History of Co-operation (2)
Home Up Autobiography Rochdale Pioneers Leeds Co-op Jubilee Derby Co-op Jubilee Bygones Public Speaking Among the Americans The Reasoner Miscellaneous Main Index Site Search


[Previous Page]



"There are some very earnest and benevolent persons who have nevertheless a hollow jingle in their goodness.  They mistake their own indifference for impartiality, and call upon men to renounce for philanthropic purposes convictions which are as sincere, as salutary, and often more important to public freedom than philanthropy itself."

G. J. H.

IT was the year 1825 which saw co-operative views—which since 1812 had been addressed by Mr. Owen to the upper classes—first taken up by the working class.  In 1817, as the reader has already seen, he declared "all the religions of the world to be founded in error"; he alarmed the bishops and clergy, many of whom were in sympathy with his views, and had themselves intermittent compassion for the working class.  For twenty-three years their wrath endured.  In 1840 Mr. William Pare, one of the earliest and ablest of Mr. Owen's disciples, was compelled to resign the office he held of Registrar of births, deaths, and marriages in Birmingham, in consequence of its being made known to the Bishop of Exeter that Mr. Pare sympathised with Mr. Owen's views.

    Many of Mr. Owen's difficulties with theologians arose through their not understanding him, and through Mr. Owen not understanding that they did not understand him.  His followers were fond of quoting the lines:—

"For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,
 His can't be wrong whose life is in the right."

    It is not at all clear that a man has a fair chance of getting his life right while his creed is wrong.  With all men creed has a great deal to do with conduct.  Pope's lines are the doctrine of a latitudinarian without a conscience.  But the argument of Pope imposed on Mr. Owen, as it has done on other excellent men.  Mr. Owen was not himself indifferent to conviction.  His own conviction about the religion of humanity was so strong that he paid no heed to any opinions which contradicted it.  An innovator may point out the errors and mischiefs of a popular faith; but he can never command respect from adversaries unless he makes himself master of their case and does justice to the equal honesty of those sincerely opposed to him.  Meaning nothing offensive by it, Owen often displayed the common insolence of philosophers—the insolence of pity.  It is irritating and uninstructive to earnest men to be looked down upon with compassion on account of convictions acquired with anxiety and many sacrifices.

    "It is not our object," at other times Owen used to say, "to attack that which is false, but to make clear that which is true.  Explaining that which is true convinces the judgment when the mind possesses full and deliberate powers of judging."  The creed of Co-operation was that the people should mean well, work well, secure to themselves the results of their labour, and neither beg, nor borrow, nor steal, nor annoy.  Owen inconsistently denied men's responsibility for their belief, and then said the new system did not contravene religion.  As religion was then understood it did.

    In 1837 Mr. Owen, in his discussion with the Rev. J. H. Roebuck, at Manchester, said "he was compelled to believe that all the religions of the world were so many geographical insanities."  It was foolishness in followers to represent, as did John Finch and Minter Morgan, that their views were those of "true Christianity."  Their business was simply to contend that their views were morally true, and relevant to the needs or the day, and rest there.  Neither to attack Christianity nor weakly attempt to reconcile social views to it would have been a self-defensive and self-respecting policy.

    Mr. Owen's theory of the motives or conduct was one which could only commend itself to persons of considerable independence of thought—who were then a small minority.  To incite men to action he relied on four considerations, namely, that what he proposed was:—

1. True; 2. Right; 3. Humane; 4. Useful.

    It was understood very early [37] that Co-operation was proposed as a system of universal industry, equality of privileges, and the equal distribution of the new wealth created.  This was an alarming programme to most persons, except the poor.  Many did not like the prospects of "universal industry."  The "distribution of wealth" in any sense did not at all meet the views of others, and "equality of privilege" was less valued.

    Mr. Owen determined upon committing his schemes to the hands of the people, for whom he always cared, and sought to serve.  Yet, politically, he was not well fitted to succeed with them.  Cobden said Lord Palmerston had no prejudices—not even in favour of the truth.  Mr. Owen had no political principles—not even in favour of liberty.  His doctrine was that of the poet:—

"For modes of government let fools contest,
 That which is best administered is best"

—a doctrine which has no other ideal than that of a benevolent despotism, and has no regard for the individual life and self-government of the people.  Mr. Owen was no conscious agent of the adversaries of political rights.  He simply did not think rights of any great consequence one way or the other.  There never was any question among Liberal politicians as to the personal sincerity of Mr. Owen.  Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, Francis Place were his personal friends, who were both social and political reformers, and valued Mr. Owen greatly in his own department, which was social alone. [38]

    The French social reformers, from Fourier to Comte, have held the same treacherous tone with regard to political freedom.  Albert Brisbane, who published the "Social Destiny of Man," himself a determined Fourierite, announced on his title-page, "Our evils are social not political"—giving a clean bill of health to all the knaves who by political machination diverted or appropriated the resources of the people.  "Our most enlightened men," he contemptuously wrote, "are seeking in paltry political measures and administrative reforms for means of doing away with social misery."  Tamisier more wisely wrote when he said, "Political order has alone been the object of study, while the industrial order has been neglected."  Because social life had been neglected for politics, it did not follow that political life was to be neglected for social.  This was merely reaction, not sense.

    Another dangerous distich then popular with social reformers was the well-known lines Tory Dr. Johnson put into a poem of Goldsmith:—

"How small of all that human hearts endure
 That part which laws or kings can cause or cure."

Goldsmith knew nothing of political science.  The cultivated, generous-hearted, sentimental piper was great in his way.  He foresaw not England made lean and hungry by corn laws; or Ireland depopulated by iniquitous laws; or France enervated and cast into the dust by despotism; but social reformers of Mr. Owen's day had means of knowing better.  It was not their ignorance so much as their ardour that misled them.  The inspiration of a new and neglected subject was upon them, and they thought it destined to absorb and supersede every other.  The error cost them the confidence of the best men of thought and action around them for many years.

    Mr. Owen's own account of the way in which he sought to enlist the sympathies of the Tories of his time with his schemes is instructive.  They were, as despotic rulers always are, ready to occupy the people with social ideas, in the hope that they will leave political affairs to them.  How little the Conservatives were likely to give effect to views of sound education for the people, irrespective of religious or political opinion, we of to-day know very well.

    "I have," says Mr. Owen, "attempted two decisive measures for the general improvement of the population.  The one was a good and liberal education for all the poor, without exception on account of their religious or political principles; to be conducted under a board of sixteen commissioners to be chosen by Parliament, eight to be of the Church of England and the remainder from the other sects, in proportion to their numbers, the education to be useful and liberal.  This measure was supported, and greatly desired, by the members of Lord Liverpool's administration; and considerable progress was made in the preliminary measures previous to its being brought into Parliament.  It was very generally supported by leading members of the aristocracy.  It was opposed, however, and, after some deliberation, stopped in its progress by Dr. Randolph, Bishop of London, and by Mr. Whitbread.  But the Archbishop of Canterbury, and several other dignitaries of the Church, were favourable to it.  The declared opposition, however, of the Bishop of London and of Mr. Whitbread, who it was expected would prevail upon his party to oppose the measure, induced Lord Liverpool and his friends—who, I believe, sincerely wished to give the people a useful and liberal education—to defer the subject to a more favourable opportunity.

    The next measure was to promote the amelioration of the condition of the productive classes by the adoption of superior arrangements to instruct and employ them.  I had several interviews with Lord Liverpool, Mr. Canning, and other members of the Government, to explain to them the outlines of the practical measures which I proposed.  They referred the examination of the more detailed measures to Lord Sidmouth, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and I had many interviews and communications with him upon these subjects.

    "I became satisfied that if they had possessed sufficient power over public opinion they would have adopted measures to prevent the population from experiencing poverty and misery; but they were opposed by the then powerful party of the political economists.

    "The principles which I have long advocated were submitted for their consideration, and at their request they were at first printed but not published.  They were sent, by the permission of the Government, to all the Governments of Europe and America; and upon examination by statesmen and learned men of the Continent were found to contain no evil, but simple facts and legitimate deductions.  In one of my last interviews with Lord Sidmouth, he said: 'Mr. Owen, I am authorised by the Government to state to you that we admit the principles you advocate to be true, and that if they were fairly applied to practice they would be most beneficial; but we find the public do not yet understand them, and they are therefore not prepared to act upon them.  When public opinion shall be sufficiently enlightened to comprehend and to act upon them we shall be ready and willing to acknowledge their truth and to act in conformity with them.  We know we are acting upon erroneous principles; but we are compelled to do so from the force of public opinion, which is so strongly in favour of old-established political institutions.'  To a statement so candid I could only reply, 'Then it becomes my duty to endeavour to enlighten the people and to create a new public opinion.'"  [39]  If Lord Sidmouth believed what he said, in the sense in which Mr. Owen understood him, he dexterously concealed, in all his public acts and speeches, his convictions from the world.

    It was happily no easy thing even for Mr. Owen to win the confidence of the working-class politicians.  They honourably refused to barter freedom for comfort, much as they needed an increase of physical benefits.  We had lately a curiously-devised Social and Conservative Confederation, the work of Mr. Scott-Russell, in which the great leaders of the party always opposed to political amelioration were to lead the working class to the attainment of great social advantages, and put them "out in the open," as Sir John Packington said, in some wonderful way.  Several well-known working-class leaders, some of whom did not understand what political conviction implied, and others who believed they could accept this advance without political compromise, entered into it.  There were others, as Robert Applegarth, who felt that it was futile to put their trust in political adversaries to carry out their social schemes and then vote against them at elections, and so deprive their chosen friends of the power of serving them.  Twelve names of noblemen, the chief Conservatives in office, were given as ready to act as the leaders of the new party.  Mr. Robert Applegarth caused the names to be published, when every one of them wrote to the papers, denying any authority for connecting them with the project.

    Mr. Owen's early followers were looked upon with distrust by the Radical party, although he numbered among his active disciples invincible adherents of that school; but they saw in Mr. Owen's views a means of realising social benefits in which they, though Radicals, were also interested.  Mr. Owen looked on Radicals and Conservatives alike as instruments of realising his views.  He appealed to both parties in Parliament with the same confidence to place their names upon his committee.  He went one day with Mrs. Fry to see the prisoners in Newgate.  The boys were mustered at Mrs. Fry's request for his inspection.  Mr. Owen published in the newspapers what he thought of the sight he beheld.  He exclaimed:

"A collection of boys and youths, with scarcely the appearance of human beings in their countenances; the most evident sign that the Government to which they belong had not performed any part of its duty towards them.  For instance: there was one boy, only sixteen years of age, double ironed!  Here a great crime had been committed and a severe punishment is inflicted, which under a system of  proper training and prevention would not have taken place.  My Lord Sidmouth will forgive me, for he knows I intend no personal offence.  His dispositions are known to he mild and amiable; [40] but the chief civil magistrate of the country, in such case, is far more guilty than the boy; and in strict justice, if a system of coercion and punishment be rational and necessary, he ought rather to have been double ironed and in the place of the juvenile prisoner."

    When Mr. Owen applied personally to Lord Liverpool, then Prime Minister, for permission to place his name with the leading names of members of the Opposition, to investigate his communistic plans, Lord Liverpool answered: "Mr. Owen, you have liberty to do so.  You may make use of our names in any way you choose for the objects you have in view, short of committing us as an administration."  The next day Mr. Owen held a public meeting.  "I proposed," Mr. Owen has related, "that these important subjects should be submitted for consideration to the leading members of the administration and of the Opposition; and for several hours it was the evident wish of three-fourths of the meeting that this question should be carried in the affirmative.  But as it was supposed by the Radical reformers of that day that I was acting for and with the ministry, they collected all their strength to oppose my measures; and finding they were greatly in the minority, they determined to prolong the meeting by opposing speeches, until the patience of the friends of the measure should be worn out.  Accordingly, the late Major Cartwright, Mr. Alderman Waithman, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Hone, and others, spoke against time, until the principal parties retired, and until my misguided opponents could bring up their numerous supporters among the working classes, who were expected to arrive after they had finished their daily occupations; and at a late hour in the day the room became occupied by many of the friends and supporters of those gentlemen, who well knew how to obtain their object at public meetings by throwing it into confusion." [41]  The wonderful committee Mr. Owen proposed comprised all the chief public men of the day, who never had acted together on any question, and unless the millennium had really arrived—of which there was no evidence before the meeting—it was not likely that they would.  This was the resolution submitted to the meeting: "That the following noblemen and gentlemen be appointed on the committee, with power to add to their number:—

The First Lord of the Treasury.                    The Duke of Sussex.
The Lord Chancellor.                                     The Duke of Richmond.
Sir Robert Peel, the Secretary of                   The Earl of Winchelsea.
State.                                                                    The Earl of Harewood.
Sir George Murray.                                          The Marquis of Lansdowne.
Sir Henry Hardinge.                                        Lords Grosvenor and Holland.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer.                Lord Eldon.
The Attorney and Solicitor General.            Lord Sidmouth.
The Master of the Mint.                                   Lord Radnor.
The Secretary of War.                                       Lord Carnarvon,    [York.
The President of the Board of                        The Archbishops of Canterbury and
Trade.                                                                   The Bishops of London and Peter
The First Lord of the Admiralty.                                                         borough.
Deans of Westminster and York.                  Mr. O'Connell.
Cardinal Wild and Dr. Croly.                        Mr. Charles Grant.
William Allen and Joseph Foster.                 Mr. Wilmot Horton.
Mr. Rothschild and Mr. J. L. Gold-               Mr. Huskisson.
smid.                                                                      Lord Palmerston.
Lord Althorp.                                                      Mr. J. Smith.
Brougham.                                                            Lord Nugent.
Sir J. Graham.                                                      The Hon. G. Stanley.
Sir Henry Parnell.                                              Lord Milton.
Mr. Spring Rice.                                                  Sir R. Inglish.
Lord John Russell.                                             Sir Francis Burdett.
Sir John Newport.                                              Mr. William Smith.
Sir James Mackintosh.                                      Mr. Warburton.
Mr. Denman.                                                       Mr. Hobhouse.
Mr. Alexander Baring.                                     Dr. Birkbeck.
Mr. Hume.                                                           Mr. Owen."

    There was this merit belonging to the proposal, that such an amazing committee was never thought possible by any other human being than Mr. Owen.  Ministers were to forsake the Cabinet Councils, prelates the Church, judges the courts; the business of army, navy, and Parliament was to be suspended, while men who did not know each other, and who not only had no principles in common, but did not want to have, sat down with heretics, revolutionists, and Quakers, to confer as to the adoption of a system by which they were all to be superseded.  It was quite needless in Major Cartwright and Alderman Waithman to oppose the mad motion, such a committee would never have met.

    Mr. Owen was never diverted, but went on with his appeal to the people.  He had the distinction of being the gentleman of his time who had earned great wealth by his own industry, and yet spent it without stint in the service of the public.  It is amusing to see the reverence with which the sons of equality regarded him because he was rich.  His name was printed in publications with all the distinction of italics and capitals as the Great Philanthropist OWEN; and there are disciples of his who long regarded the greatness of Co-operation as a tame, timid, and lingering introduction to the system of the great master whom they still cite as a sort of sacred name.  It was a very subdued way of speaking of him to find him described as the "Benevolent Founder of our Social Views."

    Long years after he had "retired from public life" his activity far exceeded that of most people who were in it, as a few dates of Mr. Owen's movements will show.  On July 10, 1838, he left London for Wisbech.  On the three next nights he lectured in Lynn, the two following nights in Peterborough.  On the next night at Wisbech again.  The next night he was again in Peterborough, where, after a late discussion, he left at midnight with Mr. James Hill, the editor of the Star in the East, in an open carriage, which did not arrive at Wisbeach till half-past two.  He was up before five o'clock the same morning, left before six for Lynn, to catch the coach for Norwich at eight.  After seeing deputations from Yarmouth he lectured in St. Andrew's Hall at night and the following night, and lectured five nights more in succession at March, Wisbech, and Boston.  It was his activity and his ready expenditure which gave ascendancy to the social agitation, both in England and America, from 1820 to 1844.
    Robert Owen died in his 88th year, on the 17th of November, 1858, at Newtown, Montgomeryshire—the place of his birth.  His wish was to die in the house and in the bedroom in which he was born.  But Mr. David Thomas, the occupant of the house, was unable so to arrange.  Mr. Owen went to the Bear's Head Hotel, quite near, and since rebuilt.  He was buried in the grave of his father in the spacious ground of the Church of St. Mary.  Mr. David Thomas and Mr. James Digby walked at the head of the bearers.  The mourners were:—

Mr. George Owen Davies.              Mr. Robert Dale
Mr. William Cox.                              Mr. William Pare.
Mr. W. H. Ashurst.                           Col. H. Clinton.
Air. Edward Truelove.                     Mr. G. J. Holyoake.
Mr. Francis Pears.                             Mr. Robert Cooper.
Mr. William Jones.                            Mr. Law.
Mr. George Goodwin.                      Mr. Pryce Jones.

    There was quite an honouring procession—the Rev. John Edwards, M.A., who read the burial service, medical gentlemen, magistrates, Mr. Owen's literary executors, deputations of three local societies, and, very appropriately, twelve infant school children—seeing that Mr. Owen was the founder of infant schools.

    After the funeral, Mr. Robert Dale Owen came into the hall of the "Bear's Head" with a parting gift to me of the Life of his father, in which he had inscribed his name and mine.  While paying my account at the office window, I placed the them on a table near me, but on turning to enter the London coach with other visitors I found the books were gone.  Though I at once made known my loss, nothing more was heard of them until forty-four years later, July 24, 1902, [42] when a large delegation of co-operators from England and Scotland assembled to witness the unveiling of the handsome screen erected by them, to surround the tomb of Mr. Owen, on which occasion I delivered the following address:—

    We come not "to bury Cæsar"—but to praise him.  It is now recorded in historic pages that "Robert Owen was the most conspicuous figure in the early part of the last century." [43]  We are here at the commencement of another century to make the first commemoration that national gratitude has accorded him.

    Being the last of the "Social Missionaries" appointed in 1841 to advocate Mr. Owen's famous "New Views of Society," and being the only survivor of his disciples who forty-four years ago, laid his honoured bones in the grave before us, the distinction has been accorded to me of unveiling this Memorial.  As the contemporaries of a public man are the best witnesses of his influence, or his eminence, we may recall that Southey described him as "one of the three great moral forces" of his day.  There is a rarity in that praise, for there are still a hundred men of force to one of "moral" force.

    Do we meet here to crown the career of a man unremarkable in the kingdom of thought, or without the genius of success?  It is for us to answer these questions.  It is said by parrot-minded critics that Owen was "a man of one idea," whereas he was a man of more ideas than any public man England knew in his day.  He shared and befriended every new conception of moment and promise, in science, in education, and government.  His mind was hospitable to all projects of progress; and he himself contributed more original ideas for the conduct of public affairs than any other thinker of his generation.  It was not the opulence of his philanthropy, but the versatility of his ideas and interests, which led members of our Royal Family to preside at public meetings for him, brought monarchs to his table, and gave him the friendship of statesmen, of men of science and philosophy, throughout Europe and America.  No other man ever knew so many contemporaries of renown.

    Because some of his projects were so far reaching that they required a century to mature them, onlookers who expected them to be perfected at once, say he "failed in whatever he proposed."  While the truth is he succeeded in more things than any other man ever undertook.  If he made more promises than he fulfilled, he fulfilled more than any other public man ever made.  Thus, he was not a man of "one idea" but of many.  Nor did his projects fail.  The only social community for which he was responsible was that of New Harmony, in Indiana; which broke up through his too great trust in uneducated humanity—a fault which only the generous commit.  The communities of Motherwell and Orbiston, of Manea, Fen, and Queenwood in Hampshire were all undertaken without his authority, and despite his warning of the inadequacy of the means for success.  They failed, as he predicted they would.  Critics, skilled in coming to conclusions without knowing the facts, impute these failures to him.

    The Labour Exchange was not Mr. Owen's idea, but he adopted it, and by doing so made it so successful that it was killed by the cupidity of those who coveted its profits.  He maintained—when nobody believed it—that employers who did most for the welfare of their workpeople, would be the greatest gainers.  Owen did so, and made a fortune by it.  Was not that success?

    A co-operative store was a mere detail of his factory management.  Now they overrun the world.  Have they not succeeded?  We Co-operators can answer for that.

    He bought and worked up the first bale of cotton imported into England, thus practically founding the foreign cotton trade.  Will any one say that has not answered?

    He was the first to advocate that eight hours a day in the workshop was best for industrial efficiency.  The best employers in the land are now of that opinion.  He did not fail there.

    Who can tell the horrors of industry which children suffered in factories at the beginning of the last century?  Were not the Factory Acts acts of mercy?  The country owed them to Robert Owen's inspiration.  They saved the whole race of workers from physical deterioration.  Were these Acts failures?  Millions of children have passed through factories since Owen's day, who if they knew it (and their parents, too) have reason to bless his name.

    He was the first who looked with practical intent into the kingdom of the unborn.  He saw that posterity—the silent but inevitable master of us all—if left untrained may efface the triumphs, or dishonour, or destroy the great traditions of our race.  He put infant schools into the mind of the world.  Have they been failures?

    He, when it seemed impossible to any one else, proposed national education for which now all the sects contend.  Has that proposal been a failure?  In 1871, when the centenary of Owen's birth came round, we asked Prof. Huxley to take the chair.  He wrote, in the midst of the struggle for the School Board Bill, saying: "It is my duty to take part in the attempt which the country is now making, to carry into effect some of Robert Owen's most ardently-cherished schemes.  I think that every one who is compelled to look closely into the problem of popular education must be led to Owen's conclusions that the infants' school is, so to speak, the key of the position.  Robert Owen," Huxley says, "discerned this great fact, and had the courage and patience to work out his theory into a practical reality.  That" (Huxley declares) "is his claim—if he had no other—to the enduring gratitude of the people."

    Huxley knew that Owen was not a sentimental, speculative, or barren reformer.  He was for submitting every plan to experiment before advising it.  He carried no dagger in his mouth, as many reformers have done.  He cared for no cause that reason could not win.  There never was a more cautious innovator, a more practical dreamer, or a , more reasoning revolutionist.

    Whatever he commended he supported with his purse.  It was this that won for him confidence and trust, given to no compeer of his time.  When 80,000 working men marched from Copenhagen Fields to petition the Government to release the Dorchester labourers, it was Mr. Owen they asked to go with them at their head.

    It was he who first taught the people the then strange truth that Causation was the law of nature on the mind, and unless we looked for the cause of an evil we might never know the remedy.  Every man of sense in Church and State acts on this truth now, but so few knew it in Owen's day that he was accused of unsettling the morality of the world.  It was the fertility and newness of his suggestions, as a man of affairs, that gave him renown, and his influence extends to us.  This Memorial before us would itself grow old were we to stay to describe all the ideas the world has accepted from Owen.  I will name but one more, and that the greatest.

    He saw, as no man before him did, that environment is the maker of men.  Aristotle, whose praise is in all our Universities, said "Character is Destiny."  But how can character be made?  The only national way known in Owen's day was by prayer and precept.  Owen said there were material means, largely unused, conducive to human improvement.  Browning's prayer was—"Make no more giants, God; but elevate the race at once."  This was Owen's aim, as far as human means might do it.  Great change can only be effected by unity.  But—

"Union without knowledge is useless;
 Knowledge without union is powerless."

    Then what is the right knowledge?  Owen said it consisted in knowing that people came into the world without any intention of doing it; and often with limited capacities, and with disadvantages of person, and with instinctive tendencies which impel them against their will, disqualifications which they did not give themselves.  He was the first philosopher who changed repugnance into compassion, and taught us to treat defects of others with sympathy instead of contempt, and to remedy their deficiency, as far as we can, by creating for them amending conditions.  Dislike dies in the heart of those who understand this, and the spirit of unity arises.  Thus instructed good-will becomes the hand-maid of Co-operation, and Co-operation is the only available power of industry.  Since error arises more from ignorance of facts than from defect of goodness, the reformer with education at command, knows no despair of the betterment of men.  This was the angerless philosophy of Owen, which inspired him with a forbearance that never failed him, and gave him that regnant manner which charmed all who met him.  We shall see what his doctrine of environment has done for society, if we notice what it began to do in his day, and what it has done since.

    Men perished by battle, by tempest, by pestilence.  Faith might comfort, but it did not save them.  In every town nests of pestilence coexisted with the Churches, which were concerned alone with worship.  Disease was unchecked by devotion.  Then Owen asked, "Might not safety come by improved material condition?"  As the prayer of hope brought no reply, as the scream of agony, if heard, was unanswered, as the priest, with the holiest intent, brought no deliverance, it seemed prudent to try the philosopher and the physician.

    Then Corn Laws were repealed, because prayers fed nobody.  Then parks were multiplied, because fresh air was found to be a condition of health.  Alleys and courts were first abolished, since deadly diseases were bred there.  Streets were widened, that towns might be ventilated.  Hours of labour were shortened, since exhaustion means liability to epidemic contagion.  Recreation was encouraged, as change and rest mean life and strength.  Temperance—thought of as self-denial—was found to be a necessity, as excess of any kind in diet, or labour, or pleasure means premature death.  Those who took dwellings began to look, not only to drainage and ventilation, but to the ways of their near neighbours, as the most pious family may poison the air you breathe unless they have sanitary habits.

The Owen Memorial at Newtown
Unveiled by G. J. Holyoake, July 12th, 1902

    Thus, thanks to the doctrine of national environment which Owen was the first to preach—Knowledge is greater; Life is longer; Health is surer; Disease is limited; Towns are sweeter; Hours of labour are shorter; Men are stronger; Women are fairer; Children are happier; Industry is held in more honour, and is better rewarded; Co-operation carries wholesome food and increased income into a million homes where they were unknown before, and has brought us nearer and nearer to that state of society which Owen strove to create—in which it shall be impossible for men to be depraved or poor.  Thus we justify ourselves for erecting this Memorial to his memory, which I am about to unveil.

    The town has erected a Public Library opposite the house in which Mr. Owen was born, to which the Co-operators subscribed £1,000.  One part of the Library bears the name of Owen's Wing.



"Then felt I like some watcher of the skies,
 When a new planet swims into his ken;
 Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
 He stared on the Pacific; and his men
 Look'd at each other with a wild surmise,
 Silent upon a peak in Darien."—K

THE enchanted wonder which Keats describes on first finding in Chapman's Homer the vigorous Greek texture of the great bard, was akin to that "wild surmise" with which the despairing sons of industry first gazed on that new world of Co-operation then made clear to their view.

    To the social reformers the world itself seemed moving in the direction of social colonies.  Not only was America under way for the millennium of co-operative life—even prosaic, calculating, utilitarian Scotland was setting sail.  France had put out to sea years before under Commander Fourier. A letter arrived from Brussels, bearing date October 2, 1825, addressed to the "Gentlemen of the London Co-operative Society," telling them that the Permanent Committee of the Society of Beneficence had colonial establishments at Wortzel and at Murxplus Ryckewvorsel, in the province of Antwerp, where 725 farmhouses were already built; that 76 were inhabited by free colonists; and that they had a contract with the Government for the suppression of mendicants, and had already 455 of those interesting creatures collected from the various regions of beggardom in a depot, where 1,000 could be accommodated.  No wonder there was exultation in Red Lion Square when the slow-moving, dreamy-eyed, much smoking Dutch were spreading their old-fashioned canvas in search of the new world.  From 1820 to 1830 Co-operation and communities were regarded by the thinking classes as a religion of industry.  Communities, the form which the religion of industry was to take, were from 1825 to 1830 as common and almost as frequently announced as joint-stock companies now.  In 1826 April brought news that proposals were issued for establishing a community near Exeter—to be called the Devon and Exeter Co-operative Society.  Gentlemen of good family and local repute, who were not, as some are now, afraid to look at a community through one of Lord Rosse's long-range telescopes, gave open aid to the proposal.  Two public meetings were held in May, at the Swan Tavern.  The Hon. Lionel Dawson presided on both occasions.  Such was the enthusiasm about the new system that more than four hundred persons were willing to come forward with sums of £5 to £10; one hundred others were prepared to take shares at £25 each; and two or three promised aid to the extent of £2,000.  Meetings in favour of this project were held at Tiverton, and in the Mansion House, Bridgewater.  The zeal was real and did not delay.  In July the promoters bought thirty seven acres of land within seven miles of Exeter.  A gardener, a carpenter, a quarrier (there being a stone quarry on the estate), a drainer, a well-sinker, a clay temperer, and a moulder were at once set to work.

    The Metropolitan Co-operative Society, not to be behind when the provinces were going forward, put forth a plan for establishing a community within fifty miles of London.  Shares were taken up and £4,000 subscribed in 1826.  There was a wise fear of prematurity of proceeding shown, and there was also an infatuation of confidence exhibited in many ways.  However, the society soberly put out an advertisement to landowners, saying, "Wanted to rent, with a view to purchase, or on a long lease, from 500 to 2,000 acres of good land, in one or several contiguous farms; the distance from London not material if the offer is eligible."  Information was to be sent to Mr. J. Corss, Red Lion Square.  Four years earlier Scotland, a country not at all prone to Utopian projects not likely to pay, entertained the idea of community before Orbiston was named.  The Economist announced that the subscriptions for the formation of one of the new villages at Motherwell, though the public had not been appealed to, amounted to £20,000. [44]

    Eighteen hundred and twenty-six was a famous year for communistic projects.  A Dublin Co-operative Society was formed on the 28th of February, at a meeting held at the Freemasons' Tavern, Dawson Street, Dublin.  Captain O'Brien, R.N., occupied the chair.  The Dublin Co-operative Society invited Lord Cloncurry to dine with them.  His lordship wrote to say that he was more fully convinced than he was four years ago, of the great advantage it would be to Ireland to establish co-operative villages on Mr. Owen's plan, and spoke of Mr. Owen in curious terms as the "benevolent and highly-respectable Owen."  This was nine years after Mr. Owen had astounded mankind by his London declaration "against all the religions of the world." [45]

    Two years before the Economist appeared, as the first serial advocate of Co-operation, pamphleteers were in the field on behalf of social improvement.  Mr. Owen certainly had the distinction of inspiring many writers.  One "Philanthropos" published in 1819 a powerful pamphlet on the "Practicability of Mr. Owen's plan to improve the condition of the lower classes."  It was inscribed to William Wilberforce (father of the Bishop of Winchester), whom the writer considered to be "intimately associated with every subject involving the welfare of mankind," and who "regarded political measures abstractedly from the individuals with whom they originated."  Mr. Wilberforce, he said, had shown that "Christianity steps beyond the narrow bound of national advantage in quest of universal good, and does not prompt us to love our country at the expense of our integrity." [46]

    The Economist was concluded in January, 1822.  It was of the small magazine size, and was the neatest and most business-looking journal issued in connection with Co-operation for many years.  After the 32nd number the quality and taste of the printing fell off—some irregularity in its issue occurred.  Its conductor explained in the 51st number that its printing had been put into the hands of the Co-operative and Economical Society, "and that it would continue to be regularly executed by them."  After the 52nd number the Economist was discontinued, without any explanation being given.  It was bound in two volumes, and sold at 7s. each in boards.  Many numbers purported to be "published every Saturday morning by Mr. Wright, bookseller, No. 46, Fleet Street, London, where the trade and newsmen may be supplied, and where orders, communications to the editor, post paid, are respectfully requested to be addressed."  Early numbers bore the name of G. Auld, Greville Street.  With No. 22 the names appear of J. and C. Adlard, Bartholomew Close.  With No. 32 the imprint is "G. Mudie, printer"—no address.  After No. 51 the intimation is—"Printed at the Central House of the Co-operative and Economical Society, No. 1, Guilford Street East, Spafields."

    Twelve years later, when the Gazette of the Exchange Bazaars was started, a fly-leaf was issued, which stated, "This work will be conducted by the individual who founded the first of the co-operative societies in London, 1820, and who edited the Economist, in 1821-22, the Political Economist and Universal Philanthropist, in 1823, the Advocate of the Working Classes, in 1826-27; and who has besides lectured upon the principles to be discussed in the forthcoming publication (The Exchange Bazaars Gazette), in various parts of Great Britain.  He enters on his undertaking, therefore, after having been prepared for his task by previous and long-continued researches."  Mr. Owen never thought much of co-operative societies, regarding grocers' shops as ignominious substitutes for the reconstruction of the world.

    The dedication of the Economist was as follows:—

    "To Mr. John Maxwell, Lord Archibald Hamilton, Sir William de Crespigny, Bart., Mr. Dawson, Mr. Henry Brougham, Mr. H. Gurney, and Mr. William Smith, the philanthropic members of the House of Commons, who, on the motion of Mr. Maxwell, on the 26th of June, 1821, for an address to the throne, praying that a commission might be appointed to investigate Mr. Owen's system, had the courage and consistency to make the motion; this volume is inscribed in testimony of heartfelt respect and gratitude by THE ECONOMIST."

    The earliest name of literary note connected with Co-operation was that of Mr. William Thompson.  He was an abler man than John Gray.  Though an Irishman, he was singularly dispassionate.  He possessed fortune and studious habits.  He resided some years with Jeremy Bentham, and the methodical arrangement of his chief work, the "Distribution of Wealth," betrays Bentham's literary influence.  This work was written in 1822.  In 1825 he published "An Appeal of one-half the human race—Women—against the pretensions of the other half—Men."  It was a reply to James Mill—to a paragraph in his famous "Article on Government."  Mr. Thompson issued, in 1827, "Labour Rewarded," in which he explained the possibility of conciliating the claims of labour and capital and securing to workmen the "whole products of their exertions."  This last work consisted of business-like "Directions for the Establishment of Co-operative Communities."  These "directions" were accompanied by elaborate plans and tables.  A moderate number of pioneers might, with that book in their hand, found a colony or begin a new world.  He consulted personally Robert Owen, Mr. Hamilton (whom he speaks of as an authority), Abram Combe, and others who had had experience in community-making.  Jeremy Bentham's wonderful constitutions, which he was accustomed to furnish to foreign states, were evidently in the mind of his disciple, Mr. Thompson, when he compiled this closely-printed octavo volume of nearly three hundred pages.  He placed on his title-page a motto from Le Producteur: "The age of Gold, Happiness, which a blind credulity has placed in times past is before us."  The world wanted to see the thing done.  It desired, like Diogenes, to have motion proved.  In practical directions for forming communities exhaustive instructions were precisely the things needed.  Where every step was new and every combination unknown, Thompson wrote a book like a steam engine, marvellous in the scientific adjustments of its parts.  His "Distribution of Wealth" is the best exposition to which reference can be made of the pacific and practical nature of English communism.  He was a solid but far from a lively writer.  It requires a sense of duty to read through his book—curiosity is not sufficient.  Political economists in Thompson's day held, as Mr. Senior has expressed it, that "It is not with happiness but with wealth that I am concerned as a political economist."  Thompson's idea was "to inquire into the principles of the distribution of wealth most conducive to human happiness."  His life was an answer to those who hold that Socialism implies sensualism.  For the last twenty years of his life he neither partook of animal food nor intoxicating drinks, because he could better pursue his literary labours without them.  He left his body for dissection—a bold thing to do in his time—a useful thing to do in order to break somewhat through the prejudices of the ignorant against dissection for surgical ends.  Compliance with his wish nearly led to a riot among the peasantry of the neighbourhood of Clonnkeen, Rosscarbery, County of Cork, where he died.

    Another early and memorable name in co-operative history is that of Abram Combe.  It is very rarely that a person of any other nationality dominates the mind of a Scotchman; but Mr. Owen, although a Welshman, did this by Abram Combe, who, in 1823, published a small book named "Old and New Systems"—a work excelling in capital letters.  This was one of Mr. Combe's earliest statements of his master's views, which he reproduced with the fidelity which Dumont showed to Bentham, but with less ability.  There were three Combes—George, Abram, and Andrew.  All were distinguished in their way, but George became the best known.  George Combe was the phrenologist, who made a reputation by writing the "Constitution of Man," though he had borrowed without acknowledgment the conception from Gall and Spurzheim, especially Spurzheim, who had published an original little book on the "Laws of Human Nature"; but to George Combe belonged the merit which belonged to Archdeacon Paley with respect to the argument from design.  Combe restated, animated, and enlarged into an impressive volume what before was fragmentary, slender, suggestive, but without the luminous force of illustrative facts and practical applications which Combe supplied.  The second brother, Dr. Andrew Combe, had all the talent of the family for exposition, and his works upon physiology were the first in interest and popularity in their time; but Abram had more sentiment than both the others put together, and ultimately sacrificed himself as well as his fortune in endeavours to realise the new social views in practice.

    In 1824 Robert Dale Owen (Mr. Owen's eldest son) appeared as an author for the first time.  His book was entitled "An Outline of the System of Education at New Lanark."  It was published by Longman & Co., London, written at New Lanark, 1823.  It was dedicated to his father.  The author must have been a young man then. [47]  Yet his book shows completeness of thought and that clear and graceful expression by which, beyond all co-operative writers, Robert Dale Owen was subsequently distinguished.  His outline is better worth printing now than many books on New Lanark which have appeared; it gives so interesting a description of the construction of the schools, the methods and principles of tuition pursued.  The subjects taught to the elder classes were the earth (its animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms), astronomy, geography, mathematics, zoology, botany, mineralogy, agriculture, manufactures, architecture, drawing, music, chemistry, and ancient and modern history.  The little children were occupied with elementary education, military drill, and dancing, at which Mr. Owen's Quaker partners were much discomfited.  The schoolrooms were picture galleries and museums.  Learning ceased to be a task and a terror, and became a wonder and delight.  The reader who thinks of the beggarly education given by this wealthy English nation will feel admiration of the princely mind of Robert Owen, who gave to the children of weavers this magnificent scheme of instruction.  No manufacturer has arisen in England so great as he.

    The London Co-operative Society was formally commenced in October, 1824.  It occupied rooms in Burton Street, Burton Crescent.  This quiet, and at that time pleasant and suburban, street was quite a nursery-ground of new-born principles.  Then, as now, it had no carriage way at either end.  In the house at the Tavistock Place corner, lived for many years James Pierrepoint Greaves, the famous mystic.  As secluded Burton Street was too much out of the way for the convenience of large assemblages, the discussions commenced by the society there, were transferred to the Crown and Rolls Rooms, in Chancery Lane.  Here overflowing audiences met—political economists seem to have been the principal opponents.  Their chief argument against the new system, was the Malthusian doctrine against "the tendency of population to press against the means of subsistence."

    In the month of April, 1825, the London Co-operative Society hired a first-floor in Picket Street, Temple Bar, for the private meetings of members, who were much increasing at that time.  In November of the same year, 1825, the society took the house, No. 36, Red Lion Square.  Mr. J. Corss was the Secretary.  The London Co-operative Society held weekly debates.  One constant topic was the position taken by Mr. Owen—that man is not properly the subject of praise or blame, reward or punishment.  It also conducted bazaars for the sale of goods manufactured by the provincial societies.

    At New Harmony, Indiana, David Dale Owen, writing to his father, related that they had had debates there, and Mary and Jane, daughters or daughter-in-laws of Mr. Owen, both addressed the meetings on several occasions.  After all the discourses opportunity of discussion and questioning was uniformly and everywhere afforded.

    The second serial journal representing Co-operation appeared in America, though its inspiration was English.  It was the New Harmony Gazette.  Its motto was: "If we cannot reconcile all opinions let us endeavour to unite all hearts."

    The recommencement of a co-operative publication in England took place in 1826.  The first was entitled the Co-operative Magazine and Monthly Herald, and appeared in January.  It was "printed by Whiting and Branston, Beaufort House, Strand," and "published by Knight and Lacey, Watt's Head, Paternoster Row."  It purported to be "sold by J. Templeman, 39, Tottenham Court Road; and also at the office of the London Co-operative Society, 36, Red Lion Square."  The second number of this magazine was published by Hunt and Clark, Tavistock Street.  A change in the publisher occurred very early, and additional agents were announced as J. Sutherland, Calton Street, Edinburgh; R. Griffin & Co., Hutchinson Street, Glasgow; J. Bolstead, Cork; and A. M. Graham, College Green, Dublin.  The third number announced a change in the Cork publisher; J. Loftus, of 107, Kirkpatrick Street, succeeded Mr. Bolstead, and a new store, the "Orbiston Store," was for the first time named. [48]  The co-operative writers of this magazine were not wanting in candour even at their own expense.  Mr. Charles Clark relates "that while one of the New Harmony philosophers was explaining to a stranger the beauties of a system which dispensed with rewards and punishments, he observed a boy who approved of the system busily helping himself to the finest plums in his garden.  Forgetting his argument, he seized the nearest stick at hand and castigated the young thief in a very instructive manner." [49]

    The worthy editor of the Co-operative Magazine was one of the fool friends of progress.  In his first number he gravely reviews a grand plan of one James Hamilton, for rendering "Owenism Consistent with our Civil and Religious Institutions."  His proposal is to begin the new world with one hundred tailors, who are to be unmarried and all of them handsome of person.  Hamilton proposed to marry all the handsome tailors by ballot to a similar number of girls.  After sermon and prayer the head partner and minister, assisted by foremen of committees, were to put the written names of the men in one box and those of the girls in another.  The head partner was then to mix the male names and the minister the female names.  When a man's name was proclaimed aloud, the minister was immediately to draw out the name of a girl from his box.  The couple were then requested to consider themselves united by decision of heaven.  By this economical arrangement young couples were saved all the anxiety of selection, loss of time in wooing, the suspense of soliciting the approval of parents or guardians.  The distraction of courtship, sighs, tears, smiles, doubts, fears, jealousies, expectations, disappointments, hope and despair were all avoided by this compendious arrangement.  How any editor, not himself an out-patient of a lunatic asylum, could have occupied pages of the Co-operative Magazine by giving publicity to such a pamphlet more ineffably absurd than here depicted, it is idle to conjecture.  Could this be the Mr. Hamilton, of Dalzell, who joined Mr. Abram Combe in the purchase of Orbiston for £20,000, and who offered to let lands at Motherwell for a community, and to guarantee the repayment of £40,000 to be expended on the erection of the buildings?

    Apart from the eccentric views which we have recounted (if indeed they were his) Mr. Hamilton was distinguished for the great interest he took in co-operative progress and the munificence by which he assisted it.  In the projected community of Motherwell he was joined by several eminent men, who had reason to believe that a large and well-supported co-operative colony might be made remunerative, besides affording to the Government of the day a practical example of what might be done.  Several gentlemen in England subscribed many thousands each in furtherance of this project.  Mr. Morrison, of the well-known firm of Morrison and Dillon, was one of those who put down his name for £5,000.

    The Co-operative Magazine of 1826 was adorned by an engraving of Mr. Owen's quadrilateral community.  The scenery around it was mountainous and tropical.  The said scenery was intended to represent Indiana, where Mr. Owen had bought land with a view to introduce the new world in America.  Mr. A. Brisbane prefixes to his translation of Fourier's "Destiny of Man" the Fourier conception of a phalanstere.  Mr. Owen's design of a community greatly excelled the phalanstere in completeness and beauty.  Mr. A. Combe exhibited designs of his Scotch community at Orbiston, but Mr. Owen had the most luxuriant imagination this way.  Artists who came near him to execute commissions soon discovered that the materialist philosopher, as they imagined him, had no mean taste for the ideal.

    Lamarck's theory of the "Origin of Species" was introduced into the Co-operative Magazine—a harmless subject certainly, but one that was theologically mischievous for forty years after.  "Scripture Politics" was another topic with which co-operators afflicted themselves.  "Phrenology," another terror of the clergy, appeared.  Discussions upon marriage followed, but, as the co-operators never contemplated anything but equal opportunities of divorce for rich and poor, the subject was irrelevant.  The editor actually published articles on the "Unhappiness of the Higher Orders," [50] and provided remedies for it, as though that was any business of theirs.  It was time enough for readers to sigh over the griefs of the rich when they had secured the gladness of the poor.

    In those days a practical agitator (Carlile), who had the courage to undergo long years of imprisonment to free the press, thought the world was to be put right by a science of "Somatopsychonoologia." [51]   There were co-operators—Allen Davenport, the simple-hearted ardent advocate of agrarian views, among them—who were prepared to undertake this nine-syllabled study.

    Every crotcheteer runs at the heels of new pioneers.  Co-operative pages advocated the "Civil Rights of Women," to which they were inclined from a sense of justice; and the advocates of that question will find some interesting reading in co-operative literature.  Their pages were open to protest against the game laws.  The Co-operative Magazine gave almost as much space to the discussion of the ranunculus, the common buttercup, as it did to the "new system of society."  The medical botanists very early got at the poor co-operators.  A co-operative society was considered a sort of free marketplace, where everybody could deposit specimens of his notions for inspection or sale.

    In 1827, a gentleman who commanded great respect in his day, Mr. Julian Hibbert, printed a circular at his own press on behalf of the "Co-operative Fund Association."  He avowed himself as "seriously devoted to the system of Mr. Owen": and Hibbert was a man who meant all he said and who knew how to say exactly what he meant.  Here is one brief appeal by him to the people, remarkable for justness of thought and vigorous directness of language:

    "Would you be free? be worthy of freedom: mental liberty is the pledge of political liberty.  Unlearn your false knowledge, and endeavour to obtain real knowledge.  Look around you; compare all things; know your own dignity; correct your vicious habits; renounce superfluities; despise idleness, drunkenness, gambling, and fighting; guard against false friends; and learn to think (and if possible to act) independently."

This language shows the rude materials out of which co-operators had sometimes to be made.  In personal appearance Julian Hibbert strikingly resembled Shelley.  He had at least the courage, the gentleness, and generosity of the poet.  Hibbert had ample fortune, and was reputed one of the best Greek scholars of his day.  Being called upon to give evidence on a trial in London, he honestly declined to take the oath on the ground that he did not believe in an Avenging God, and was therefore called an atheist, and was treated in a ruffianly manner by the eloquent and notorious Charles Phillips, who was not a man of delicate scruples himself, being afterwards accused of endeavouring to fix the guilt of murdering Lord William Russell upon an innocent man, after Couvoisier had confessed his guilt to him.  Hibbert's courage and generosity was shown in many things.  He visited Carlile when he was confined in Dorchester Gaol for heresy, and on learning that a political prisoner there had been visited by some friend of position who had given him £1,000, Hibbert at once said: "It shall not appear, Mr. Carlile, that you are less esteemed for vindicating the less popular liberty of conscience.  I will give you £,1000."  He gave Mr. Carlile the money there and then.  It was Mr. Hibbert's desire in the event of his death that his body should be at the service of the Royal College of Surgeons, being another of those gentlemen who thought it useful by his own example to break down the prejudice of the poor, against their remains being in some cases serviceable to physiological science.  This object was partly carried out in Mr. Hibbert's case by Mr. Baume.  Some portion of Mr. Hibbert's fortune came into possession of Mrs. Captain Grenfell, a handsome wild Irish lady after the order of Lady Morgan.  Mr. Hibbert's intentions, however, seem to have been pretty faithfully carried out, for thirty years after his death I was aware of five and ten pound notes occasionally percolating into the hands of one or other unfriended advocate of unpopular forms of social and heretical liberty, who resembled the apostles at least in one respect—they had "neither purse nor scrip."

    During 1827, and two years later, the Co-operative Magazine was issued as a sixpenny monthly.  All the publications of this period, earlier and later, were advertised as being obtainable at 19, Greville Street, Hatton Garden, then a co-operative centre, and at co-operative stores in town and country.  If all stores sold the publication then it proved that they better understood the value of special co-operative literature than many do now.

    It was on May 1, 1828, that the first publication appeared entitled the Co-operator.  It was a small paper of four pages only, issued monthly at one penny.  It resembled a halfpenny two-leaved tract.  The whole edition printed would hardly have cost thirty shillings if none were sold. [52]  It was continued for twenty-six months, ceasing on August 1, 1830.  The twenty-six numbers consisted of twenty-six papers, all written by the editor, Dr. King, who stated that they were concluded because "the object for which they were commenced had been attained.  The principles of Co-operation had been disseminated among the working classes and made intelligible to them."  This was not true twenty years later, but everybody was sanguine in those days, and saw the things which were not, more clearly than the things which were. [53]  The chief cause of failure which the editor specifies as having overtaken some co-operative societies was defect in account keeping.  Of course, as credit was customary in the early stores, accounts would be the weak point with workmen.  Dr. King wrote to Lord (then Henry) Brougham, M.P., an account of the Brighten co-operators.  Lord Brougham asked Mr. M. D. Hill to bring the matter of Co-operation before the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.  Timid members on the council were afraid of it, as many councils are still.  It would have been one of the most memorable papers of that famous society had they treated this subject.  They never did treat any original subject, and this would have been one.

    Mr. Craig, who had extensive personal knowledge of early societies, states that one was formed at Bradford in 1828.  A stray number of the Brighton Co-operator (the one edited by Dr. King), soiled and worn, found its way into Halifax, and led to the formation of the first co-operative society there, owing to the foresight and devotion to social development of Mr. J. Nicholson, a name honourably known, and still remembered with respect, in Halifax.  His son-in-law, Mr. David Crossley, of Brighouse, all his life manifested intelligent and untiring interest in Co-operation.

    The first Birmingham co-operative rules were framed in 1828 by Mr. John Rabone, a well-known commercial name in that town, who was a frequent writer in early co-operative years.  The reports of the early success of the Orbiston community reached Birmingham, and had great influence there.  Some who had seen the place gave so good an account of it, that it was the immediate cause of the first Birmingham co-operative society being formed.

    On January 1, 1829, the first number of the Associate was issued, price one penny, "published at the store of the first London Co-operative Trading Association, 2, Jerusalem Passage, Clerkenwell."  The Associate, a well-chosen name, modestly stated that it was "put forth to ascertain how far the working class were disposed to listen to its suggestion of means by which they themselves may become the authors of a lasting and almost unlimited improvement of their own condition in life."  The Associate was from the beginning a well-arranged, modest little periodical, and it was the first paper to summarise the rules of the various co-operative associations.

    The author of "Paul Clifford" takes the editor of the British Co-operator by storm, who states that this work bids fair to raise Mr. Bulwer to that enviable pinnacle of fame which connects the genius of the author with the virtues of the citizen, the philanthropist with the profundity of the Philosopher. [54]

    The Society for the Promotion of Co-operative Knowledge held regular quarterly meetings, commencing in 1829.  They were reported with all the dignity of a co-operative parliament in the Weekly Free Press, a Radical paper of the period.  The proceedings were reprinted in a separate form.  This society bore the name of the British Association for Promoting Co-operative Knowledge first in 1830.

    This publication, entitled The Weekly Free Press, was regarded as a prodigy of newspapers on the side of Co-operation.  The editor of the aforesaid British Co-operator described it as "an adamantine bulwark, which no gainsayer dare run against without suffering irretrievable loss."  No doubt "gainsayers" so warned, prudently kept aloof, but the "adamantine journal" ran down itself, suffering irretrievable loss in the process.

    No one could accuse the early co-operators of being wanting in large ideas.  It was coolly laid down, without any dismay at the magnitude of the undertaking, that the principles of Co-operation were intended to secure equality of privileges for all the human race.  That is a task not yet completed.

    In addition they made overtures to bring about the general elevation of the human race, together with univeral knowledge and happiness.  Ten years before the British Association for the Advancement of Science was devised in Professor Phillips's Tea-room in the York Museum, and forty years before Dr. Hastings ventured to propose to Lord Brougham the establishment of a National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, the Co-operative Reformers set up, in 1829, a "British Association for Promoting Co-operative Knowledge."  It had its quarterly meetings, some of which were held in the theatre of the Mechanics' Institution, Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane, London, known as Dr. Birkbeck's Institution.  The speeches delivered were evidently studied and ambitious, far beyond the character of modern speeches on Co-operation, which are mostly businesslike, abrupt, and blunt.  Among those at these early meetings were Mr. John Cleave, well known as a popular newsvendor—when only men of spirit dare be newsvendors—whose daughter subsequently married Mr. Henry Vincent, the eminent lecturer, who graduated in the fiery school of "Chartism," including imprisonment.  Mr. William Lovett, a frequent speaker, was later in life imprisoned with John Collins for two years in Warwick Gaol, where they devised, wrote, and afterwards published the best book on the organisation and education of the Chartist party ever issued from that body [ED.—"Chartism: A New Organization of The People"].  Mr. Lovett made speeches in 1830 with that ornate swell in his sentences with which he wrote resolutions at the National Association, in High Holborn, twenty years later, when W. J. Fox delivered Sunday evening orations there.  Mr. Lovett was the second secretary of the chief co-operative society in London, which met at 19, Greville Street, Hatton Garden.

    The fourth report of the British Co-operative Association announced the Liverpool, Norwich, and Leeds Mercuries; the Carlisle Journal, the Newry Telegraph, the Chester Courant, the Blackburn Gazette, the Halifax Chronicle, besides others, as journals engaged in discussing Co-operation.  The Westmoreland Advertiser is described as devoted to it. [55]

    The first Westminster co-operative society, which met in the infant schoolroom, gave lectures on science.  Mr. David Mallock, A.M., delivered a lecture on "Celestial Mechanics"; Mr. Dewhurst, a surgeon, lectured on "Anatomy," and complaint was made that he used Latin and Greek terms without translating them. [56]  The British Co-operator, usually conducted with an editorial sense of responsibility, announced to its readers that "it is confidently said that Mr. Owen will hold a public meeting in the City of London Tavern, early in Easter week; and it is expected that his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex will take the chair.  We have no doubt it will be well attended and produce a great sensation among the people."  This premature announcement was likely to deter the Duke from attending.

    The first London co-operative community is reported as holding a meeting on the 22nd of April, 1829, at the Ship Coffee-house, Featherstone Street, City Road.  Mr. Jennison spoke, who gave it as his conviction that the scheme could be carried out with £5 shares, payable at sixpence per week. [57]

    The first Pimlico Association was formed in December, 1829.  Its store was opened on the 27th of February, 1830, and between that date and the 6th of May it had made £32 of net profit.  Its total property amounted to £140.  Its members were eighty-two.

    The first Maidstone co-operative society was in force in 1830, and held its public meetings in the Britannia Inn, George Street.  A Rev. Mr. Pope, of Tunbridge Wells, gave them disquietude by crying—"Away with such happiness [that promised by Co-operation] as is inconsistent with the gospel."  As nobody else promised any happiness to the working men, Mr. Pope might as well have left them the consolation of hoping for it.  He would have had his chance when they got the happiness, which yet lags on its tardy way.

    In 1830 Mr. J. Jenkinson, "treasurer of the Kettering Co-operative Society," confirmed its existence by writing an ambitious paper upon the "Co-operative System."

    England has never seen so many co-operative papers as 1830 saw.  Since the Social Economist was transferred to the promoters of the Manchester Co-operative News Company, in 1869, there has been even in London no professed co-operative journal.

    The Agricultural Economist, representing the Agricultural and Horticultural Association, is the most important-looking journal which has appeared in London in the interests of Co-operation—"Associative Topics" formed a department in this paper.

    In 1830, when the Co-operative Magazine was four years old, the Co-operative Miscellany (also a monthly magazine) commenced, and with many defects, had more popular life in it than any other.  The editor was, I believe, the printer of his paper.  Anyhow, he meant putting things to rights with a vigorous hand.  His Miscellany afterwards described itself as a "Magazine of Useful Knowledge"; a sub-title, borrowed, apparently, from the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, then making a noise in the world.  The editor of this Miscellany held that co-operative knowledge should be placed first in the species useful.  It was then a novel order of knowledge.  The Miscellany was of the octavo size; the typographical getting-up was of the provincial kind, and the title-page had the appearance of a small window-bill.  It was printed by W. Hill, of Bank Street, Maidstone.  The editor professed that his magazine contained a development of the principles of the system.  The allusion evidently was to Mr. Owen's system.  Of the people he says "many of them are beginning to feel the spark of British independence to glow."  He tells us that some "are moving onwards towards the diffusion of the views of Mr. Owen, of New Lanark, now generally known as the principles of Co-operation."

    Speaking of the meeting of the British Co-operative Association, at which Mr. Owen spoke, "who was received with enthusiastic and long-continued cheering," the editor of the Co-operative Miscellany, said: "The theatre was filled with persons of an encouraging and respectable appearance."  Persons of an "encouraging appearance" are surely one of the daintiest discoveries of enthusiasm.

    At this time Mr. Owen held Sunday morning lectures in the Mechanics' Institution, followed, says this Miscellany "by a conversazione at half-past three o'clock, and a lecture in the evening."

    Early in 1830 appeared, in magazine form, the British Co-operator, calling itself also "A Record and Review of Co-operative and Entertaining Knowledge."  This publication made itself a business organ of the movement, and addressed itself to the task of organising it.  To the early stores it furnished valuable advice, and the sixth number "became a sort of text-book to co-operators."  No. 22 had an article which professed to be "from the pen of a gentleman holding an important office in the State," and suggested that intending co-operators should bethink themselves of bespeaking the countenance of some patron in the infancy of their Co-operation—the clergyman of the parish, or a resident magistrate, who might give them weights and scales and a few shelves for their store shop.  The members were to sign an arbitration bond, under which all questions of property in the society shall be finally decided by the patron, who must not be removable, otherwise than by his own consent.  The plan might have led to the extension of Co-operation in rural districts.  And as the authority of the patron was merely to extend to questions of property when no law existed for its protection, the members would have had their own way in social regulations.  All the patron could have done would have been to take away his scales, weights, and shelves.  A very small fund, when the society was once fairly established, would have enabled them to have purchased or replaced these things.  The British Association for Promoting Co-operative Knowledge, published in the Weekly Free Press a special protest against "patrons of any sort, especially the clergyman or the magistrate."  The early socialists spoke with two voices.  With one they denounced the wealthier classes as standing aloof from the people and lending them no kind of help, and with the other described them as coming forward with "insidious plans" of interference with them.  It was quite wise to counsel the working classes "to look to themselves and be their own patrons," but it was not an encouraging thing to gentlemen to see one of their order "holding an important office in the State," kicked, "by order of the committee," for coming forward with what was, for all they knew, a well-meant suggestion.

    The British Co-operator prepared articles for the guidance of trustees and directors or committees of co-operative societies.  It gave them directions how to make their storekeeper a responsible and punishable person.  How to procure licences.  How to execute orders and schemes of book-keeping.  It usefully remarked: "We regret that the neglect of the first Bloomsbury society to take legal measures to secure their property has deprived them of the power to recover their trading stock from four of the members, one of whom was nominally a trustee.  The parties entered the store at night, and decamped with all the movables they could carry off.  This has broken up the society.  We still repeat, the trustees of a society ought not to be members of it." [58]  Mr. Haigh, of Mill's Bridge Society, Huddersfield, wrote to inform the editor, that on the 14th ultimo "they were obliged to discharge their storekeeper, as he had defrauded them of much property during the quarter"—a circumstance which subsequently occurred very frequently in that district.  Some of the stores appear to have been troubled by the disappearance of cheese in larger proportions than the sales accounted for, and an announcement was made of the formation of a Mouse-trap Committee.

    It was a law in England that no partner should sue his co-partner for any fraud or breach of agreement by an action at common law; his only mode of proceeding against his partner was to file a bill in equity in the Court of Chancery.  This mode of proceeding against any member of a co-operative trading society, from the immense expense attached to it (for £60 would only meet the cost of filing the bill), was rendered impossible for a working man to adopt.  Therefore it was better for him to pocket the first loss sustained rather than throw two or three years' hard-earned savings into the engulfing jaw of a Chancery suit.

    A discussion arose upon "Educated Shopmen" in the British Co-operator where it was proposed that the storekeeper should be "a person of gainly appearance—clean, active, obliging, and possessing a high sense of honour."  Mr. Faber, contended that the storekeeper ought not to be regarded "as a servant only, but as a friend and brother of the associates."

    Efforts were then being made in London to establish an agency for the sale of co-operative manufactures.  In 1830 the distressed co-operators of Spitalfields and Bethnal Green weavers produced a co-operative silk handkerchief.  It was an article that only ladies and gentlemen would buy in sufficient numbers to be of any advantage; but the disastrous proneness of enthusiasm to be instant in season and out of season, led to there appearing upon it a design representing the inordinate possessions of the upper classes, so that no gentleman could use it without seeing the reproach.

    The House of Commons published a paper detailing the attempts happily being made to put down Hindoo suttees.  The British Co-operator writes upon it thus: "Mr. Owen is right in saying that the period of a great moral change which he has announced, is fast approaching.  There is scarcely a publication which issues from the press that does not bring forward some new evidence of it."  The co-operators at this period believed in the immediate advent of Mr. Owen's system as implicitly as the early Christians believed in the Coming of Christ, and every new and hopeful incident of the day was regarded as a shadow, cast by the new world before it.

    Dr. Epps [59] and his system of phrenology, semi-Christian and semi-materialistic, is introduced in the—British Co-operator, and Dr. Henry McCormac, of Belfast—described as "one of the illuminati of the age"—is noticed as the author of a work on the moral and physical condition of the working class.  Dr. McCormac was a promoter of social as well as medical ideas, and was known as a teacher of mark.  His son, a well-known physician, was the author of similar works.  Dr. Epps, a leader in homœopathy when it was ill-regarded, took a sincere interest in advancing liberal opinion.  In the British Co-operator a co-operative catechism was published, in the form of a dialogue between one Tom Seekout and Jack Tellall, a co-operator.

    After nine numbers had been published of the Associate, which bore no date save that of London, 1830, by which its times of appearance could be told, it took the second title of Co-operative Mirror.  The tenth number reproduced the catechism with pictorial embellishments, quite of the Catnach order of art, representing Tom Seekout, a dilapidated rascal, who wore breeches and stockings with holes in them, smoked a pipe, had a battered hat, and was very thin.  He is shown as coming out of the "Pipe and Puncheon" public-house, a far less dismal place, it must be owned, than the drawing of the co-operative stores opposite—a plain-looking, solid, rather dreary house, bearing the name "Co-operative Society" over the door.  Before this stands a smiling, well-contented-looking fellow, in good health and compendious whiskers, which are apparently the product of the store, as poor Tom Seekout has none.  Jack Tellal, the co-operator wears a hat with a brim of copious curvature, a coat evidently cut by some Poole of the period, voluminous white trousers, and a watch and seals that would be sure to have excited Mr. Fagin.  In the distance, between the "Pipe and Puncheon" and the "Co-operative Society," is a remarkable church, very much given to steeple.  The pathway to it is entirely devoid of travellers; but it is quite evident that Jack Tellall, like a well-behaved co-operator, is on his way there, when he falls in with Tom Seekout, who confesses that his elbows are not presentable to the beadle, and that his belly is pinched in like the squire's greyhound.  Jack Tellall informs him, in the course of an amusing dialogue, how Co-operation will put all that to rights.  Number 11 of this publication was printed on good paper in clear type, and poor Tom Seekout, who appeared in Number 10, and our decorous friend Jack Tellall, continue their dialogue under conditions admissible in respectable society, and the engraving was a miracle of improvement.  It represented a community of majestic and castellated proportions, quite a city of the sun, resplendent on a plateau, raising its turrets above an umbrageous forest which surrounded it, with just one glorious pathway visible by which it was accessible.  Beyond was the far-stretching sea, and from above the sun sent down delighting beams through clouds which evidently hung enraptured over the happy spot.  Not even Ebenezer Elliott, with his sharp-eyed criticism, could detect a single evidence of primness inflicted upon the wild luxuriance of nature.  There has been only one portrait published, which represented Mr. Owen as a gentleman ; and this engraving of a community, in No. 11 of the Associate, is the only one that had the genuine air of Paradise about it.  No doubt the Associate was indebted for it to Mr. Minter Morgan, who had introduced it into his "Hampden in the Nineteenth Century."

    Among the correspondents of the British Co-operator was Josiah Warren.  He wrote from Cincinnati, January 30, 1830, to recommend a scheme of cheap printing, of which he was the inventor.  Considering the power of giving a monopoly by patents absurd, he makes known his scheme and offers it to any one to adopt.  Application was to be made to the Free Inquirer, conducted in New York by Frances Wright and R. D. Owen.  Like Paine, Warren made a present to the public of those copyrights in inventions and books, which in Paine's case made others rich and left the author poor.  The world, which is apt to despise reformers for being always indigent, should remember how some of them became so.

    Mr. Josiah Warren was a member of Mr. Owen's community at New Harmony in 1826, and it was there he conceived the idea that the error of Mr. Owen's principles was combination.  Mr. Warren gave this doctrine the name of Individuality—his system being to let everybody have his own way in everything, at his own cost, which has hitherto been found to be an expensive form of waywardness.

    Mrs. Wheeler, a familiar name in co-operative literature, was a lady who very sensibly advocated the usefulness of women taking part in public affairs.  Frances Wright, afterwards known as Madame D'Arusmont, was a Scottish lady distinguished in the same way.  Yet this did not prevent the editor from introducing into it a paragraph concerning the Anti-man Society at Maine calculated to bring a cause, which had few friends then, into contempt.  The editor was one of that class who meant well and had little other capacity.  To the honour of co-operators, they always and everywhere were friendly to the equal civil rights of women.  The subject is never obtruded and is never long absent.  It continually recurs as though women were an equal part of the human family and were naturally included in Co-operation.  Mr. J. S. Mill frequented their meetings and knew their literature well, and must have listened in his youth to speculations which he subsequently illustrated to so much effect in his intrepid book, "Subjection of Women."

    This journal, however, had substantial merits.  It had spaciousness of view as to the organisation of industry, and published thoughtful and practical papers thereon.  It had cultivated correspondents who knew how to interest the reader and were not merely useful and dreary.  One gave an account of one of Mr. Owen's meetings at the London Tavern.  The large tavern hall was crowded.  Proceedings were delayed in order that adversaries might elect a chairman of their own.  Mr. Owen quietly put it to the meeting whether, as was his custom, he should conduct his own meeting, or whether a stranger should occupy the chair.  Hands were held up.  It was Owen against the field.  The enemy was abundantly beaten.  "I have," said a religious advocate present, "often argued with Mr. Owen, but the misfortune is, I can never get him into a temper nor keep myself out of one."  Mr. Owen read an address two hours and a half long.  The most devoted admirer could not help trying to count the awful pile of pages in the speaker's hands, to estimate when the hearer would be out of his misery.  No House of Commons—no university assembly—no church meeting—would have borne such an infliction.  Yet the audience kept peace.  When the end did come, a fury took possession of the adversaries.  A Presbyterian minister rushed to the platform.  As he lifted up his Calvinistic voice he became aware that the Rev. Robert Taylor, who had taken upon himself the unpleasant name of "The Devil's Chaplain," stood next to him, and close to him.  The Rev. Presbyterian Pharisee pushed back with his stick the Chaplain of Lucifer.  The meeting understood it.  It was: "Stand off, I am holier than thou."  Gentlemen would consider the act an insult—a magistrate an assault—Taylor did neither, but bowed and retired a little.  The meeting applauded the dignified rebuke.  In due course Taylor came forward of his own right to reply.  As he had wantonly caused himself to be known by a distasteful name, he was not welcome on his own account, and had a bad time of it.  One evangelical lady spoke against hearing him with a volubility which showed how valuable she would have been had she lived in the days of the building of Babel.  Her tongue alone would have confounded the builders better than the multiplication of languages, and saved the labour of Latin and Greek and other miseries of scholarship entailed upon us.  A description of what followed, by an eye-witness, is given in the British Co-operator.

    "Taylor at length obtained a hearing.  His figure is good, his appearance prepossessing, his dress affected, though not as I had been taught to expect—eccentric.  His language was florid and highly wrought, his sentences abounding in figures of speech and closing in well-formed and generally pungent periods.  He was elaborate, yet fluent, with much of the trickery of eloquence, much, too, of the soundness of reflection.  His gesture was appropriate to his diction, both were too highly finished.  It was acting, the acting of the theatrical performer, not on the stage but before the looking-glass.  It was the elegant play of the sword fencer in his practice, brilliant and dazzling, it wanted the earnestness, the ardour, the recklessness of the combatants.  In short, it was more the rehearsal of the orator than the oration itself. In the midst of affectation, the greatest and the most faulty, was that (next after the display of the diamond an his little finger) which tempted him to quotations from the learned languages.  To speak Latin to an audience in the city of London was certainly out of keeping.

    "The attention of the meeting was now drawn to an object equally worthy of attention, another apostle for the cause he had espoused.  It was the celebrated Henry Hunt, the Radical reformer, standing on a chair near the centre of the room, with head erect, his short white hair mantling over his florid countenance, his coat thrown open, and his right hand fixed on his side, in the resolute attitude of determined self-possession.  I could see in a moment why it was he ever secured an ascendancy over the wills of those whom he is in the habit of addressing.  He was Old England personified, and his very figure spoke for him to English hearts.  On his appearance the clamour broke out afresh, for there was a strong expression of disapprobation testified in some parts of the room against him.  But he was not to be daunted; like the true English mastiff, he held his grip; John Bull might bellow, fret, and foam, but he was not to be shaken off.  'Gentlemen'—'down, down,' on one side, 'Go up, go up,' on the other.  Still he was fixed and immovable.—'Gentlemen, if you will but allow me to speak, I will tell you why I will not go up.'—'Bravo, Hunt.' 'I went up and was turned down again.'  Mr. Owen apologised to him, explained the mistake, and requested him to go up to the gallery.  'No,' replied the sturdy orator, 'I am not one of your puppets, to be moved up and down at your pleasure.'  Mr. Owen on his side was as determined, though not so sturdy.  'Mr. Hunt, I do not hear you well, and as I would be sorry to lose anything of what you say, whether it be for or against my propositions, you will oblige me by coming up.'  Good temper is Mr. Owen's distinguishing attribute, never was it displayed in a more amiable, effective manner.  The stern rigidity of Hunt's features instantly relaxed, he testified his assent by a good-hearted nod, descended from his self-selected point of elevation, was by Owen's side, and commenced a harangue by declaring his strong sense of the claims which that gentleman had on the public attention, and his respect for the philanthropy of his views, and for his perseverance in pressing them on through good and evil report."

    In those days the Birmingham Co-operative Herald existed.  The storekeeper appears to have been an object of solicitude to it.  Mr. Pare was afraid that the society would become dependent upon one man, and urged that all members should become in rotation committee men, so that there might be sufficient knowledge of the affairs of the society in as many hands as would enable them to change any principal officer without arresting the progress of the society.  This was provided for in the Assington co-operative farms, devised a few years later.  Every shareholder is a "steward" or member of the committee in turn.

    A subject discussed and not settled at the Bolton Congress of 1872, was discussed with great force by Mr. Pare in 1830, that was the permanence of share capital, and the necessity, not merely the advantage, but the necessity, of treating co-operative capital like joint-stock, railroad, and canal company capital, and not compelling the directors of a store to give members the value of their share on withdrawing from the concern.  Mr. Pare urged this in his Liverpool lectures, and carried his advice as far as Gatacre, a village six miles from Liverpool, where Lady Noel Byrom had, at that early period, suggested the formation of a co-operative store.  Though living herself in another part of the kingdom, her solicitude for social progress was communicated to her correspondents.

    Mr. Pare, who was called the first Co-operative Missionary, that being the title applied to him in the British Co-operator, rendered in the friendly papers of the day frequent, modest, and always interesting accounts of his tours, and his narrative is very interesting to follow, as it alone records the dates when Co-operation was first preached in some of the chief towns of England.  From Liverpool Mr. Pare proceeded to Lancaster.  Going in search of the mayor of that day to obtain from him the use of a public hall, he found him at the County Lunatic Asylum, which struck Mr. Pare as being a place so superior to the comfortless lodgings and cottages of mechanics and farm hands, that he thought there were considerable advantages in being mad.  The mayor, however, proved to be as much demented as many of the inmates, for he disliked Co-operation, lest its funds, which did not exist, should be applied to support workmen in case of a turn-out against their employers.  By other means Mr. Pare obtained a building to speak in, and though his posters were up only four hours before his lecture, more persons came than could get in, being from two to three hundred in number.  He next addressed, in Blackburn, about three hundred auditors.  He was informed that there were at least twenty-six societies in this town and its immediate vicinity.  The industrial ground was good in those days, for the co-operative seed sprang up fruitful everywhere.  The condition of the bulk of the inhabitants he saw there is worth remembering.  He beheld thousands of human beings pining with hunger, in rags, with little or no shelter for their emaciated bodies, and who had to beg to be allowed to work to obtain even these miserable conditions of existence.  His next visit was to Bolton, where he lectured in the Sessions Room to about four hundred persons.  On this visit he was entertained by the Rev. F. Baker, who had preceded him in delivering two lectures on Co-operation in the Mechanics' Institute of that town.

    Some of the leading men of the city of Chester attended a lecture delivered by Mr. Pare on the 17th of March.  A cooperative society existed then in Chester, consisting of seventeen members, who were making arrangements to supply all the co-operative societies in the kingdom with prime cheese at low prices.  The Chester men seemed desirous of getting at the bottom of the subject, for they put questions to Mr. Pare which caused his lecture to extend over four hours.  At this period Mr. James Watson was known as one of the storekeepers of the first London co-operative society, 36, Red Lion Square, and afterwards Jerusalem Passage, Clerkenwell.  Mr. Lovett was his successor.  On making a journey to Yorkshire, Mr. Watson was requested to act as a co-operative missionary, and he was furnished with tracts for distribution and the necessary credentials.  Mr. Watson was an earnest and forcible speaker, who knew how to unite boldness of sentiment with moderation of manner.  When Richard Carlile's shopmen were being imprisoned, beyond the rate of metropolitan supply, Mr. Watson was one, of many others, public-spirited young men, who volunteered to supply the place of those imprisoned.  He took his place at Mr. Carlile's counter, and also in prison when his turn came.  He was incarcerated three times through his participation in public movements, and for periods of unpleasant length.  He ultimately became one of the three famous Radical publishers (Watson, Hetherington, and Cleave), whose names were known all over the country, as leaders of the Unstamped publication movement.  Mr. Watson remained in business until the opening of the Fleet Street House in 1854, when his business was purchased by the present writer.  He maintained all his life a reputation for principle and integrity, and was held in personal esteem by the leading Radical members of Parliament from the days of the drafting of the People's Charter to the time of his death in 1874.  Both as publisher and advocate, he always ranked as one of Mr. Owen's most practical disciples.

    It was reported (in 1830) that a co-operative society was being formed at Marseilles, south of France, on the original social principle that the character of man is formed for and not by him; Mr. Hamilton, of Dalzell, appears to have carried this doctrine there.  Persons wishing information about it were to apply to M. Boinet, Boulevard du Musée, No. 7, A.D., who would be at home from seven to eight in the morning for that purpose.  Propagandism begins early in the day in France.

    The Newry Telegraph reported two fervid speeches on Co-operation, by Edward Gardener and John Stevenson, made at the annual dinner of the Armagh Benevolent Society, held in the Market House, January 7, 1830.  Ireland has always been favourable to Mr. Owen's views, and received him well long after England had grown angry at his apparent heresies.

    A Metropolitan Co-operative Book Society was formed, which met in 19, Greville Street.  In the absence of P. O. Skene, of Lewes, the chair was taken by W. Ellis.  The society had in view to establish reading-rooms and libraries.  This Mr. Ellis is the gentleman mentioned by Mr. J. S. Mill in his autobiography, as an early friend and associate of his, and to whom the metropolis was subsequently indebted for the Birkbeck Secular schools founded by his generosity, and directed by his trained judgment.

    In October, 1830, the magazine before mentioned was published once a fortnight by Strangs, of Paternoster Row, and sold by co-operative storekeepers.  It bore the double title of Magazine of Useful Knowledge, and Co-operative Miscellany.  It took for its motto this premature sentence, "Learning has declared war against Ignorance."  It had done nothing of the kind, but was only airing itself before a larger multitude with Latin quotations—and with Greek ones, where the printer happened to have that type.  Many long years elapsed before Learning attempted any war against Ignorance.  The first speech reported in co-operative journals of Mr, Henry Hetherington's appeared in No. 3 of this magazine.

    The first number of the Miscellany had to tell of a Rev. Mr. Pope, of Tunbridge Wells, who had "proved Co-operation to be totally inconsistent with the Gospel."  It is fair to mention that about this period, one Rev. F. Baker, the same who entertained Mr. Pare at Bolton, appeared as an advocate of Co-operation, and published a periodical which had reached forty-three numbers in 1830, and was sold at one penny.  But clerical dissentients were, however, never wanting.

    After the Birmingham Political Union "was hung up," as Mr. Muntz expressed it, "like a clean gun"—and never taken down again, John Collins became known as a Chartist speaker.  He was a man of some force and earnestness, but not otherwise distinguished for power.  It was to his credit that he assented to that form of progress which was to be advanced by instruction rather than by force, which Chartism began to rely upon.  Mr. Collins and I used to go to Harborne together, a little village some four miles from Birmingham, only famous because Thomas Attwood, the founder of the Political Union, had a seat there.  Our object was to teach in a school in a little Pædobaptist Chapel.  Heaven, I hope, knew what Pædobaptist meant, I did not.  I was quite a youth then, and sometimes Collins used to take me by the hand as I got over the long walk badly.  I remember when the sermon, which followed the school teaching, was much protracted, I used to long for dinner-time to come.  I see now the humble cottage, belonging to a deacon, to which I went, in which the fire grate was very spacious, and the fire nearly invisible.  I used to sit very close to it looking at the snow in the garden, which at that time covered the ground, as I ate my dinner off my knees, which usually consisted of a cold mutton chop, which my mother had thoughtfully provided, lest that article should not be prevalent in the cottage, and her dear solicitude was quite prophetic.  John Collins came to know much of Co-operation and to take interest in it.  He was imprisoned two years in Warwick Gaol with Mr. Lovett, as has been said.

    The impression that Co-operation was making upon politicians was set forth in striking terms in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. [60]  The gravity of the estimate made, shows that the new industrial views were recognised as a moving force of the time, as in that quarter no undue importance would be accorded to them.  The writer said:

    "Difficult as it is to force upon the attention of those who live in continual plenty and immoral indulgence, the severe distress of others, whom it is a trouble to them to think of, yet they can hardly be blind to the necessity of acting in a matter, which the people themselves have taken up in a way extremely novel in this country, and dangerous, or the contrary, according as the Legislature may make it.  Multitudes of the common people now see clearly the state they are placed in.  They perceive that their labour is valuable, if they had the means of applying it; but as their former masters have no use for it, they are driven to see whether they cannot use it for their own advantage.  Those who have the virtues of thrift and patience are forming themselves into societies for the purpose of enjoying the benefit of their mutual labour; and it is impossible to look at their virtuous endeavours, to substitute comfortable competence for the horrors of dependence upon precarious employment by masters, without wishing them God-speed."

These words were evidently intended to influence those who influence affairs, and are of interest and moment still.

    The last fruits of the enthusiastic period was the invention of congresses.  Indeed, from 1829, and for six years after, Co-operation may be said to have lived on congresses.  Heretofore such assemblies were called "Conferences."  It was Mr. Pare who introduced the American term "congress," to distinguish social from political proceedings, which were known as conferences.  In America, congress implied a political parliament.  Mr. Pare held that he brought the term into English notice by the frequent use co-operators made of it.  The first co-operative congress was held in Manchester, in May, 1830.  There were delegates present from fifty-six societies, representing upwards of three thousand members, who had, by small weekly contributions and trading on co-operative principles, accumulated a capital of £6,000 in less than fifteen months.

   Mr. Place has preserved a copy of the United Trades' Co-operative Journal, issued in 1830, in Manchester.  Its price was twopence.  It was printed on the best paper with the greatest typographical clearness, and contained the soberest and most intelligent writing of all the journals of this period started to represent Co-operation.  The anecdotes selected were in good taste.  It admitted nothing which was silly or uninstructive.  Many of its quotations were selected with such judgment and knowledge that their literary interest is unabated to this day, and would be well worth reproducing.  Even its original poetry was endurable, which was very rarely the case in these publications.  Once in making a quotation from the Guardian newspaper, which it felt justified in contradicting, it suffered its correspondent who wrote upon the subject to entitle the paragraph in question, "Falsehoods of the Manchester Guardian."  To charge a journalist with lying, because he took a different view of the condition of the operatives, was indefensible.  Mr. Taylor, the editor of the Guardian, was himself a man of honour, but had it been otherwise it was quite sufficient to show that a writer was wrong without calling in question his veracity.  This United Trades' Journal rendered a great service by publishing a summary of the rules in force in various co-operative societies in the kingdom—an act of thoughtfulness and labour, and one that shows that the enthusiastic period was not devoid of sagacity.  To this day these rules are instructive.  They marked the towns, chiefly Brighton and London, Worthing, Belper, and Birmingham, where these rules were known to be adopted.  They are worthy the attention or co-operative societies now, as showing the care that early societies took to secure character, confidence, education, co-operative knowledge, and self-helping habits in their members.  The following are some of the more notable rules:—

Loans of capital to the society by its own members shall bear an interest of £5 per £100, and are not returnable without six months' notice.

In the purchase and sale of goods credit shall neither be given nor received.

Every member agrees to deal at the store of the society for those articles of daily use, which are laid in of suitable quality and sold at fair ready-money prices.

All disputes among members on the affairs of the society are to be settled by arbitration.

Any member misbehaving may be expelled by vote of the majority of members at a quarterly meeting.

No husband shall be admitted a member without his wife's appearing before the committee and expressing her consent.

A man is not eligible to be a member unless he can read and write; and in general he must produce a specimen of his work.

No member is eligible for this committee until six months after admission to the society.

    The preface to the Co-operative Miscellany of 1830 stated that there were then upwards of 20,000 persons united in different parts of the kingdom.

    The number of societies spread over England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland were estimated by the British Association as being 266 in 1830.  The members of the British Co-operative Association itself numbered 639.  The enthusiasm with which Co-operation continued to be regarded was manifest by the statement in the British Co-operator, that in the last quarter of the year 53 societies had been formed.

    When William Thompson wrote his Practical Directions for forming Communities in 1830, he stated there were nearly 300 co-operative societies of the industrial classes associated through England, Scotland, and Ireland.  He spoke of two grand experiments instituted in 1825, on the principles of co-operative industry, one at New Harmony, in the State of Indiana, America, and the other at Orbiston, near Glasgow; and of others in different parts of the United States, particularly one at Kendal, in the State of Ohio without any connection with Mr. Owen, other than that of friendly communications.  It was in 1827, he says, that the people themselves took up the idea of co-operative industry, and names William Bryen, one of the hard-working industrious classes, as the chief promoter in Brighton, Sussex, of a Trading Fund Association.  Within three years of that period the combined efforts of Mr. Philip Skene, Mr. Vesey, of Exeter, Mr. William Pare, of Birmingham, and other friends of co-operative industry, united with Mr. Bryen, led to more than eighty associations on similar principles being formed in different parts of England.  He relates that the first Brighton association had accumulated funds sufficient to take a small piece of land, of twenty or thirty acres, and others had commenced the manufacture of cotton and stockings.  The Brighton society published every month a periodical called the Co-operator, while the Birmingham society issued the Co-operative Herald.

    We have this year (1830) an announcement of the first co-operative manufacturing community in London.  The object appears to be to give employment to members.  A committee was appointed to superintend the manufacture of brushes.  They were to be sent to the Co-operative Bazaar, 19, Greville Street, where goods manufactured by other co-operative societies were purchased for sale.  Co-operators in Burslem were sending up orders for co-operative handkerchiefs, stockings, galloons, and such things as were likely to be sold among poor people.  The British Co-operative Association had the management of the arrangements, and they opened their bazaar from two to three o'clock daily.  The terms on which goods were admitted were these: "The carriage of goods paid; the wholesale and retail prices fixed and attached to the articles, with an invoice, specifying the quantity, qualities, and kind of each article, which might be sent on sale, or returnable if not sold.  The money derived from sales, subject to a deduction of 2½ per cent., will be paid to the society through which the goods have been sent.  At such times as the proceeds of the bazaar management exceed the expenses, a dividend will be made to the sender of goods previously sold."

    A list was published of seventeen societies, which in Manchester and Salford alone were formed between 1826 and 1830, bearing names like Masonic lodges, the "Benevolent," the "Friendly," the "Owenian," and others.  But only the last-named society was intending to commence manufacturing.

    At that time (1830) a few co-operators in Manchester took 600 acres of waste land upon Chat Moss, and contrived to cultivate it.  England had not a drearier spot in which to begin a new world.  There was scarcely a thing for the eye to rest upon over a flat of several thousand acres.  Railway surveyors had declared it impossible to make the Manchester and Liverpool line over it.  Those who stepped upon it found it a black, wet sponge, which absorbed the pedestrian in it up to his knees.  Horses who walked over it had to wear wooden pattens.  It was literally a "Slough of Despond," but enthusiastic co-operators thought they could cultivate the millennium there.  Co-operation had the soul of charity in it, and the apostolic virtue which hoped all things and believed all things.

[Next Page]



[Home] [Up] [Autobiography] [Rochdale Pioneers] [Leeds Co-op Jubilee] [Derby Co-op Jubilee] [Bygones] [Public Speaking] [Among the Americans] [The Reasoner] [Miscellaneous] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk