

When will those called practical men learn that now, 
were it not for the error of making gold and silver money, 
and wealth private property, there would be no poverty 
or fear of it ; but that all might, with health, ease, and 
pleasure, superabound at all times without contest or 
competition, in the use and enjoyment of the most 



ROBERT OWEN 295 

valuable wealth ; and that, too, by the most simple yet 
beautiful surroundings, which will be gradually developed 
as I proceed with my life. 

At this meeting Sir Robert Peel the elder said, to show 
the injustice of this measure, — " Its operation on society 
" will be to double my property and the property of eill 
** other capitalists ; while it will injure the operative 
" producers and debtors in the same proportion, and, 
' ' by its gradual operations of returning to cash payments 
" will double the national debt, or, which is the same 
" thing, will double the amount of real wealth which 
" will be required to pay the interest of it." 

I have seldom seen a man in public so excited by 
strong affectionate feelings as Sir Robert Peel was on 
this occasion, from the magnitude of the evil which he 
foresaw his favourite son was about to bring upon the 
most helpless portion of the population of his country. 
He told the meeting, with a faltering voice and tears in 
his eyes, that this was the first time there had been a 
difference of opinion between him and his son Robert, — 
who was afterwards the well-known Prime Minister, and 
who, if he had lived, would have undone all which he had 
erroneously done through Conservative association in 
his younger and inexperienced life. 

Visiting the father very often at his house in Upper 
Grosvenor Street, especially from 1815 to 1820, I occa- 
sionally met his son, who was then young in the ministry, 
but without practical knowledge, yet full of Oxford 
learning and injurious prejudices. The contrast at this 
time between the practical knowledge of the father and 
son was most obvious. But the natural talent of the 
son, with his growing experience, led him by degrees to 
overcome the many disadvantages of an Oxford forma- 
tion of character, and especially that of commoners 
with the nobiUty — both being much injured by the 
assumption of the one and the submission of the other, 
and also by the extent of false or useless learning, as it 
is called, which is forced into the minds of all who are 
educated at Oxford and Cambridge. 

In the years 1817, '18, and '19, many public meetings 



296 THE LIFE OF 

were held to promote more or less directly the peculiar 
measures which 1 recommended, and the new views in 
principle which I advocated. 

At the meetings held in '18 and '19, his Royal High- 
ness the Duke of Kent usually presided as chairman, 
assisted by his brother the Duke of Sussex, although the 
latter was a decided Whig politician, and after the death 
of the Duke of Kent, whose mind was too expanded 
and independent to be limited within the bounds of party 
politics, his brother became an out-and-out supporter of 
the Whig party, and most faithful to it, from his desire 
to give his aid to what he deemed to be the most liberal 
practical party in his day. 

The result of one of these public meetings, at which 
the Duke of Kent presided, was to appoint a committee 
to promote the views which I had publicly advocated 
for the relief of the poor and to prevent poverty and 
ignorance by national employment for useful purposes, 
and by a good national education, or a right formation 
of character. [See the proceedings and speeches ex- 
planatory of the objects of these meetings, and of the 
committee, as published in the newspapers at the time, 
with the names of the committee, and of the sub- 
scribers to the fund for carrying the plan proposed for 
trial into practice.] 

The interest produced in the metropolis, throughout 
the two islands, and abroad was for a time intense 
among all classes, and especially with the suffering classes. 
The subject was debated in both Houses of Parliament, 
and Lord Liverpool with several of his Cabmet were very 
desirous that it should be fully investigated by Parlia- 
ment. But this measure, so truly important for all 
parties throughout the empire, was frustrated through 
the means which I little anticipated. 

Lord Lauderdale at this time was one of the most, 
if not the most active and influential member of the 
House of Peers. I had become a great favourite with 
him, was often his visitor, and so much did he desire my 
conversation and to listen to the explanation of my 
views, that he ordered his servants always to say he was 



ROBERT OWEN 297 

at home when I called, and if he should be in bed at the 
time, which was frequently the case, I was to be shown 
to his bedroom ; and our conversations were sometimes 
long continued while he lay talking and hstening to me. 
This familiar intimacy continued for some time, until one 
day he asked me how I intended to make my arrange- 
ments to give education and useful constant employment 
to all the poor and working classes. 

I had now had engraved at a considerable expense a 
beautiful picture of these proposed arrangements as 
they appear when generally adopted, as I expected they 
would be by the country, on account of the immense 
improvement it would make in the condition of the poor 
and working classes, and the still greater improvement 
which would be produced by these new surroundings in 
the condition of all classes. 

I told his Lordship I would at my next visit bring him 
one of these engravings, and would explain the whole 
subject to him. This I did at our next meeting a few 
days afterwards. 

No intelligent unprejudiced mind could avoid being 
struck with the simplicity, order, and arrangement of 
this plan for the working classes, at that time as well as 
now, to train their children for a new, higher, and much 
superior state of earthly existence, and to enable these 
children to be beneficial associates with the children of 
all classes. 

His Lordship was thus struck with the combination of 
these proposed new surroundings, for training, educating, 
and usefully employing the poor and working classes. 
He examined it in silence for some time ; when he 
suddenly exclaimed — " Oh ! I see it all ! Nothing 
" can be more complete for the poor and working classes. 
" But what will become of ms ? " meaning the aristocracy. 

Lord Lauderdale had mind and penetration sufficient 
to perceive how completely this plan would destroy 
poverty, gradually instruct and elevate the working 
class, and ultimately make them independent of the 
upper classes and of the aristocracy. But he had not 
the strength of mind and capacity to continue the in- 



298 THE LIFE OF 

vestigation to its necessary results, or he would have 
discovered that in the most gradual and peaceable 
manner his plan would have, in the most natural way in 
which the change from a false and inferior to a true and 
superior system can be made, immensely improved the 
permanent condition of every class, and secured wisdom, 
goodness, and happiness to the human race through 
futurity. 

Had Lord Lauderdale pursued the investigation to its 
natural ultimate results, he would have perceived that 
this change from evil to good can be effected only by a 
rational formation of character from birth, and useful 
employment or occupation through life, within surround- 
ings made to be in accordance with the laws of humanity 
or of man's natural constitution. 

The subject of my new views was brought before the 
two Houses by petitions to both, signed in its favour by 
the nobility and gentry of the county of Lanark, of both 
parties, by several of its presbyteries, and some of them 
unanimously, by the members of the Universities of 
Edinburgh and Glasgow, and by influential persons of 
all parties in the county, to whom my proceedings and 
experiment were well known. 

In both Houses the motion that the petition should 
be taken into consideration was moved and seconded by 
a leading influential member from each of the two great 
parties which then divided both Houses into ministerial- 
ists and their opponents ; and an interesting debate took 
place, for which see Hansard's Parhamentary Reports 
and the London leading newspapers of that day. 

In the House of Commons Mr. WiUiam Smith, the then 
popular member for Norwich, took up the petition while 
the subject was under debate in the House, and said — 
" Mr. Speaker, I have been carefully examining this 
" petition, and it is the most extraordinary petition I 
" have ever seen presented to this House. It is signed 
" by the leading members of the aristocracy, of the 
" Church, the gentry, merchants, and manufacturers, 
" and in fact by persons of all classes and sects in politics 
" and religion, and I therefore, not having previously 



ROBERT OWEN 299 

" known anything of its contents, am at a loss to know 
" what can induce these incongruous parties so numer- 
" ously to sign this petition." 

In the House of Lords it was evident that Lord 
Liverpool and the leading members of his Cabinet were 
favourable to the full investigation of the subject, and 
the debate was taking that turn, when Lord Lauderdale 
arose, and with marked emphasis in his manner and 
tone of voice, said — " My Lords, I know Mr. Owen, 
" and I have examined his plan for the relief of the work- 
" ing classes, as he has published it to the world, and I 
" now tell your Lordships, that if you countenance Mr. 
" Owen and his new views, there is no government in 
" Europe that can stand against them." 

This declaration from a peer of the highest influence in 
the House, decided the^course which Government must 
take in both Houses, much to their regret, for they heartily 
inchned to have the principles and plans which I had so 
openly placed before the public, fairly tried under the 
auspices of their administration. 

In consequence of this speech of Lord Lauderdale's, 
the speakers, both ministerial and their opponents, in 
both Houses, made most compHmentary speeches in my 
favour, and would not vote directly against my apph- 
cation for full investigation into the measures which I 
proposed, and the motion was lost in both Houses by a 
motion to proceed to the order of the day. 

This speech of Lord Lauderdale decided the question 
for that period among the aristocracy, and of course 
with all under their influence, which directly or indirectly 
included all deemed fashionable or respectable. 

To this period I had access to all the Ministers, and was 
on friendly terms with the most influential of them. My 
Essays on a New View of Society had been very popular, 
and had passed rapidly through five superior editions ; 
my Bill introduced into the House of Commons by the 
first Sir Robert Peel for the relief of young children and 
others employed in manufactories had greatly tended to 
increase my popularity, and although by my open de- 
nouncement of all the religions of the world as now taught, 



300 THE LIFE OF 

this was materially diminished with many, and par- 
ticularly with all bigots having the contracted views of 
their sectarian creeds, yet with superior minds at home 
and abroad I found that that declaration had produced 
the effects which I intended, to a far greater extent 
than I had anticipated. 

It was from this period that all the respectable book- 
sellers were under the necessity to decline selling my 
works, and that a strong undermining opposition com- 
menced among sectarians of every creed, and among 
small minds among all parties, to whom my views in 
principle and practice were opposed. 

Yet the truth and beauty of these views in principle, 
and their promise of so many advantages in practice, 
with my antecedents of actual practice at Manchester, 
and now of twenty years at New Lanark, with my self- 
sacrifice by my public declaration of there being too 
much error in all the religions of the world to enable 
them to make man good, wise, and happy, retained for 
me a high place in the estimation of the more advanced 
and independent minds, and a strong feeling of regard 
and approbation by women of superior attainments and 
goodness of dispositions in every rank of life. 

My model of proposed new surroundings to give 
education and permanent employment to the poor and 
working classes continued to be visited by many persons 
of high rank and distinction of both sexes, natives and 
foreigners, and this year (1819) I was invited by the 
ever-to-be-esteemed and honoured Mr. Coke, of high 
agricultural fame, at Holkham, to his celebrated annual 
sheep-shearing, and to accompany our mutual friend, 
his Excellency Richard Rush, the then much respected 
Ambassador in London from the United States. We 
went together, were most hospitably received by Mr. 
Coke, and during our stay of some days we received 
especial marks of his attention, although his house was 
hUed with visitors of the highest rank and liberal talent. 

The superior Americans were great favourites with Mr. 
Coke. We were at this time fifty guests in his house, 
and about seven hundred of the leading friends to 



ROBERT OWEN 301 

agricultural improvements from every part of the 
kingdom were invited, and were accommodated around 
by his neighbours, and chiefly tenants of superior 
standing for agricultural acquirements. 

In the house with us v/ere the Duke of Sussex ; the 
present Duke of Bedford, then Lord Tavistock ; Lord 
Bradford ; Sir Francis Burdett ; Joseph Hume. M.P. ; 
and many other M.P.'s., foreigners, and strangers, whose 
names I have forgotten. 

The order, arrangement, and harmony with which 
this aggregation of so m.any guests within, and of im- 
portant operations without, day after day, were con- 
ducted with the kind attention of Mr. Coke to every one, 
and his fine manly self-possession in directing and ex- 
plaining to his visitors his agricultural experiments and 
their successful progress, gained the hearts and ad- 
miration of every one who had the pleasure of being 
present at this last most interesting and extraordinary 
exhibition and gathering of liberal men from all parts 
of the kingdom and from abroad. 

Mr. Coke was no ordinary man. He was a decided 
honest Republican in principle, and no respecter of 
persons merely on account of their rank. Upon this 
occasion Mr. Rush and myself were especially noticed 
by him during our visit, and he seemed to take pleasure 
in giving us much of his confidence. He told us that 
when he came into possession of the Holkham estate, 
it was let at 3s. per acre. This price he thought 
too low, and he required an advance of 2s. per acre. 
The tenants said they could not afford to give 5s. per 
acre for land so unproductive, and at this period the 
county of Norfolk imported considerable quantities of 
wheat. Mr. Coke told them that if they could not 
afford to give 5s. an acre, he would take the estate into 
his own hands, and would try what he could make of it. 
And he told us he was then receiving 25s. an acre for the 
whole estate, from farmers who had become wealthy 
while paying that rent ; and that the income of the 
estate had risen from a low figure when he came into 
possession of it, to an income exceeding fifty thousand 



302 



THE LIFE OF 



a year, and that through his aid and example Norfolk 
exported large quantities of wheat ; proving how much 
one man of earnest purpose can accomplish when his 
powers are rightly directed. 

Being accustomed in my own proceedings to great 
order and systematic arrangement on an extensive scale, 
I was yet surprised to witness the order and arrangement 
of Mr. Coke's proceedings, day after day, on the present 
occasion, when so many new measures required his 
personal attention. I expressed to Mr. Coke my surprise 
at seeing no hurry or confusion, while, in the most calm 
and self-possessed state of mind, he attended day by 
day to fifty visitors, several of them of high distinction, 
within his house, and seven hundred during the day 
who were out-visitors, but to whom also he was not 
wanting in every required attention ; and I asked the 
secret of this unique appearance in the management of 
such varied and extensive operations. 

He said — " I rise at five o'clock, and go into the office 
" of Mr. Blackie, my steward, and there we quietly 
" arrange the business for the day, and we take an early 
" breakfast, during which the letters and papers by post 
" are brought to me ; I examine my own, and attend to 
" those which require immediate replies ; assort those 
" for my guests in the house, who, as you see, breakfast 
" punctually at nine o'clock, and while they are at 
" breakfast, as you have witnessed, I bring in the letters 
" and give to each his own." This he did, and while 
going round the table he had something kind and ap- 
propriate to say to every one, making no perceptible 
distinction between royalty and the untitled. 

Mr. Coke continued — " While I attend to you at break- 
" fast time, the out-of-door business of the day is in 
" active progress. First that for our attention after 
" breakfast and during the morning, and while we are 
" attending to this " (and every morning was fully 
occupied, as well as every afternoon and evening) 
" the business for the afternoon and evening is in pre- 
" paration ; and so far you have seen no bustle and con- 
" fusion ; and -by the same means I hope you will not 



ROBERT OWEN 303 

" perceive any to the end of these public proceedings ; 
" for each day's operations have been considered, and 
" as well foreseen as my experience and this establisb- 
" ment will admit." 

