Lessons from the Worcester Palladium

I finally sat down to collate some of the “Omega” articles (which William B. Greene wrote for the Worcester Palladium in 1949) against Equality and the 1850 Mutual Banking. In his scan through the paper Brady Campbell identified six articles under the “Omega” pen name.

  1. Equality – – No.1 by OMEGA. – Wednesday 18 July 1849 – Deals with Moses, and equality among Christian brotherhood
  2. Equality – – No.2 by OMEGA. – Wednesday 25 July 1849 – Deals with the banking system
  3. Equality – – No.3 by OMEGA. – Wednesday 1 August 1849 – Deals the repeal of usury laws
  4. Capital and Labor – – No. 1 by OMEGA. Wednesday 12 September 1849 – Deals with Transcendentalism
  5. Capital and Labor – – No. 2 by OMEGA. Wednesday 19 September 1849 – Deals with pantheism and is subtitled “Socialism in Massachusetts”
  6. Plutocracy by OMEGA. Wednesday 7 November 1849 – Deals with government by the wealthy – Mammonocracy

I now have four of the six articles in-hand, and will have the other two soon. Already, however, there are some surprises. The publishing history of the mutual bank writings is, as readers here know, complex. And now it requires a bit of revision. All accounts that I am aware of, which acknowledge the Palladium articles, identify them as the building blocks of Equality, Greene’s 1949 work. And that work ends with a somewhat cryptic note: “The foregoing articles—with the exception of the third, the fourth, the fifth, and the ninth—were originally published in the WORCESTER PALLADIUM.” Depending on how many “articles” we think make up Equality—and that’s not so easily decided—that leaves five, or perhaps more Palladium articles to be accounted for. The chapters in Equality are:

  1. “The Banking System” (based on #2 above)
  2. “The Usury Laws” (probably based on #3 above)
  3. “Equal Laws and Equality Before The Laws”
  4. “The Currency” + “The Currency—Its Evils—And Their Remedy” (probably counted as one “article” in Greene’s tally)
  5. “Solidarity”
  6. “The Formula of Labor”
  7. “Communism—Capitalism—Socialism” (probably based on #4 above)
  8. Socialism in Massachusetts (based on #5 above)
  9. Liberty

That leaves a question to be answered in the next week or so: Is #6 in the Palladium a source for “The Formula of Labor” or, as seems more likely from Brady’s description, is “Communism—Capitalism—Socialism” perhaps drawn from two earlier articles? (The only references to “plutocracy” are in that section of Equality.) Or are we missing a Palladium article and/or does “Plutocracy” cover at least some material, such as “Mammonocracy” (a term not used in Greene’s book-length works) ultimately not included in Equality. Stay tuned. The request for the remaining articles has been made.
All of that, of course, leaves the first Palladium article unaccounted for. And that’s where the publishing history revision comes in. “Equality–No. 1” became the “Introduction” of the 1850 Mutual Banking. It’s an interesting essay, which has already posed a set of bibliographical and interpretive problems, because it draws so heavily on Pierre Leroux’s work De l’Egalité (coming soon to the Labyrinth in pdf), being at times simply a partial translation and gloss of that work (though at others it seems to diverge from it.) I have been arguing for some time now that Equality and the 1850 Mutual Banking, taken together, make up the fullest expression of Greene’s mutualism that we possess (as The Blazing Star and the Socialistic, Communistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments, taken together, give us a final summary of his concerns.) Now we know that parts of both early works were initially conceived by Greene as parts of a single work, the “Equality” of the Palladium. I’ve made some stabs at compiling a comprehensive, one-volume edition of the mutual banks writings before, and the haphazard arrangement of sections in those early works has occasionally baffled me. However, if the Palladium “Equality” articles appear in sequence, the offhand references to “model fraternity” in “The Banking System”

A bank is a model equality, a model community, a model fraternity, if we consider the stockholders only; but it is a horrible inequality, if we consider it in its relations to the mass of the people.

appear as a continuation of themes addressed in the first essay in the context of the institution of the “repast in common” and Christian communion.
It’s these lost connections that I hope to recover as I work, in 2008, to complete a scholarly edition of the early mutual bank writings.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.