- Anarchist Studies
- System Error Occurred.
- VIAF ID: 13554398 (Personal)
- The Practical Anarchist: Writings of Josiah Warren | UVA Library | Virgo
New articles by this author. New citations to this author. New articles related to this author's research. Email address for updates.
- The Practical Anarchist.
- The Romance of Chinese Art!
- We Are Pitbulls: A Collection of Portraits of the Dogs We Call Pitbulls and Their Owners.
- Gold Price News?
- Table of Contents!
- Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Links Louisiana!
My profile My library Metrics Alerts. Sign in. Get my own profile Cited by View all All Since Citations h-index 17 13 iindex 24 Dickinson College. Verified email at dickinson. Articles Cited by. American philosophical quarterly 28 2 , , The British Journal of Aesthetics 31 1 , , Articles 1—20 Show more.
Help Privacy Terms. This man was about to be turned out of his house and his furniture seized and sold that day in default of the payment of thirteen dollars due for rent. Having experienced misfortunes that left him penniless, the stranger was in sore straits.
- AS Volume 20 No. 1.
- Poisoners Handbook.
- The practical anarchist: writings of Josiah Warren.
- Writings of Josiah Warren!
- The Broadcast Century and Beyond, Fourth Edition: A Biography of American Broadcasting?
- The Practical Anarchist: Writings of Josiah Warren.
- Practical Anarchist: Writings of Josiah Warren - Fordham Scholarship.
- Citation metadata.
If he could only borrow the money he would be able to repay it in two weeks, while his friend, with whom Warren was well acquainted, was willing to become security. From the contingent fund of the store Warren readily agreed to lend the money. At the end of a fortnight the stranger came to Warren and declared, "Your loan saved my family from so much distress that I will gladly pay you any premium you choose to ask.
Take whatever you please ; I shall not question it. The compensation, or interest, has no reference to the benefit conferred upon the borrower, but is based entirely on the cost to the lender. I employed about five minutes in lending the money and shall employ about the same time in receiving it back. It was secured and there was no risk or loss. You have only to com- pensate me for my labor. If you could give me an equivalent in your own labor, that would make it all right, but as you cannot do so, I will accept from you instead seven cents in money.
I am anxious to pay properly for the great benefit you have conferred on me and my family. Though an economic doctrine, and the cornerstone of Warren's political economy, it broadly com- prehends an ethical principle which would have to be accepted intelligently as the basis of all pecuniary and commercial relations before the Cost Principle could be universally practised.
By Cost he meant the sacrifices involved, which time alone could not measure, and the price, therefore, should never exceed the cost thus determined. Full of enthusiasm for the principles which he was now convinced would solve the deeper economic problems of society, having tried them in regard to the distribution of wealth, he longed to see them applied to its production ; and in order to be free to set about the task he decided to terminate the store experiment. Measures were accordingly taken to this end. He would "carry out the principles into all ramifications of social life, on a permanent location," where land could be had at a price not already prohibitively en- hanced by speculation.
During Warren's first residence in Cincin- nati, he obtained a lease for ninety-nine years from Mr. Nicholas Longworth, the well-known real estate owner, of a property extending from Elm to John Streets and from Fifth to Ninth Streets, giving him eight blocks of the best building land in Cincinnati. Upon this estate he built a few brick houses, in one of which he lived for several years. It was here at the corner of Fifth and Elm Streets, that he set up his first Equity store.
After the store was terminated, the intensity of Warren's convictions deepened in regard to holding land for speculative purposes. Believing as he did that the only legitimate title to property is 23 JOSIAH WARREN labor, that wealth acquired by the rise of land values, due not to any action of the individual owner but to social causes beyond his control, is opposed to the principle of Equity, he felt that he could no longer retain his title to an estate whose value would continue to augment without any effort on the part of the possessor.
He therefore went to Mr. Longworth and returned unconditionally the lease he held, thus voluntarily depriving himself of property rights which, had he chosen to retain them, would, before many years elapsed, have made him a wealthy man. No less an enthusiast in the same cause was Robert Dale Owen, who, when Warren was brimful of ideas concerning a co-operative village, called upon him in Cincinnati. Owen was wealthy, and, in association with Frances Wright, was at that time editor and proprietor of an influential organ of social reform, The Free Enquirer, published in New York.
He evinced much interest in Warren's views, invited him to come to New York, offered to furnish means to found an institution in that city devoted to Equitable Commerce, pointed out the good that might be accomplished by the press and other avenues of educational propaganda that 25 JOSIAH WARREN he controlled, and held out hopes of assisting in the formation of communities based on Equity and individual sovereignty. Warren was completely won by Owen's enthusiasm and generosity, and toward the middle of the year he went to New York.
Here he met "Fanny" Wright, the first woman abolitionist. Popular and convincing as a lecturer, clear-headed and fearless as a reformer, scholarly and powerful as a writer, she was a force worthy of being won to the Principles. Frances Wright was not a communist, though she had spent some time with Robert Owen at New Harmony ; her intellectual leanings were individualistic, and Warren found an eager and sympathetic listener to his exposition of his opinions. She understood and accepted the Principles, and her work was henceforth inspired by Warren's social philosophy.