And so we found it, though on the third, the great and 
last day of the public exhibition, all were yet more sur- 
prised to see how he managed matters to get through 
that multitudinous hard day's work. On this morning, 
the first thing after breakfast was to examine the process 
of flax-spinning on the lawn, by the peasantry of the 
estate ; and an interesting sight it was to see so many 
healthy, happy-looking faces so actively occupied in the 
various processes of this domestic manufacture, and so 
expert in every operation, clean in their dress and person, 
and well conducted in manner, answering the questions 
put to them with great propriety, without any appearance 
of degrading servility, exhibiting an independence and 
self-respect taught them by Mr. Coke's strong republican 
principles. 

I While this inspection was going on, the carriages and 
I horses were preparing to take the company to see the 
i results of the various improvements and new experiments 
i made on several of his principal farms. The Duke of Sussex 
and some of the older personages of distinction went with 
him in an open barouche with four horses. About seven 
hundred gentlemen and noted agriculturists were on 
horseback. Mr. Coke had provided Mr. Rush and myself 
with horses, and requested we would keep near him the 
whole day. His practice on this occasion was to ride at 
a good speed, heading the party, to the farm on which he 
intended to show and explain the new improvements he 
had lately made, or experiments in progress. When the 
party had had time to examine the details of what had 
been done or was doing, Mr. Coke formed the party into 
a circle around him, and then, in a strong clear voice, 
explained to those in the carriages and on horseback the 
process which had been pursued, and the results, and 
this he did on farm after farm, in a masterly manner 
most satisfactorily to all present. 

After thus examining the operations of several farms 



304 THE LIFE OF 

at some distance from each other, we were requested to 
ahght and to enter a good-looking house on one of the 
largest farms ; and in this house we found a sumptuous 
luncheon prepared for the company, which surprised 
many by its completeness in appearance and its sub- 
stantial good qualities, and seemed to be enjoyed by all. 

After thus again going from farm to farm, we had to 
return homeward at good speed to dress for an early three 
o'clock dinner. And this was the great day of this 
unique festival and exhibition. 

All the company were invited to dine in this extensive 
and most hospitable mansion. It was said that on that 
day seven hundred gentlemen of England, and some 
foreigners, dined at tables at which all could see and hear 
what was said and done ; for the prizes for the superior 
inventions of all things for agricultural purposes, which 
were brought there from all parts of the kingdom for 
competition, were to be given by Mr. Coke to each in- 
ventor or improver who had merited these prizes, so 
liberally offered to all competitors. 

It was also known that in addition to large quantities 
of other wines and liquors, a pipe of port was drunk at 
dinner. 

The first business after the cloths were drawn was the 
commencement of an arduous task for any one except 
our host, whose constitution, talents, and self-possession 
made extraordinary exertions apparently easy to him. 

He had around him a number of distinguished guests, 
accustomed to public speaking, and he seemed deter- 
mined on this occasion to call their respective powers into 
useful action. He began by giving an explanatory 
statement of the more public and useful qualities of the 
person whose health he intended to propose, commencing 
with his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, to whom, 
for his professed liberal views and popular bearing, he 
seemed much attached ; and this caused, as was an- 
ticipated, a speech in reply. 

In these preliminary comphmentary speeches by Mr. 
Coke, he seemed quite at home, and was most happy in 
his individual applications to each of his guests thus 



ROBERT OWEN 305 

called into especial notice. Among these were the 
noblemen present, Sir Francis Burdett, Mr. Hume, 
etc., etc., whose speeches were published afterwards in 
some of the newspapers of the day. 

Mr. Rush and myself were also thus noticed. Mr. 
Rush, as Mr. Coke anticipated, made one of the most 
telling and best speeches of the day, and it was well 
received by the company. As to myself, I never could 
make an after-dinner speech in which it was necessary 
to speak of personal good qualities, for I had so often 
published my conviction that our characters were before ^ 
and from birth formed for us and that there could not be 
any personal merit or demerit, that I could not, con- 
sistently with my well-known views on this subject, say 
anything in after-dinner speeches satisfactory to myself, 
nor, consequently, to others. I therefore avoided them 
whenever it was practicable. 

The healths and speech-making having concluded, Mr. 
Coke had then to call up the parties entitled to receive 
the prizes awarded to them. And calling up one by one, 
he made most appropriate speeches to each on giving the 
prizes, of which there were many, and several were given 
to those living on his own estates. 

Mr. Coke then invited the company to go and examine 
the inventions for which the prizes had been awarded ; 
and as these machines were various and numerous their 
examination required explanation from their inventors, 
and this occupied much of the time and attention of Mr. 
Coke, who appeared to be everywhere to assist when 
asked for his opinion or advice. 

A painting was shown of my model of the proposed 
new villages of union and co-operation for the poor to 
give them employment and relief from poverty, or the 
preliminary new surroundings by which to train all, 
beginning with the lowest, for the rational or Millennial 
State of Existence upon Earth. This painting was a 
rough sketch, hastily executed on canvas, put on rollers, 
and sent down to me from London. 

When I was explaining it to the company, the Earl of 
Albemarle, one of the guests, and a near neighbour to 
20 



3o6 THE LIFE OF 

Mr. Coke, and who became the next year father-in-law to 
Mr. Coke, asked me upon what scale it was drawn, but 
no scale had been sent with it, as it was enlarged in all 
its proportions from the model. I was therefore puzzled 
for a reply, for I had no means there of knowing. 

I mention this to show the necessity when anything 
new, and especially when anything opposed to old 
favoured notions, is brought forward, for great attention 
to be given to meet every probable objection, even the 
most frivolous. 

After this examination of new inventions, the com- 
pany returned to the house to tea, which was no sooner 
over than we were invited to go to the actual sheep- 
shearing, first to see the quality and condition of the 
sheep, and then to witness the process of shearing them, 
which was most skilfully done, upon sheep which at- 
tracted great attention and much approbation from the 
judges appointed to inspect them. 

In all this, Mr. Coke was active and ready to answer all 
the numerous questions put to him, either for information 
or from curiosity, never appearing in the least hurried 
or unwilling to attend to any one who desired to address 
him, or inattentive to the suggestions of any experienced 
parties seeking information wherever it could be obtained. 

The evening was far advanced before this part of the 
business was concluded and we were summoned home to 
supper, and the company commenced this meal at eleven 
o'clock. The party were not seated formally according 
to rank or station, but promiscuously ; and it so hap- 
pened that I sat next to Mr. Coke on his right, and as at 
his request I had been near him the whole day, witnessing 
his multifarious duties and his attentions to everything 
as it came in regular succession, and seeing him now calm, 
collected, and untired, after this unceasing action of body 
and mind, I said to him, " I am truly surprised, after 
•• seeing what you have passed through to-day, that you 
"appear as though it had been an ordinary everyday 
" proceeding." 

He said in reply — " I am really so little tired, that 1 
" could now begin the business oi the day over again." 



ROBERT OWEN 307 

He was now sixty-nine, and his constitution was 
superior to most men's at forty. His habits were all 
good, and his daily exercise well calculated to give and 
to sustain such a constitution. 

This was the last public day of this year's sheep- 
shearing ; and events soon occurred afterwards to make 
it the last sheep-shearing at Holkham. 

The out-visitors now dispersed in all directions ; but 
Mr. Coke detained his home guests some days longer to 
enjoy relaxation and amusement, and quietly to see and 
examine his well-conducted estate and immense private 
establishment. 

His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent had made an 
engagement, as before stated, to come with the Duchess 
and her infant to spend three months with mc at Brax- 
field, to make himself fully master of the practical meas- 
ures which I had adopted at New Lanark for new-forming 
the character of the young from infancy, re-forming the 
character of the adults, and new-governing the whole 
population. And at this meeting the Duke of Sussex 
and Mr. Coke agreed also to visit me in the spring for the 
same object. 

In consequence of these engagements I laid in an 
additional quantity of choice wines, and made my other 
arrangements suitable to provide for the expected dis- 
tinguished guests. 

So long as Prince Edward lived there was a strong 
brotherly attachment between him and the Duke of 
Sussex. Where one was, the other was generally present 
on all public occasions, and in their private interviews 
with parties on business. 

These proposed visits were not destined to be made. 
The sudden premature death of Prince Edward and the 
unexpected marriage of Mr. Coke, were the causes which 
deprived me of the pleasure of the association with some 
of the foremost and best minds in their station of those 
days, and of the immediate benefit which the rational 
social system of society would have derived from such 
minds seeing its preliminary practice to be so effective 
for good even while opposed by so many prejudices of 



3o8 THE LIFE OF 

the old system, and carried into execution under the 
many disadvantages of a cotton-mill establishment. 
The effect of the happiness produced in the entire popu- 
lation, and the new character formed for the children 
at that establishment, could not have failed to make 
an impression on those minds, which, through their 
independent instrumentality would have fixed public 
attention upon such new and important facts, and would 
have given great facilities to the spread over the civilized 
world of the knowledge of the principles and practices 
which could produce such extraordinary beneficial and 
happy results ; and more especially as Lord Liverpool's 
administration, then in power, was most favourable to 
my views, although not m sufficient power to contend 
against the Church and the most bigoted and least in- 
formed of the public. 

No — that system which, in spirit, principle, and prac- 
rice, is to introduce and estabhsh the Millennial state of 
goodness and happiness upon earth, was not to be 
introduced and established by the patronage of persons 
of rank and station. These could not give stabihty to 
falsehood or error, or to any system based on either. 
While truth, which can withstand the test, and ultimately 
resist all power opposed to it, requires no patronage 
of persons nor any factitious aid. Truth, to be per- 
manent, must stand alone on its own foundation. If it 
needs the aid of names, it is not that unchanging eternal 
truth which is ultimately to control the human mind, 
and to govern the population of the world through future 
ages. 

This is that truth which the nations of the earth now 
seek, and which by seeking they will assuredly find. 
It is that truth which, when fully understood and con- 
sistently applied in practice, will make all to become 
good, wise, and happy. And such is this GREAT TRUTH 
" That the character of man, divine and human, is 
" formed for him without his knowledge, and may now 
" be well formed from birth for all." 

This truth requires no name for its support. All facts 
declare it. The whole history of man sustains and con- 



ROBERT OWEN 309 

firms it. And it will overcome all the prejudices estab- 
lished against it through the ages which have passed. 
It is that glorious truth which ,will set the nations free, 
and will secure the future happiness of our race. 

The new system of society for the re-forming of man 
and reconstruction of society over the world, was not to 
be patronized by rank or station, or by any name what- 
ever. Its tnith of principle and inestimable value for 
practice are to estabhsh and maintain it over the earth, 
overcoming every prejudice and all kinds of opposition. 
In fact, it was far above and beyond the reach of patron- 
age. I was, however, at the time greatly disappointed 
to be deprived of the familiar society of men so friendly 
to my views, for whom I had the greatest regard and 
esteem, and from whom at that period I had anticipated 
much assistance in promoting my great object of securing 
the permanent progress and happiness of the human 
race. 

I have said that after the third public day the guests of 
Mr. Coke were incHned for relaxation from serious business 
and to amuse themselves. 

The Duke of Sussex was at this period Grand Master of 
the Freemasons of England, and it was proposed that he 
should hold a lodge, and should make members of those 
who were not already masons. A party came to me to 
request my name to their hst. I said I had always avoided 
becoming a member of any society for amusement, which 
I imagined was now the chief object of Freemasonry. 
I had hitherto dechned being made a member, and 
requested now to be excused. The parties said, as it 
was a harmless society, and tended to create good 
fellowship and humanity among the members, they 
would be much pleased if I would consent to be made a 
member with them. I said if there was nothing ridi- 
culous in the process, I would not resist their wishes. 
The Duke of Sussex was very frequently present with the 
Duke of Kent when he came to me, and more frequently 
when I visited the latter at Kensington Palace, and was 
therefore well acquainted with my views and objects. 
When he was told by the parties who came to me that 



310 THE LIFE OF 

they had obtained my consent to have my name added 
to the hst for new membership, he said — " No, by all 
" that is good, were he ta witness our ceremonies he would 
" make us all to appear fools. His objects are of a 
" character too serious and extended for him to be 
" occupied with our trifhng amusements." So I escaped 
being let into the secrets of Freemasonry. 

My duties now called me to the metropolis, to attend 
to the Factory Bill then in the House of Lords ; to 
watch Sir William De Crespigny's motion in the House 
of Commons to take my subject into its consideration, 
and to attend to the public meeting which I had called, 
to be held in the Freemasons' Tavern, and to be presided 
over by his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, and also 
to attend to explain my model of proposed new sur- 
roundings for the poor and working classes who could 
not themselves find employment. 

These occupations, and superintending the establish- 
ment at New Lanark by directions to the heads of the 
various departments by correspondence, occupied my 
time daily from early to late. The public meetings are 
recorded in the published accounts in the newspapers of 
the time, and the proceedings in both Houses of Parlia- 
ment on my petition for my New View to undergo 
parhamentary investigation, are given in Hansard's 
Parliamentary Proceedings, and also the progress of 
both Houses in spoiUng my Factory Bill for the relief of 
children and others employed most injuriously as to age 
and time in cotton and other factories over the two 
islands. 

In addition, I had to attend the committee appointed 
at the public meeting to promote my objects, — a com- 
mittee of which his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent was 
chairman, and who was the most punctual attendant of 
all its members. The committee consisted of a long list 
of the most prominent liberal noblemen and gentlemen, 
chiefly members of both Houses of Parliament, and of the 
principal foreign ministers resident in London, as will 
be seen on referring to the published list of their 
names. 



ROBERT OWEN 311 

But yet to add to these varied occupations, I was under 
the following circumstances induced to offer myself a 
candidate to represent in the House of Commons tiie 
Royal Burghs of Lanark, Selkirk, Peebles, and Linlitli- 
gow. 

At the previous General Election I published an address 
to the electors of those burghs, which I published merely 
for a model address, such as I deemed all candidates for 
membership in the House of Commons ought to issue, 
if they intended to benefit their constituents and their 
country. [See this advertisement in the newspapers of 
that period.] 

