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Owen
Owen
449

in which all labour was to be for the good of the community. Owen circulated the report at his own expense; it was translated into French and German, and proposals were made for carrying the scheme into effect. He first held that three-quarters of a million would be required, but consented at last to make a beginning with 50,000l. A. J. Hamilton offered a site at Motherwell, not far from Lanark. Owen subscribed 10,000l., but ultimately withdrew from the scheme in consequence of differences of opinion with other promoters. A community was started at Orbiston, near Motherwell, under themanagement of Abram Combe, brother of Andrew and George Combe [q. v.], who had visited New Lanark in 1820, and become an ardent disciple of Owen. Combe disapproved of the thoroughly communistic principles which were adopted in September 1826, after the scheme had been at work for a year. His death, on 27 Aug. 1827, grave a death-blow to the scheme, and the buildings were pulled down in 1828.

Owen also withdrew gradually from New Lanark. His associate Allen naturally objected to his anti-religious principles, and, as a quaker, to the singing, dancing, and military drill. Various disputes arose, and an agreement was made in January 1824 (given in New Existence, v. 201) which gave effect to some of Allen's views. Owen was discontented with the management, and finally withdrew in 1829. He now made a small settlement upon each of his children, and considered himself at liberty to spend the rest of his money upon his various projects.

Meanwhile Owen was energetically promulgating his doctrines. In 1821 he started a periodical called 'The Economist,' which ran for a year, and was followed by 'The Political Economist and Universal Philanthropist,' 1823, and 'The Advocate of the 'Working Classes,' 1827-7 (Holyoake, History of Co-operation, i. 108), more or less inspired by him. He visited Ireland in 1823, argued with professors at Maynooth, and held meetings at the Rotunda in Dublin (18 March, 12 and 19 April 1823), which resulted in the formation of the Hibernian Philanthropic Society. There was, however, a strong opposition, and these meetings, according to Mr. Holyoake (Life and Last Days, p. 8), 'sealed the fate of his social reform,' In 1824 Owen heard from an Englishman, who, after settling in America, had visited Braxfield, of an estate of 30,000 acres on the Wabash river, in the states of Illinois and Indiana. It belonged to a German colony who had emigrated from Würtemberg in 1804, under the guidance of a Lutheran teacher named Rapp. They combined business energy with peculiar religious views, and had prospered upon this land, to which they had given the name Harmony. They now wished to move on. Owen sailed in the autumn of 1824, and bought the village, with 20,000 acres, for 30,000l. in April 1825. On his way Owen was invited to give two addresses in the Hall of Representatives at Washington, which were attended by the president and other officials. He at once proceeded to Harmony, where nine hundred people soon assembled, and a provisional committee of management was appointed.

Owen returned to England in 1825, and made fresh journeys to 'New Harmony' at the end of the same year, and again in the winters of 1826–7 and 1827–8. A constitution was framed on 5 Feb. 1826 upon communist principles. Owen, though he had intended a longer period of probation, was asked to manage the affairs for a year. Communities sprang up in imitation at various laces, and several were grouped round New Harmony. A Mr. Maclure founded a school system on a large scale. Difficulties, however, soon arose. The heterogeneous collection of colonists gradually gave up their communism. Owen on his visits did his best to patch things up, and gave large sums of money. He found, however, that the communities had deserted his principles, and in 1828 had finally to break off his connection with the place, leaving the communities to do as they pleased. Owen had in one way or other spent upon this experiment over 40,000l. He had given to his sons Robert and William two shares in the New Lanark property, which they soon afterwards again made over to him when his funds ran low. Ultimately he settled upon them the New Harmony property, reserving for himself an annuity of 300l., which for many years was his only means of support. The rest had been spent on his various philanthropical enterprises and publications (R. D. Owen, Threading my Way, pp. 261-3).

While in England, in the following summer, Owen received an application from some persons to whom the Mexican government had granted lands in Texas to help him in colonising. He sailed on 22 Nov. 1828 with introductions to the Mexican authorities, and was received with high honours by the president, Victoria. He was told that congress would grant him a territory fifty leagues broad, stretching through 13½° of latitude. It was only necessary to change the law which made profession of Catholicism necessary in Mexican territory. In the winter, however, a new party came into power,