From the Boston Investigator, 1848-49, Pt. 1

I was contacted this afternoon by a reader of this blog who is working on a biography of Josiah Warren. Taking that together with Crispin Sartwell’s work on a Warren Anthology, Crispin’s Josiah Warren Project archive, and the work that I’ve been doing digging through the archives, it appears that Warren’s star is once again on the rise. Good news! I’ve been promising Crispin the results of my own work for awhile, so here’s a start.

XVII, 49 (April 12, 1848) 3.

THE “ANGLO SACSUN,”—The publishers of the Phonographic paper, by this name, printed in New York, have issued a circular stating that their mail books and every thing tending to give them the least clue to the residences of their subscribers, have been stolen! The subscribers are therefore requested to forward their names and residences to the publishers, and to state the time, as near as possible, to which their subscription runs, This they are requested to do previous to May 1st, until which time the next regular number will not be issued. [Note: This was a publication of Andrews & Boyle—the Andrews being, Stephen Pearl Andrews, in his role as pioneer in the field of phonography and phonotypy.]

XVIII, 16 (August 23, 1848) 3.

Lecture by Josiah Warren.

PEOPLE’S SUNDAY MEETING —The usual discussion next Sunday will be suspended in order to allow Mr. Josiah Warren, lately of New Harmony, (Ind.,) an opportunity to deliver a lecture on the subject of “Equitable Commerce.” This new mode of Social Reformation is one that Mr. Warren has paid much attention to for several years, and from the very favorable manner in which we have seen him noticed in Western papers, we have no doubt of his being a gentleman of considerable ability and well-qualified to give an interesting and instructive Lecture. His address next Sunday, which he has kindly volunteered to deliver gratis, will be of an introductory character, and followed perhaps by a course of Lectures, if such should be the wish of the meeting. Believing that the subject, as he explains it, is well worth the attention of all classes of society, but more particularly of the friends of Social Reform—such as the Associationists, Protective Unionists, Communists, or whatever other name the friends of Humanity may rally under—we would earnestly ask for Mr. Warren a large and prompt attendance. As proof of the idea that his system of reform is based on practical demonstration, we would state that the settlement of Utopia, (Ohio,) now in a flourishing condition, is founded upon the plan which he intends to make the subject of his proposed Lectures.

The place of meeting is Hancock Hall, 339 Washington street—time, quarter past 2 o’clock, P. M.

XVIII, 16 (August 23, 1848) 3

The People’ Sunday Meeting,

This Institution holds a public meeting every SUNDAY AFTERNOON, at Hancock Hall, 330 Washington street, commencing at quarter past, 2 o’clock. On Sunday afternoon next, a Lecture will be delivered by Josiah Warren, from Utopia, Ohio, Subject—Equitable Commerce. A New Mode of Social Reformation. The public, without distinction, are respectfully invited to attend

XVIII, 38 (January 24, 1849) 3

Mr. Warrens Lecture.

PEOPLE’S SUNDAY MEETING—The lecture delivered by My, Jostin WARREN on Sunday last, was very interesting, and well attended. We should be pleased to give an extended report of it, but horn the manner in which a great part of the lecture was carried on—namely, by questions from the audience and his answers thereto—we fear we should not be able to do it any thing like justice did we attempt a detailed report, and the whole subject being a new one in this quarter, we should regret very much to say even a word upon it that should tend to give an erroneous impression of its real character. Besides, we are not without hopes that Mr. Warren, before he leaves our city, will furnish us with a series of short articles for publication, detailing minutely the theory and practice of his new Social Experiment at Utopia. By this method, it will not only be well understood in this section, but by means of our circulation it will be spread over the country at large, and thus be ought to the notice of a great many liberal and enquiring minds who might not otherwise have an opportunity to acquaint themselves with its merits. Referring again to Mr. Warren’s mode of lecturing, we cannot well refrain from alluding to a very original feature, which strikingly exhibits his remarkable candor and fairness —and that is, his custom of inviting the audience to raise any objections they may deem necessary for the better understanding of any particular point he is illustrating. No more convincing test than this can be given of a Reformer’s sincerity and honesty; and were the honorable and candid example followed by the clergy, they would no longer have occasion to complain of empty pews, for the intelligent and enquiring would crowd their sanctuaries from floor to ceiling, and soon liberalize the whole church system.

But though we are not able to present in detail the lecture of Mr. Warren, we believe we can state correctly some of his general propositions, and thereby give a faint idea of his system. He took it for granted that the great problem of harmonious society was yet to be solved. His solution was comprised in Equitable Commerce, by which he included all intercourse between men. Equitable Commerce was based on individual interest; every individual is his or her own sovereign, and must always be above or superior to institutions; people (of whom there are twelve families in Utopia) do not sign any pledge, constitution, or regulation—there is perfect individuality there. Again, his plan included the just reward of labor Articles were not bought and sold at Utopia at a value, but at their cost, which cost was regulated by the amount labor bestowed on their production. Repulsive and attractive labor were not paid equally. The per cent. principle was discarded altogether. All worked at Utopia at some trade other, and a hours’ work a day was all that was necessary to obtain a good subsistence. Among other institutions on the premises, was a college for teaching trades.

This, of course, is but a mere outline of Mr. Warren’s theory, which must be patiently studied in order to be understood. We are happy to state that he will continue his lecture next Sunday. All who are interested in Social Reform—and what reflecting man or woman is not?—should make it a point to attend.

[to be continued…]

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