But not supposing I had any chance of succeeding, not 
having any intention of canvassing burghs, or of being 
a candidate, I thought no more of it, and continued to 
attend the parliamentary committees on the Factory 
Bill, as it was strongly opposed, and often by the most 
unfair means, bj' almost all the cotton-spinners and 
manufacturers in the kingdom, except Messrs. Ark- 
wright, the Strutts, and the Fieldens. 

I neither visited nor wrote to nor communicated in 
any manner with one of the burghs, and the thought 
of being a candidate in reahty never entered my 
mind. 

To my surprise, on my return home some weeks 
afterwards, I learned that the burghs had been kept 
open for me for a fortnight after my advertisement 
appeared in the London daily papers, and that if I had 
returned home during that period, I should have been 
elected free of cost. This was news which took me by 
surprise, and I regretted my want of this knowledge at 
the proper time. 

But now, while occupied in London as previously men- 
tioned I was informed of the demise of Sir John Buchanan 
Riddle, who had become member at the last election, 
and the circumstances just narrated induced me at 
once to issue an advertisement, and could I have 
proceeded immediately, my success would have been 
certain. But I was so continually engaged day by 
day with attending to the multiplied engagements of 



312 THE LIFE OF 

important business, that I was under the necessity of 
neglecting either the more immediate pubHc business, 
or my apparent private interest in canvassing the burghs, 
although my views in becoming an M.P. were solely to 
promote great public measures for the permanent benefit 
of all classes, and especially of the unemployed and 
uneducated classes. It was at this period, too, I see by 
documents which have come into my hands, that I had 
to attend to the Leeds party, who sent deputies to New 
Lanark to examine and report the result of their in- 
vestigation — a subject which I have previously men- 
tioned, and more details of which will be given in the 
volume of my correspondence, in the letters of the 
Mayor of Leeds (Mr. George Banks), Mr. Baines, Mr. 
Cawood, and Mr. Robert Oastler, and in the published 
report of the deputies who were the three last-named 
gentlemen, all men of high standing for integrity. 

From Leeds I proceeded towards home ; but I had to 
make many caDs of interest on my journey. Mail coaches 
were now general, and in these I usually travelled on my 
journeys from Scotland to and from London. On one 
of these journeys, about this period, I was travelling 
from London to the North, and was the only inside 
passenger in the coach when it arrived at Newark, where 
horses were changed ; and while this process was going 
on, both doors of the mail coach were at the same time 
opened, and a gentleman came in on each side, and they 
commenced a conversation together. The countenance 
of one of them immediately impressed me that I had an 
intelligent and interesting companion, who was seated 
opposite to me. The strangers sat together, and as 
they immediately entered into a conversation upon 
general topics of the day, I concluded they were friends 
who were travelling together. Their conversation con- 
tinued for some time, when one said something to my 
supposed intelligent companion, who was opposite to me, 
which induced him to say — " Why that is Owenism ! 
" Who would ever think of anything so absurd ? " 
At this I opened my ears, and I heard this subject can- 
vassed between them, and I soon found that the intelli- 



ROBERT OWEN 313 

gent opponent knew little of Owenism, as he called the 
notions which he had received of it. 

I then said to him — " Pray what is this Owenism about 
" which you are conversing ? " My intelligent com- 
panion very readily replied, stating the usual mistakes 
given to the public by those who thought they had an 
interest in opposing my views, or who had not sufficient 
capacity to comprehend them. I listened as a stranger 
to the full explanation of his received ideas upon the 
subject, and they were truly absurd ; enough so to call 
forth his first exclamation against Owenism. 

When he concluded, I said — " I must be quite in 
" error upon this subject, for my ideas of it are very 
" different from those you have just stated." " Then," 
he said, " will you have the kindness to explain your 
" views of it ? " I said, " Willingly," — and I entered 
fully into its principles and practices, and these we 
discussed with animation and interest for nearly three 
hours, when at last he said, " I am sure you are Spence " 
(the advocate at that time of an equal division of land), 
" or else Owen." 

I then told him who I was, and while we pursued 
our journey our conversation continued with increasing 
interest, when, previous to our arrival at Heworth, he 
said — " I am a barrister returning from the Circuit, and 
" I am going to visit my brother and his family, who live 
" a few miles from Newcastle, and you must come and 
" visit them. I will promise you a hearty welcome and 
" a pleasant party." I thanked him and said I would 
endeavour, on some of my journeys from Scotland to 
London, to accept his kind offer. 

I thought the invitation was a momentary travelling 
impulse, such as are sometimes acted upon and as soon 
repented of. But he continued urging his request until 
our arrival at Newcastle, where he stopped at his usual 
hotel, and the mail drove on to another, where the 
passengers were accustomed to have supper. 

While we were eating our supper, in came my newly 
found friend, and he seemed so earnest and anxious that 
I should remain there all night, and should go with him 



314 THE LIFE OF 

to his brother's in the morning, that I at length yielded 
to his solicitations. This was then Mr. Charles Grey, 
since Sir Charles Grey, and late Governor of Jamaica ; 
a man as much equal to that task as governors of colonies 
usually are, and only some very untoward circumstances 
could prevent his success. I made the visit with him 
next morning, and it proved all he had promised, to its 
full extent ; and I was detained two or three days. 

On proceeding afterwards from Newcastle to Carlisle, 
I had to call upon Lord Brougham (then well known as 
Henry Brougham), who had interested himself in in- 
vestigating my views, and who often endeavoured to 
have them investigated in Parliament. 

Mentioning Lord Brougham reminds me of an amusing 
occurrence which happened to me some time afterwards 
on one of my journeys from London to Scotland. I was 
in the mail coach alone on one occasion, when it stopped 
to change horses at Macclesfield, and while it stopped (it 
was a fine warm day) a gentleman in evening dress 
mounted the box, looking at me as he passed to get up. 
He said something to the coachman, and he soon came 
down again, and entered the coach. In the meantime a 
crowd was collecting around the coach, and there was 
much stir without. No sooner had the gentleman seated 
himself, than he said — " I am very happy, my Lord, to 
" meet you again so soon," I was a little surprised with 
my new title, and replied — " You are under some mis- 
" take. Whom do you take me for ? " " Lord 
" Brougham." " You are indeed in error. I have no 
" such claim." " Oh," he said, " your Lordship wishes 
" to travel incognito." " You are really mistaken," I 
replied. " That cannot be," he rejoined, " for I dined 
"with your Lordship only three weeks since"; and I 
could not convince this positive gentleman of his mistake. 

He had told the coachman not to proceed until he 
returned to him, and during this period the crowd 
around the coach continually increased, all eager to catch 
a sight of my Lord Brougham ; and as no one was there 
to undeceive them, they were as much pleased and 
gratified as though they had seen the true Lord himself, 



ROBERT OWEN 315 

and when the coach started, I was greeted with the hurras 
of the wondering people, who had, as they supposed, 
seen a Lord, and that Lord, Lord Brougham. 

Such were the people at that day. They are now 
become somewhat wiser. 

While I was busily engaged in attending to the 
parliamentary committee and to other public matters 
in London, I received intelligence from New Lanark that 
one of the four large cotton-mills had been burned, and 
all engaged in it were by this accident thrown out of 
employment. I had immediately to make arrangements 
to give them occupation, without their being obhged to 
seek work elsewhere, and to leave the establishment, 
which to them, from the happiness they now experienced, 
would have appeared the greatest of misfortunes. I 
gave the necessary instructions for this purpose, and as 
soon as I could leave the public matters in which I was 
engaged, I returned home to see my instructions carried 
fully into execution, and not one left the establishment on 
account of this accident, which, when it occurred, created 
in those who were employed in that department of the 
establishment the greatest distress and sad forebodings 
of what would become of them. 

This fire occurred at the end of November 1819, and 
I left London after my last personal communication with 
the Duke of Kent, my tried friend and best disciple, and 
of whose death after my return home I was so soon 
informed. 

Little did I then anticipate, that after regretting his 
death for more than thirty years, his good and kind and 
enlightened spirit should take the first opportunity that 
a medium for such communications offered, to communi- 
cate with me and to give me information of deep interest 
and most important for me to know. And to come in 
his so well-known character to me, and with his usual 
kindness and consideration for others, in whose well- 
doing and well-being he continued to occupy himself, 
exhibiting the same affection and friendship for them, 
which he so strongly possessed when in his earthly form 
upon the earth. 



3i6 THE LTFE OF 

His whole spirit proceeding with me has been most 
beautiful ; making his own appointments ; meeting me 
on the day, hour, and minute he named ; and never in 
one instance (and these appointments were numerous as 
long as I had mediums near me upon whom I could 
depend) has this spirit not been punctual to the minute 
■+" he had named. 

The unwisely taught, and therefore strongly prejudiced 
against these new manifestations, cannot believe in their 
reality, and I greatly pity them. They know not the 
pleasure and the knowledge which they lose. Some of 
the most gratifjnng and satisfying moments of my exist- 
ence have been when in direct communication with my 
departed relatives and friends since they left their earthly 
forms in their graves. These and congenial spirits are 
now actively engaged in preparing the population of the 
world for the greatest of all changes in the history of 
humanity while on the earth in its visible form. And 
they smile at the puny efforts of the poor mistaught of 
the present generation to stay their progress in this 
heavenly work. 

Man, through all the ages which are past, has been 
created to desire happiness without ceasing. The desire 
is to-day as strong as ever ; and the period rapidly 
approaches when that desire will be gratified to an extent 
not yet to be imagined by unregenerated man. But of 
this more hereafter. 

Hastening my departure from the public business 
which engaged my attention in London, I arrived at 
home about the middle of December, and was occupied 
for some time in completing the new required arrange- 
ments consequent on the burning of the mill, so as to give 
useful and productive employment to all who were 
thrown idle by that event. This occupied me for some 
weeks, and the election for the burghs, for which I had 
declared myself a candidate, being fixed to take place 
soon after this, I had, after giving the candidates opp6sed 
to me all the benefit of a long first canvass, to visit the 
burghs, and see what chance remained for me. 

J found that through my delay in London, four of the 



ROBERT OWEN 317 

Old Lanark voters upon whom I had every reason to 
depend, had, by being feasted, kept intoxicated, and by 
other means known at this time to most candidates, 
been bnbed over to my opponent, and by this very 
unexpected proceeding I discovered this majority of four 
would be against me, and Lanark was the returning 
burgh. 

On my canvass in the other burghs, in which I was 
kindly assisted by my good friend Admiral Sir Robert 
Otway, we found Selkirk and Peebles positively engaged 
to Mr. Monteith, my friendly opponent, and that 
Linlithgow had declared for me. I thus knew that I 
should lose the election by my four turn-coat Lanark 
voters ; but with twenty to one I was the popular can- 
didate with the people, and much were they disappointed 
at the result. It was, however, a fortunate result ; for 
my proceedings with the two committees of the Houses 
of Parliament, and with the general members of both 
Houses, made it more than doubtful that my time as a 
member would have been much misemployed. [For 
these election proceedings see my correspondence with 
my family, with Mr. Boyd, the Mayor of Linlithgow, 
and Lords Liverpool and Melville.] I may add that 
while I was a candidate, Sir Robert Peel, the late Premier, 
wrote to me for my support of the Government, expecting 
my election to be certain. 

As an indication of the feehngs of the inhabitants of 
the town of Old Lanark at this period, after I had been 
more than twenty years their near and always active 
neighbour, see their invitation to a public dinner previous 
to the election. See also the letters from the magistrates 
and town council of the burgh of Linhthgow, in addition 
to the Mayor's ; and it must be remembered that I 
made it a condition that not one shilling should be 
expended for me to bribe one voter in either of the burghs. 
When this election was over, wliich I lost by four voters, 
who had promised me their votes, but who were bribed 
to break their promise, I was during the spring, summer, 
and autumn overwhelmed with visitors to see the 
establishment, and among these many of high con- 



3i8^ THE LIFE OF 

sideration at home and abroad, from all of whom, and I 
do not know one exception, their expressions were 
of wonder and delight, in seeing that which they never 
expected to witness on earth — a large promiscuous popu- 
lation of workpeople happy and highly contented, and 
their children's characters formed for them better than 
the character of the children of the same age had ever 
been formed ; for it had been formed on the principle of 
charity and love and kindness, without punishment. 

Affection for each other, and affection and esteem for 
their instructors, were deeply imbedded in the mind and 
feelings of these children, and they were, during the whole 
period of their instruction, the most innocent and happy 
children yet made under any system ever yet attempted, 
by which to form the character of humanity. 

The precept or principle of action taught to them from 
their first day's entrance into the school (" that they 
" should always endeavour to make each other happy "), 
the youngest infant easily conceived, and wa^ as easily 
induced, by the example of those previously so in- 
structed, to apply the precept to undeviating practice. 
And this principle and practice might with incalculable 
benefit to all of our race be so deeply impressed at this 
early period on all infants, that it would become a habit 
never to be forgotten or unused in the everyday trans- 
actions of life. 

This experiment with the children of all the population 
of New Lanark cannot be estimated too highly by the 
advanced minds of the age in all countries ; for it at once 
opens the path by which all from their birth may have 
the divine parts of their nature so cultivated by their 
immediate predecessors, that all shall acquire good habits 
only, and a character as good as the divine parts of each 
and the existing knowledge of humanity will admit ; 
and these now united in the training, education, employ- 
ing, placing, and governing of each (for all these enter 
into the formation of the character of every one) will 
produce such a change in the condition of society and 
of humanity, as can be expressed only by a change from 
a pandemonium to a paradise. 



ROBERT OWEN 3I9 

Let the authorities of this age now turn their attention 
to this subject, and they will discover that they have 
attained the knowledge of a moral lever by which they 
can with ease remove ignorance, poverty, disunion, vice, 
crime, evil passions, and misery, from mankind. Place 
the human race from birth within superior spiritual and 
material surroundings, and the evils and sufferings of 
humanity will be no longer experienced, and will be 
retained on record only to enhance the pleasures of this 
new existence for man. 

The arrangements to well-form the character of each 
will of necessity include the entire arrangements to well- 
form and conduct society ; for there can be no part of I 
society which does not enter into the formation of the I 
character of every one. 

That which I introduced as new in forming the 
character of the children of the working class may be 
thus stated — 

1st. — No scolding or punishment of the children. 