At this time she was writing most of the editorials for The Free Enquirer, and the new influence soon became apparent. Unaided by money, unbacked by influence, and unseconded save by his own conviction of the value of the principle he had seized, and the beneficial consequences of the practice he was prepared to explore, he suc- ceeded in exhibiting to the understanding and bringing home to the worldly interests of thousands the perfect facility of living in plenty with one-third of the labor and without any of the anxiety inseparable from the existing moneyed exchange of the world.
Its moral tendencies may be traced with never-ending delight by every intelligent and benevolent mind. While it imparts every honest incite- ment to industry, it removes all temptation to fraud and all possibility of ruinous and corrupt- ing speculation. It is capable of opening to every human being the path of honest inde- pendence and removing the load of oppression which now weighs upon youthful as upon female labor, of encouraging the outcast and the vagrant to engage in virtuous exertions and honorable occupations, secure from the contumely of the pharisee and the blighting suspicion of an unfeeling generation, and of restoring to the human race that first best birthright held in virtue of existence, indi- vidual, entire, and equal liberty.
The New York Daily Sentinel at this time published an editorial calling attention to the new views of "an individual from Cincinnati," which it recommends as giving the only solution to social and labor problems, illustrating the Principles in a dialogue in which the reformer replies to some objections.
System Error Occurred.
Owen's previous arrangements delayed action upon the scheme which brought Warren to New York. Then Owen was called away to Europe where he remained several months, until the death of a near relative changed all his plans for the future. Warren at length grew tired of waiting for something to be done for the Principles, and in the fall of returned to Ohio. On a former visit Warren, finding them believers in com- munism, had convinced these men of the soundness of his views, and they were waiting to complete their contract to run the school three years, at the expiration of which they were to join the Cincinnati reformer in a village experiment.
With these honest souls Warren decided to throw in his lot for a time, and he soon began experiments designed to test the feasibility of acquiring trades without long apprenticeships. He took lessons himself in making wagon-wheels, quickly became pro- ficient and set some of the boys to learn shoe- making and other trades.
Warren's own children were in like manner trained in habits of industry and self-reliance. The beneficial results of the working of his Principles were exemplified in a striking degree in the person of his son George. At four years old the boy was taught to use carpenter's tools. At seven he learned type-setting and composed a tiny book with pages one inch square. From one thing to another he proceeded after the manner of a child, exploring all-fields of knowl- edge open to him.
He was a musician, and at seventeen began to teach for a living. At eighteen he built an organ, fashioning it from the raw material.
Being a practical wood-worker, he made the best paling fence in the town. He was also skilled in the use of pencil and brush, and, as one of his sources of income, painted some of the most artistic signs in that part of the country. At nineteen the young man was considered one of the ablest orchestra teachers then known in the West.
When he was twenty-one he was noted as a composer of band-music, and was an expert performer on the Clarinet, French Horn, Trombone, Sax Horn, Cornet, Violin, and 'Cello. He learned cabinet-making, and after- wards became a successful manufacturer. The following passage from " Equitable Commerce" Second Edition, page 50 sum- marizes Warren's views on the principles to be observed in the education of the young.
It shows how far ahead of his generation were his ideas on this as well as on other subjects : "What is education? What is the power of education? With whom will we trust the fearful power of forming the character and determining the destinies of the future race?
If we would have education to qualify children for future life, then must education embrace those practices and principles which will be demanded in adult life. If we would have children respect the rights of property in others, we must respect their rights of property. If we would have them respect the individual peculiarities and the proper liberty of others, then we must respect their individual peculiarities and their personal liberty. If we would have them know and claim for themselves the proper reward of labor in adult age, we must give them the proper reward of their labor in childhood.
If we would have them learn to govern themselves rationally, with a view to the conse- quences of their acts, they must be allowed to govern themselves by the consequences of their acts in childhood. Children are principally the creatures of example. If we strike them, they will strike each other.
If they see us attempting to govern each other, they will imitate the same barbarism. If we habitually admit the right of self-sovereignty in each other and in them, they will become equally respectful of our rights and each other's. He now investigated those branches of industry which would be of most use to people contemplating the building up of a new community.
Having no faith in the co-operation of capitalists in reform move- ments, he saw that the work must be done by those who had nothing but their hands, their time, and their necessities. But how were these to be made available? To answer the question, this indefatigable reformer made daily practical experiments in iron and wood working, the construction of houses, of spinning machinery, and the making of various articles of indispen- sable necessity. But most important of all were his efforts to simplify and cheapen the art of printing. The year was memorable in Cincinnati as that of the cholera epidemic.
His mechanical facilities were utilized to print many thousands of leaflets containing directions for fighting the dread disease. From the works of a Scotch physician, Dr. James B. Kirk, a recognized authority on cholera, he compiled useful information of a general sanitary nature ; described the first symptoms of the disease, together with the best method of treating it; and, at his own cost, printed the sheets on a small press invented by himself, and dis- tributed them throughout the city which was being decimated by the scourge.
