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“Report to the County of Lanark…” 1820
187 Many matters now requiring my attention in England and Scotland, I hastened my departure homeward. 191 On my arrival in England I [met] the full extent of opposition which my so public uncompromising denunciations against all the religions of the world naturally excited. But my antecedents were unassailable. I had for more than a quarter of a century governed one population in England of five hundred and another in Scotland of two thousand five hundred, and had produced, by a new mode of governing by love and wisdom, results never before witnessed.
193 From 1815, I often resided at 49 Bedford Square, the town residence of my friend and partner John Walker. The Dukes of Kent and Sussex occasionally looked in upon me to study the model which I had there of the new surroundings which I proposed [for] the poor and working classes. 194 A committee was formed to promote my “New Views”, and the Duke of Kent was its chairman. 195 His letters to me evince his anxious desire to improve the condition of the suffering classes.
200 I had published a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, on the union of Churches and Schools, which was widely circulated.
203 The poor law guardians in Leeds were in difficulties about maintaining their increasing poor. They turned their attention to the plans I had published, and I was requested to visit Leeds and explain the practical measures which I recommended. On my arrival, a public meeting was called, and the Mayor presided. The meeting was crowded to excess. I explained my views, not only by word, but through my model. The meeting was unanimous in its warm approval. The poor law guardians immediately appointed three delegates to visit New Lanark and to report the actual practice in that now far-famed establishment:– Mr Edward Baines, proprietor of the Leeds Mercury, Mr John Cawood, a wealthy manufacturer, and Mr Robert Oastler, a highly respected citizen.
204 They came and examined the schools, mills, machine manufactures and foundries, the unique arrangements for providing the inhabitants’ food and clothes, and the pleasure grounds etc. Their report was widely circulated, and is a full answer to the many objections, because the superior condition of the establishment was effected without religious interference.
I was often much amused with earnest and sincere religious persons who came to inspect the New Lanark schools and establishment. After expressing their astonishment and great delight with the wonderful results, they would say–“Ah, Mr Owen, if you would but add to all these beautiful proceedings our religious views, your establishment would be perfect”.
205 I then would ask the well-meaning party, whether they had ever seen such practical results produced by any persons possessing their religious opinions? “No, they had not”– was the answer without exception. I replied– “You very naturally desire my practice with your faith and religious prejudices. My experience leads me to believe that your religious views and this practice are incompatible.”
215 I had become a great favourite with Lord Lauderdale, one of the most influential members of the House of Peers. I had had engraved a beautiful picture of my proposed arrangements to give education and useful constant employment to the poor. I brought him one of 216 these engravings, [which] he examined. Then he exclaimed –“Oh! I see it all! Nothing can be more complete for the working classes. But what will become of us?”, meaning the aristocracy.
Petitions [in favour] of my new views were brought before both houses of parliament, signed by the nobility and gentry of the county of Lanark and some of its presbyteries, and by members of the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. 217 In the House of Lords, the debate was taking a favourable turn, when Lord Lauderdale arose and said –“My Lords, I know Mr. Owen, and I have examined his plan, and I tell your Lordships that if you countenance Mr Owen’s New Views, there is no government in Europe that can stand against them.” This speech decided the question.
224 That system which is to establish the Millennial state of goodness and happiness upon earth was not to be introduced by persons of rank and status. Truth needs not the aid of names. Such is the Great Truth: “That the character of man is formed for him without his knowledge, and may now be well formed from birth for all.”
218 In 1819, I was invited by Mr. Coke of high agricultural fame, at Holkham, to his celebrated annual sheep shearing. I accompanied our mutual friend, his Excellency Richard Rush, ambassador from the United States. Mr. Coke was an honest Republican in principle, and no respecter of persons merely on account of their rank.
219 He told us that when he came into possession of the Holkam estate, it was let at 3 shillings per acre. He required an advance of 2s. per acre. The tenants said that they could not afford 5s. per acre for land so unproductive. At this period, Norfolk imported considerable quantities of wheat. Mr Coke [then] took the estate into his own hands. He told us he was then receiving 25s. an acre for the whole estate. And, through his example, Norfolk [now] exported large quantities of wheat.
228 While I was busily engaged in London at the end of November, 1819, I received intelligence from New Lanark that one of our large cotton mills had been burned, and all engaged on it thrown out of employment. I immediately made arrangements to give them occupation, without their being obliged to leave the establishment to seek work elsewhere.
225 I was induced to offer myself a candidate to 226 represent in the House of Commons the Royal Burghs of Lanark, Selkirk, Peebles and Linlithgow, [following] the demise of the [previous] member. 230 I arrived home about the middle of December and was occupied for some weeks in new arrangements consequent on the burning of the mill, giving the candidates opposed to me the benefit of a long first canvass.
[When] I visited the Burghs, I found Selkirk and Peebles positively engaged to my opponent, and that Linlithgow had declared to me. Four of the old Lanark voters upon whom I had every reason to depend had, by being feasted and kept intoxicated, been bribed over to my opponent. I made it a condition that not one shilling should be expended for me to bribe one voter. I lost the election by four voters.
233 In 1819, another panic occurred in the commercial world, arising from the proceedings of the Bullion Committee of the House of Commons. Such was the distress, produced artificially, that thousands upon thousands of the working classes were out of work and starving, and the smaller tradesmen were ruined. The county of Lanark suffered from a great surplus of unemployed people.
It being noticed that there was no distress 234 among the population of New Lanark, I was called on at a great county meeting to express my opinion as to the cause of this great evil and to point out a cure. I made a report, [which] included a statement of a permanent remedy, by society being reconstructed. 239 My report to the county of Lanark [was] published and excited intense interest in the years ‘20, ‘21, ‘22, and ’23. [It was] 234 the first publication which explained the practical science of society, to unite all as members of one superior and enlightened family, so as to make all physically and mentally healthy, good, wise, consistent and happy. But the world was quite unprepared to comprehend such a report in 1820.
239 It called forth the creation of the ‘British and Foreign Philanthropic Society’, with the view of forwarding the principles and practices which I advocated. I was so beset to commence the experiment [of] a model community, that I consented [to] a public subscription. To my surprise, £50,000 was subscribed. Many of my more ardent friends would not be satisfied unless I would permit them to commence, and would give them my assistance. I felt constrained to agree. It was determined to commence the first model community on the lands of Mr J.A. Hamilton of Dalziel, a few miles from New Lanark. [1821, nothing came of it.]
235 [In 1820] one of my partners, William Allen, limited by Quaker prejudices, began to depreciate my mode of education at New Lanark and recommend the abandonment of music, dancing and military discipline. I proceeded in my usual course for two or three years, but gradually perceived the necessity for a separation at no distant day.
240 I will here  conclude this first division of my life – requesting my readers to study attentively the various divisions of the appendix.