2nd. — Unceasing kindness in tone, look, word, and 
action, to all the children without exception, by every 
teacher employed, so as to create a real affection and 
full confidence between the teachers and the taught. 

3rd. — Instruction by the inspection of realities and 
their qualities, and these explained by familiar con- 
versations between the teachers and the taught, and the 
latter always allowed to ask their own questions for 
explanations or additional information. 

4th. — ^These questions to be always answered in a kind 
and rational manner ; and when beyond the teacher's 
knowledge, which often happened, the want of know- 
ledge on that subject was at once to be fully admitted, 
so as never to lead the young mind into error. 

5th. — No regular indoor hours for school ; but the 
teachers to discover when the minds of the taught, or 
their own minds, commenced to be fatigued by the indoor 
lesson, and then to change it for out-of-door physical 
exercise in good weather ; or in bad weather for physical 
exercise under cover, or exercises in music. 

6th. — In addition to music, the children of these work- 



320 THE LIFE OF 

people were taught and exercised in military discipline, 
to teach them habits of order, obedience, and exactness, 
to improve their health and carriage, and to prepare 
them at the best time, in the best manner, when re- 
quired, to defend their country at the least expense and 
trouble to themselves. 

They were taught to dance, and to dance well, so as 
to improve their appearance, manner, and health. I 
found by experience that for both sexes the military dis- 
cipline, dancing, and music, properly taught and con- 
ducted, were powerful means to form a good, rational, 
and happy character ; and they should form part of the 
instruction and exercise in every rationally formed and 
conducted seminary for the formation of character. 
They form an essential part of the surroundings to give 
good and superior influences to the infants, children, and 
youth, as they grow towards maturity. 

7th. — But these exercises to be continued no longer 
than they were useful and could be beneficially enjoyed 
by the taught. On the first indications of lassitude, to 
return to their indoor mental lessons, for which their 
physical exercises had prepared them, and to which, if 
properly conducted, they will always return with re- 
newed pleasure. And to receive physical or mental 
exercise and instruction may always be made to be 
highly gratifying to the children, when they are rationally 
treated. 

8th. — To take the children out to become familiar 
with the productions of gardens, orchards, fields, and 
woods, and with the domestic animals and natural history 
generally, is an essential part of the instruction to be 
given to the children of the working classes ; and this 
was the practice in my time with the children at New 
Lanark. 

9th. — It was quite new to train the children of the 
working class to think and act rationally, and to acquire 
substantial knowledge which might be useful to them 
through after life. 

loth. — It was quite new to place the child of the 
working man within surroundings superior to those of 



ROBERT OWEN ( 321 

the children of any class, as was done in a remarkable 
manner at New Lanark, by placing them during the day 
in the first and best institution for the formation of 
the character of the children of workpeople ever thought 
of or executed. 

But it must be yet some time before these new prac- 
tical proceedings for the children of the producers of 
wealth can be duly appreciated, or their importance for 
the advancement and permanent benefit of society can 
be comprehended. 
It is however time to return to my narrative. 
In 1819 another panic occurred in the commercial 
world, arising from the effects of the proceedings of the 
Bullion Committee of the House of Commons, under the 
late Sir Robert Peel as chairman. 

These men knew no more than infants what they were 
legislating about, and had no knowledge of the amount 
of most unnecessary misery and severe suffering which 
they by their ignorance were about to inflict upon 
millions of their fellow-subjects over the British 
Empire. 

\ This was the second panic which they produced, to be 
followed by one yet much more severe in 1825, and to be 
succeeded at intervals by others, until this absurd 
artificial monetary system of gold and silver shall be 
abolished, and the human powers, aided by science, 
shall be set free to produce wealth unfettered by the folly 
of statesmen and legislators. . 

Such was the distress in 1819, produced artificially, 
that thousands upon thousands of the working classes 
were out of work and starving, and the smaller trades- 
men were involved in ruin as they always are when the 
working class is unemployed. 

At this time many active young men between twenty , ^ 
and thirty years of age came to seek employment from 
me, and would willingly have accepted four or five shillings 
per week for their services. But our establishment was 
always fully supplied with our stationary population, 
who were continued by me without an}' diminution of 
their wages for twenty- five years. 
21 



322 THE LIFE OF 

Among other districts over the kingdom, the county 
of Lanark suffered from a great surplus of unemployed 
workpeople, and it having been noticed that there was 
no distress or complaint among this population of New 
Lanark. and that there had not been any for twenty years, 
I was called upon at a great meeting of the county of 
Lanark, to express my opinion as to the cause, and to 
point out an effectual cure for this now felt to be a great 
evil threatening the prosperity and peace of the kingdom. 

In obedience to this request of the county I made a 
report explanatory of the causes of distress, and included 
a statement of the means by which a permanent remedy 
for the want of emplo5anent might be beneficially intro- 
duced, by society being reconstructed and rationally 
arranged. And in this report, for the first tiirie, I ex- 
plained the science of constructing a rational system of 
society for forming the character and governing human 
nature beneficially for all of our race. 

It was from this report that Fourier obtained all his 
knowledge respecting the formation of a society limited 
in number to form a practical community ; but not 
knowing the true foundation on which to base society, 
he made a confused medley of old and new notions, 
which never can be combined to work permanently 
together with harmony. 

A knowledge of this scientific development of society 
was forced upon me by thirty years of extensive practice 
through various departments of the business of real life, 
and by much study to overcome the many obstacles 
which stood in the way of combining a scientific arrange- 
ment of society to prevent the innumerable evils inflicted 
by error on the human race. 

The report thus presented to the public meeting of 
the county of Lanark, the late Duke of Hamilton, Lord- 
Lieutenant of the County, presiding, and reported upon 
by six of the leading members of the county (see in the 
Appendix this report and the official proceedings of these 
county meetings respecting them), was the first publi- 
cation ever given to the world which explained, even in 
outline, the circle of the practical science of society to 



ROBERT OWEN 323 

form a good and superior character for all, to produce 
abundance of superior wealth for ail, to unite all as 
members of one superior enlightened family, and to sur- 
round the human race with superior physical and mental 
conditions, or with surroundings to call forth and highly 
educate all the superior faculties of humanity, and to 
place all the animal propensities of our nature in their 
healthy and beneficial subjection to the higher organs, 
qualities, and powers, so as to make man in the aggregate 
physically and mentally healthy, good, wise, consistent, 
rational, and happy. 

But when this report was first given to the world, in 
1820, the world was quite unprepared to receive or to 
comprehend such a circle of scientific principles and 
practices, to work together in harmony to produce 
health, wealth, unity, wisdom, goodness, and happiness, 
for all. 

Even now, after a lapse of thirty-seven years of con- 
tinual instruction against old deep-rooted errors and 
habits, society is scarcely prepared to believe in the 
possibility of the attainment of so much unity, wisdom, 
goodness, and happiness, for all humanity. Men have 
hitherto been trained, educated, and placed only within 
the shell of individual ignorance and habits and have yet 
but little clear conception of litiiversal truths, or of the 
immense new powers to be derived from the united mind 
and action of our race, directed by wisdom and sound 
practical knowledge, in the pure spirit of love and charity 
for the artificial and educated differences of all of human- 
kind. 

The glorious period when this spirit and this knowledge 
shall universally prevail is near at hand, and now 
approaches with giant strides. 

Let these high considerations now open the hearts and 
expand the minds of aU to receive and understand these 
great truths, and to perceive with how much ease, when 
once in the right path, the population of this globe may 
be made superior, physically and mentally, and may be 
trained and placed so as to enable them aU by the exercise 
of their rational faculties to become by degrees, after one 



324 



THE LIFE OF 



or two preparatory generations, superior rational beings, 
compared with any of the existing races of men. 

It was in this year when all things were rapidly pro- 
gressing, day by day, at New Lanark, the people highly 
satisfied, and their children the best and happiest of 
human beings, that one of my partners, William Allen, 
returned from the continent of Europe, where he had 
come personally into communication with the Emperor 
Alexander of Russia and with some other crowned heads, 
which turned his head into a wrong channel for useful- 
ness. His mind was limited to Quaker prejudices and 
the Lancastrian system of defective education, which 
I had materially assisted to make what it was, but the 
limited minds and religious prejudices of Lancaster's 
committee would not allow it to proceed further, and 
William Allen in particular thought this small step the 
perfection of education. 

On his return he wished to depreciate all my pro- 
ceedings, because I had denounced so publicly all the 
superstitions and false religions of the world ; and he 
began to sow the seeds of disunion between the popular 
religions of my partners and my more expanded views 
of the true religion in practice. 

He recommended the abandonment of my mode (to 
this period so eminently ^ccessful in forming a superior 
and happy character for all the children in New Lanark, 
and which had contributed so much to improve it and 
to make their parents happy and highly satisfied with 
their condition and position), for his petty Quaker notions 
and his supposed superior benefits to be derived from 
religion and by superseding my liberal modes of natural 
instruction, by his restricted small ideas of a Quaker 
education, without music, dancing, or military discipline, 
all so essential to form a good and superior rational 
character. 

For some time I paid little attention to his crude and 
prejudiced notions, and I proceeded in my usual course 
for two or three years ; but finding his pretensions to 
great sanctity and a tender conscience about music, 
dancing, and military exercises, I gradually perceived the 



ROBERT OWEN 325 

necessity for a separation at no distant day, and in a few 
years this took place. 

In the interim I proceeded in my usual course to for- 
ward by all the means in my power the great object of 
my life, the improvement of the condition of humanity, 
without distinction of colour, country, class, or creed ; 
knowing that a part could never be permanently bene- 
fited except through measures that would secure the 
happiness of all tlirough future ages. 

In the early part of this year, 1820, I was deprived of 
the aid of his Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, as I 
have previously stated, by his sudden premature death. 

But from the magistrates and inhabitants of the 
burghs of Lanark and Linlithgow I received much com- 
plimentary notice (see their letters), to compensate me 
for the Idss of my election for these and their two con- 
nected burghs of Selkirk and Peebles ; an election lost 
to me by four votes only, — and votes which had been 
promised to me, but which were bribed by my opponents, 
while I had positively declined to bribe a single voter. 

In my canvass on this occasion I was accompanied and 
much assisted by Admiral Sir Robert Otway, who was 
much interested for my success. 

Had I succeeded and taken my seat in the House of 
Commons, I do not know that my ultimate success would 
have been advanced by it ; for society at that time was 
not sufficiently prepared for so great a change as I have 
always contemplated. Yet many efforts were made by 
many friends of my views to bring them into notice and 
practice, and considerable progress was made in keeping 
the subject before the public ; but the loss of my earnest 
and devoted and most valued friend and patron, his 
Royal Highness Prince Edward, to the cause I had under- 
taken, could not be replaced by any other party, and 
checked for some time the rapid progress which my 
new views were making, notwithstanding the great 
obstacle which I had made to retard their progress, by 
my so public denouncement of all the superstitions of 
the world, each falsely called by its supporters " the true 
"religion." 



326 THE LIFE OF 

But this depression was only of short duration. My 
official report called for by the county of Lanark a few 
months after the death of the Royal Duke, and the 
public measures taken thereon, again aroused public 
attention to the consideration of the subject ; and after 
this report, with the report of the committee appointed 
by the county to examine and report upon it, had been 
published and widely circulated at home and abroad, the 
subject again became popular, and during the years 
'20, '21, '22, and '23 especially excited in England, 
Scotland, Ireland, on the continent of Europe, and in 
the United States, an intense interest, and which, al- 
though with less prominent intensity, has been to this 
day working in all directions through the public mind of 
the world, until it has now, in all reflecting, sound thinking 
minds, utterly destroyed all faith or belief in the untenable 
foundation on which all society has been constructed, 
or in the possibility that it can ever produce a consistent 
or rational character, unity, prosperity, and happiness, 
among any portion of the human race, divided and 
separated as they now are by ignorant and superstitious 
notions, creating universal repulsive feelings between 
man and man and nation and nation. 

In proof of the great interest felt at this period in 
favour of my New View of Society see the proceed- 
ings of the county of Lanark to petition both Houses of 
Parliament to take the subject into their most grave con- 
sideration — petitions signed, as no other petitions have 
since been signed, by the leading noblemen, gentlemen, 
and freeholders of both political parties, the two uni- 
versities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, some entire Pres- 
byteries, and most of the clergy, all being long well- 
acquainted with the extraordinary beneficial results 
produced at New Lanark by the consistent application 
to practice of the principles which I so publicly 
advocated. 

Perhaps no evidence could be stronger in favour of 
new principles and their practices, directly opposed to 
all popular prejudices, than here so numerously and 
generally signed petitions by all the contending parties 



ROBERT OWEN 327 

in churches and State throughout this most learned, 
wealthy, and populous county in Scotland. 

It was when these petitions were presented, and were 
evidently favoured by Lord Liverpool's administration, 
that to prevent their probable adoption. Lord Lauder- 
dale made his celebrated telling speech, to stop the 
progress of the petition to the House of Peers. 

When he rose in his place, after perceiving that Lord 
Liverpool was inclined to favour the petition, he said, 
with most marked emphasis, — " My Lords, I know Mr. 
" Owen well ; and I know his plans ; having studied them 
" for some time. And I can assure your Lordships 
" that if you give any countenance to Mr. Owen and his 
" plans, no government in Europe can stand against 
" them." 

This decided the fate of the petitions in both Houses, 
and in both the previous question was moved. And 
although I have petitioned both Houses session after 
session to take this subject into their consideration, and 
although it is the most important that can ever be brought 
before them, yet to this day they have, civilly, it is 
true, declined to do so. 

But it was otherwise with the public at home and 
abroad. Our home nobility and men and women of 
superior acquirements and reflecting minds, and foreign- 
ers of high positions, came to New Lanark in increasing 
numbers and with increased desire to investigate the 
principles and practice by which it was governed. The 
French Academy voted me their thanks for my report 
to the county of Lanark, which was translated, with my 
Essays on the Formation of Character, into French 
and German ; and great excitement was made throughout 
Europe by that report and the petitions respecting it by 
the county to which it was presented. [See the various 
documents given on these matters in the Appendix. 
It will be seen from them that no one could have been 
more flattered than I was during this period by these 
private and pubhc proceedings, showing how strongly 
human nature desires truth in principle and equal justice 
in practice.] 