This service was continued for several months. Warren's son, now Capt. Captain Warren states that the city government afterwards passed a resolution of public thanks to his father in recognition of the service he then performed ; but the public records of the city have since been destroyed by fire and no copy of the resolution can be obtained.
At this period Warren followed music as a regular vocation, and his services as leader of bands were in considerable request. All Free Masons and members of the fraternal orders who succumbed to the cholera were accorded public funerals, and throughout the period of the visitation Warren might have been seen almost every day accompanying a solemn cortege, at the head of a band, playing a funeral march. With this professional work and his labor of love in the printing and distri- bution of handbills, the reformer was then a popular figure in the streets of Cincinnati. The Peaceful Revolutionist, Warren's first periodical, appeared in January, , but did not survive the same year.
So primitive at this time were his resources, and so marvelous his skill and ingenuity, that the plates from which the paper was printed were cast over the fire of the same stove at which his wife cooked the family meals. The printing press he used was his own invention, and with his own hands he made type-moulds, cast the type and the stereo-plates, built the press, wrote out the articles, set them up, and printed off the sheets.
Was there ever a more self-dependent enterprise? What enthusiastic devotion to an idea, what determination were here displayed! Let us pause for a moment and with the eye of imagination cast a glance at this remarkable and unassuming man as he lived seventy years ago. In a remote and sparsely settled region he supported his little family by his precarious earnings as a band musician. But his heart was in the movements devoted to the general good, which he deemed para- mount.
His thoughts were not of personal advancement. Material interests swayed him not. Yet he put forth no claims as a philan- thropist ; no note of conscious self-sacrifice took the edge off his devotion. Impelled to his chosen work by simple love of his kind, through every vicissitude and disappointment he remained steadfast to his faith in the ultimate regeneration of the race.
Tuscarawas County, Ohio, was selected as the place in which to commence the village of Equity. Land to the extent of four hundred acres was purchased by the pioneer and his friends. Some half-dozen families, including the adherents from Spring Hill already men- tioned, early in took possession of the estate. In a short time it was discovered that the locality was malarial, breeding low fever, ague, and constant sickness. A saw-mill and several houses were, however, erected, but the settlers-had not the temerity to invite any more to join them while influenza and malaria were JOSIAH WARREN undermining their health and carrying off the less robust of their members.
The idea of building up a community in this region was abandoned, but having invested their last dollar in land and buildings, they could not at once get away, and it was nearly two years before they were able to provide themselves with homes elsewhere. Even then they could leave the ill-starred place only by sacrificing nearly all their labor and investments. Warren, repulsed but not defeated in his first encounter with the impercipient elements and raw material of nature, in again returned to New Harmony, which, despite the failure of communism, had grown into a prosperous town.
The leaven of social discontent and aspi- ration first introduced by Robert Owen appears never to have been quite exhausted, and was wont to manifest itself at intervals in waves of communistic enthusiasm. Horace Greeley became their sponsor in the press, and Brook Farm, with its noted participators, gained for them a reputation which has survived in American literature.
Until this wave sub- sided, and the sincere but mistaken communists had time to learn by experience the inevitable but melancholy lesson, the Individualist re- former decided to remain quiescent. He then spent some years in mechanical pursuits, dur- ing which he invented the cylinder-press. A store, he believed, would most readily familiarize the people with his ideas. But as soon as the project became known in New Harmony there were mutterings and threats from certain quarters where the effects of an enterprise conducted on the Cost principle were dreaded.
For this reason Warren, having in mind his Cincinnati experiences fifteen years before, began to deliver lectures upon the subject in the surrounding country and soon created among the people a strong senti- ment in favor of the idea. When the store in New Harmony was about to open, an incident occurred which shows the feeling that prevailed.
The danger passed, however, with nothing worse than covert sneers, studied misrepresentation, and petty falsehoods from some of the neighboring storekeepers. Before many days the store was so crowded with customers that some had to wait two hours before they could be served. Opposition of an underhand nature con- tinued, but, as Warren observed : " It was not a wordy war but a war of things ; everybody had a pocket, even the storekeepers, and the subject which could get no hearing before the pocket was touched was now either supported or opposed by everyone within its reach.
It was not necessary to reply to the opposition ; the people took the subject into their own hands. Although they did not pretend to understand its whole philosophy, they saw that all its practical workings were in their favor, and its influence spread rapidly outward and began to affect the prices in the surrounding 43 JOSIAH WARREN towns. The people would not buy at home, but came twenty, twenty-five, and even one hundred miles, to the 'Time store,' as they called it, and found themselves benefited. There was but one way left for the common stores, that was, to come down.
But they could not come down to the prompt-pay prices and at the same time keep up their credit system. Then down came the credit system, that second monstrous feudalism, by which the storekeepers were rapidly getting possession of the homesteads of the people of the surround- ing country But it was principally among the poor, the humble, the downtrodden.
