|The Robert Owen Museum. Photo by "Indigo Goat" Some rights reserved|
There is "an eternal, uncaused Existence, omnipresent and possessing attributes whereby the world is governed, but no man has yet been able to comprehend God".
In 1835, although Robert Owen was sixty-four he remained both energetic and hard working. His wife had died ,in 1831 and he now lived a simple frugal life on a small annuity from his sons, devoting his time to the promotion of his New View of Society.
The period 1835 to 1845 saw the rise of the "Owenites" and the development of "Rational Religion", a sectarian organisation for the promotion of Robert Owen's ideals, which held services in "Halls of Science" throughout the country. In 1839 the Owenites, supported by Owen himself, set up an experimental community at Queenswood in Hampshire. This co-operative community also failed because of its lavish scale.
Since his youth Robert Owen had opposed orthodox religion and his critical pamphlets incurred violent opposition from the Established Church. In his later years he continued to criticise the Church and a fierce battle developed between the bishops and strict Anglicans, and Owen and his followers , known as socialists. The government reluctantly agreed to hold an enquiry and as a result a few socialists were prosecuted for blasphemy. Some of the socialists, although not Owen himself, were violent in their counter-attacks and both sides were responsible for causing bad feeling, which was to persist for a number of years. Meanwhile, Robert Owen continued to lecture and write, publishing the New Moral World in 1837.