328 THE LIFE OF 

The report which excited all this interest was perhaps 
the first pubhcation that ever gave a fuU view of society 
in its whole extent, including every department of real 
life necessary for the happiness of our race. It was the 
first time that the outUnes of a science of society were 
given to the world, and the reasons explained for each 
part in this new combination ; and it was after the cir- 
culation of this report that the imaginative Fourier 
imagined his notions for forming a practical community 
society, mixing old and new principles and practices, 
which never can continue long to work together. 

The reason why this official report of mine to the 
county of Lanark excited so much general interest was 
because I commenced at the foundation of society, and, 
without regard to any existing popular prejudices, ex- 
plained in simple, open, and direct terms, the several 
parts forming the entire circle of human requirements to 
form a full science of society, to attain and maintain 
perpetual prosperity, unity, and happiness. 

It is now only, however, that the advanced minds of 
the age begin to comprehend so new a state of human 
existence ; and even yet there are but few so far de- 
veloped as to be enabled to encompass and compare two 
totally different systems for forming the character of, and 
governing, mankind ; S3'stems based on opposing prin- 
ciples and practices, antagonistic to each other in spirit 
and in the whole arrangements of the business of life. 

How many have yet been trained and educated to 
venture upon such an investigation ? How many minds 
are now unfettered to enter upon it without prejudice in 
favour of the old false and evil system, or unprejudiced 
against the new, tru€, and good system for the govern- 
ment of mankind ? 

And yet the old, of necessity, leads to a pande- 
monium ; while the new leads direct to a perpetual 
paradise on earth, — to the true practical Millennial state 
of human existence. 

The one has created and maintained individual selfish- 
ness, which, in spirit, principle, and practice, is opposed 
to the formation of a rational character, and to the well- 



ROBERT OWEN 329 

being, well-doing, and happiness of all of every colour, 
I ountry, creed, and class, and of every one upon the 
earth. 

It is remarkable that no one ever attempted to dis- 
prove the statement of this report and the reasoning 
thereon ; and who will now attempt the lask ? None 
will venture upon il ; because it will soon be discovered 
that it is founded upon self-evident truths, with self- 
evident deductions from those truths, and they will 
remain such to the end of time. By reference to docu- 
ments, I find that it called forth the creation of the 
" British and Foreign Philanthropic Society," established 
with the view of forwarding the knowledge of the prin- 
ciples and practices which I advocated ; and it will be 
seen by the names of the parties attached to this society 
as its officers, how widely spread and formidable these 
views had become, and by my correspondence how strong 
was the desire to have a model community commenced. 

I was so beset from all quarters of the hberal portion 
of society, to commence this experiment in this country, 
that, although I felt that the public was only partially 
prepared for it, I at length consented that a subscription 
should be tried to carry it into execution ; little expecting 
that the fund required could be raised — for I asked seven 
hundred and fifty thousand pounds for this purpose, and 
to my surprise fifty thousand pounds were subscribed. 
I declined for some time to commence with less than 
two hundred and fifty thousand ; but many of my more 
ardent friends had become so confident of the success 
of the experiment, that they would not be satisfied 
unless I would permit them to commence, and would 
give them my assistance. So many of these were sincere 
good men, most ardent in the cause, and willing to make 
great personal and pecuniary sacrifices to attain the 
object of their wishes, that I felt constrained to agree to 
see whether an experiment could at that time be made 
in Scotland with any reasonable chance of success. And 
Mr. J. A. Hamilton the younger, of Dalziel, who was one 
of the most ardent admirers of llie new views in principle 
and practice, having so often seen their superior effects on 



330 THE LIFE OF 

the children and matured population of New Lanark, 
took every method in his power to induce me to com- 
mence the first model community on his lands of Mother- 
well, a few miles from New Lanark, and being supported 
by many others equally ardent and active in the cause, 
it was determined to commence a community on his 
property, on as favourable terms as he could make on 
entailed property. 

The preliminary measures occupied much time during 
1822, '23, and part of '24, as will be seen by my corre- 
spondence. 

While these preparations were in progress I was strongly 
invited to visit Ireland, which at this period was in a state 
bordering on barbarism, from the ignorant contention 
derived from religious hatreds and conflicts and political 
strifes between Conservatives and so-caUed Liberals, 
then better known as Tories, Whigs, and Radicals. 
Tempting offers and strong requests from highly in- 
fluential parties at length induced me to visit this island 
of striking contrasts in the condition of its population, 
and in the practical working of a government made up 
of such contending materials. And surely such a medley 
of absurdity was not likely to produce any better prac- 
tical results. It was a real Babel of religious and 
political confusions ; aU parties and interests contending 
against each other, making the island a pandemonium ; 
while a little truth and common sense would have made 
it a paradise. 

But as the narrative of my proceedings in Ireland, with 
the published documents connected with them, would 
too much extend this volume, I will here conclude this 
first division of my life — requesting my readers to study 
attentively the various divisions of the Appendix, in 
which will be found the chief of my publications up to the 
period of my visit to the Sister Island. 



Since writing the preceding pages, which have been 
written at different and sometimes at distant periods, I 



ROBERT OWEN 331 

have been reminded of several occurrences deserving 
notice in this volume. 

One of these is, the accidental discovery, by Francis 
Place, when he was re-arranging his library and putting 
out what he deemed useless and worthless printed 
papers, as these were being swept out, of an old pamphlet, 
written 150 years before by John Bellers. As Mr. Place 
was at that time much interested in my new views, 
he immediately brought this pamphlet to me, saying — 
" I have made a great discovery — of a work advocating 
" your social views a century and a half ago." 

This was the only copy known to be in existence, and 
I begged it of him, and told him I would print one 
thousand copies of it for distribution, and that I would 
give the author the credit of originating the idea, although 
mine had been forced upon me by the practice of ob- 
serving facts, reflecting upon them, and trying how 
far they were useful for the everyday business of 
life. 

I had the thousand copies printed, and I widely cir- 
culated them, with the printed papers giving the account 
of my great public meetings in 1817, at one of which, as 
previously stated, I denounced all the superstitions (then 
called religions) which were forced upon different nations 
over the world. [A copy of the Pamphlet referred to 
will be found in the Appendix.] 

In referring to my expenses in preparing for, carrying 
on, and circulating the particulars of those meetings, I 
find my expenditure for these purposes in July and 
August of that year exceeded four thousand pounds. 

Having now discovered the all-overpowering influences 
of education, rightly understood, in forming the character 
of every one, I wrote, in May 1818, a public letter ad- 
dressed to my friend the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
" On the Union of Churches and Schools," which also 
will be found in the supplement Appendix. 

I may here refer to the Educational Conference lately 
got up (in June of the present year, 1857), by the Church 
of England, in opposition to, and intended to counteract 
the effects of, the prior " Congress of the Advanced Minds 



332 THE LIFE OF 

" of the Age," which I had called to consider " the best 
" peaceable practical mode of superseding the present 
" false, criminal-producing, and evil system, for the 
" government of the population of the world, by the true, 
" criminal-destroying, or good system of society, for 
" perpetually governing all of the human race." 

At the time when this Educational Conference was 
called, it was known by all the advanced minds of the 
age, through my previous public proceedings, that I 
had by my public meetings and my public lectures in 
this country for more than forty years instructed the 
working classes, and that, by my numerous publications 
on the subjects connected with a superior formation of 
character, I had taken a most active part and a 
prominent lead in preparing the public mind for an 
entire change of system in training the human race from 
birth. And more especially was it known to the leading 
philanthropists of the last sixty years, that I had for 
more than a quarter of a century applied the new 
principles for forming a good and superior character for 
our race most successfully to practice at New Lanark 
in Scotland, upon all the children of a population of 
between two and three thousand, — and where for that 
period my establishment and proceedings were freely 
open to the public, natives and foreigners, without dis- 
tinction, and were visited by thousands annually. And 
here my visitors of all nations and ranks saw to their 
astonishment gradations of many hundred children, 
from one to twelve years of age, in the day-time, and in 
the evening young men and women and persons of all 
ages, in a newly created institution for the formation of 
character, enjoying more happiness under this new 
training, without fear of punishment, and making a 
greater progress in useful knowledge, than had been 
seen at any former period in any age or country. 

The spirit, the principle, the practice, and the surround- 
ings were all new to the world ; and the infant schools 
which I invented and introduced into most successful 
practice were the first practical step ever taken towards 
the introduction of a rational system for forming and 



ROBERT OWEN y^l'^ 

governing the human race, to lead it to the true Millennial 
state of existence upon earth. 

Now all of this must have been well known to the 
parties calling this extraordinary Educational Conference 
in the present year ; and yet I was not called to assist, 
nor was my name once mentioned in the whole proceed- 
ings of the three days, until I made an attempt to speak 
on the last day — when I intended to make known and 
to explain to those present the most important discovery 
ever yet made kno^vn by man to man. 1 

But, no doubt for an ulterior wise purpose, the parties 
present were insanely determined that I should not be 
heard. 

While they were making their unseemly efforts to 
prevent my speaking, I could but pity their feelings and 
errors, knowing that I possessed the means to make 
myself heard through the four quarters of the world. 

But seeing their alarm lest I should speak, I satisfied 
myself with asking Mr. Edward Baines of Leeds one 
question, and with his ready and frank reply, that he 
never in his life had seen so beautiful a sight as my 
establishment at New Lanark. This was seen by him 
before the bigotry and sectarian notions of the limited 
mind and views of William Allen had, as one of my 
partners, interfered, no doubt from good intentions, to 
substitute as far as he could his own narrow-minded 
views, for those beyond sects or parties, and which ap- 
peared to all other persons so superior to anything they 
had ever seen or had imagined could ever be seen in 
practice. 

It is true, some of the heads of the Church who were 
present on this to-be-remembered occasion, knew that 
my fixed determination had been, and was, to show 
good cause why this wretched system for the government 
of humanity should be as speedily as possible peaceably 
superseded by the true and good universal system for the 
prevention of evil of all kinds, and for the establishment 
of all that will be substantially good^through futurity 
for the human race. 

But instead of being afraid of this great and all- 



334 THE LIFE OF 

glorious change, they would, if they could comprehend 
it in its full extent and consequences, hail it with the 
greatest joy, and be among the first to prepare for its 
introduction. 

If their fears had not overwhelmed them at the 
moment, surely the phalanx of talent, learning, station, 
and power present at this Conference, could have 
effectively replied to one unsupported old man ! 

But no ! Their fears dictated that truth, spoken 
" without mystery, mixture of error, or fear of man," 
would prevail ; and even then, after Mr. Baines had 
replied to my question, it did prevail in many minds. 

I had also forgotten to mention the Sketch of the 
Origin and Proceedings of the Shakers which I pub- 
lished with my other pamphlets in 1817. This narrative 
of the successful practice of these singular people, in the 
United States of North America, shows that even by a 
very inferior community life, wealth could be so easily 
created for all, that after a comparatively short period 
all the members obtained abundance without monev 
and without price, and were removed from the fear of 
want, knowing by experience that they could and would 
be supplied with all things necessary for health and 
comfort with the regularity of the seasons. And these 
parties have now proved for many years to be far more 
correct in morals and conduct than populations similar 
in number living under the individual competitive 
system. This Sketch is reprinted in the Appendix. 

The communities of these Shakers, based on pubUc 
without private property, have exhibited the second step 
of progress in practice to prepare for the Millennial state 
of existence. 

The first step was to form a superior physical and mental 
character for all ; the second to create abundance of 
wealth for all ; and the third step will be to unite the 
two first, by basing society on its true principle, and by 
placing all within such arrangements of surroundings 
as will well-form the character, create the wealth, and 
cordially unite all in one interest and feeling over the 
world ; which may now be easily attained in practice 



ROBERT OWEN 335 

by the most beautiful new combinations of surround- 
ings. 

That no doubts may be left on the mind of the reader 
respecting the high permanent importance in principle and 
practice of the long-continued experiment which I made 
at New Lanark, to form a new and superior character 
for all the children of that population, and to new-form 
the character of their parents and of all the older part 
of the same population, the following authentic docu- 
ments are also given in the supplement Appendix. 

1st. — The address of the inhabitants of New Lanark 
to myself, and my answer — January 1817. 

2nd. — ^The address of the same to my partners, Messrs. 
Foster, Allen, and Gibbs, — May 1818, — and their answer. 

3rd. — An extract from the Morning Post of the 5th 
of May 1817, contrasting the system which I had in- 
vented and adopted at New Lanark with that recom- 
mended by Mr. Curwen, M.P. 

4th. — All address from myself to the working classes, 
dated 29th March 1819, and published in the Star news- 
paper on the 15th April 1819. 

5 th. — ^The opening speech of his Royal Highness the 
late Duke of Kent, as Chairman of the Public Meeting 
held in the Freemasons' Hall, on the 26th of June 1819, 
and the debates at that meeting. 

6th. — ^The Report of the Commission appointed in 
July 1819 by the Guardians of the Poor of Leeds, to 
visit New Lanark and to report respecting the means 
adopted there to remove the cause of poverty and 
pauperism and to well-educate children. 

7th. — See alsOjin my Correspondence,a letter of William 
Tooke, Esq., i8th November 1819, relative to the same 
royal personage as acting chairman of my committee. 
And a second dated the 30th of the same month. 



THE END 



V^fs -y^ ov^' 



1 



CHIEF WORKS OF ROBERT OWEN 

The Book of the New Moral World. Contain- 
ing the rational system of society founded on 
demonstrable facts, developing the laws of Human 
Nature and Society. Pt. I. 8vo. (E. Wilson, 1836.) 

Life of Robert Owen. By Himself. With selections 
from his writings and correspondence. Vol. I. 
(2 parts). 8vo. (E. Wilson, 1857-58.) 

New Existence of Man upon the Earth. To which 
are added an outline of Mr. Owen's early life, and 
an Appendix containing his Addresses, published 
in 1815 and 1817. 8 parts. 8vo. (E. Wilson, 
1854-55-) 

A New View of Society. Essays on the pruiciple 
of the formation of the Human Character, etc. 
8vo. Privately printed (1813-14). Also numerous 
reprints. 

New View of Society. Tracts relative to this subject . 
With an account of the public proceedings con- 
nected with this subject, which took place in 
July and August 1817. 8vo. (London, 1818.) 