When all the stores in the surrounding country had come down in their prices to an equilibrium with the Equity store the custom naturally flowed back again to them, and the next step was to wind up the Time store and commence a village. Labor notes were used as on the former occasion, with this dif- ference, that Warren learned when exchang- ing his labor for the labor of others to appraise the various kinds of labor at different valuations not according to equal time, but according to equal value, measured by the ultimate cost.
Some time before the store was closed, two gentlemen in whom the public had confidence were invited by the reformer, and readily consented, to audit the books covering the operations from the start. They found a small surplus, which was merely sufficient to cover the expenses of winding up. Out of fifty reform papers to which was sent a printed account of the store and the principles underlying it, not one vouchsafed a public acknowledgment.
When the New Harmony Equity store was closed Warren once more turned his mind to invention. He produced in an original system of music denominated by him " Mathe- matical Notation," designed on scientific prin- ciples to accomplish in the representation of harmonic sounds a service similar to that per- formed by phonography in the representation of the elements of speech. The author printed the book by his newly perfected "Universal Typography," and, as may still be seen in a copy preserved in the library of the New Harmony Workingmen's Institute, it was a beautiful example of his stereotyping process, reproducing his own handwriting in delicate copperplate.
Mason, examined the new mathematical notation and admitted its comprehensiveness and simplicity, believing, however, that it would be a hopeless undertaking to attempt to super- sede the universally accepted system. The perfection to which his typographical inventions were brought in , brought Warren some financial prosperity, and revived his desire to found another village.
The seven thousand dollars he obtained by the sale of his stereotyping patents enabled him to secure land in the vicinity of New Harmony for this purpose ; but he soon had reason to believe that the prospects would be better in Ohio, near Cincinnati, where it was anticipated land could be obtained on favorable terms. One of his followers, however, wanted to open another Time store on the ground already secured, and to this plan Warren consented. They set out together for Evansville on Jan. A teamster who was one of the old co-operators, agreed to bring the goods from Evansville to the store, a distance of twenty-five miles.
The roads were so bad that the journey occupied four days ; the wagoner was nearly frozen, and declared that if the goods had not been for the Time store he would have left them on the road and returned without them. But when Warren paid a higher price for the work than was first agreed upon, he not only gave satisfac- tion to the teamster, but showed that the limits of contract may not be the limits of equity.
Upon the opening of this co-operative store on May 18, , the reformer planned and successfully held a social reunion to which were invited the people of the surrounding country, to celebrate the opening, twenty years before, of the first Time store in Cincinnati. No account remains of the subsequent course of this undertaking. It was not until , after twenty years' study and experience, that Warren put forth the fruits of his thought and labor in a book, published by the author under the title of "Equitable Commerce.
After Warren's death, Benj. Tucker in at Princeton, Mass. The founder of Equity delivered an address to the projectors in which he warned them that their communistic enterprise would certainly fail, giving them three years in which to discover the error of their principles. He begged them to remember, when his warning should come true, that, despite the failure of their attempt, there was yet a road to success. At the same time he gave an outline of the principles and methods of Equity.
Just two years and eight months later he learned that the community, after a hand-to-hand scramble for some of the "common property," had broken up. Then he concluded the time had come to interest them in his ideas, and in June, , he landed from a steamboat where the community was located on the banks of the Ohio River, thirty 50 THE VILLAGE OF UTOPIA miles from Cincinnati, and was met by one Daniel Prescott, who said, "Well, we have failed just as you foretold ; it worked exactly as you said it would, and if you had been a prophet you could not have told more accu- rately what would happen.
Now I am ready for your method. Homes must be erected and land secured. About a mile above Claremount there was some land owned by Mr. Jernegan, a believer in Equitable Commerce, with whom an arrange- ment was made to lay out the estate in quarter- acre lots. The price was determined on the Cost Principle. To the value of the land by the acre was added the cost of laying out streets, of surveying, etc. It was afterwards discovered by the pioneers that three years were too short a time to be insured against a speculative rise in land values. It should be remembered that all Warren's attempts in this direction were made with those whose only means was their labor force, and his purpose was to demonstrate that such people, with free access to natural resources, could, by exchanging their labor on equitable terms through the use of labor notes, build their own houses, supply their prime necessities, and attain to comfort and prosperity without dependence on capitalists or on any external authority for the means of life.
If he succeeded in this, he declared, capital would be powerless, and " its holders the dependents. The village consisted of eighty quarter-acre lots, and as the surrounding land was controlled by specu- lators, there was no room for expansion. Within three years a steam saw-and-grist-mill was running, its owner having the assistance of all the residents because he furnished lum- ber at cost and thus rendered it to their advan- tage to co-operate with the mill.
But this mode of co-operation left everyone connected with the enterprise free from obligations, pledges, or involved interests.
VIAF ID: 13554398 (Personal)
Here is an extract from Warren's notes written at this period in Utopia, as the village was named. Lyon paid for his lot with his labor notes. The mill needed his labor and the owner of the mill needed lumber. Lyon issued his notes promising his labor in the mill the owner of the mill took them of the landowner for lumber, and Mr. Lyon redeemed them in tending the mill. On the contrary, in a pro- gressive state there is no demand for con- formity. We build on Individuality.
Any differences between us confirm our position. Differences, therefore, like the admissible dis- cords in music, are a valuable part of our harmony. It is only when the rights of per- sons or property are actually invaded that collisions arise. These rights being clearly defined and sanctioned by public opinion, and temptations to encroachments being withdrawn, we may then consider our great problem prac- tically solved.
With regard to mere difference of opinion in taste, convenience, economy, equality, or even right and wrong, good and 54 THE VILLAGE OF UTOPIA bad, sanity and insanity, all must be left to the supreme decision of each individual, when- ever he can take on himself the cost of his decisions; which he cannot do while his inter- ests or movements are united or combined with others.
It is in combination or close connection only that compromise or con- formity is required. Peace, harmony, ease, i security, happiness, will be found only in Indi- f. Cubberley, one of the first settlers, in October, , while still residing in his original house at Utopia, wrote: "The labor notes put us into a reciprocating society the result was, in two years twelve families found themselves with homes who never owned them before Labor capital did it. Warren is right, and the way to get back as ' much labor as we give is by the labor-cost prices, money prices, with no principle to guide, have always deceived us.
Why did Equity villages not multiply? Why did the pioneers keep from the public as far as possible all information concerning them? To such questions no satisfactory answer in a few words can be given. Owing to the high price of the surrounding land most of the settlers after about four years moved from Utopia into Minnesota, where land was cheap and abundant. From this time forth Andrews became the literary exponent of the philosophy of Equity.
He delivered in a course of lectures on "The Science of Society," embracing an exposition of the Sovereignty of the Individual, and Cost the Limit of Price. Tucker, the Editor of "Liberty," New York. Warren, though never assuming to be a public speaker, developed his conversational gifts to such a degree that his "Parlor Con- versations" became noted in reform circles, and proved a valuable means of disseminating his ideas.
At these informal meetings it was his custom to introduce the topic for the occasion always expository of his distinctive opinions in a brief talk, after which he invited questions from the audience, that usually were forth- coming with a readiness and spirit evincing a warm interest in the subject. In his replies the reformer invariably proved himself quick, witty, and convincing ; but he never allowed himself to be drawn into wordy disputation, deeming it a waste of time to engage with opponents in fruitless argument. It was at one of the "Conversations" held in New York that Stephen Pearl Andrews, then an enthusi- astic Fourierist, was converted to the principles of Equity.
Many years later another able writer and determined opponent, C. This method of propa- ganda was utilized almost to the end of his life wherever he happened to sojourn and could find appreciative listeners. The soil was considered worthless, and several attempts by capitalists to turn it to account had failed. But this seemed no deterrent to those imbued with the principles of Equity. There was no lumber on the land save scrub-oak, even for fuel, but it was thought that the soil might be adapted to market-gardening, while manu- factures could be introduced to furnish em- ployment.
He was joined in a few days by two others, and they built the first house with funds supplied by a sympa- thizing friend. This undesired publicity quickly brought many people, mostly ignorant of the ideas on which the village was founded. True to the principle of Individual Sovereignty, or non-interference, which gives equal rights to all in natural opportunities, the pioneers refrained from taking any steps toward excluding the new- comers, so long as they did not invade the rights of others.
This freedom was not at first without its drawbacks, though in the end it invariably proved a self-corrective. Again to quote Warren : " One man began to advocate plurality of wives, and published a paper to support his views ; another believed clothing to be a super- fluity, and not only attempted to practise his Adamic theories in person, but inflicted his views upon his hapless children. A reporter, in the course of an interview with one of the residents, asked, " Do you hold to Marriage?
Well, folks ask no questions in regard to that among us. Every person here is supposed to know his or her own interest best. We don't interfere ; there is no eavesdropping or prying behind the curtain. Those are good members of society who are industrious and mind their own business. The individual is sovereign and : independent, and all laws tending to restrict I the liberty he or she should enjoy are founded on error and should not be regarded. Such misrepresentations often found their way across the Atlantic, and greatly chagrined Warren, who had numerous sympathizers in England.
A minister of the gospel from Cincinnati visited the Colony to investigate, and was courteously treated. Of twenty-six statements therein purporting to be facts, Warren declared that "twenty-five were wholly or partly false and one was equivocal. More than this, they often let the statement go forth that the experiment had come to an end in order to escape the interminable annoyance of sensational press reports and equally ob- noxious visiting cranks.
Free from the illusions of mere enthusiasts, Warren and his disciples differed from other schools of reformers in accepting the world as it really is. They did not expect their villages, even if these became numerous, to solve the social problem, nor did they ever consider them as anything but an illustration of what might be done by labor, freed from the curse of monopoly and the blight of authority, through the practice of Equity, toward building up a self-dependent, prosperous, and happy com- 63 JOSIAH WARREN munity.
To secure the welfare of a handful of isolated individuals was never the ultimate aim they had in view, but to show, in a quiet, practical, non-invasive way that equity and justice in human relations would promote happiness to a degree unattainable in the pres- ent selfish scramble for place and power. The spirit of the movement may be gleaned from letters written "by residents of Modern Times after it had been several years in exist- ence. Only a few brief extracts can here be given. Under date of Aug. Linton, writing to his English friend, A.
Cuddon, says: "For more than twenty years I have been interested in the subject of societary reform ; I have examined many if not all the theories that have been put forth at various periods in the history of mankind My mind was thus occupied when, more than ten years ago, I heard the principles enunciated from Mr.
Warren's own lips But the practical realization of the principles will be a thing of growth. They cannot be instituted, inaugurated, by any means or appliances under heaven Any attempt at their realization, in any of the hitherto popular modes of reform, will fail And as it regards individual and social happiness and the entire absence of vice and crime, I am confident this settlement cannot be equalled. This is, em- phatically, the school of life.
It is what has been learned here, infinitely more than what has been done that constitutes what I consider the great success of the settlement. I would rather that my children six in number would live here and have the advantages of the society and the practical lessons taught here than for them to have what is called an education in the best institution of learning in the world. In my own person and in my own domestic affairs I have been incalculably benefited. Cuddon of London paid another visit to Modern Times about which he writes from Long Island, July, : " They the principles are comprehensive and of universal application.
They are not a mere speculation or preconceived theory. They are the fruit of extensive and long- continued research conducted upon principles rigidly scientific, moral, and religious. If true, and I challenge the closest scrutiny and severest criticism, they create a new era in social science. The arguments which support them are neither difficult nor subtle ; the facts on which they rest are numerous, plain, and accessible ; they are very simple conclusions from very simple evidence.
If they to some appear startling when confronted with existing opinions, it is only because they introduce real science with all its acquirements into a branch of knowledge generally abandoned to speculative reasoning or unsuspecting credulity. They were free from sectarian dissensions, courts of law, policemen, jails, rum-shops, prostitutes, and crime. No one acquired wealth save by his own industry. Long afterwards, the people who lived there during the years that the principles of Equity were the only law looked back with regret mingled with pleasure on those pioneer days of effort to achieve a higher social ideal.
Moncure D. Conway visited Modern Times about and wrote a description of what he heard and saw of the village and its inhabitants, which was published in the Fortnightly Review, No. The article may be consulted in Vol. There is no reason, however, to impugn the trust- worthyness of a writer so painstaking and scholarly as Conway when giving the results of his personal observation on the spot.
Having received a cordial welcome when the object of his visit became known, he was introduced to Warren, whom he thus describes: "There entered presently a man to whom all showed a profound respect, and who was introduced as the reformer, to embody whose ideas the village had been established. He was a short, thick-set man about fifty years of age, with a bright, restless blue eye, and somewhat restless, too, in his movements.
The Practical Anarchist: Writings of Josiah Warren | UVA Library | Virgo
His forehead was large, descending to a good full brow ; his lower face, especially the mouth, was not of equal strength, but indicated a mild enthusiasm. He was fluent, eager, and entirely absorbed in his social ideas. It was pleasant to listen to him, for he was by no means one of those JOSIAH WARREN reformers who, having fought with the world, hate it with genuine philanthropic animosity, but one who had never been of the world at all, had never been stirred by its aims nor moved by its fears, one who was not deluged with negations, but amused with a troop of novel thoughts and fancies, which to him were con- trolling convictions.
The relation could be dissolved at pleasure without any formulas It consisted of less than one hundred cottages, which, though built on what we sometimes call in America 'impecunious' principles, were neat and clean in their green and white under the bright summer morning ; and nearly all had gardens with a few vegetable beds and more flowers. The chief lack was of trees [supplied in due time by the villagers], few or none being in that region ; but the fields were afire with the barberry and sumach, those burning bushes whose beauty is never consumed.
In the various gardens men, women, and children were walking, and some of them working, digging and watering plants, so that I began to question whether they had any Sunday in Modern Times. An invitation, however, to go to church soon settled that question. It was a plain room, with a stage, and served for religious lectures, discussions, theatricals, concerts, and indeed whatever meetings the villagers needed for use or amusement. I was assured, too, that Modern Times was not without good actors, dancers, and singers. I can bear witness that it is not without an able preacher of Positivism one who has studied the philosophy of Comte more thoroughly and can state it more clearly than any man in America The men showed, I regret to say, a poverty of invention under the principle that each should obey his or her fancy, absolutely, in the matter of dress ; but with the other sex it had been as the breath of a tropic for the varieties of plumage produced.
As they came streaming into the church they seemed at first like a party of masqueraders ; but a close examination led me to the conclusion that the majority of the 72 MODERN TIMES costumes were such as women might very fairly assume in a society disembarrassed of con- ventionalities.
The idea of expressing in- dividual taste in dress was fairly carried out ; and what the real female verdict upon the ordinary dress of the sex in the world is, may be inferred from the fact that only two or three of them had dresses at all resembling the common one. The most usual dress at Modern Times was that which one sees worn by stage peasants, the variations being in color and in the length of skirt, which ranged through nearly every degree between the knee and the ankle.
Of long or trailing skirts there were none. Of 'Bloomers' there were only a few, and these had Turkish trousers instead of plain pantaloons. The short skirt and plain white stockings predominated. Nearly all wore hats with wide brims. There were few decorations, and the colors and shades worn indicated a certain degree of taste among these ladies. There was, too, an easy, cordial relation of one with another, a frankness and simplicity of intercourse, which gave assurance that they were held together by a genuine attraction and sustained by mutual sympathy.
The aims and opinions of the villagers, showing remarkable clearness of understanding and directness of expression, are freely transcribed. The deeper problems of ethical and social life were taken up, each alking mainly upon the phase in which he or tshe was most interested.
The views of each were " given with the utmost simplicity, without any straining after effect or novelty, and in many cases with an almost devout earnestness. Under the touch of the moonlight they and their picturesque costumes and hymns seemed almost phantas- mal, and one had to rub one's eyes to know if one were not in some realm of illusion. Thus ended my visit to Modern Times.
In the morning, when I caught the first glimpse of the spires of New York, flame-tipped under the sunrise, I wondered if all of them together symbolized as much true aspiration and purity in those who raised them and yesterday wor- shiped in them as were animating that little town of whose existence the vast city roared on in utter unconsciousness. Conway'i "Autobiography," Boston, Vol. But the failure is only relative. They never accomplish the impossible aims with which they set out, and it is only of the impossible or visionary part of such efforts that the world learns anything ; the real things that are accom- plished, the practical and often invaluable results that are in nearly every case attained, are known only to the few individuals con- cerned.
It is through the personal gain to these individuals, not merely in observing the results of human frailty, but especially in rich experiences of sympathy and mutual helpful- ness, that society is benefited by such social experiments. The only right and scientific attitude toward them is the receptive and sympathetic. Why are they not equally laudable and essential in social science? Yet such illusions are stimulating to pioneers in experi- mental sociology.
To find the specific causes of the failure of Warren's Equity villages to form permanent examples of society conducted on right prin- ciples is no difficult task. It should be under- stood that they did not fail in the sense that New Harmony, Brook Farm, and numerous other socialistic experiments failed.
The pioneers of Modern Times had no trouble over property or forms of government. Each owned his house and land, and by mutual understanding political authority was dispensed with. None felt responsible for the behavior of his neighbors, and only aggressive or invasive conduct was resented by combined action. The main cause of the non-success of the village was the scarcity of employment other than that of agriculture. Capital was needed to start factories for the manufacture of articles for which there was a demand in the outside world.
The pioneers had but little resources, 77 JOSIAH WARREN and the labor-note currency, while of great service amongst themselves, could not help them in transactions with those who neither understood the principle nor accepted the practice of Equitable Commerce. Edward D. Linton set up a paper-box manufactory which promised to furnish the demand for labor that was no less desirable for the prosperity of the place than essential to its growth in numbers. This enterprise was checked by the disastrous financial panic of which, in New York City alone, where the product of Mr.
Linton 's factory was marketed, threw upwards of twenty thousand persons out of work. Before the effects of the ensuing industrial depression had cleared away, the country was in the throes of civil war, and all hope of regenerating society for the time being was dissipated. Though the original aims of the pioneers were gradually lost sight of in the inevitable struggle for existence, the village of Modern Times never wholly departed from its original spirit and character.
It is beyond question that the gregarious instincts of men are sometimes inimical both to the individual good and the social welfare. When resorted to for mutual aid, combination has proved to be a valuable instrument of civilization. But the union must be for a definite purpose and not an excuse for shirking responsibility. There is nothing inherently good in mere combination. Union may be- come a kind of fetish in whose name the worst abuses and most vicious tyrannies are meekly borne.
Nor could governments, unquestioned, procure men who have no personal grounds for quarrel to slay one another in unjustifiable wars, were it not for the superstition which exalts and sanctifies concerted action whether right or wrong. Individuals are universally condemned for doing that which an organized body of men may do not only with impunity but with approbation. There is no surer way to obtain and hold political power than by 79 JOSIAH WARREN appeals to the people in the name of patriot- ism, national honor, the glory of the republic, and other catch-words of the rhetoricians.
The most enlightened minds are often carried away by the glamour surrounding collectivity. Even Socialists, in proclaiming the doctrine of the Social Organism, insist on subordinating the individual to the aggregation we term society, unmindful that society exists and is maintained for the good of the individuals composing it, rather than that the individuals exist for the benefit of society.
For unless society subserve the welfare of its members individually, what valid reason remains for its continued existence? These truths Warren perceived with un- erring instinct. By concentrating his thought he seemed, like most special pleaders, to ignore other aspects of the subject no less important. Disunion, disconnection, the dissolving of associated interests, was his favorite theme.
He was especially severe on ill-defined, com- pulsory, and involving combinations. No important social movement has yet succeeded without specific and often arbitrary organization. Mankind in its present state of development appears unable to accomplish much without leaders; and it is by means of organization no less than by example that leaders exercise an effective influence. This is seen especially in politics, and holds equally in other fields. But Warren lacked the ambition, even if he possessed the capacity, to become an organizer or a leader.
His adherents, if they ever looked to. He could set them an example in so far as his individual efforts went. They never wavered in their faith in the soundness of his principles. Of his early friends and followers the few that still live are as firmly convinced now as they ever were of the truth of his teaching. But the fact remains that a new social movement, if it is to impress itself permanently upon the thought and life of the age, must have active and aggressive leadership. As guides to personal conduct they are still impregnable. How far they will inspire the individual to undertake and carry out functions with which society in its collective capacity alone can adequately deal remains a speculative question.
It may well be doubted, for example, whether Warren's teaching would inspire an individual or group to plan and carry out so far-reaching a public enterprise as the Metropolitan Park System of Massachusetts. Here we have a Commission with adequate powers and resources devising and executing comprehensive schemes, requir- ing for their completion many years. In this instance, the community reaps beneficial results of a lasting character despite the drawbacks now incident to public undertakings supported by compulsory taxation.
It should not, how- ever, diminish the importance of Warren's work in emphasizing the individual side of the social equation if we admit the limitations of his theories. This gave rise to the design of taking the printing power out of the exclusive control of merely mercenary managers, and making it as accessible as the use of speech or the pen. To purchase fonts of type was beyond his resources, so the inventor's next task was to devise a mode of casting them. But, owing to the fear engendered by his former inno- vations, he found it impossible to procure in Cincinnati a type mould at any price.
Deter- mined not to be balked by prejudice, he managed to gain admission to a type foundry and there saw the desired implements. He then took lessons in working steel, and soon made a type mould himself. His next step " was to combine all the implements for printing in a single piece of household furniture to stand in the next room to the piano," which he also accomplished. His intention was "to domesticate stereotyping, and the arts required for printing drawings, pictorial illus- trations, maps, music, etc. We have already noted the use to which he put his inventions during the cholera epi- demic in Cincinnati, and his mode of getting out The Peaceful Revolutionist.
After the break-up of the experiment in Tuscarawas County, in , the inventor moved to New Harmony where he resumed his labors on the printing press. Our press or printing machinery is the invention of Mr. Josiah Warren of New Harmony. He has brought a series of experi- ments extending through nine years to a successful close, and this machine, which he calls his speed press, is one of the results. It is worked by a man and a boy, or, at somewhat slower speed, by a man alone. It is supplied with self-inking appa- ratus by which the distribution of the ink is strictly under control.
Its construction through- out is very simple. It has not a single geared wheel about it. It is chiefly composed of rollers, twenty-three in number, with several pulleys. Its form is elegant and its appearance substantial. Warren's printing machines throughout the Union, the printers' vocabulary will be somewhat changed. We order not so many reams, but so many yards, of paper which comes to us like cloth in rolls. And when it was adopted, and roller presses became general, Warren and his original invention were forgotten, and others reaped the rewards and got the credit of the ideas originating with the obscure and unambitious reformer.
Truly, the ways of the innovator, or the discoverer of truth, whether in science, sociology or mechanics, are not easy ; his paths are not paths of peace. Warren's "speed press" was capable of throwing off sixty or more copies a minute, whereas the pressman who operated it had never seen a press print more than five or six copies a minute. The trick of the workmen was to throw the press out of order at every opportunity. Warren lived at New Harmony, twenty-five miles from Evans- ville, and in those days it was not always a simple matter to make the journey.
But no one except the inventor could set the press in order when it had been maliciously tampered with. On several occasions Warren was sent for, and came to set the mechanism going. The workmen tried to throw the blame of their trickery upon the imperfections of the press.
The interests of the paper suffered by the troubles and delays that arose, while the inventor began to lose patience with his insidi- ous foes. But there was no remedy. He could not remain always in the office of the paper to operate the press himself, so, after several months of conflict and experiences both mortify- ing and costly, he finally concluded to take the press away from Evansville, believing that the ignorance and selfishness of printers would not permit the introduction of his labor-saving invention.
The stone press-bed is all that has survived, and that to-day still forms the front door-step of a house in New Harmony. Typographical inventions again took up Warren's attention upon the close of the second Time store in His purpose was to extend his methods of stereotyping to all varieties of printing, illustration, and artistic reproduction.
His improvements in this field he termed "Universal Typography. Josiah Warren of this place for the above representation of the steamship 'Great Britain,' the mastodon of the age. The plate was executed by Mr. The plates were very durable and cheap, with a smooth, glossy surface so like stone that the inventor termed them "stone-type. The process included color-printing, besides effects similar to half-tones of the pres- ent day. He also invented a method of address- ing wrappers and envelopes which saved ninety per cent of the labor required by the common mode.
The processes now in use for the finer class of stereotype work are based upon Warren's discoveries. He occupied the latter years of his life with studies and experi- ments conducted with a view to perfecting his inventions, and his final results, it is believed, were not made known to the world nor rendered available when death terminated his labors.
In connection with this enterprise Mr. Keith projected, in the fall of , a course of twelve lectures on topics of current interest by popular speakers which proved to be very successful. The prices of admission were regulated, according to Equity, by the cost of the undertaking, to the general satisfaction of those who attended.