1848-1868: William B. Greene in “The Worcester Palladium”

  1. Omega, [Letter to the editor], The Worcester Palladium 15 no. 23 (June 07, 1848): 3. [see below]
  2. Omega, “Equality.—No. 1,” The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 29 (July 18, 1849): 3
  3. Omega, “Equality.—No. 2. The Banking System,” The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 30 (July 25, 1849): 3
  4. Omega, “Equality.—No. 3. The Repeal of the Usury Laws,” The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 31 (August 1, 1849): 2-3.
  5. Omega, “Capital and Labor.—No. I,” The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 37 (September 12, 1849): 2-3.
  6. Omega, “Capital and Labor.—No. II. Socialism in Massachusetts,” The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 38 (September 19, 1849): 2-3.
  7. Omega, “The Red Republic,” The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 44 (October 31, 1849): 3.
  8. Omega, “Plutocracy,” The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 45 (November 7, 1849): 2-3.
  9. Omega, “Equality—No. 6. Cain and Abel,” The Worcester Palladium 17 no. 31 (July 31, 1850): 3.
  10. Omega, “Plutocracy,” The Worcester Palladium 17 no. 41 (October 9, 1850): 2-3.
  11. Omega, “Resistance to Law,” The Worcester Palladium 18 no. 18 (April 30, 1851): 2.
  12. Omega, “The Bible and State Rights,” The Worcester Palladium 18 no. 20 (May 14, 1851): 3.
  13. Omega, “Free Banking Law,” The Worcester Palladium 18 no. 23 (June 4, 1851): 2. [see below]
  14. Omega, “Letter from Turkey,” The Worcester Palladium 21 no. 19 (May 10, 1854): 2.
  15. Omega, “Our Foreign Correspondence,” The Worcester Palladium 21 no. 23 (June 7, 1854): 2. [Paris]
  16. Omega, “Our Foreign Correspondence,” The Worcester Palladium 21 no. 24 (June 14, 1854): 2–3. [Paris]
  17. W. B. G., “Our Foreign Correspondence,” The Worcester Palladium 21 no. 51 (December 20, 1854): 2. [Paris]
  18. Omega, “Our Foreign Correspondence,” The Worcester Palladium 22 no. 12 (March 21, 1855): 2.
  19. Omega, “Our Foreign Correspondence,” The Worcester Palladium 22 no. 19 (May 9, 1855): 2.
  20. Omega, “Our Foreign Correspondence,” The Worcester Palladium 22 no. 20 (May 16, 1855)
  21. [unsigned “Letter from France”], The Worcester Palladium 22 no. 21 (May 23, 1855): 2. [probably not Greene]
  22. [unsigned “Letter from Switzerland”], The Worcester Palladium 22 no. 37 (September 12, 1855): 2. [probably not Greene]
  23. Omega, “Our Foreign Correspondence,” The Worcester Palladium 22 no. 44 (October 31, 1855): 2-3. [Turin]
  24. Wm. B. Greene, “Letter from Wm. B. Greene to Edward Atkinson, Esq., on the State of the Currency,” The Worcester Palladium 35 no. 47 (November 18, 1868): 1.

Articles 3-6 were included in Equality (1849) and article 2 became the introduction to Mutual Banking (1850). Those two books then became the basis for The Radical Deficiency Of The Existing Circulating Medium, And The Advantages Of A Mutual Currency (1857) and Mutual Banking, Showing The Radical Deficiencies Of The Existing Circulating Medium, And The Advantages Of A Free Currency (1870). The trend, as was often the case with Greene’s writing, was towards secularization and simplification in later editions. We can now see that something similar occurred in the transition from the original newspaper articles to the the books. Articles 7-12, which generally address the issue of plutocracy, are at once evidence of Greene’s study of Pierre Leroux’s work and of his involvement in the debate at the time between Democrats and Whigs in Massachusetts. “Resistance to Law” provides rare comments by Greene on the idea of anarchy, which, once untangled from his particular religious preoccupations, are perhaps not so distant from what we find in works by Proudhon and Bakunin.

The existence of a sixth number of “Equality” is a bit of a puzzle, with answers probably lost, along with a lot of the details of Greene’s life and work, in the mists of history. But perhaps there is a clue in the structure of the book version of Equality. It seems clear that the title of both articles and book is an echo of Pierre Leroux’s De l’égalité and the structure may have been meant to mimic that of his proposed Sept discours sur la situation actuelle de la société et de l’esprit humain. Leroux’s project seems to have remained unfinished in that form and in 1850 Greene seems to have turned his attention more exclusively to Proudhon and the subject of mutual banking. But it is not outside the realm of possibility that, at some phase, the 1850 Mutual Banking, which incorporated “Equality.—No. 1,” was intended as a continuation of Equality in a much more direct sense, incorporating the texts we are now recovering.


The first article listed above appeared a full year before the material that we can be sure was contributed by William Batchelder Greene and cannot be absolutely established as his work, but it has a tone not unlike some passages we find in other works and is at least entertaining enough to include here:

For the Palladium.

Mr. Editor: It is told and credited for a fact, that some of our city Aldermen made themselves quite busy in giving orders to some of the workmen about the new Church, now building on Front street, with regard to the brick, timbers, &c. The paddies not liking their interference with them threatened to throw them into the canal.

Looking upon them as interlopers, they asked them who they were. But to their great surprise and astonishment they ascertained that they were members of the City Board of Aldermen. What a pity it is that some of our city officials are of such stock that they are mistaken for common men.

OMEGA.

Omega, [Letter to the editor], The Worcester Palladium 15 no. 23 (June 07, 1848): 3.


Equality. Our correspondent, Omega, presents the doctrine in a clear and forcible manner.

The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 29 (July 18, 1849): 2.


Usury Laws. Our correspondent, Omega, talks like a philosopher upon that subject. Read him.

The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 31 (August 1, 1849): 2.


Socialism in Massachusetts. Our correspondent, “Omega,” carries home to the Whig party of Massachusetts the responsibility for the introduction of a species of Socialism, which outruns the Socialism, Communism, and Fourierism of France, or the Agrarianism of all places and all times. It here takes the form of corporations, through the agency of which the government apportions the wealth of the State where and as it pleases. It matters not that it is not done justly; it claims the right to control the subject, and thus recognizes the principle of Socialism.

The Worcester Palladium 16 no. 38 (September 19, 1849): 2.


Free Banking Law.

The law of the late session, authorizing the formation of banking associations, is of so much importance that we give it a place in the first page of the paper. It meets with the decided approval of some of the democratic presses; and may have all the excellences claimed for it. This paper has not discussed its merits, because we have not felt inclined to oppose a measure which many of our friends have been disposed to adopt; and especially because we have doubted the expediency of any considerable enlargement of the paper currency. The object of the law is, of course, an augmentation of the paper currency; otherwise it would not have become a law. If the field were clear of all banks, and this matter came up as an original question, we might regard it with more complacency than we now can. But without the associations which this act contemplates, we have already a pretty formidable array of banks, old and new. A very considerable increase of banks and banking capital has been authorized by the very legislature that has passed this new banking law; and it is not supposed that there is to be any diminution of this immense force for supplying the people with paper money.

What, then, is to be the effect of this new banking law? Plainly, to augment, inflate, and swell up, the paper circulation. Is this desirable? No; for it will but enlarge the already capacious reservoir that draws within its vortex the fruits of the labor, the profits of the industry, of the laboring masses. There is no rule more certain in its operation, than that the prices of property rise or fall as the currency expands or contracts; and that the wages of labor are the last to rise, and the first to fall. Consequently under an expanded or augmented paper currency, which has carried up prices, the laboring man has the increased prices to pay for whatever he buys, without any augmentation of wages from which to pay. When the currency contracts or is diminished, wages fall first; and prices afterward; so that the profits of industry are pared down at both ends—both by the expansion and the contractions.

If this new banking system were any thing but an addition to the facilities for making paper money, we might regard it with more favor than we are now able to do.

A correspondent sends us the following comments upon the law:—

Mr. Editor:—I am disposed to think that a misapprehension exists in the minds of some persons, in regard to the true nature of the free banking law. The bill as it was at first presented by Mr. Frothingham was one thing; the bill as it is now, after having been amended, modified, and passed by the legislature, is something quite different. According to the new law, fifty persons disposing of a capital of $100,000, may at their pleasure, commence and carry on the business of banking. They can operate as a bank of deposit and discount, and they can issue bills if they see fit to do; but they are under no obligation to issue bills; they can act under their pleasure in that matter. Here comes the peculiarity of the law; for, if the do issue bills, they may issue such as they receive from the auditor in exchange for stock deposited; of, if they see fit, they may issue their own notes, precisely as other banks do now, without depositing any stock at all. For the enabling clause gives the new banks all the powers, privileges, &c., possessed by the existing incorporated banks, while the qualifying clauses do not deprive them of the privilege of issuing their own notes. It is true, the law says that if the new banks deposit stock with the auditor, they shall after such act of deposit be held to observe certain regulation: but it nowhere command the new banks to deposit such stock, and it curtails the privilege of no banks except such as voluntarily deposit stock. If therefore any bank going into ooperation under the new law, keeps away from the auditor’s office, it becomes and remains a bank of issue of identically the same nature with those heretofore chartered in this commonwealth.

OMEGA.

Omega, “Free Banking Law,” The Worcester Palladium 18 no. 23 (June 4, 1851): 2.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2170 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.