The Revolution in the Mind and Practice of the 
Human Race ; or. The Coming Change from Irra- 
tionality to Rationality. 8vo. (E. Wilson, 1849.) 

A Supplement to the Revolution in the Mind and 
Practice of the Human Race. To which is 
added a discourse delivered to the Socialists of 
London. 8vo. (London, 1849.) 
22 



338 CHIEF WORKS OF ROBERT OWEN 

Observations on the Effect of the Manufacturing 

System. 8vo. (London, 1815.) 
The Addresses of Robert Owen (as published in the 

London Journals). Preparatory to the development 

of a practical plan for the relief of all classes, etc. 

8vo. (London, 1830.) 
The Future of the Human Race, etc. 8vo. (E. 

Wilson, 1853.) 



INDEX 



Adams, John Quincey, United 
States Ambassador, 153, 278. 

Africa, religions in, 141. 

Aix-la-Chapelle, Congress at, 
247, 252, 257. 

Albemarle, Earl of, 305. 

Alexander, Emperor of Russia, 
Owen's meeting with, 252, 

255- 

Alexander, Mr., of Balloch- 
myle, 82, 107. 

Allen, Gibbs, and Foster, 
Messrs., 124, 335. 

Allen, William, of Plough 
Court, in partnership with 
Owen, 123, 131, 133, 143, 
195; reason for depreciating 
former interests, 324, 333. 

America, United States of, 
introduction of cotton from, 
45, 46 ; cotton embargo by, 
87, 88, 1 10 ; religions in, 
" 141 ; essays introduced to, 
153.225. 

Ancaster, family of, 18. 

Ancoats Lane, Manchester, 
pre nises at, 34. 

Arkwright, Sir Richard, part 
founder of New Lanark 
Mills, 36, loi, 292, 311. 

Arkwright's, prominence 
production from, 53, 55 

Armagh, Archbishop of, 
278. 

Arno's Grove, Southgate, 
Middlesex. See Walker, 
John. 



and 



152 



Asia, religions;in, 141. 

Atheson, Mr., 96. 

Atkinson, Mr. John, his partner- 
ship and opposition, 72, 1 19- 
129, 133, 135. 

Atkinson, Mr. Thomas, 58, 78. 

Attwood, Thomas, M.P., 292. 

Austin, Mr., 132. 

Ajrrshire, cotton mill in, 48, 82, 
107. 

Bailey, Lady Ross, of Bonning- 

ton, family relationship, 114. 
Baines, Dr., President of " .Vlan- 

chester College," 49, 50. 
Baines, Edward, visits Nev/ 

Lanark, 280, 292, 312, 333. 
Balfour, Rev. Mr., marries 

Owen to Miss Dale, 76. 
" Bank Top Mill," 48. 
Banks, George, Mayor of Leeds, 

292, 312. 
Bardsley, Dr., 51. 
Barrington, Hon. Shute, Bishop 

of Durham, 143, 168. 
Barton, Mr. John, negotiates 

for New Lanark Mills, 72. 
Bartons, Messrs., 58. 
Bedford, Duke of, visits Mr. 

Coke of Holkham, 301. 
Belfast visited, 153. 
Bell, his imperfect steamboat 

visited, 97. 
Bell, Dr. Andrew, 116, 122, 

147, 264. 
Bellers, John, tract by, 331. 
Belper, Lord, 291. 



339 



340 



INDEX 



Benthaai, Jeremy, in partner- 
ship with Owen, 123, 132, 
179, 292. 

Bernard, Sir Thomas, 143. 

Bertram, General, 154. 

Bethman, M., position of, 252. 

Bigotry, deathblow to, 224. 

Birley and Hornby, Messrs., 
negotiate for cotton mills, 
59. 88. 

Blackburn, a visit, and hunt- 
ing at, 59. 

Blackie, Mr., steward of the 
Holkham estate, 302. 

Boissy d'Anglas, Count de, 233. 

Books, read by Owen, 4, 18 ; 
in children's education, 193 ; 
in infant schools, 242 ; and 
study of human nature, 240. 

Booksellers warned not to 
publish Owen's Essays, 277, 
300. 

Borradale and Atkinson, 58, 
72, 119. 

Bourbon, Island, supply of 
cotton from, 44. 

Bourne, Sturges, Owen's treat 
raent by, 182-184. 

Bowring, Dr., 132. 

Boyd, Mr., Mayor of Lin th- 
gow, 317. 

Bradford, Lord, 301. 

Braxfield House, 114, 135, 137; 
Lord Stowell dines at, 206 ; 
Duke and Duchess of Kent 
intend to visit, 307. 

Braxfield, Lord, 137. 

" British and Foreign Philan- 
thropic S )ciety," 329. 

British Isles, population and 
producers, 173. 

Brougham, Henry, Lord, 
friendship of, 132 ; justifi- 
able conduct of, 167 ; in- 
terested in infant schools, 
196 ; estimate of Owen's 
speech, 226 ; Owen mistaken 
for, 314. 

Brown, General, 1 54. 

Browton, family of, 18. 



Buchanan, Mr. Archibald, 
cotton manufacturer, 48. 

Buchanan, James, infant- 
school teacher, 192, 196, 
210. 

Burdett, Sir Francis, M.P., 
292, 301, 305. 

Burgess, Thomas, Bishop of 
St. David's, 143, 168. 

Burleigh, family of , 18. 

Burleigh Park, its charm for 
Owen, 18. 

Byron, spirit intercourse with, 
274. 



Cambridge, Duke of, interested 
in manufacturing, 290. 

Campbell, the vlisses, 113. 

Campbell, Mr., of Zura, 119. 

Campbell, Alexander, his 
partnership and opposition, 
119-129, 133, 135. 

Campbell, Colin, partnership 
with, 119. 

Campbell, General Colin, posi- 
tion of, 139. 

Campbell, General Sir Guy, 
family connections — mar- 
riage of, 114. 

Campbell, Sir Neil, incident at 
Elba recalled by, 154, 279. 

Canning, Mr., interested in 
manufacturing, 290. 

Canterbury, Archbishop of. 
See Sutton, CM. 

Carlisle visited, 3T4. 

Cartwright, Major, 292. 

Castlereagh, Lord, undertakes 
to present Owen's memorials, 
257 ; interested in manu- 
facturing system, 290. 

Catrine, cotton mill in, 82, 107. 

Cawood, John, of Leeds, visits 
New Lanark, 280, 312. 

Chalmers, spirit intercourse 
with, 274. 

Channing, spirit intercourse 
with, 274. 

Chaptal, discoveries of, 53. 



INDEX 



341 



Character, cause of artificial, 
85 ; formation of, 146, 240, 

319- 
Charlotte, Princess, interested 

in manufacturing system, 

290. 
Charlotte, Queen, presented 

with muslins, 48. 
Cheshire, British muslins first 

manufactured in, 34, 55 ; 

management of lills in, 53 
Children, con.Utioas of their 

employment in the mills, 

161, 166. 
Chorlton Hall, 66. 
Chorlton Mill, 57, 78, 88. 
" Chorlton Twist Company," 

58, 60, 64, 88, 94. 
Christianity, fundamentals of, 

22. 
Church in opposition to Owen's 

reforms, 116, 264, 265, 276, 

279, 280, 333. 
City of London Tavern, meet- 
ings at, 7, 168, 184, 212-228. 

259-263, 276, 296. 
Clarke, Mr., 97. 
Clarkson, Thomas, 143, 292. 
Clyde, a visit to the Falls, 63, 

69. 

Coach, incidents of travel by, 
15, 61, 76, 100, 133, 312. 

Coke of Holkham, Owen visits, 
300. 

Coleridge, S. C, 49, 97. 

Colquhoun, Mr., political econ- 
omist, 172, 209, 267. 

Common sense essential to suc- 
cess, 146. 

Competition regarded as un- 
just, 6. 

Congress of Sovereigns, mem- 
orials for, 251-257, 259, 276. 

" Congress of the Advanced 
Minds of the Age," 331. 

Co-operation, introduction of 
the principles, 87. 

Copet, description of a visit to, 

239- 
Cork visited, 153. 



Cotton, early  history of, 30, 
44-48 ; introduction of 

. American, 46. 

Craig, James, first user of 
American cotton, 46. 

Crespigny, Sir William de, 291. 

Crighton, Sir Alexander, visits 
New Lanark, 200. 

Cronford, cotton factory at, 

53- 

Cumberland, Duke of, inter- 
ested in manufacturing 
system, 290. 

Currency, curious story of the, 

71- 
Curwen, Mr., M.P., 335. 

Cuvier, Baron, 229, 232, 234. 

Dale, Anne Carohne, after- 
wards Mrs. Owen, first meet- 
ing with Owen, 63, 68 ; her 
sisters' education, 136-139 ; 
anecdote of, 205. 

Dale, Mr. David, 63-77, 82, 98- 
loi, 107, 112-115, 136, 148. 

Dale, Mr. James, conducts 
Owen round the mills, 63 ; 
returns to Glasgow, 61 ; his 
philanthropic efforts at New 
Lanark, 83. 

Dale, Jane, Miss, 136. 

Dale, Julia, Miss, 136. 

Dale, Margaret, Misi, 136-139. 

Dale, Mary, Miss, 136-139, 140. 

Dalton, John, the Quaker, 49, 

97- 
Dancing, observations on, 5, 

13- 

Davis, Mr., 24. 

Dennistown, \Ir., his partner- 
ship and defeat, 119-129, 

133. 135- 
Desaix, General, sent by the 

Duke of Kent to visit New 

Lanark, 269. 
Distress following war, 168- 

173. 321. 
Donne, Dr. James, 7. 
Douglas, Sir William, 82, 107. 
Drake, Parson, 6, 



342 



INDEX 



Drinkwater, Miss, marriage 
proposals to, 54. 

Drinkwater, Mr., Owen's ex- 
perience with, 10, 36, 39, 58, 
74, 81, 94; engages Owen 
as manager, 36 ; first visitor 
to his factory, 42, 56 ; offers 
Owen a partnership, 43 ; 
Owen destroys agreement 
with, 57. 

DubUn visited, 153. 

Dyce, Mrs., 154. 

Eagle, adventure with an, 103. 

Edgeworth, Miss, 152, 278, 292. 

Edgeworth, Mr., author, 152, 
278. 

Edinburgh, University of, peti- 
tion on "new views," 298, 
326. 

Education, its early limita- 
tions, 3, 47 ; importance in 
Owen's schemes, 117, 137, 
147, 186, 319 ; dissertation 
on, 240. 

Eglington, Earl of, family con- 
nections, 137. 

Elba, copy of the New View 
reaches, 153-1SS. 279- 

Employment, lessons of active, 

9- 

England, educative force of a 
tour in, 137. 

England, Church of, stumbling- 
block of its creed, 117. 

Environment, law of destiny, 
62, 84. 

" Essays on the Formation of 
Character" (see also New 
View of Society), why under- 
taken by Owen, 148 ; effects 
of their publication, 142 ; 
rapid sale, 153; Coleridge's 
opinion of, 49 ; copies sup- 
plied through the Govern- 
ment, 152-155 ; a copy 
solicited for Napoleon, 153. 

Esterhazy, Prince, Austrian 
Ambassador, seeks an intro- 
duction to Owen, 185. 



Europe, observations on re- 
ligions in, 141 ; basis of 
society in, 253. 

Exeter, Earl of, 19. 



Factory Labour Relief Bill, 
measures and promotion, 
157-168, 264, 310, 311. 

Fellenberg, M. de, 245-247. 

Ferriar, Dr., senior Vice- 
President of the "Man- 
chester Literary," 5 i . 

Fieldens support Owen's 
Factory Bill, 311. 

Finlay, Mr. Kirkman, cotton 
manufacturer, 48, 126, 148. 

Fitzgerald, Lady Mary, family 
relations of, 114. 

Fitzgerald, Lord Edward, 114. 

Fitzgerald, Mi^s, her marriage, 
114. 

Fletcher, Mrs., " Queen of the 
Unitarians," 292. 

Flint and Palmer, Messrs., 25- 

27.30. 47- 
Flummery, effect of eating 

scalding, 3, 5,1 o. 
Foster, Allen, and Gibbs, 

Messrs., 335. 
Foster, Joseph, partnership 

with Owen, 123, 131, 133, 

143. 195- 
Fourrier, source of information 

obtained by, 322. 
Fox, Joseph, partnership with 

Owen, 123, 133. 
France visited by Owen, 138, 

229 ; political state of parties 

in, 230 ; cotton manufacture 

checked by war with, 48. 
Frankfort, preparation and 

meetings at, 239, 247, 252- 

257. 
Franklin, Benjamin, spirit 

intercourse with, 274. 
Freemason, reason for Owen 

not becoming a, 309. 
Friburgh, visit to a school at, 

240. 



INDEX 



343 



Friends, Society of, 130, 147, 

21 1. 
Frost, John, 292. 
Fulton, Robert, 89. 

Galileo, 274. 

Geneva, journey to, 235. 

Gentz, M., Secretary to the 
Congress of Sovereigns, 252. 

Geography, method of teach- 
ing in first infant school, 
199. 

George Inn, disappointing in- 
cident at the, 24. 

Germany visited by Owen, 
138, 229, 251, 256. 

Gibbs, Foster, and Allen, 
Messrs., 335. 

Gibbs, Michael, Lord Mayor of 
London, partner with Owen, 
123, 133. 

Glasgow, 34, 62, lis ; Lan- 
caster's visit to, 147 ; meet- 
ing re tax on raw material, 
157; University of , petition 
on "new views," 298, 326. 

Glenelg, Lord, friendly to 
" new views," 291. 

Gloucester, Duke of, 290. 

Gloucester, Robert Fulton at, 
89. 

Godwin, Wilhani, 143, 292. 

Goldsmid, Sir Isaac Lyon, aids 
measures of " new views," 
207, 291. 

Goodman Mr., 292. 

Goodwins of the Court, 7. 

Gott, Mr., 292. 

Gould, Nathaniel, of Man- 
chester, 167. 

Grant, Mr. Chas., friendly to 
"new views," 104, 291. 

Gray, Sir Charles, 291, 314. 

Great Britain, artificiality of 
society in, 144 ; over popu- 
lation of, 201. 

Greenheys described, 6^, yy. 

