New Harmony Gazette (1825-1828)

New Harmony Gazette (1825-1828)

“If we cannot reconcile all opinions, let us endeavor to unite all hearts.”

Prospectus: In our Gazette we purpose developing more fully the principles of the Social System; that the world with ourselves, may, by contrast, be convinced- that individuality detracts largely from the sum of human happiness. It is intended to point out what we believe to be the most rational, therefore the best mode of educating human beings from infancy to manhood. . . . . While none will more zealously advocate religious, political, and mental liberty, all personality will be carefully avoided, on the principle, that no man forms his own character, either mentally or physically. The charity we exercise towards all who conscientiously differ from us in opinion, and honestly express it, we claim for ourselves; not as a privilege, but as an inherent right of nature, guaranteed to us by the political constitution of our country. And although our columns will ever be closed against personal invective, yet they will ever be open to the free expression of sentiment; believing that the expression of opinions, however erroneous, may become useful, where reason and truth are left free to combat them.

Examined: 1:1 (Oct. 1, 1825) – 3:52 (Oct. 22, 1828).

Editors[1]:

William Owen. 1:1 (Oct. 1, 1825) – 1:12 (Dec. 14, 1825); 2:33 (May 16, 1827) – 3:21 (Mar. 19, 1828).

Robert L. Jennings. 1:1 (Oct. 1, 1825) – 1:22 (Feb. 22, 1826).

William Pelham. 1:23 (Mar. 1, 1826) – 1:45 (Aug. 2, 1826).

Thomas Palmer. 1:46 (Aug. 9, 1826) – 2:2 (Oct. 10, 1826).

Robert Dale Owen. 2:3 (Oct. 18, 1826) – 2:32 (May 9, 1827); 3:21 (Mar. 19, 1828) – 3:52 (Oct. 22, 1828).

Frances Wright. 3:34 (June 18, 1828) – 3:52 (Oct. 22, 1828).

Publication Information: New Harmony, Indiana.

Frequency: Weekly.

Contributors/Correspondents: Amicus, Robert M. Evans, Mrs. Hemans, C.A. Lesueur, William Ludlow, William MaClure, Gerard Troost, and Veritas.

Subjects/Features: Robert Owen’s Social System, Private Property, Education, Mental Liberty, Religion, Theory of Circumstances, Sabbath-Breaking, Mechanics/Industrious Classes, Farming, Marriage, Abolition of Slavery, Poems, News from Europe, and the Orbiston Cooperative Society,

Extracts from: Frances Wright, A Few Days in Athens; Abram Combe, Metaphorical Sketches of the Old and New Systems; Ali Bey al Abbasi, The Travels of Ali Bey; G.A. Ellis, New Britain; Constantin-Francois Volney, The Ruins, William Mariner, An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands; John Milton, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce; Voltaire, The Philosophical Dictionary; and Moyle Sherer, Sketches of India.

Periodical reprints from: London Cooperative Magazine, The Correspondent (New York), and the United States’ Gazette.

Selections:

The Movement

Editorial. 2:1 (Oct. 4, 1826): 6. The editor explains, “This Gazette was established solely to convey, without fear of man, or any of the nonentities which his imagination has invented, the most important truths to the world,- that, through their development, mankind may be emancipated from poverty, the fear of it, and from mental bondage.”

Editorial. 2:28 (Apr. 11, 1827): 222. The editor notes that, “Our ancestors drowned old women for a knowledge of witchcraft and burnt heretics, because they were guilty of heterodox sentiments: and we, their successors, if we have lessened the punishment, have not become more rational in our accusations. In the nineteenth century, we accuse our fellow-men of candor, and impeach them of sincerity. An atheist is a blameless character so long as he dissembles; but let him be guilty of honesty, and his character is lost.”

Defined

Veritas. “Mr. Owen’s System.” 1:18 (Jan. 18, 1826): 138-39. Reprinted from the New York National Advocate. Veritas defends Owen against the charge of Infidelity, which he defines as “one who has no faith in religion” by noting that although Owen disbeliefs in the written codes of faith, given their contradictions and inconsistencies, he has adopted the religion of Nature.

Debates

Christian Baptist vs. New-Harmony Gazette

Excerpt from “The Social System and Deism,” reprinted from the Christian Baptist, in which the editor poses the following questions to the conductors of the New Harmony Gazette whom they describe as “amongst the most assiduous, devoted, and persevering Sceptics of the 19th Century”: Is there a God who created all things; is there a spirit in man which will survive the body; and, is there a future state of felicity or torment? 2:40 (July 11, 1827): 319.

Letter to editor signed W.R. 2:43 (Aug. 1, 1827): 342. The author responds, “We can reply to these propositions neither in the affirmative or negative, for we possess no positive knowledge on any of these subjects. A God, the Soul, Heaven and Hell, if such existences and places really exist, can never from their nature become cognizable by the senses of man. I therefore cannot conceive how we shall ever be able to acquire information regarding their nature or existence.”

H. “The Christian Baptist.” 2:46 (Aug. 22, 1827): 364. H. responds, “As the writers in the Gazette are professed skeptics, the onus probandi can never with propriety be thrown upon them. When I say I doubt; this wants certainly no other proof but my assertion. He who wishes to remove my doubts, must prove, that the thing doubted certainly exists. He must prove; not I.”

Reprint of an exchange between a “Lover of Just Reasoning” and the Christian Baptist editor. 3:3 (Oct. 24, 1827): 22-23. The Gazette’s editor concludes, “The only remaining query then is this- can senseless matter produce a sentient being? We reply- we know that matter organized in a particular manner is possessed of sensation, and that a slight defect in this respect destroys sensation;- sensation, we would infer from this, depends on a particular organization of matter; senseless matter then is capable of producing by a particular organization of its parts sensation- life. Where then is the greater difficulty- in supposing matter to become organized, we know not precisely how, we admit, in such a manner as to produce sensation (an organization of which we know it is capable)- or to suppose one invisible knowing being to have existed from all eternity, who is capable of producing all the various species of animals, vegetables and minerals which are found on our globe?”

W.R. Letter to the editor. 3:5 (Nov. 7, 1827): 38-39. Responding to the Christian Baptist editor’s question regarding how, if not by reason and revelation, did the idea of God enter into the world, the author exclaims, “through man’s imagination- the fertile source from which has sprung that endless variety of ghosts and spirits, genii and fairies, sprites and demons of every grade and description, which from time immemorial have amused or terrified our youth, and the not less infantile minds of superstitious bigots.”

Robert Owen vs. Alexander Campbell

“Mr. Owen to the Clergy of New-Orleans.” 3:22 (Mar. 26, 1828): 169-70. Robert Owen proposes a public debate between himself and members of the clergy in which he proposes to prove that religions are “the real source of vice, disunion and misery of every description.” Owen’s challenge and responses to it are reprinted from New-Orleans newspapers.

Robert Owen. “To the Inhabitants of New-Orleans.” 3:24 (Apr. 9, 1828): 186-87. Owen expresses his conviction that “the only way left for the world to free itself from religion’s bondage and the millions of evils which emanate from its slavery, is to render it incumbent upon its ministers to discuss all subjects of religion openly and fairly with other men who dissent from them and who are competent to withdraw the veil of mystery with which religion has been covered, and to assist the people to discover truth for themselves without it being necessary for them to be longer kept in leading strings.”

Two documents reprinted from the Christian Baptist. 3:27 (Apr. 20, 1828): 215. Concerned about the growing boldness of deist and free-thinkers in Canton, Ohio, a correspondent of the Christian Baptist invites Alexander Campbell to visit and defend the faith against Dr. Underhill, an “emissary of infidelity, of considerable talents.” Campbell replies that Underhill is “too obscure to merit any attention,” but indicates his willingness to debate Underhill’s “great master”- Robert Owen.

Robert Owen. “Mr. Alexander Campbell.” 3:29 (May 14, 1828): 228. Owen agrees to debate Campbell and suggests several propositions to debate including, “whether mankind can be trained to become more happy, more intelligent, independent, charitable and kind to each other with or without religion?”

A. Campbell. “To Robert Owen.” 3:41 (Aug. 6, 1828): 324. Reprinted from the Christian Baptist. Campbell accepts Owen’s challenge to the clergy as proposed in New Orleans.

R.D. “Alexander Campbell.” 3:41 (Aug. 6, 1828): 326. R.D. notes that in the forthcoming debate, his father will take the positive and A. Campbell the negative of the following positions: “that all religions of the world have been founded on the ignorance of mankind; that they are directly opposed to the never changing laws of nature; that they have been and are the real source of vice, disunion and misery of every description; that they are now the only real bar to the formation of a society of virtue, of intelligence, of charity in its most extended sense, and of sincerity and kindness among the whole human family; and that they can no longer be maintained except through the ignorance of the mass of the people, and the tyranny of the few over that mass.”

A. Campbell. “A Debate on the Evidences of Christianity.” 3:44 (Aug. 27, 1828): 348. Reprinted from the Christian Baptist. Campbell announces that he met with Owen and that they agreed to debate the following April in Cincinnati. Campbell concludes, “From the talents and acquisitions of Mr. Owen, we have no doubt but he will be as capable of defending his positions as any man living; and when we consider his superior opportunities from age, traveling, conversation, and extensive reading for many years, added to the almost entire devotion of his mind to his peculiar views during a period as long as we have lived, we should fear the result of such a discussion, were it not for the assurance we have and feel of the invincible, irrefragable, and triumphant evidences of that religion from which we derive all our high enjoyments on earth, and to which we look for every thing that disarms death of its terrors, and the grave of its victory over the human race.”

B. Bates. “Is Christianity True or False.” 3:44 (Aug. 27, 1828): 348. Bates predicts that “Unless the Christian religion can endure this fiery ordeal, it will be exploded from among us, like the fairy tales of olden times.”

Objects, Initiatives, and Status

“Address delivered by Robert Owen at a public meeting of the Inhabitants of New-Harmony, on Sunday, April 13, 1828.” 3:26 (Apr. 23, 1828): 204-05. Owen optimistically notes the rapid decline of superstition among the enlightened part of society and contends that “A little longer and the Priesthood will have no influence over any portion of the population except the most ignorant, and those who are compelled to become hypocrites to gain elections into office or obtain a livelihood.”

F.W. “Reply to Thomas Tranquil.” 3:39 (July 23, 1828): 311. Wright contends that “The converts from religion to infidelity have increased, are increasing, and will increase in an ever accelerating ration, until the mass, following the lead of their pioneers, shall have moved beyond the dark thickets of ignorance and meteor-lighted swamps of imagination, into the broad campaign of simple and fearless enquiry.”

Church and State

Judicial Oaths

Editorial. 3:4 (Oct. 31, 1827): 30. The editor reports the dismissal of witnesses for denying the doctrine of future rewards and punishments and remarks that “The expounders of our laws, however, apparently forgetful of the letter and the spirit of our constitution, and forming their decisions upon precedents drawn from the ages of Catholic intolerance and monkish bigotry, do venture, as we have seen, to interfere with the rights of conscience of our citizens, and require from a witness, who merely testifies to a matter of fact, a religious test, which the constitution itself expressly declares shall never be required even from those who preside at our courts of justice and are appointed guardians of the laws of our country.”

S. Letter to editor. 3:5 (Nov. 7, 1827): 38. Observing that the validity of judicial oaths is pending before the Court of Equity in South Carolina, the author comments, “There are thousands of persons in this state, believing in no future rewards and punishments; and among them a full share of wealth, talents, and respectability.   These cannot collect debts on book account; they cannot act as jurors, nor offices under the government; they can neither lend legal aid to protect others from fraud, nor protect themselves. In short, a decision against them would deprive them of the privileges of freemen . . . . Public functionaries may think it a light business, but should they decide against us, they may find it a more serious one than they are aware.”

“Giving Testimony.” 3:15 (Jan. 23, 1828): 117-18. Under this heading, are featured Letters reprinted from the Christian Telescope (Providence) and Providence Patriot regarding Judge Joseph Story’s decision for the Circuit Court of the United States, held at Providence Rhode Island, to reject a witness who failed to believe in future rewards and punishments. In a letter addressed to the Clerk of the Circuit Court the authors rely on the first and tenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Rhode Island’s Act Relative to Religious Freedom to argue against Judge Story’s decision and add “In closing these remarks, permit us to say a few words to you concerning the belief of future punishment, which you consider indisputable to elicit truth from the witness. The amount of your reasoning is, that, in all probability the witness will swear falsely unless he should believe in future punishment. The conclusion then is, a belief in future punishment transforms a knave and presents him to the public an honest man! Ergo – all believers in future punishment are men of truth and honesty! How happens it then, that so many of them are found among the convicts of State Prisons?”

“Civil Rights of the Heterodox in Religion.” 3:23 (Apr. 2, 1828): 180. Featured under this title is an editorial from the Delaware Patriot which reports the rejection of a witness in a Connecticut court on account of a witnesses “atheistical principles” and then asks “And who is an Atheist that he should be outlawed and a mark set upon him: is he not a human being possessing civil and religious rights, as dear to him as ours are to us? And are they not sacred? Can any kind of opinions disenfranchise a man from those inestimable privileges, when it requires an overt act to constitute treason?”

Sceptic. “An Infidel Witness.” 3:47 (Sept. 17, 1828): 372. Called to court to give testimony in a case, the author reports the judge saying to him “you are, sir, in the most lamentable darkness of any poor wretch that bears the name of man. You are worse than a Mahometan or a Pagan or a cannibal; for we would take their oaths, but cannot take yours. You are worse than a devil; for the devils believe and tremble; and even their word, therefore claims confidence before yours. We have only, in your case, your earthly honor to depend upon; and that is but a rope of straw and a broken reed, which the law cannot recognize and will not trust. Your country is deprived of your evidence, and you yourself have forfeited one of the dearest rights of a freeman. Such, he added, turning to a crowd of spectators whom our dialogue had attracted around the bar, such are the lamentable consequences of infidelity. Not only does it deprive us of hope in another world, but of rights and privileges in this; not only do we make god a liar, but we render ourselves unfit to be trusted or believed.”

Sabbath Observance

S.P. Letter to the Editor. 1: 10 (Nov. 20, 1825): 76. Commenting on Sabbath Day laws, S.P. concludes, “I see no interest that is served by legislative interference to enforce the observance of the Sabbath, (thus shackling the consciences of those who observe not set days and forms) but that of men who preach the gospel for hire and sell the light of the spirit for sordid gold; and since the Sabbath law gives the preference to particular sects, I again pronounce it unconstitutional, and sincerely hope at the next sitting of the legislature it will be repealed.”

A Back-Woodsman. Letter to the Editor. 1:15 (Jan. 4, 1826): 114-15. Calling for the repeal of the Sabbath law, the correspondent contends that so long as “some of our citizens, contrary to their conscience, [are made to] observe the set days of ceremonies of sectarians, for which they have no peculiar reverence,” we remain slaves to the opinions of the majority sect.

“Observance of the Sabbath.” 3:25 (Apr. 16, 1828): 194-95. This article features the proceedings of a society in New York instituted to prevent the profanation of the Sabbath. Among other things, the society resolved that “a general disregard for the Sabbath leads to its general abolition and would necessarily lead to the destruction of all public worship, and would leave us a nation without religion, and therefore without hope and without God in the world.”

Decalogue. “Profanation of the Sabbath.” 3:26 (Apr. 23, 1828): 205-06. Reprinted from The Antidote. The author calls for a boycott of public conveyances that operate on the Sabbath.

R.D. Editorial. 3:26 (Apr. 23, 1828): 206-07. The editor begins, “I have read the Bible several times; and I declare, upon my honesty that I do not think either Jesus or Paul would have joined this Sabbath Association. Jesus, if I recollect aright, was charged by the Jews with Sabbath breaking. So far from denying the charge, he defended it; and wisely remarked, “that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.””

Religion

Christianity

“Of Religious Ceremonies.” 2:19 (Feb. 7, 1827): 150-51. Responding to an article reprinted from the American Watchman, the editor exclaims, “We believe all public religious ceremonies to be, to the conscientious believer, an artificial excitement which leads to no good results whatever: a species of mental opium which raises man for a time as it were into heaven, creating feelings of joy unspeakable and of mighty exultation; and then leaving him the victim of a subsequent and dreadful reaction.”

An Enquirer. “Observations and Enquiries.” 2: 20-22, 25-26, 30 (Feb. 14-28, Mar. 21-28, Apr. 25, 1827): 156, 163-64, 172-73, 196, 204, 235-36. According to the editor, the author of this series “distinctly and positively prove[s] the inconsistency, and therefore non-inspiration of the Christian Scriptures.”

Religion and Morality

James. Letter to the Editor. 1:27 (Mar. 29, 1826): 214. Confused by Veritas’s assertion that Robert Owen sees the belief in pure and genuine religion as essential to morality, James asks, “Have I been misinformed as to Mr. Owen’s philosophy? Is deism his philosophy? Does he actually consider god-worship to be essential to good morals? Then do he and I differ widely. So far from viewing religion as the basis of morality, I regard it, “pure and genuine” as it possibly can be, as wholly subversive of generous virtue- as absolutely incompatible with independence of thought and feeling.”

“New-Harmony Sunday Meeting for Instruction in the New-System.” 1:44 (July 26, 1826): 350-51. Owen contends “injustice, pride, despotism, cruelty, avarice, derangement of the rational faculties, wars, burnings, massacres, and prostration of the mind to every conceivable folly and absurdity . . . . are the unavoidable consequences of the introduction of religions of mystery into society; and yet we and our ancestors, for ages past, have been told, Sabbath after Sabbath, that this system, whether true or false, was necessary to produce virtue in the world.”

S. Letter to editor, followed by editor’s reply. 3:8 (Nov. 28, 1827): 62-63.  The author asserts that, “Religion is in the estimation of most thinking men, the only efficient sanction of moral obligation.” In reply, the editor argues that “the frame of mind incident to a belief in superhuman existences, have been productive of more evil than of good to the human race.”

Robert Dale Owen. “On the General Opinions Prevalent in Society.” 3:24 (Apr. 9, 1828): 190. Owen observes, “Thus it happens that the religion of the pulpit and the morality of the cabinet fall on the ear of the powerful and the wise, unbelieved indeed but yet unchallenged; conceived to be idle and absurd, yet adapted to the ignorant and the prejudiced. They know that such childish doctrines are unfit for their own strong minds; but they think them good and wholesome for the weaker minds of their less favored fellow-mortals. Religion is false, they admit, but yet it is useful- to keep the unenlightened quiet.”

Religion and Science

Medicus. “Credulity, A Disease of Volition.” 1:48 (Aug. 23, 1826): 378-79. Medicus concludes that the cure for the disease of credulity is “to increase our knowledge of the laws of nature, and our habit of comparing whatever ideas are presented to us with those known laws, and thus to counteract the fallacies of our senses, emancipate ourselves from the false impressions which we have imbibed in our infancy, and set the faculty of reason above that of imagination.”

Slavery

Frances Wright. “A Plan for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery in the United States, Without Danger of Loss to the Citizens of the South.” 1:1 (Oct. 1, 1825): 4-5. Wright begins with the assertion that “any plan of emancipation, to be effectual, must consult at once the pecuniary interests and prevailing opinions of the southern planters, and bend itself to the existing laws of the southern states. In consequence it appears indispensable that emancipation be connected with colonization, and that it demand no pecuniary sacrifice from existing slave-holders, and entail no loss of property on their children.”

Editorial. 2:22 (Feb. 28, 1827): 174. The editor opines, “To a forced and precipitate emancipation either of the slave or of his master we are opposed: but emancipation gradual and effective, based upon education and emanating from intelligence and industry, we shall hail as one of the greatest victories American liberality may gain over unworthy and ignorant prejudice.”

Editorial. 2:34 (May 23, 1827): 270. The author argues that all proposals for the emancipation of the slave are “premature, unless it provide for the previous instruction and mental elevation of the slave.”

Nashoba

Frances Wright. “Establishment at Nashoba, West Tennessee, for the Benefit of the Negro Race.” 2:21 (Feb. 21, 1827): 164-65. Among the stated objects of the trust, consisting of approximately 1860 acres along the Wolf River, Shelby County, Tennessee, were to provide a school for “colored children” and that “all negroes emancipated by the trustees, shall on quitting the lands of the institution, be placed out of the limits of the United States.”

“Communications from the Trustees of Nashoba.” 2:22 (Feb. 28, 1827): 173. The trustees detail their plans for emancipating children slaves sent without their parents noting that they will “remain until twenty one years of age, when it is believed they will have refunded, by their labor, the expenses incurred for their education and support.”

“Nashoba. Explanatory Notes, Respecting the Nature and Objects of the Institution of Nashoba, and of the Principles upon which it is Founded.” 3:16-18 (Jan. 30-Feb. 13, 1828): 124-25, 132-33, 140-41. In presenting the principles that shall guide the formation of Nashoba, Wright observes “The strength of the prejudice of color as existing in the United States and in the European colonies can in general be little conceived and less understood in the old continent. Yet however whimsical it may there appear, is it in fact more ridiculous than the European prejudice of birth? The superior excellence which the one supposes in a peculiar descent or merely in a peculiar name, the other imagines in a peculiar complexion or set of features. And perhaps it is only by considering man in many countries and observing all his varying and contradictory prejudices that we can discover the equal absurdity of all.”

“Communication from the Trustees of Nashoba.” 3:22 (Mar. 26, 1828): 172. The trustees announce “that they have deferred for the present the attempt to form a society of cooperative labor.”

Women’s Rights

R.D. Editorial. 3:31 (May 28, 1828): 246. The editor declares that “indissoluble marriage is an immoral institution; producing, sometimes indifference; sometimes disgust; sometimes hatred; and only in a few favored exceptions failing to excite hard feelings and grating squabbles, petulant irritation or cold distaste.”

R.D. “On Constancy.” 3:33 (June 11, 1828): 262-63. Owen comments, “For a race of Gods, who should know all things, indissoluble marriage were perhaps well enough adapted; for if it did no good, it could at least, do no harm; but for erring, fallible men, who learn only by experience and become wise from their own errors, an institution that shuts the door upon returning experience, and blocks up the retreat from a false path, is peculiarly inappropriate.”

Law and Government

“Oration, Delivered in the New-Harmony Hall, by Robert Owen, at the Celebration of the Fourth of July, 1827, the Fifty-First Anniversary of American Independence and First Anniversary of Mental Independence.” 2:40 (July 11, 1827): 313-15. Owen concludes his oration by asking, “are we not still the slaves of prejudice, the bondsmen of superstition? . . . . Are we prepared to reject the mysteries of disordered imaginations, if we shall find them inconsistent with reason and opposed to fact?  . . . . Are we prepared to exercise the right, as we enjoy the power, secured to us by the heroes of the revolution, of expressing our thoughts openly and sincerely? Are we willing to run the risks which they encountered? Then may we indeed rejoice- we are secured in the greatest blessings, which man, according to our present knowledge, can ever attain,- we do indeed enjoy political freedom- religious and mental liberty.”

Frances Wright. “Address, Delivered in the New-Harmony Hall.” 3:37 (July 9, 1828): 289-91. Commemorating the Fourth of July, Wright observes “Better were the prospects of a people under the influence of the worst Government who should hold the power of changing it, than those of a people under the best who should hold no such power. Here then is the great beauty of American Government. The simple machinery of representation carried through all its parts, gives facility for it being molded at will to fit with the knowledge of the age. If imperfect in any or all of its parts, it bears within it a perfect principle- the principle of improvement.”

Education

 R.D. “Real Danger.” 3:52 (Oct. 22, 1828): 414-15. Lamenting the religious indoctrination of children, Owen suggests that “schools be founded where mysteries give place to facts, where the judgment and not the imagination is exercised, where the teacher speaks to his pupils’ reason instead of drawing on their credulity- and, with as much, and yet more, ease, than have been formed bigoted, superstitious tremblers, may we form a nation of free and enlightened enquirers, who shall prove all things and hold fast that which is good.”

Cooperative Associations

New Harmony

Robert Owen. “Address.” 1:1 (Oct. 1, 1825): 1-3. Owen outlines the philosophical basis for his proposed new social system, reads the Constitution of the Preliminary Society of New Harmony dated May 1, 1825, and considers the practical measures by which the Preliminary society is to be carried into execution.

R. “View of New Harmony.” 1:1-4 (Oct. 1-22, 1825): 6, 14-15, 22, 30-31, 38-39. The author outlines the progress made by the Society of Harmonists since their emigration from Germany to America in 1884.

Robert Owen. “A Sketch of some of the errors and evils arising from the past and present society; with an explanation of some of the peculiar advantages to be derived from the arrangement of the unemployed working classes into “agricultural and manufacturing villages of unity and mutual cooperation,” limited to a population of from 500 to 1500 persons.” 1:5-6 (Oct. 29- Nov. 5, 1825): 33-34, 41-42.

Editorial. 1:13 (Dec. 21, 1825): 102-03. Responding to the accusation that the system at New Harmony has “thrown aside the Christian faith, and even the belief in a Deity” the editor notes that while their system teaches no religious tenets as the established creed of their society it recognizes the equal rights and privileges of all religious persons.

“Constitution of the New-Harmony Community of Equality” and “Articles of Union and Cooperation.” 1:21 (Feb. 15, 1826): 161-63. The Constitution holds as self-evident “That freedom in the sincere expression of every sentiment and opinion, and in the direction of every action, is the unalienable right of each human being; and cannot justly be limited except by his own consent.” While the Article XI states that “Every member shall enjoy the most perfect freedom on all subjects of knowledge and opinion; especially on the subject of religion.”

Robert Owen. “Retrospect of the Commencement and Progress of the New System of Society, for the First Year, in the United States.” 1:33 (May 10, 1826): 262-63.

Editorial.  2:9 (Nov. 29, 1826): 78-79. Responding to criticism of New-Harmony as doomed to failure given its foundation of infidelity, the editor asserts “Let the federative system of political economy rest on its own merits or fall by its inconsistency. It has nothing to do with religion” and explains, “we may be irrational infidels, led away by our finite reason to reject the only source of all truth; our arguments may be but specious sophistry, and the honest expression of our opinions but open blasphemy, our system of morals may be built upon sand, and our plan of metaphysics based upon a fallacy- all this we repeat may be true and correct- and yet it affects not the question of cooperative political economy.”

New Lanark

Robert Dale Owen. “Outline of the System of Education at New-Lanark.” 1:7-11 (Nov. 12- Dec. 7, 1825): 49-51, 57-58, 65-66, 73-74, 81-83.

Robert Owen. “An Address, Delivered to the Inhabitants of New-Lanark, on the first of January, 1816, at the opening of the Institution established for the formation of Character.” 1:13-15 (Dec. 21- Jan. 4, 1825): 97-99, 105-06, 113-14. “Dedicated to those who have no private ends to accomplish; who are honestly in search of Truth, for the purpose of ameliorating the condition of Society; and who have the firmness to follow the Truth wherever it may lead, without being turned aside from the pursuit by the prepossessions or prejudices of any part of mankind.”

Robert Owen. “Report to the County of Lanark, of a Plan for Relieving Public Distress, and removing Discontent, by giving permanent, productive Employment, to the Poor and Working Classes; under Arrangements which will essentially improve their Character, and ameliorate their Condition; diminish the Expenses of Production and Consumption, and create Markets coextensive with Production.” 1:35-40 (May 24- June 28, 1826): 273-75, 281-85, 289-91, 297-300, 305-07, 313-14.

Socialism

“Mr. Owen’s Address.” 1:16-18 (Jan. 11-18, 1826): 121-23, 129, 137. A lecture delivered at the City of London Tavern, August 14, 1817, on a plan to “re-moralize the lower orders” and “gradually abolish pauperism.”

“Meeting at the Rotunda.” 1:19-22 (Feb. 1-22, 1826): 145-47, 153-55, 164-65, 169-71 An account of a public meeting convened by Robert Owen in Dublin, March 18, 1823. Owen argues that the only way to begin to ameliorate the ignorance, poverty, vice and wretchedness which pervades Ireland is to abandon the underlying political-economic system “founded solely on the notion that each human being forms his own character; that is that he makes himself what he is.”

“Second Meeting at the Rotunda.” 1:23-26 (Mar. 1-22, 1826): 177-78, 185-86, 193-95, 201-05. An account of “a general meeting of the Nobility, Gentry, Professions, Bankers, Merchants, and Master Manufactures” held in Dublin, April 12, 1823 “for the purpose of hearing the development of the practical arrangements proposed by Mr. Owen, for the relief of Ireland.”

“Third Meeting at the Rotunda.” 1:28, 32 (Apr. 5, May 3, 1826): 217-19, 249-52. Final address delivered by Robert Owen in Dublin, April 19, 1823. Owen addresses the cause of why “an excess of productions or of wealth, should coexist with a supposed excess of population, and an almost universal complaint of poverty.”

“The Mutualist.” 1:38-40 (June 14-28, 1826): 301-02, 309-10, 316-17; 2:4, 13 (Oct. 25, Dec. 27, 1826): 26-27, 100-01. Signed by “A Member of a Community” and “A Mutualist,” the author offers a series of critical remarks regarding Owen’s system of social cooperation. For example, the author accuses Owen of becoming an intolerant sectarian who compels “cooperators to abandon their religion, their liberty of thought, and their wives,” and remarks that Owen has been “more intent on inculcating his religious principles, than in organizing communities.”

L.G. Letters to the editor rebutting “A Mutualist”. 1:39, 41, 43-44 (June 21, July 5, July 19-26, 1826): 310, 324-25, 340, 349.

Robert Owen. “Oration, Containing a Declaration of Mental Independence.” 1:42 (July 12, 1826): 329-32. Delivered on July 4, 1826, at New-Harmony, Indiana. Owen declares that “Man, up to this hour, has been, in all parts of the earth, a slave to a Trinity of the most monstrous evils that could be combined to inflict mental and physical evil upon his whole race. I refer to private, or individual property- absurd and irrational systems of religion- and marriage, founded on individual property combined with some one of these irrational systems of religion. . . . The revolution, then, to be now effected, is the destruction of this hydra of evils- in order that the many may be no longer poor, wretched beings,- dependent on the wealthy and powerful few; that Man may be no longer a superstitious idiot, continually dying from the futile fear of death; that he may no longer unite himself to the other sex from any mercenary or superstitious motives, nor promise and pretend to do that which it depends not on himself to perform.”

Letter to the editor signed, “One of the Pygmies.” 1:52 (Sept. 20, 1826): 413. Reporting that the editor of the Village Herald accuses Owen’s Declaration of Mental Independence as “unveiling principles subversive of every tie, human and divine; and which, if put in practice, would be certain destruction to all those sacred obligations which restrain the viciousness of the human passions, and sustain the fabric of civil society.”

“Wealth and Misery.” 2:6-11 (Nov. 8- Dec. 13, 1826): 46-47, 54-55, 62, 70-71, 79, 86-87. The author notes that although Great Britain’s system of commercial competition has managed to increase its powers of production 80 fold, it has also created hopeless misery among its manufacturing population. Adoption of a federative system of distribution is recommended to alleviate this gross economic injustice.

Robert Owen. “The Social System.” 2:8, 14-15, 17-24 (Nov. 22, 1826, Jan. 3-10, 24- Mar. 14, 1827): 57-59, 105-06, 113-14, 129-30, 137-38, 153-54, 161-62, 169-70, 177-78, 185-86. Owen contends that “the system of individual rewards and punishments, emulations and separate interests” which has governed the world for 6,000 years “has its foundation in error; that it has made mankind irrational and keeps them so; that it is ever produced only misery to the human race, and that it is now the direct or indirect cause of all the evils of which men complain: that the error upon which it is founded, is in fact, the origin of evil upon earth.”

“Robert Owen’s First Discourse on a New System of Society.” 2:29-31 (Apr. 18-May 2, 1827): 225-26, 233-34, 241-42. An address delivered February 25, 1825, in the Hall of Representatives at Washington D.C., before the President of the United States and members of Congress.

“Robert Owen’s Second Discourse on a New System of Society.” 2:32-34 (May 9-23, 1827): 249-50, 257-58, 265-66. An address delivered March 7, 1825, in the Hall of Representatives at Washington D.C. Owen explains that true, universal, rational religion consists not in “unmeaning phrases, forms and ceremonies; but in the daily, undeviating practice, in thought, word, and action, of charity, benevolence, and kindness to every human being with whom we come into communication, or have any transactions, near or remote.”

“Memoir of Abram Combe.” 3:23-24 (Apr. 2-9, 1828): 177-78, 185-86. Reprinted from the Orbiston Register. A tribute to Combe’s life and work.

Worldcat Accession Numbers: 6506241

The full run of the New Harmony Gazette is available electronically from Proquest’s American Periodical Series, Collection I.

Endnote:
[1] New Harmony Gazette 3, no. 21 (Mar. 19, 1828): 167. William Owen identifies the various editors of the New Harmony Gazette from its inception.

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