Hall,Captain, visit to Napoleon, 
338. 



Hamilton, Duke of, 322. 

Hamilton, J. A., of Dalziel, an 
admirer of " new views," 329. 

Hammel, Dr., Russian col- 
lector, 207. 

Happiness, creation of, 144 ; 
mean; of attaining, 251. 
larewood Earl of. See 
Lascelles. 

Harrowby, Earl of, aids 
measures of " new views," 
291. 

Hase, Henry, aids measures of 
" new views," 187, 196, 291. 

Hastings, Marquis and Mar- 
chioness, aid measures of 
" new views," 291. 

Hazlitt, his estimate of Owen, 
105. 

Henry, Mr., the che:nist, 51. 

Heptinstall, Mr., dealer in lace, 
16, 27. 

Herschell, Sir J. F. W., visits 
cotton mills, 42, 56. 

Heworth, 313. 

Heywood, Mr. Sergeant, visits 
Manchester mills, 42. 

Highlands, visit to, 101-105. 

Hoare, Mr., senior, banker, aids 
measures of " new views," 
143, 291. 

Hofwyl, visit to school at, 245- 
247. 

Holkham, agricultural experi- 
ments at, 301. 

Holme, Dr., 51. 

Honduras, 6y. 

Houldsworth, Mr., his mission 
of scandal-hunting, 162-166. 

Human nature, lessons in, 42, 
117, 143, 146, 203; mis- 
directed, 194. 

Humboldt, Alexander von, 232. 

Hume, Joseph, M.P., 292 ; 
visits Mr. Coke of Holkham, 

301, 305- 
Humphreys, Mr., 58. 81, 129. 
Hunt, Henry, M.P., 292. 
Hunter, Colonel, proposes a 
toast,^i27. 



344 



INDEX 



Independents in Scotland, 

68. 
Infant schools, institution and 

progress of, 192-200, 210- 

212, 
Inverness visited by Owen, 103. 
Ireland, invitation to visit, 

153. 330 ; society in, 144. 

Jackson, President, adopts 

" new views," 278. 
Jacobi, Baron, the Prussian 

Ambassador, 185. 
Jamaica, 225. 
Jardine, Professor, 148. 
Jefferson, President, adopts 

" new views,".. 278 ; spirit 

intercourse with, 274. 
John, Prince of Austria, visits 

New Lanark, 203. 
JoUy, Mr., 97. 
Jones, Ernest, 30-36, 292. 
Jourdain, Camille, 233. 
Jura, incidents while crossing, 

235- 
Just, Baron, secures Owen 

royal recognition, 208. 

Kelly, Mr. WilHam, 73, 81. 

Kennedy. See McConnell. 

Kennedy, of Manchester, 292. 

Kensington Gardens, 24. 

Kent, Duke of, public interest 
and friendship with Owen, 
209, 230, 266-275, 290, 296, 
31O1 335 ; intends to visit 
New Lanark, 307 ; spirit 
communication from, 274, 
315 ; death of, 325. 

Kerry, Montgomeryshire, 8, 
24. 

Kilbarchan, making of muslins 
at, 48. 

Kirk nan Finlay and Co., 
Messrs., of Glasgow, 107. 

Krudener, Baron de, 255. 

Lambeth, visit to, 149. 
Lanark, candidate for, 311, 
325' 



Lancaster, Joseph, his educa- 
tional .system aided, 116, 
122, 264; invitation to 
Glasgow, 147. 

Lane, ^liss, 138. 

Lansdowne, Marquis of, assists 
in establishing an infant 
school, 196. 

La Place, the astronomer, 232. 

Lascelles, Lord, influence and 
help from, 159, 217. 

Lauderdale, Lord, interest in 
Owen, 291, 296 ; effect of 
his speech, 327. 

Lausanne, meeting at, 257. 

Lavoisier, iscussion on dis- 
coveries of, 53. 

Lee, George, partnership of, 36. 

Leeds, adopts Owen's nodel 
for poor law reform, 280; 
Guardians of the Poor at, 
335 ; deputation visits New 
Lanark from, 312. 

Leinster, Duke of, 114. 

Letters, the carriage of, 65. 

Lenning, Mr. Thomas, 94. 

Leopold, Prince, interested in 
manufacturing, 290. 

Liberty, real understanding of, 
213. 

LiUas, Lady, relationship ^of , 

Limerick visited, 153. 
Lincolnshire, 17. 
Linlithgow, prospective parlia- 
mentary candidate for, 311, 

317. 325- 
Liston, Sir Robert, 291. 
Literature, varied reading and 

its influence, 4, 18. 
Liverpool, Lady, 150, 277. 
Liverpool, Lord, friendliness 

of, 149, 277, 290, 299, 317, 

327 ; interview with, 218. 
Llanllwchaioin, parish of, 6. 
London, Owen's first visit to, 

12, 15. 
Lonsdale, Earl of. See Low- 

ther, Sir William. 
Louis Philippe, 230J 



INDEX 



345 



Lowther, family of, i8. 

Lowther, Sir William, after- 
wards Earl of Lonsdale, 
i8. 

Macaulav, Zachary, 143. 
Macgregor, Alexander, 125, 

133- 
Macintosh, Lady, her views 
after^ visiting New Lanark, 

143- 
Macintosh, Miss, her views 
after visiting New Lanark, 

143- 
Macintosh, Charles, inventor 

of " Macintoshes," 82, 100. 

Macintosh, George, mill part- 
nership vnth, 82, 100-104, 
107. 

Macintosh, Sir James, philo- 
sopher, 143. 

Macnab, Dr. Henry Gray, sent 
by the Duke of Kent to visit 
New Lanark, 269. 

Maconnel of Manchester, 292. 

Macqueen, Robert, occupies 
Braxfield House, 137. 

Madison, President, adopts 
" new views," 278. 

Malthus, Rev. Thomas Robert, 
143, 178, 292. 

Malthusians, 201, 215 ; in op- 
position to Owen, 266, 280. 

Manchester, Owen's commer- 
cial interests in, 29-89 ; pro- 
duction of cotton in, 30, 36, 
53 ; estimation of Owen by 
the people of, 45. 

Manchester Literary and Philo- 
sophical Society, 49-53. 

Marshall, Mr,, part purchaser 
of Greenheys, 67. 

Marsland, Mr. Peter, of Stock- 
port, visits Manchester mills, 
42, 292. 

Marsland, Samuel, invites 
Owen as a partner, 57, 97, 
292. 

Maximilian, Prince of Austria, 
visits New Lanark, 203. 



McConnel and Kennedy, 
Messrs., 35. 

McGuffog, Rlr. James, of Stam- 
ford, 16-30, 33, ** 40, 41. 

47- 
McNiven, Mr., 94. 
Melville, Lord, 317. 
Men, conduct of public, 161. 
Menzies, Rev., his antagonism, 

cause and effect, 162-166. 
Mexico, 225. 
Mill, James, of the India 

House, 132, 143, 178, 292 ; 

interested in education 

scheme, 196. 
Minchall, Madame, 66. 
Mitchell, ?.Ir., a Glasgow 

agent, 34. 
Mon^rief, Mr. Scott, friendly 

offices of, 75. 
Mont Blanc, a first view of, 

236. 
Monteith, Mr., 317. 
Montgomeryshire, home of 

Owen in, i, 8, 24. 
Moore, Mr., employs Owen, 1 1- 

13, 16. 
Morgan, John Minter, 292. 
Morning Post, 335. 
Mortlock, Mr., 169-171. 
Moulson, Scarth, andpwen, 58. 
Moulston, Mr., 97. 
" Mules," Imachinery -for, 32, 

35-. 
Mushn, 'supply and demand of, 

34, 45, 46, 48. 
Mylne, Professor, 148. 

Napoleon receives and en- 
dorses "new views," 153- 
1 55, 279 ; visited by Captain 
Hall, 238. 

National schools, 116. 

Nature, the giver of quahties, 
22. 

Neckar, Madame, Owen's intro- 
duction to, 237. 

New Lanark, cotton-spinning 
at, 35, loi ; Owen's first 
visit to, 63 ; second visit, 71 ; 



346 



INDEX 



third visit and purchase of, 
jl, 88 ; Mr. Dale desires to 
sell, 69, 71 ; Owen com- 
mences his government at, 
78-85 ; deplorable condi- 
tion of population, 79, 85 ; 
opposition from inhabitants, 
86 ; successfully governed 
in accordance with Owen's 
doctrine of environment, 87, 
108, 112, 115, 129, 143, 173, 
200, 260, 264, 317 ; means 
adopted to alleviate cotton 
embargo distress, 87, 1 10 ; 
not a field to display " new 
views" to the full, no; 
singular method adopted to 
record daily character in 
mills. III, 190; sold to a 
new firm, 119; sold again 
to Owen, 1 21-133 ; pam- 
phlet with proposed changes, 
123 ; John Walker's partner- 
ship in, 123, 129, 249 ; re- 
joicings on its purchase, 133- 
135 ; steps for education, 
domestic economy, etc., at, 
148, 186, 195, 212, 241, 243, 
318 ; difficulty of securing 
infant-school teachers for, 
191 ; dancing, singing, and 
drilling by the children, 195, 
198, 210 ; visitors and 
guests, 143, 158, 162, 206, 
280 ; intended visit by the 
Duke of Kent to, 208, 268, 
307 ; remarks of religious 
visitors to, 281 ; serious 
fire at, 3 1 5 ; experiments at, 

335- 

" New Lanark Twist Com- 
pany " changes its title, 119. 

New View of Society (see 
also " Essays on the Forma- 
tion of Character"), first 
openly propagated, 105 ; 
question, " How will you 
begin ? " answered, 108 ; 
could t not' be fully demon- 
strated at New Lanark, 



109, 117, 290; preparation 
for its publication, 122, 148 ; 
attracts the notice of Mr. 
John Walker, 129 ; Lord 
and Lady Liverpool capti- 
vated by, 1 50 ; submitted 
through the Britistf Govern- 
ment all over the world, 
152-155 ; friendships secured 
by these essays, 171, 185, 
291-294 ; a practical uni- 
fying force, 212 ; discussed 
at Frankfort, 253 ; advo- 
cated by the newspapers, 
261 ; committee formed in 
London to promote, 268 ; 
public desire for an experi- 
ment, 276, 329 ; opposition 
by Church to, 277, 290 ; 
published in foreign coun- 
tries, 278, 327 ; said to be 
too good to be adopted, 
293 ; Lord Lauderdale's 
concern, 296, 327 ; ex- 
plained at Mr. Coke's Holk- 
ham estate, 300 ; pro- 
moted by the " British and 
Foreign Philanthropic So- 
ciety," 329. 

Newal House, residence of Mr. 
Drinkwater, 56. 

Newcastle, 313. 

Newspapers, their support of 
Owen, 214-220, 262. 

Newton-Douglas, cotton mill 
at, 82, 107. 

Newtown, Montgomeryshire, 
birthplace of Owen, 1,7, 11, 
15, 24, 43. 

Newtown Hall, 2. 

Noel, family of, 18. 

Northwich, cotton factory at, 

53- 
Norwich, Bishop of, 168. 

Oastler, Richard, of York- 
shire, 167. 

Oastler, Robert, of Leeds, 

visits New Lanark, 280, 
312. 



INDEX 



347 



Oberlin, Father, conversation I 

on education, 240-244. : 

" Observations on the Manu- ' 

ftcturing System," 290. i 

O'Connor, Feargus, M.P., 292. 
Old Hall, near Kerry, 8, 24. 
Old Lanark, 74, 133, 317. 
Oldenburgh, Duke of Holstein-, 

his visit to New Lanark, 20 1 - j 

203. ! 

Oldknow, Samuel, first manu- \ 

facturer of " muslins," 34, 1 

55, 82, 292. 
Olier, Miss, 138. 
Olive, Princess of Cumberland. 

See Serries, Mrs. Lavinia. 
" On the Union of Churches 

and Schools," public letter 

by Owen, 331. 
Orleans, Duke of. See Louis 

Philippe. 
Orleans cotton, 44. 
Oswestry, 7. 
Otway, Admiral Sir Robert, 

canvasses for Owen, 317, 

325. 

Owen, Anne, afterwards mar- 
ried to Mr. Davis, 2, 24. 

Owen, Anne Caroline, 98. 

Owen, David Dale, 98, 200. 

Owen, Jane Dale, 98. 

Owen, John, brother of Robert, 
a competition with, 2, 6. 

Owen, Mary, 98. 

Owjn, Richard, brother of 
Robert, 2. 

Owen, Richard, son of Robert, 
98, 200. 

Owen, Robert, senior, i, 14. 

Owen, Robert, birth and 
baptism — early family re- 
collections, 1,8; schooldays 
— becomes an " usher " 
when seven years old, 2, 
4 ; scalding " flummery " 
changes outlook, 3, 5, 10 ; 
incidents on first leaving 
home, 13-16; enters Mr. 
McGuffog's service at Stam- 
ford, 16-30 ; daily reading 



— writes to Mr. Pitt, 18, 22 ; 
with Messrs. Flint and Pal- 
mer — his appearance, 24- 
26 ; leaves for Mr. Satter- 
field's, Manchester, 28 ; 
machine-making — aged nine- 
teen as spinner, 30-32, 
35 ; declines partnership 
with Mr. McGuffog, 33; be- 
comes manager at Mr. 
Drinkwater's mills, 37 ; 
method of dealing with 
the workpeople, 41 ; pro- 
spective partnership with 
Mr. Drinkwater, 43, 56 ; 
maker of the finest yarns, 44, 
45, 155 ; forms an intimacy 
with John Dalton and 
others, 49 ; joins the 
" Literary and Philosophical 
Society of Manchester," 50 ; 
theories on man, 52, 53 ; 
undertakes superintendence 
of water - spinning mill, 
53 ; partnership \vith Mr. 
Marsland declined, 57 ; 
amusing hunting exploit near 
Blackburn, 59 ; journey to 
Glasgow, 59-62 ; meets Miss 
Dale, 63, 68-72, 74 ; resides 
at Chorlton Hall and 
Greenheys House, 66, 
67, 77 ', purchases New 
Lanark, 70-74 ; marriage, 
30th Sept. 1799, 76 ; abode 
and government at New 
Lanark, 78-89 ; method of 
deaUng with unemployment, 
87; friendship with Robert 
Fulton, 89-97 ; his children, 
7, 201, 247 ; journey with 
Mr. George Mackintosh to 
the Highlands, 100-104 ; re- 
ceives freedom of Inverness, 
103 ; propagates his New 
View of Society, 105, 122, 
148, 152-155, 253, 278, 300, 
327 ; introduction of the 
silent monitor for daily 
conduct, III, 190; neces- 



348 



INDEX 



sity for an infant school, 
115, 117, 136,318; encour- 
ages Lancaster's and Bell's 
education systems, 117, 264 ; 
partners alarmed at ad- 
vanced views, 1 18-120, 324 ; 
with new partners purchases 
New Lanark property, 120- 
136, 249 ; curious incidents 
at an auction sale, 125-128 ; 
public life now fairly com- 
menced (18 13), 136; tours 
in Great Britain and on 
the Continent, 137, 229-248, 
257-259, 280 ; " Essays on 
the Formation of Char- 
acter," 142, 148, 149-155; 
encourages Joseph Lancaster 
to come to Scotland, 147; 
introduced to Sir Neil Camp- 
bell, anecdote of Napoleon, 
153-155 ; relief for factory 
employees, 15S ; Parlia- 
ment promises remission of 
tax, 158; Factory Labour 
Relief Bill promoted, 

158-167,174; appointed to 
a Distress Committee, 
168-180 ; Committee on the 
Poor Laws, strange attitude 
to, 182-184 ; public meet- 
ings called or attended by, 

184, 212-228, 259-263, 280, 
294, 296 ; interviews on, 
and visitors to. New Lanark, 

185, 200, 206-208, 269, 300, 
333 ; school difficulties, 192- 
197 ; James Buchanan 
given up to aid his friends, 
196 ; entertains Nicholas, 
Emperor of Russia, 200 ; 
visits the Queen of Wiirttem- 
berg, 202 ; receives gold 
medal from the King of 
Saxony, 208 ; describes his 
visit to the second infant 
school, 210-212 ; utiUzes 
the daily press, 215, 262; 
public denunciation of all 
religions, 219-225, 281-290 ; 



consideration and opposition 
to his proceedings, 225-228, 
259-267 ; travels with Pro- 
fessor Pictet and Baron 
Cuvier 229-248, 257-259 ; 
visits Mademoiselle de Stael 
and meets M. Sismondi at 
Copet, 238 ; three noted 
schools in Switzerland 
visited and described, 246- 
247 ; proceeds to Frankfort, 
prepares memorials, 247, 
254-257, 259, 276 ; incident 
on offering a copy of his 
memorial to Emperor Alex- 
ander, 255; Duke of Kent's 
interest in Owen and "new 
views," 266, 296, 315, 324; 
receives Dr. McNab and 
General Desaix, 269 ; re- 
lates some particulars of 
Mrs. Serries, 271 ; opposi- 
tion to his " new views," 
277, 290, 296, 327 ; visits 
Leeds on the invitation of 
the Poor Law Guardians, 
280 ; influential persons in- 
terested in " new views," 
290-294 ; attends meeting 
with Sir Robert Peel against 
Mr. Peel, 294, 295, 321 ; 
Lord Lauderdale's attitude 
toward, 296-299 ; his in- 
teresting account of visit 
to Mr. Coke at Holkham, 
300-310 ; requested to be- 
come a Freemason — on ad- 
vice does not, 309 ; parlia- 
mentary candidate — de- 
feated by four votes, 311, 
317 ; is mistaken for Spence 
and again for Lord Broug- 
ham, 313, 314; asked for a 
report on distress in Lanark, 
322, 326 ; receives the 
thanks of the French 
Academy, 327 ; invited to 
visit Ireland, 330 ; repub- 
lishes an old tract by John 
Bellers, 331 ; writes an 



INDEX 



349 



account of the Shakers in 
America, 334 ; documents 
relating to experiments at 
New Lanark. 335 ; various 
residences: Braxfield House, 
137; Chorlton Hall, 66; 
Glasgow, 98 ; Greenheys, 
67, yy ; London, 15, 16, 25, 
266 ; Manchester, 29, 32, 
89 ; New Lanark, 78 ; New- 
town, I ; Rosebank, 138 ; 
Stamford, 16. 

Owen, Mrs. Robert. See Dale, 
Anne Caroline. 

Owen, Robert Dale, 97. 

Owen, William, 2, 15, 16,24,31. 

Owen, William Dale, 98. 

Paisley, cotton manufacturing 
at, 48. 

Palmer, William, junior, 27. 

Paris, 96, 229. 

Paris, Julian de, first meeting 
with Owen, 228. 

Parliament, Houses of, sym- 
pathetic consideration from, 

^58. 
Peebles, prospective parlia- 
mentary candidate for, 311, 

'i'^7' 325- . . ^ 

Peel, Sir Robert, senior, intro- 
duces Factory Rehef Bill, 
143, 157, 159, 161, 167, 264, 
299, 317 ; attends meeting 
against his son's measure, 
294, 321. 

Peel, Sir Robert, junior, first 
notice respecting, 151 ; an 
interviev/ described, 218 ; 
afterwards Prime Minister, 
his inexperience, 218, 295. 

Peninsular War, meeting to 
reheve distress following, 
168-173, 321. 

Percival, Dr., President of the 
" Manchester Literary," 49. 

Perthshire, cotton mill in, 82. 

Pestalozzi, a visit to a former 
partner of, 245. 

Philips and Lee, 167. 



Philips, Sir George, of Salford, 
partnership of, 36 ; his ex- 
amination expunged, 167. 

Pictet, Professor F. J., 229- 
248, 257-259 ; Napoleon's 
concession of imported Eng- 
hsh publications to, 234. 

Pitt, William, 22. 

Place, Francis, the Malthusian 
politician, 132, 143, 154, 292, 
331 ; character and confes- 
sions of, 169, 178. 

Political economy, 143. 

Porter, [iss, 292. 

Preston, a manufacturer of , 61. 

Prevost, Madame, meeting 
with, 237. 

Price, Sir John Powell, Bart., 2. 

Punishment, Owen's view of 
juvenile, 15. 

Radnorshire visited, 24. 
Reason essential to success, 

146. 
ReUgion, thoughts on, 5, 21, 

41, 85, 98, 137, 139-142 : 

damage by professors of, 
162, 212 ; consideration and 
public declaration on, 219- 
225 ; denounced as the 
obstacle to improvement, 
220, 222, 260-263, 281-290. 

Resources of the British Enipite, 
by Colquhoun, referred to, 
172, 209. 

Reynolds, Mr., a saddler, 15. 

Ricardo, David, M.P., the 
economist, 143, 178, 292. 

Riddle, Sir John Buchanan, 

311- 
Rider, Mr., aids measures of 

" new views," 291. 

Rigi, Mount, 239. 

Rochefoucault, Duke de la, 
his cotton-spinning manu- 
factory, 234. 

Roscoe, WiUiam, 292. 

Rosebank, the residence of Mr. 
David Dale, 138. 

Ross, Sir Charles, Bart., 1 14. 



350 



INDEX 



Rothschild,] Madame, aids 

measures of " new views," 

291. 
Rothschild, Nathan, 252, 291. 
Rowe, an eccentric minister 

of. 6. 
Roy, Ramoun, observations on 

religion, 142. 
Rush, His Excellency Richard, 

United States Ambassador, 

300. 305- 
Russia, Emperor of, interest in 
visit to New Lanark, 200- 
203. 

Sabbath disregarded in Stam- 
ford, 22. 

St. Ann's Square, Manchester, 
lodgings in, 32. 

St. Domingo, 225. 

Satterfield, Mr., business re- 
lationship with, 27, 29, 

47- 
Saxony, King of, recognition 

of Owen, 208. 
Scarth, Mr., 97. 
Schools, view and practice in 

establishing, 1 1 5-1 1 7, 1 20, 

136, 186, 191, 196, 240- 

247. 
Scien.ce, effects of its progress, 

253- 

Scotland, Owen's visits to, 59, 
60-64, 103, 137 ; shares in 
cotton manufacturing, 48 ; 
children's education and the 
" new system " in, 147. 

Scott, Sir Walter, 10 1. 

Scott, Sir William. See Sto- 
well. Lord. 

Selkirk, Royal Burgh of, pro- 
spective parliamentary can- 
didate for, 311, 317, 325. 

Seneca, 19. 

Serries, Mrs. Lavinia, some 
notes respecting, 271. 

Severn, river, impression of, 
2, II. 

" Shakers of North America," 
account of, 334. 



Shelley, spirit intercourse wi 

274. 
Shrewsbury passed on t 

London journey, 13, 15. 
Sidmouth, Lady, visit to N' 

Lanark, 206. 
Sidmouth, Lord, his interest 

Owen's Essays, 151,278,25 

investigates a false chai 

against Owen, 164-166. 
" Silent monitor," use a 

description in preventi 

punishments, iii, 188, 19 
Simpson, Mr., 36, 292. 
Simpson, Surgeon, 51. 
Sismondi, M., 239. 
Sloane, David, 17, 19. 
Saiith, Mr., of Deanstow 

48. 
Smith, Benjamin, M.P., r 

tional school founder, 196. 
Smith, John, M.P., banke 

interested in infant schoo'. 

196 ; aids in promotii 

" new views," 291. 
Smith, William, M.P. f. 

Norwich, views on a petitio 

298. 
Social Reforms, launch ir 

scheme and ideas for, 2ii 

228. 
Society. See also New Vie 

of Society. 
Society, the director i 

qualities, 22. 
Society of Friends, 'infar 

school established by, 211. 
Spear, Miss, 62,, 64, 68. 
Spear, Robert, a Manchesto 

cotton broker, 45, 63. 
Speirs, Alexander, present 

Queen Charlotte witi 

muslins, 48. 
" Spinning Dale Cotton Mill,' 

101-104, 107. 
Spiritualism, 274, 279, 315. 
Spitalfields, third infant schoo 

set up at, 211. 
Stael, Mademoiselle de, visii 

to, 239. 



INDEX 



351 



iford. Lines, Owen's resi- 
nce and employment at, 

-24. 33- 

ley, John, reminiscence of, 

newspaper, 335. 
mboat, some account of 
e inventor of, 89-97. 
le, Laurence, possibilities 
plagiarism of, 4. 
art. Rev. James Haldane, 
s marriage, 1 39. 
Icport, British muslins first 
oduced at, 34, 55. 
'ell, Lord, visit to New 
nark, 206. 

tt, Joseph, of Derby, 
jets Owen at Geneva, 238, 
I. 

tt, William, of Derby, 291, 
I. 

tts, Messrs., prominence 
the cotton trade, ss. 
ges. Bourne. See Bourne, 
ex, Duke of, visits Owen, 
'9 ; his friendly interest, 
16, 290, 296 ; visits Mr. 
^ke of Holkham, 301 ; 
tends to visit New Lanark, 
)7 ; on Owen becoming a 
reemason, 309. 
on, Chas. Manners, Arch- 
shop of Canterbury, 143, 
t9, 168, 276, 331 ; pre- 
des at Owen's meeting, 214. 
5S .'National Society of 

. atural History, 257. 
tzerland, 138, 229; visits 

iO three noted schools in, 
+0-247. 

istock. Lord, 301. 

lor, Richard, and Co., 

[inters of Owen's Essays, 

53- 

nyson, Alfred, Lord, 19. 
okness, Mr., Owen's first 
:hoolmaster, 2. 
mton, Mr. Henry, banker, 
43. 291. 



Tilsley, Misses, Owen's em- 
ployment by, 1 1 . 

Tilsley, Mr., 16. 

Times, a warm supporter of 
Owen's views, 213, 262. 

Tooke, WiUiam, 335. 

Torrens, Colonel Robert, 143, 
178. 

Torrington, Viscount, aids 
measures of "^^new views," 
291. 

Torrington, Viscountess, 291. 

Tour and Taxis, Prince of, 

255- 

Travelling, incidents of, 15,61, 
76, 100, 133, 312. 

Trickstone Bar, the crossing of, 
61. 

Trollope, family of, 18. 

Turner, Rev. William, of New- 
castle, 143. 

Turners of Penarth 7. 

Unemployment, payment dur- 
ing, 88, no. 

Van Buren, Mr., adopts "new 
views," 278. 

Vansittart, Nicholas, after- 
wards Lord Bexley, an 
interview with, 158. 

Wade, General, use of military 
roads made by, lOO. 

Wales, Owen's early home in, 
I, 24. 

Walker, Mr. John, of Amo's 
Grove, in partnership with 
Owen, 123, 129 ; a de- 
scription, 195, 249 ; bio- 
graphical notice of, 130, 202, 
239, 247-251, 257, 266, 
291. 

War, relief of distress following, 
168-173, 321. 

Wardlaw, Rev. Ralph, 148. 

Washing as done in Scotland, 
61. 

Washington, Judge, cordial 
reception by, 279. 



352 



INDEX 



Wellbeloved, Mr. Charles, 
Principal of the Manchester 
College, York, 49, 143. 

Wellington, Duke of, British 
representative to the Con- 
gress, 257. 

Welsh Pool, birthplace of 
Owen senior, i. 

West Indies, cotton from, 44. 

Westminster, infant school at, 
its mismanagement, 196, 
210. 

Westminster, Dean of, 217. 

Westmoreland, family of, 18. 

Wilberforce, Mr. WiUiam, 
friendly to " new views," 
143, 291. 

Wilderspin, William, master 
of the third infant school, 
211. 



WilUams, family of, locatic 

and calling, i. 
Williams of Vaynor, 7. 
WiUiams, Richard, 8-10, 24. 
Winstanley, Mr., an intima; 

friend of Owen, 49. 
Women, practice of washiuj 

by, 61. 
Woodruff, Mr., 34. 
Wiirttemburg.Queen of.Owen* 

interview with, 203. 

York, famous college remove 

to, 49, 50. 
York, Duke of, 168, 209, 29< 
Young, Miss Molly, teacher 

the first infant school, 192 
Yverdun, school visit at, 244. 

Zura, Island of, its owner, T19 



PRINTED BY MORRISON AND C.IBB LTD., EDINBURGH. 



o 




Owen, Robert 

The life of Robert Owen 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 



) 
J 



& 



UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY