Lewis Masquerier in “The New Moral World” (1836–1841)

 

  • Lewis Masquerier, “Letter to Mr. Owen,” New Moral World no. 76 (April 9, 1836): 188.
  • “Resolutions unanimously adopted by the Congress, 16th May, 1836,” New Moral World no. 82 (May 21, 1836): 236.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “The Universal Community Society of Rational Religionists,” New Moral World 7 no. 64 (January 4, 1840): 1006-1007.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Progress of Social Reform,” New Moral World 2 no. 11, Third Enlarged Series (March 13, 1841): 167.
  • “Socialism in America,” New Moral World 2 no. 12, Third Enlarged Series (March 20, 1841): 179.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Emigration, an Instrument of Civilization,” New Moral World 2 no. 13, Third Enlarged Series (March 27, 1841): 188-189.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “The Progress of Society,” New Moral World 2 no. 15, Third Enlarged Series (April 10, 1841): 220-221.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Progress of Social Reform,” New Moral World 2 no. 16, Third Enlarged Series (April 17, 1841): 246.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Progress of Social Reform,” New Moral World 3 no. 4, Third Enlarged Series (July 24, 1841): 31.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “On the Simplicity of the Structure and Operations of the Mind,” New Moral World 3 no. 5, Third Enlarged Series (July 31, 1841): 33-34.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “New Theory of Astronomy, suggesting the Rotary Motion of the Earth as the Cause of its Curvilinear Direction in its Orbit, and also of the Tides,” New Moral World 3 no. 10, Third Enlarged Series (Sept 4, 1841): 74-75.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Progress of Social Reform,” New Moral World 3 no. 10, Third Enlarged Series (Sept 4, 1841): 78-79.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Great Merit Seldom Appreciated at First,” New Moral World 3 no. 13, Third Enlarged Series (Sept. 25, 1841): 98.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Cause of Evil,” New Moral World 3 no. 15, Third Enlarged Series (Oct. 9, 1841): 113-114.
  • Lewis Masquerier, “Great Economy of the Community Family System,” New Moral World 3 no. 16, Third Enlarged Series (Oct. 16, 1841): 123-124.

LETTER TO MR. OWEN.

New York City, February 6th, 1836.

Mr. Owen,—I seize the opportunity of expressing to you my joy, in hearing of the progress of your principles in the formation of the “Society of all Classes of all Nations,” and in “The New Moral World,” and of my readiness to co-operate in their practical operation. I sincerely hope that it is a correct rumor, that an attempt will be made this year to establish a community at New Harmony, or somewhere else. As this all-important experiment can be made by one or two thousand individuals who under-stand the system, I can see no obstacles to the experiment but the want of the requisite number of persons with sufficient knowledge and property. This number can certainly be proselyted and obtained. And as it requires little aid from any legislative body in the nation there can be no obstructions but our own want of consent. Let us then unite in making an experiment upon human nature of more importance to mankind and ourselves, than all other experiments in every other department of nature combined. In no age of the world has such a system been developed, enabling a few individuals to perform such a glorious work. Here it is in the power of a small community to show that more equality, intelligence, virtue, and happiness, can be produced by a new form of society, than can be by the puny efforts of all the legislatures of the earth legislating upon false principles. What an important era would it be in the history of the moral world, the beginning of its entire reformation, according to the laws of human nature, by moulding it upon principles diametrically opposite to those upon which it was previously formed.

It is to be regretted that man has not advanced more directly to his perfection and happiness. But it seems not to have been within the powers of nature to have brought her most complicated work, the moral world, to perfection as soon as the physical. Man having his knowledge to acquire by the stimulation of external objects, has had to begin in a state of ignorance. In consequence of all events being a chain of causes and effects, the first causes and links are necessarily placed at some distance from the observed effects. Man, therefore, in the infancy of his intellect, ignorant of the wonderful powers and properties of matter, did not observe the obvious connection between cause and effect, in many of the objects around him. Not being able, therefore, to recollect or know how he came by his mind during infancy, and feeling that he had ideas, he blundered into the error of supposing that his mind was something that looked through his senses, at the external world, instead of seeing that it was nothing but the excitement of the excitable structure of his brain, originally stimulated by external objects through the medium of his senses. This notion led him into further error by suggesting that mind was innate and composed of faculties separate and independent of ideas; and that these faculties possessed a free-will that directed them to produce ideas, reason, belief, and conscience. This then was the fatal error, that of supposing that these faculties had the power within themselves of free agency, and of originating all his thoughts and actions. These errors he adopted instead of the truths which are the opposite of them, to wit, that mind is the acquired result of the organization of the brain and the stimulation of external objects, that it consists of nothing but ideas and their corresponding emotions so far as our consciousness can inform us; and that it is very probable that the essence of mind consists in the organization of the brain undergoing a motory and figured representation, corresponding to the shape of the external objects first received by impression through the medium of the senses; and of transfiguring themselves into each other by means of association, as it is called, and without the immediate impression of the senses.

But I will only found my argument, to prove the truth of the social system upon that principle of the human mind in which the immaterialist as well as the materialist agree, that we are only conscious of mind as an association of ideas. Now as the reason, belief, conscience, and will, seem always to correspond with the peculiar association of each man’s ideas, we have every reason to believe that those faculties (as they are called) are nothing but ideas and their associations; or at least the quality of them, and as inseparably connected with them as the quality of form and solidity is to matter. This then shows that man must necessarily be the creature of his peculiar ideas; and that his intellectual and moral character is wholly the result of his peculiar organization and the impression of external objects. But man in his infant stage, instead of perceiving that his character was wholly acquired according to the necessary connexion of cause and effect, adopted an opposite notion that his character was innate, and directed by a free-will agent and cause. Thus he early adopted in his savage state the notion that mind was a spirituality separate and independent of matter, and that used matter only as a convenient instrument to communicate with matter. Thus he failed to observe that mind could only be known as a quality of matter, and that it was as much a chain of causes and effects as any other department of nature. This error then, of sup- posing the mind innate and independent of matter, that it began its operations within itself, has originated the sentiment of free will, free belief, free conscience, free reason and free agency. When a human being therefore was injured by another even undesignedly, the sentiment was suggested that it was wilfully and deliberately done; and it was retaliated beyond the bounds of reason. And such is the influence of this sentiment that to this day mankind are not aware to what an extent they have the approbation of their conscience for what they say and do. It is the influence of this sentiment that suppresses the sentiment of charity towards the errors, follies, and misfortunes of each other. It is this sentiment that causes men mutually to ascribe the motives to each other of hypocricy and dishonesty. It is this sentiment that creates such unjust and cruel penal codes, and such barbarous wars and persecutions. It is this free-will sentiment then that has given rise to the government of force, and which aims at remedying the very evils that itself occasions.

This notion of ideas being innate, combined with the circumstance that ideas can associate in an artificial and unnatural as well as a natural order and combine themselves into images representing beings not to be found in nature has given rise to the idea of supernatural beings. And though the person whose ideas first combined themselves into such monstrosities would not be so likely to believe in their existence (as seems to be the case with the poets); but other persons being told of these unnatural beings and believing ideas to be innate and of course true would believe in their existence; and hence the origin of superstition, and man’s neglect of his duties towards man in his devotion towards supernatural beings. Yes! such is the individuality which man’s predominating sentiments give to his emotions that he cannot divide his affections between two classes of objects so different from each other as that of men and gods. Let there be no other duties to be performed but those towards man, and the earth will soon become a heaven.

This sentiment of a free and innate will, belief, reason, and conscience, and of the supernatural, in connexion with the manner in which property is held, has given rise to all the present erroneous institutions of the world. And as these institutions do not give a common as well as an individual interest, they are ever running into the extremes of monopoly and exclusive privileges; and until they shall be formed so as to blend the individual with the common interest, mankind can never be secured against inequality, ignorance, luxury, poverty, crime, and misery. As man’s natural wants are nearly equal, and more numerous than his talents, he cannot supply them consistently with the wants, rights, and happiness, of others, but by a community of interest. As he has an equal right and share of life, liberty, property, and happiness, he can secure them in no other way but by living in a form of society in which all shall be required to contribute their quota of mental or manual labour. And all cannot be made to contribute their share of labour but in a community of goods. In no other form of society can an equal interest in property, science, and labour-saving machinery be secured by contributing an equal share of labour, but by an undivided interest in real property.

Yet so much are mankind the creatures of the institutions around them, that they cannot perceive the practicability of any other form of society. They are constantly ascribing selfishness and indolence as an insurmountable barrier to the adoption of the community-property form of society. They lose sight of the principle that we are the creatures of education, that all our ideas and emotions are acquired between the organization of the system and the external expressions; and that a change in the institutions around will change the sentiments. They are so unphilosophical as to reason from their own perverted feelings and from what mankind now are rather than from what they can be educated to be. The great extent of moral evil which the present institutions have produced only prove the great extent of moral good institutions of an opposite character would produce. The feeling of selfishness is no more innate than that of benevolence; it is the form of the education that will make both to operate equally. Selfishness so far from being destructive to such a form of society I conceive will be equally instrumental with benevolence in the establishment and preservation of it. What when men come to perceive that by forming themselves into a society of a community of goods, that they will become permanently wealthy and happy, and can protect themselves from losses, misfortunes, poverty, crime and misery, will not this very selfishness be equally instrumental as benevolence in urging them to reform themselves into such a society! Such men certainly forget to what extent even the most absurd doctrines are daily urging men into the most singular enterprises. They forget that the most absurd opinions in every age, have gained credence among men, they forget that mind consists of nothing more than ideas, and that men must always be moved by whatever ideas that happen to constitute their minds. They lose sight of the institutions of Lycurgus, the Agrarian laws of the Romans, and the Moravian and Shaker establishments. When they see that the Shakers have lived in a community of goods, while rejecting the sexual intercourse, what reason have they to doubt that a form of society can be introduced in which every law of human nature will have its proper exercise? But ignorance, or the want of an association of ideas on this subject is what prevents millions from finding the true saviour, from becoming thoroughly regenerated, and from reaching the only possible heaven in their power, the New Moral World.

Yours,

Lewis Masquerier.


Resolutions unanimously adopted by the Congress, 16th May, 1836.

[excerpt]

8th. That the thanks of Congress be given, and they are hereby given to Mr. Jules Gay, of Paris, and Mr. Lewis Masquerier, of New York, for their highly valuable communications on the progress of the principles of our Association.


Progress of Social Reform.

New York, U. S., Feb. 1st.—Our branch here is still increasing in numbers. We meet now in Union Hall, and have the lecture followed by discussion on Sunday evenings. Such as choose, meet for conversation in the morning : the board meet for business in the afternoon. A member instructs a class for music in the afternoon. Since our last, circumstances have been such, that we have lost the services of Mr. J. P. Kenyon. Mr. B. Timms, and myself, have been the only lecturers. Mr. Heaton, a Socialist, has just landed from Huddersfield; but from the sickness in his family, he has not been able to give us a lecture yet. Mr. G. H. Evans, the editor, publisher, and printer of many liberal books and newspapers in this country, has lately joined our society, and already brought to our hall, last Sunday, the first number of a Socialist newspaper, which he will continue, if patronised; a number of which I enclose to you. I also enclose to you the first number of the Herald of the New Moral World, by Mr. J. M. Horner, who commenced organising with us, but who broke off, and set up on his own “hook,” as we say here, because we objected to sectarian religious dogmas. But, as you will see by the specimen number, he is not a sufficiently correct thinker and writer to get up a sect, unless among an illiterate class. He may, however, initiate some for us. We are urging the Socialists to organise a branch in Boston; the Editor of the Boston Investigator being favourable to it; but I fear his paper will go down. His patrons being mostly old school sceptics, are lukewarm, for want of such an object as the Socialists have to arouse them. If the Socialists would join in its support, it would become a good Socialist paper. Fourierism is also organising here, under the guidance of Mr. Albert Brisbance, who has published a book entitled, “The Social Destiny of Man, or, Association and re-organization of Industry.” Several editors of respectable journals have declared in favour of his system. As it seems to be the organization of capital, the aristocracy may resort to it, in self-defence, against the levelling effects of the community principle. But still it may be considered as a step towards Socialism, inasmuch as it proposes to practice much of the economy in the arrangement of the buildings and machinery that the Socialists contemplate. To those, therefore, who cannot prefer investing in community, let them go into association. It will contrast the two systems, and aid in developing the true principle on which society should be founded.

Lewis Masquerier.


EMIGRATION, AN INSTRUMENT OF CIVILIZATION.

ONE of the most effectual causes of the improvement of the human race, seems to be that of emigration. Whether the emigrating people occupy a wilderness or an inhabited country, still improvement of some kind is the result. This is obvious from the past history and present condition of the nations of the earth. See what a great people grew out of colonies emigrating from Egypt and Phenicia; and, under Cecrops and Cadmus, transplanted in the soil of Greece. Observe what improved races arose in Rome and Carthage by the intermixture of a foreign and native race. Behold what a superior race there is in Britain and Ireland, from the amalgamation of the Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, with the aboriginal inhabitants. And, still, behold what a superior people are arising in America, compounded, of the western European, races, who emigrated here. Wherever there seems to have been the most emigration and intercourse among mankind, there also seems to be a corresponding degree of civilization. The greater intercourse of the European nations, by means of emigration, war, and commerce, is among the causes of their general superiority over other nations. Europe, and Asia, being the continuation, of the same great continent, have had, in the general, more connection than other nations have, and hence their superiority corresponds to the size of the continent they occupy. The nearer approach of the nations of northern Africa in civilization to their European neighbours, than those of central and southern Africa, sufficiently proves the civilizing effects of the intercourse of nations. The isolated situation of the Americas from the Eastern world, cut off their inhabitants from the benefit of any of the superior civilizing influences which had got the start in the older continent. But, yet, from the great size of the New World, and a larger number of tribes for an intermixture, the Indians were more advanced, again, than the inhabitants of the distant isles of the ocean, who could not have intercourse with each other. Thus, we see, wherever the race of man has been most isolated, there he is the most barbarous. Those nations of Europe and Asia, who have the most intercourse, are the most civilized. The nations of central and southern Africa, cut off from those to the north by the great desert of Zahara, are more savage than those on the southern coast of the Mediterranean. Those little tribes, inhabiting islands, are still inferior to the most barbarous tribes found upon the continents. It may be observed that the barbarous state of the inhabitants in the extreme north of Asia and Europe is owing much to the rigours of the climate, and their not being quite near enough to the civilization of the more southern people, to be attracted by them; and, hence, they are repulsed to the north, as our Indians are driven to the west. Here, let it be understood, the civilized and the most savage repulse each other, and but little amalgamation takes place. Thus, the northern Asiatic, who is as yet in the hunter state of society, and who subsists by the chase of the reindeer and seal, as our Indians do by that of the buffalo, deer, and beaver, must become extinct, as the more civilized race of men encroach upon their territory. But where races approach each other in improvement, there the mingling of them, by emigration or marriage, has the most improving effects. The more savage tribes, no doubt, have at first advanced in the scale of civilization by leaguing together, and forming larger nations.

Emigration among mankind seems also to have progressed, principally in a longitudinal direction, and seldom farther north and south than the limits of the temperate or torrid zone in which the emigrating man may be born. But emigration in Asia and Europe, seems to have progressed principally westward. The belt of country occupying the south of Asia, and extending through Europe, seems to have attracted emigration in that direction. Besides the western side of continents have a milder climate farther to the north than they have on their eastern sides. Thus China has a much colder climate at the same degree of latitude north than France and England. And New York on the eastern side of North America is much colder than the country in the same latitude north on the Pacific or its western side. All these circumstances have their attractions to induce mankind to change their position. The most of emigration eastward seems to be from vague accounts that of the Tartars who made encroachments upon the Chinese, and caused them to build a wall against them. But we can with certainty trace emigration from the eastern side of the Mediterranean sea into Greece and Rome, and thence into France and Britain. From the north of Africa the Moors emigrated to Spain. And all history is familiar with the emigration of the northern nations of Europe into Britain. And we well know from the history of modern times how emigration has still progressed westward from all the nations of Europe to the two Americas. But such is the enterprise of man at this time, that there is much emigration in the direction of every point of the compass.

Thus we may see in tracing the course of emigration in past ages, principally in a westerly direction, one of the causes of the superior civilization of western Europe and of Britain. Here, emigration could advance no farther west until the American continents were discovered. Here, in Britain, then, there were a greater concentration of different races of man and of languages, than in any other part of the eastern world; and hence we see a greater degree of improvement in man. And as we have still a greater mixture of the race of man in America, we see a still higher degree of improvement and equality. It is true the half breed of Mexico is much superior to the Aborigines, and compensates for the degeneracy of the European connection; for the offspring of the highly civilized and savage parent must be a little above the medium between the two, so that there is still an improvement in the aggregate.

In no age does emigration seem to be as active as in the present. It is issuing from every country of Europe to Asia, America, New Holland, and all the highlands of the Pacific. Even in America, no sooner is a new state settled, than there is a rush from it to a still newer one. Already, there are colonies from Missouri, settling in the Oregon territory on the Pacific Ocean; and in the California country, in the Mexican dominions. All the wilds of North America will, at this rate, be occupied in another half century, even so far to the north as Behrings Straits. Then we shall have railroads all the way from our Atlantic cities to this strait, giving a land communication to China and Hindoostan, and from thence through Persia, crossing at Constantinople, passing through Vienna and Paris to London, But the greater levelness of the steppes of Northern Asia would be a cheaper rout for a railroad which would pass St. Petersburg, Berlin, Amsterdam, &c., to London. Thus, there may, in time, be a line of railroad almost circum-railroading the earth by land; and it will be no great journey to travel around the world. But the earth must attain its full complement of civilised inhabitants before these things can be. It is fast reaching this state of things. For every thing, emigration, commerce, conquest, &c., are mingling the nations of the earth. and assimilating their arts and institutions.

One of the advantages of emigration is, that the colonists get rid of many of the more aristocratic institutions of the older country which they leave. Thus the Europeans, who colonised America, got rid of the feudal system of primogeniture and entails by the mere act of emigrating, and in consequence of being of the middle class, and having no lords to lay claim to the feudal, they acquired the allodial title to the soil. And no doubt the emigrants from Egypt and Phenicia, by the mere act of colonising themselves in Greece, got rid of many of the aristocratic institutions of the mother country, and sowed the germs of the republics of Greece.

Had not the Great Desert of Zahara, cut off the inhabitants to the south from those to the north, their colour might have been neutralised by a mixture of the whiter population of Egypt and other countries on the Mediterranean. And thus, we would not have had at this day so much of the prejudice of colour to impede the civilization of man. But the slave trade, while it has practised the most outrageous tyranny upon the African, has really been causing, indirectly, the civilization of the negro. For it has scattered them over both worlds, and the amalgamation that has taken place between them and the Southern European, who approached them more in colour, has given rise to a mulatto race in the West Indies and in Brazil, which now constitutes the most active portion of the people in those countries. This race is peculiarly fitted for multiplying in those equatorial regions. While the Europeans dwindle and die off in these steaming hot plains of Brazil and Amazon, the African race, black and creole, increases very rapidly. As them, the African in his original country has not arrived at that stage of civilization which gives sufficient enterprise to emigrate, perhaps this slavery or involuntary migration, has been the best substitute nature could provide for his more rapid civilization. The colony at Siberia, and at the Cape of Good Hope, it is hoped, will have some effect in humanizing this race in their native country.

It is fortunate, perhaps, for the destinies of the whole human family, that the Anglo-Saxon race are mixing themselves up so much with the people of so many other countries. They are settling in among the French, Italians, and Hindostans. They are endeavouring to drub the Celestials into sociability. They have settled all North America, some parts of the South, in Africa, New Holland, and in most all the Islands of all the oceans. Although the philanthropist is in the habit of deploring the rapid extinction of the Indian and other savage races, yet as their places are occupied by the most civilised race, who increase so much faster, there is much more gained in the aggregate to the world. Inferior races of man, as well as animals, have, and must still, become extinct. The amalgamation that took place between the Mexican Indians and the Spaniards, though it greatly improved the former, yet the Mexican people are now in the rear of the civilization of the pure European race of the United States. But still the aggregate of civilization was greater.

Thus it seems, that the intercourse of mankind by emigrating and marrying among each other, has been one of the most active causes of their civilization. And as it has been, it must still be, an inefficient cause of their improvement.

Lewis Masquerier.

New York City, Jan. 24th, 1841.


THE PROGRESS OF SOCIETY.

Of all truths, that of the progress of society in improvement seems to be the most obvious. Yet, there are persons who seem to think it is continually retrograding, and that nothing is equal now to what it was in olden time. These notions are instilled partly by the ignoring dogma of theology, of man’s inherent depravity by nature. They are the result also, of a too narrow conception of the manner in which every department of nature progresses in improvement. This latter cause of the ignorance of the progress of society, I shall endeavour to investigate, by showing that nature progresses in the great work of her creation, by the transformation of the materials of one series of things into another. These men are blinded by narrowly observing that sects and parties do not grow better within themselves: and by not observing more widely that mature seems to be necessitated to progress in her work of improvement by suffering each erroneous principle or institution to ruin into the greatest extremes of evil before it can become obsolete, and its parts changed into a less erroneous one.

All the variety of things which compose the present physical and moral world, seem to have been gradually produced by the action of a few single elements upon each other. The formation of things may be traced from the primitive formation of the earth up to its present stage of civilization. Nature has recorded herself in the formation of the earth, and in the stages of the civilization of man, the order in which she has produced the scale of being up to the present time. In the primitive formation of the earth no fossil remains of vegetables or animals have been found, but in the secondary they are found of the most simple structure. As we ascend in the tertiary the remains of a more complicated series of both vegetables and animals are discovered; and in the alluvial deposits above, a still higher order of both the vegetable and animal kingdom, including those of man himself, have been found. And many of these fossil remains consist of vegetables and animals now extinct. This already proves my proposition, that nature is ever improving in her productions, by suffering one series to become extinct, while she erects upon their ruins an improved order of beings. A coat of moss first grows upon the damp rock, and forms a thin soil, upon which a higher order of vegetation grows, the decaying leaves, and eventually the wood itself decays and forms a still richer and deeper soil, until by a succession of still more perfect plants, it becomes crowned with a stately forest of oaks. And thus we find, likewise, a gradual scale of animal being, from the zoophyte to the human race, as nature elaborates a suitable habitation for them.

Thus it seems the various strata and continents of the earth have been gradually formed from the sea, with the various species of vegetables and animals both extinct and extant. But after the alluvial formation of the earth became, greater, nature had a far superior theatre for her operations. . The quantity of animals and vegetables, very likely, was greater at the time man commenced his existence, than at present, at least the inferior species of them were greater. But since the progress of man, the more useful species of vegetation and animality has been increased. The more useful fruits and grains are increasing in quality and quantity, as the less useful weeds and trees are cleared awny to give place to fields, meadows, and orchards. The more useful domesticated animals are increasing, as the noxious wolves, tigers, and reptiles, are becoming extinct. Thus we see nature continuing her work of improvement upon the ruins of her inferior productions.

Nature with the commencement of man, began a more splendid era in her operations. We see that she has, and is still, in the very, act of advancing man through the various stages of hunter, herdsman, agriculturist, manufacturer, commercialist, and now we see her impelling him on to the community stage, in which the best qualities of all the preceding degrees are concentrated by co-operation, We see yet a great portion of mankind in the primitive or savage stage of society, and know from history that several of the present most civilised nations originated from this state. The proof, however, is abundant, that man has gradually progressed in improvement, and I shall proceed to develope a sketch of the manner in which man has progressed. Man, in his savage state, seems to be impelled to exertion by a few leading sentiments of glory, that of the chase, of war, of the council, and of a supernatural agency. Hence, they excel only in the practice of these sentiments. Their eagerness in the pursuit of game and fruit leads them to trespass upon the hunting grounds of each other, which brings on war, and by mutually retaliating with cruelty upon each other neighbouring tribes, sympathize and league with them, until larger nations me formed. This concentrates a larger number in the same region of country, and the game becomes exhausted, and necessity impels to the

Cultivation of the wild fruits, and the domestication of the best of the wild animals, for subsistence, Thus the pastoral stage of society commences, and agriculture soon follows. Along with the tillage of the earth, a, little mechanism commences, and soon a mutual and common medium of exchange is instituted. But each of these stages have advanced to perfection by steps; as new and more improved methods were developed, the old one became obsolete. Domestic animals have been improved to great perfection by a succession, of new methods. Agriculture seems to have commenced with the cultivation of fruits, such as the apple and grape which required less labour, but it has advanced with the addition of all the grasses, roots, and grains, until we have the modern acquisition of Indian corn and the potatoe. Mechanism has advanced from the simple bow and arrow of the savage to that of our gun; from the canoe to the steam-ship, from the hoe to the plough, and from the bark hut to the splendid palace of the aristocrat; and, as it is to be hoped, to the still more splendid parallelogram of the Socialist. Commerce has gradually increased from the simple exchange between neighbours, to that between the most distant nations upon earth. It has been facilitated by means of some common medium of exchange, such is precious stones, iron, silver, gold, the present promissory bank note, and the bill of exchange.

Thus, the history of nature, is but a continued succession of improvements upon herself. She seems to contain, in all her operations, the ever ready principle of improvement. A forest cannot grow, shed its leaves for a course of years and decay, without leaving a richer, soil upon which a succeeding, or different one, may flourish. One generation of man cannot exist without leaving better circumstances for the advancement of the succeeding one. The children of each generation arrive at a sufficiently full maturity to acquire all their parents’ experience and knowledge. Did nature not obtain the principle of preservation and improvement, the accumulation of one race of things would have been lost to another. She would not have so intimately interwoven the acquisitions of one race of being with that of the succeeding, if she did not intend its improvement. This it is, the splendid apparatus of the present world is the result of the incessant efforts of nature in improvement.

Though nature seems continually improving, yet she does it, in part, through the aid of the evil that the less perfect institution produces. This evil, that ever attends imperfection, is necessary to the development of the more ‘improved institution. This attendant monitor, therefore, is needful before the materials of the old institutions will be transformed into new ones. The evils attending every imperfect institution, must attain their greatest extremes before they give way to the more improved ones. Thus in the case of theology, the first form of worship; that of the elements and of animals, attained to its greatest extreme of evil in the adoration and preservation of too many noxious animals, before it took a turn to reform in a more improved theology in the worship of images and the deification of them. This new form of theology, attained also to the utmost extreme of evil in the cruel and extravagant sacrificial offerings of beasts, and even of men, to appease the wrath of their deities, when it assumed a less cruel and economical form, in the God Christ Jesus, offering himself as a sacrifice, to assuage the wrath of his father. Against the sins of man. Christianity, though an improvement upon former religious, yet, it too, in its turn, became corrupted in the absurd doctrines of transubstantiation, of absolution, and of the granting of indulgences by its priesthood, who usurped the pretended prerogatives of Christ himself, until it split into Protestantism under the reformer Luther, Protestantism, in, like manner, in some of its forms, has attained, the height of evil; in the extravagant livings of the clergy, until it is now, becoming still further reformed by changing to the rational religion of Owen the reformer.

Thus the government of the elected chiefs of tribes, became, at length, hereditary, and run on to the greatest extreme of evil in the usurpation of the power of government by some ambitious chief, who became king and emperor, until the sovereign people have begun to regain their just rights in self-government, in the form of representatives chosen by themselves. Yet democratic government, though a great improvement, does not yet give much equality to him, because the labouring class is not sufficiently intelligent to elect their legislators from their own, instead of the non-producing classes.

Thus, the individual form of society, and the consequential personal accumulation of property, have more than all institutions resulted in the greatest extremes of wealth and destitution. The private accumulation of property, which should never have transcended the ownership of more land than one can cultivate, and personal materials than he can fabricate, has run on until nearly all the property of the earth is monopolized by a very small number of aristocracy. The rage for private property is such, that every tangible thing, the flesh and blood of man himself, have been converted into property. Nothing but the imponderable nature of light and air has prevented them from being monopolised by the few. Thus, property has been amassed to the greatest extremes by the law of entails, until it is now taking a turn towards an equal division among all the heirs. But a still greater institution for the monopoly of property, is now arising in the immense increase of labour-saving machinery, which, being wielded by the facility of obtaining capital through the banking system, is not only amassing all the property of society, but is taking away all employment from the manual labourer, and reducing him to the utmost extreme of poverty and starvation. The banking system, like all others, is particularly prone to become corrupt, and therefore must give way to a more improved medium of exchange, such as the labour exchange note, or the simple certificate of a community, certifying that the bearer has done his quota of labour. The taxing system, also, is a striking instance of the extreme evil which all imperfect things produce. It has been carried to such extremes, in Britain, for instance, where the tariff upon the importation of grain and goods amounts to a great portion of the earnings of the labourer. This tax has now attained to a point which it can no longer be borne at, and must be reformed. Thus it seems, that all the forms which theology, government, and property have assumed, have produced their acme of evil before they became obsolete and worn out. And thus it is, some men in perceiving an institution growing worse, do not perceive also, that it is, a symptom; that it will give way to something better instead of worst. By taking a wide survey of nature, therefore, we see that in the aggregate she is ever improving.

But, it may be urged that the decline and fall of the Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman empires, are instances that man can retrograde in civilization. Now a small exception argues nothing against the truth of a great principle. . At the time these nations were declining, all other nations may have been progressing. They were but a very small portion of the earth, and their decline was nothing compared to the advance of the rest of the world, The destruction of these nations by the numerous barbarous, but progressive, nations around them, was no more proof against the general advancement of man, than the fact of the rapid extinction of the Indian and other barbarous races at the present time, is a proof of it. Thus, a great many barbarous nations then may destroy a few civilized ones, as many civilized ones are now destroying savage races. A more civilized people amalgamating with a less civilized, like the Spaniards with the race of Montezuma, though it produced a race, inferior to the Spaniard, yet as it raised the Mexican more than half way between, there was an advance in improvement. The races, therefore. with which the Grecians and Romans mingled, received as much civilization as they lost themselves; and thus, in the aggregate, there must have been a gain in civilization.

Lewis Masquerier.

New York City, February 1st, 1841.


New York, March 15—We still progress a little here, and have lectures delivered every Sunday to tolerable audiences. Within the last two months the Socialists have organised themselves in Philadelphia, with sixty members, and have had crowded houses. They have secured a larger hall, and will apply for a charter soon; this I have learned from two of the members who were with me several days. There are many Socialists in Pittsburg, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and St. Louis, who may be considered the germs of branches. There are many solitary Socialists in every part of the Union; for the seed sown by Mr. Owen at New Harmony and Cincinnati has produced many thousandfold; and has been blown by the wind of free inquiry, so that Socialists have sprung up in almost every county of the United States. The seed of Fourierism is also being sown by Mr. Brisbane, and is producing converts among a few more wealthy. Their economy in buildings and machinery being so much like what we contemplate, I am, therefore, much pleased to see men advancing in knowledge to this plan, which will be a step towards Socialism. I am one of those who, while I prefer our own system, yet am disposed to say “Go a-head” to everything from common Loco-focoism up to Socialism. They are all parts of the same great system which will perfect man’s condition.

Lewis Masquerier.


New York, June 19.—I am requested by our secretary to report the progress of Socialism here. We meet to hear lectures on Sunday afternoons and evenings. As some members leave for other parts, others join which about keep up our numbers. Mr. Timms has given lectures in some of the villages in the neighbourhood, and found some worthy socialists who were ignorant of the great progress of socialism in England. The common press is very deficient in circulating the progress of reform, which it does not appreciate. Hence the necessity of increased efforts to extend our publications. Mr. Clinton Roosevelt, a practitioner of law in our city, has just issued a little work containing his system of community. It is much in substance as ours, and must do much good. It is ably written. There is a society forming to carry out his views. Mr. Brisbane, however, is agitating the most actively by weekly meetings, aided by two talented disciples, Messrs. Ryckman and Whitley. His paper, the Future, comes out weekly, and is much read. Mr. Horner still continues to issue his paper, the Herald of the New Moral World, and labours very zealously in the cause. Mr. Evans continues also to issue his Radical in support of reform. There are many plans proposed by different parties and sects for manual labour schools through the country. There are proposals for an establishment on Long Island, where they contemplate to receive parents as well as children. Some of our leading papers are urging the city authorities to locate the undergrowth of beggar children and adults in our streets, upon land in its neighbourhood, and show how they could do it without any expense to the public. All these signs shew the workings of the mind in measures of reform. The doctrines of co-operation is gaining ascent everywhere. I am printing Mr. Owen’s “Six Lectures,” and Mr. Griffith’s “Protestant’s Progress,” as the best books for circulation. Could you send me any new publications remarkably good, I would republish them. The Investigator, in Boston, is going on for another year. I saw Mr. C. F. Green and family, who arrived here safely, on his way to New Harmony.

Lewis Masquerier.


ON THE SIMPLICITY OF THE STRUCTURE AND OPERATIONS OF THE MIND.

There seem to be no other existences than matter. Mind is only a quality, produced by its organic state. As the action of the elements in concert with the organization of a vegetable germ, produces growth and all the phenomena of leaves, flowers, and fruit; so, upon the same principle, the action and stimulation of the surrounding elements and objects upon the excitable of the senses, produce the phenomena of life, sensation, and thought. The superiority of the organization of animal bodies, seems to be as adequate to the production of passion and thought, as that of the vegetable is to the production of flowers and fruit. We see in a vegetable an organization for the distribution of fluid substances in producing its growth. So do we also see in the structure of the senses—the sight, for instance, an apparatus for concentrating the images of objects upon the retina like that of a camera obscura. An optic nerve connects the eye with the brain, which is the great reservoir or retainer of these images and impressions. Some may think that the brain repeats the images on the retina, but I am inclined to think that the image in the eye is sufficient, that the brain can think it, without its being figured there also.

The frequent impression of the surrounding objects in their natural order, upon the senses and brain, gives them a tendency of arising in a somewhat similar order; and thereby establishes the laws of the association of ideas. Thus, our minds are more prone to think of a meadow as part of the surface of the earth, instead of part of the face of the sky; of a forest standing on the earth instead of the sea; and of rivers running through channels in the ground and not through the air. The order of the association of our ideas, therefore, is dependent on the order of the external world. If all the objects around us were arranged in a chaotic order structure and impressed upon us through life, our ideas of them would be associated in a similar order; and we would imagine, perhaps, as much order, harmony, and design, as we now do.

An impression of the images of objects in the same proportional sizes on the retina in which they bear to one other, seems to be all that is necessary to us to compare, to reason, and to judge. Thus, for instance, we have the image of a mother nursing her child both together on the retina in the same proportional size as they bear to each other; and we want no other idea or any faculty to enable us to compare the two with each other as to size, &c. Both the mother and child are imaged together as one consolidated idea; and that is all the nervous system needs to think or compare them together. The brain can think of one or of a large mass of objects as one idea. The eye can take in, say, about one-third of the landscape or horizon at once, and the brain can make one general idea of the whole. But the idea is more confused and indistinct when it embraces a large mass of objects. Thus, in thinking of the world in one idea with one action of the brain we recognize the thought of a great globe of sea and land. But the suddenness of the association of ideas enables us to run over the various parts of the world. At one instant we can think of a ship-covered ocean; at the next, of a star-studded sky. The action of the same matter of the brain thinks them in rapid succession. It is like a phantasmagoria, where a city is suddenly changed to a forest.

We may see, then, the error, of thinking that the mind has faculties, separate from ideas; or that there can be such a thing as ideas in the mind; for the ideas themselves, and associations of them, seem to be all that constitute mind. Mind has no such unnecessary appendages as faculties, separate, and independent of ideas. The faculties, as they are called, mean nothing more than different classes of ideas. Nature works by more simple means than that of producing ideas by the unnecessary assistance of a complexity of faculties.

When, therefore, we endeavour to argue or reason, we do nothing more than make a statement of ideas already related to each other. We only run over trains of our ideas, of such as seem to refer to the subject, or which refer to objects in its neighbourhood; and, of course, have some relation to it. When our ideas have been received from the impressions of real objects, they will represent things really in existence. We will then be so fortunate as to be able to state ideas more correctly. When conflicting ideas are associated, the more correct ones, sometimes, can give a more correct form to the erroneous ones. But an erroneous idea has no power within itself to correct itself. It must have the assistance of some correct ideas associated with it, before it can assume a more correct form.

Mind being nothing more than acquired associations of ideas performed by the action of the brain, those things called faculties, such as imagination, reason, will, conscience, belief, &c., can be nothing more than the qualities of ideas, and must be as inseparably connected with them as form and solidity are to matter. Imagination seems to be those ideas which represent the images of sensible objects; and reason that of the idea referring to the relations or general connection of those sensible objects. Will, is but that state in which ideas are when they impel to action. Conscience, is but the of the relations of ideas in reference to right and wrong. Belief, is but the result of our consciousness of existence. In short, they are all but different words, expressing the different states or modifications of our ideas. These faculties, then, being but different attributes, qualities, or conditions of ideas, they cannot exist separate from them; they cannot act until impressions are first made upon the senses, and then they all exist at once. In short, the same action of the nervous system that makes an idea, also produces its qualities º the sensation or motion by which we recognize it. It must, then, be seen how absurd it is to suppose that the will, belief, or conscience, is self-originated, and an entire free agent. The human being is not a thing separate from his ideas, or his organization. Therefore, to say that he thinks or does any thing, is the same as to say his organization and the stimulation of surrounding objects think ideas and perform actions. Hence, he is a part of the great system of causes and effects progressing in an endless series. But, it is the great variety of associated, ideas already acquired by a human-being that give him such a command over surrounding objects, when a new subject of will or choice is presented to him. Thus every idea in itself can be a cause or motive to induce his actions; yet he must be governed by the one which predominates by being most strongly felt. These views, therefore, show the simplicity of the structure of the mind, and by which it acts; they show also that we must study mind on physical principles, before we can comprehend much of its nature. –

Lewis Masquerier.

New York, June 19th, 1841.


NEW THEORY OF ASTRONOMY,

suggesting the rotatory motion of the earth as the cause of its curvilinear direction in its orbit, and also of its tides.

Mr. Editor, Permit me to communicate, through the medium of the New Moral World, an abridgement of a lecture delivered to our society, on the 21st of March last, on the above theory. These views I have entertained for twelve years, but having despaired of ever finding time and means to elaborate them, I hereby submit them to the consideration of the more fortunate cultivators of the science, particularly to our social missionary, Mr. T. S. Mackintosh, the author of the “Electrical Theory of the Universe.”

It seems to be an established fact in all treatises upon gunnery, that, besides the resistance of the air and of gravity in turning bullets from a right line direction, that there is another force causing great uncertainty in their courses. This third force is ascribed to a rotatory or whirling motion which a bullet is very apt to acquire when shot from smooth bore pieces. It is said that when a ball is shot from a musket or cannon, and a rotatory motion is given around a horizontal axis from its upper side in the direction of its course and downwards to the earth, that it will strike under the mark aimed at; but, if it acquires this motion in the opposite direction, it will strike above the target. If, as the bullet leaves the muzzle of the gun, a rotatory motion is given around a vertical axis from left to right in the direction in which we bore, it will strike on the right hand side of the mark in regard to us; but, if it acquires this motion from right to left, it will hit on the left side of the mark; and so on with respect to every intermediate position of the axis of rotation.

These writers go on to say, that in consequence of the uncertainty of military projectiles shot from smooth bore pieces, the rifle gun has been invented to remedy this deflection. By making a number of spiral grooves from the touch-hole to the muzzle of the gun, a rotatory motion is given to the bullet around an axis with one of its poles, pointing in the direction of the mark, by which much closer shooting is attained. Thus, a rotatory motion around an axis, pointing in the direction of the object aimed at, cannot act against the projectile; hence no deflection can be produced. But a rotatory motion around an axis at right angles to the projectile direction can act with a leverage against it without impeding it, and can only deflect the moving body from a right line into a curvilinear direction. When a ball rotates around an axis at right angles to its progressive course downwards to the earth in its fore part, there is a point on its top where the rotatory motion is in the same direction with the progressive, and immediately on the under side it is against it. There is a point of the fore and hind part of the ball that rotates at right angles to the progressive motion; and all the intervening points, in a less degree, move with, against, or at right angles to it; and thus conspire in deflecting the moving body in a circular direction. The reader must observe that the rotatory motion could not Produce a deflection without a progressive motion also, as, it would have nothing to act against, and could only throw the matter of a body outwards on all sides.

Now, if it is true that military projectiles are thus deflected by the rotatory motion, in the resisting medium of our atmosphere too, why will not the same motion produce the same effect in the course of the planets, whether they move in a material or empty space? Why, may it not be the real cause of the curvilinear course of the planets in their orbits? The rotatory or diurnal motion of the earth, then, as in the ease of the military projectile, is what may really deflect it from going of in a tangent to a circular orbit. The direction in which all the planets and satellites (with the exception of Herschell) move, is just such as this theory requires. They all move from west to east in their orbits, and rotate from west to east around their axes so far as discovered. The action of the rotatory motion of the earth with the progressive, seems then to be sufficient both to sustain and to retain it in its orbit, without even any attractive influence from the sun, which would seem to impede instead of facilitating its projectile force. But it seems that this rotatory motion of the earth being equable, it must give its orbit a circular instead of an elliptical form, if its projectile velocity should also be equable. I am inclined to think, that the earth moves with an equable velocity in its progressive as well as its rotatory motion; and that the placing of the sun a little out of the centre of its orbit, will sufficiently account for the cause of the earth being eight days longer in going through one-half of its orbit than through the other.

According to this theory, the rotatory and projectile forces so co-operate with and balance each other that they determine the curvature and size of the planet’s orbits, and keep them firm, steady, and permanent in their courses. Were the rotatory motion of the planets; the earth’s, for instance, reversed and made to rotate from east to west, it would become deflected in the contrary direction, and describe an orbit in a different part of the heavens, and would only touch its present orbit at the point at which it left it, and would never more revolve around the sun as its centre. Thus were the earth made to rotate from east to west, it would progress from east to west also; for these motions like two forces from different directions impressed upon a body must cause it to move in a medium direction. A progressive and rotatory motion, therefore, in opposite directions, cannot harmonize. This can be proven by giving a ball suspended in a frame, so that the poles of its axis can change places, a rotatory motion in one direction, and a progressive one in the opposite, the ball will struggle until it changes its poles so that it can rotate in harmony with the progressive course.

Whatever, therefore, is the cause of the progressive and rotatory motions, it seems that these motions must cause the body to move in a circular direction. I do not pretend to have any theory for these motions; but believe with Mr. Mackintosh that there must be a continued cause for such never ceasing motions, and that the Almighty push of God, unless continued, could never keep up such equable motions if the sun is continually attracting the planets at right angles to their progressive courses. I believe with him also that these and other motions are dependent upon the electric principle, and that it is the agent by which all impressions are made upon the senses, and by which we think.

While, therefore, I still believe in several species of attraction, yet I doubt much of its existence between bodies at such immense distances as the sun and planets. I believe that beyond the region of our atmosphere, attraction ends; and that the wide spaces between the planets are in a neutral or indifferent state with regard to attraction. Why should attraction extend farther than the bounds of ponderable matter? Indeed, there is some grounds for apprehending that weight is not the result of attraction, but a quality, like solidity, density, &c., a part and parcel of matter. We see that the most heavy and dense body settles below the lighter; and as the densest body is the most weighty, we have some reason to believe that weight is a quality of matter; and, of course, must terminate wherever matter terminates. Thus, then, it would seem, that all weight and attraction must terminate within the earth, as all gravitates to its centre; and hence it must, with regard to the surrounding universe, have no weight. If the sun and planets mutually attracted each other, according to the Newtonians, would not the attraction of all the stars or suns and their planets upon the earth be greater than that of our sun and derange its motions; or would there not be some predominating centre of attraction in the universe to which all bodies would finally fall into one consolidated mass? But, by sup|posing that there is a neutral space between all the bodies of the universe void of attraction, each one of them will ever preserve the situation which the rotatory and progressive motions give it.

Is it not remarkable, then, that astronomers have been placing an attractive influence in the sun to keep the planets from flying off in a tangent to their orbits, when the rotatory motion, as really can be proved by experiment, more effectually retains them in their orbits They have inculcated the doctrine that the rotatory motion of the earth has thrown out its matter in the torrid region, so that its equatorial diameter is thirty-four miles longer than its polar, yet it seems not to have occurred to them that this rapid rotation of the earth should also deflect it in its orbit, and also produce the tides.

The earth moving at the rate of about sixty-eight thousand miles per hour in its orbit, and rotating about one thousand miles per hour at its equator, is what determines the size of its orbit and its period around the sun. If, therefore, we could get the rate at which the deflection of the earth is produced by these two motions, we might obtain other data than that of the parallax of the moon or sun for computing the distances of the earth and other planets from the sun! But there seems to be no branch of mathematics employed in calculating the rate of deflection which the rotatory and progressive motions produce; hence, it may give rise to a new branch of mathematics to calculate it.

But, the small rotatory motion of the moon may seem to be an objection to this theory of deflection. But, it must be observed that the progressive motion of the moon around the earth, must operate as a rotatory motion to its course with the earth around the sun, and thus sufficiently deflect it in an orbit varying but little from that of the earth’s. For observe, that the moon, as well as any point on the earth’s surface, progresses with the course of the earth in its opposition, contrary to it at the conjunction, and at right angles to it when in its quadratures; and hence, it should produce the same effect as the rotatory motion of the earth does upon its progressive force. But still some may think that the moon should have more rotatory motion, as it is detached from the earth, and wants that continuity of matter between it and the earth, as there is between the centre of the earth and its surface. The moon rotating but once in its course around the earth, gives it a rotatory velocity only about ten miles per hour, while it moves in its orbit upwards of two thousand miles per hour; thus giving the proportion of one to two hundred, while the earth’s rotatory motion to that of its progressive, is in the proportion of one to sixty-eight. But, then, the moon’s slower rotation acts upon a double or two progressive motions, and thus it may be that a less lunar rotation is necessary. I will not pretend to thoroughly clear up this point—I am too anxious for the truth to dogmatize about it, and hope that others may be enabled to obviate the difficulty. I will at least offsett it against the theory of the Newtonians, who believe that the planets can continue to move while the attraction of the sun is incessantly drawing them at right angles to their courses.

But the rotatory motion of the earth may not only cause its curvilinear direction in its orbit, but it may also be the cause of the tides. Why should the Newtonians seek for the far-fetched cause of the moon’s or sun’s attraction for the tides, and overlook the near cause of the immense whirl of the earth? Is it possible that the rapid rotatory and progressive motions of the earth should have no power, even to agitate the great seas a little and cause the tides? The oceans do certainly bear some considerable proportion to the solid matter of the earth, and thus should be undulated by its motions. The fact, that there is a general motion of the seas from east to west, contrary to the rotatory motion from west to east, indubitably proves that the tides are caused by these motions. With the fact, too, before their eyes that the whirling motion of the earth has thrown out its matter at the equator by its centrifugal force, so that its equatorial is thirty-four miles longer than its polar diameter, they seem not to have thought that these motions should also throw out the water at the meridian sides of the earth and cause the high tides, and the low t des at the intermediate sides. The rotatory motion of the earth on the side next to and opposite the sun, gradually becomes more in a line with the progressive motion. But at the point directly under the sun, it is in a line, but in the contrary direction. In the morning, or fore part of the earth, and in the evening or hind part, (or in sailor phrase,) the bow and stern of the earth, the rotatory motion is at right angles to its progressive course. Therefore, where the rotatory and progressive motions of the earth are mostly in a line with each other, the centrifugal force is greatest, and can throw up or out the ocean the most and cause high tides; but where the rotatory motion is nearly at right angles to the progressive, the ocean is not thrown up so much, or is rather depressed, and causes low tides. If the whole surface of the earth was covered with water of an even depth, the high tide would always occur at the day and night meridian, and low tide at the morning and evening points. But in consequence of the eastern and western continents extending north and south, the general motion of the seas, from east to west is impeded; and as it cannot continue to flow westward, it will remain rather stationary a short time, piled up on the coasts, and flowing back eastwardly more tardily, the tide is brought on about three quarters of an hour later every day. It is thus large continents modify the time of the tides, so that they come on at all distances from the meridian, and show that they do not follow the course of the moon. This theory shows how the tides occur at opposite sides of the earth at the same time, which the Newtonian one of gravitation never has satisfactorily explained. For it presumes the attraction of the moon and sun can raise the waters on the opposite sides of the earth at the same time.

In the central parts of large seas, at the Sandwich Islands for instance, high water is said to rise only from twelve to eighteen inches, and always near the meridian; and has been such a common phenomenon, that the inhabitants have but the same term for noon-day and high tide. If this is the case, it proves the theory that high tide would always take place under the meridium, if there were no large continents to modify the motion of the sea, and that it would never rise higher than the average of twelve or eighteen inches from this cause alone.

This is but a portion of my views on this subject. I will on some future occasion communicate the rest, and also my views on other branches of astronomy.

Lewis Masquerier.

New York, June 19th, 1841.


New York, Aug. 7.—During the summer our audiences have not been so large, as many prefer recreation in the country We intend to agitate more when the long evenings come on, and to act in accordance with the suggestions of the address of Congress to the Socialists in America. We feel flattered in receiving such an address from the Social Congress. This suggestion of a plan for our future operations will have a good effect. You have cut out work enough, and we must endeavour to accomplish it. The editor of the Boston Investigator has come out boldly in favour of Socialism. The old school sceptics still have Sunday lectures, both here, in Boston, and elsewhere. Mr. Ben. Offen is their lecturer here; he is very able in refuting Scripture dogmas and the evils of the church, but he does not approve of the principles of community. Mr. Abner Kneeland former editor of the Investigator is living in retirement at Farmington, in Iowa Territory. Mr. and Mrs. Squire Crossley of the Leeds Branch, request me to state that they have arrived here safely, are well, and have abundance of work. They would thank any of their friends to send them occasionally the Leeds Times, or any other liberal paper, directed to them, at 15, Spruce-street, New York.

Lewis Masquerier.


GREAT MERIT SELDOM APPRECIATED AT FIRST.

Of all the species of injustice inflicted by mankind upon each other, there is none so universally practised as the persecution of those who develope new principles and arts. And it is not until posterity adopts what its ancestors rejected, that it can appreciate the motives and genius of the philanthropist, and feel indignant towards those who persecuted him. Yet, this same posterity will commit the same blunders against its own cotemporaries. It is thus mankind struggle along, persecuted and persecuting—condemning the same errors which they practice themselves. Calvin, no doubt, glowed with indignation against the persecutors of Stephen, at the same time he urged the burning of Servetus. Servetus, in turn, if his followers had been numerous, and he felt his power, would have persecuted perhaps him who attempted to innovate upon his doctrines.

Then how careful should Socialists be not to commit this so universally practised error. But how are they to avoid it! Why, they must not presume infallibility. The history of mankind seems scarcely to furnish an instance of a sect but what is more or less bigotted, unless the Socialist should give the first instance. The creeds of all societies have heretofore been expressed in too positive and dogmatic terms. It is well to lay down propositions so as to have something to fix the mind upon; but to lay down principles as infallible, and to rest content with them, as containing all truth, amounts to a high tariff or embargo laid upon future inquiry. Considering that the present world has been a gradual creation—a continued series of improvements and additions, it is the height of presumption, as it seems not yet half finished, that any doctrine, science, or art, can yet be wholly developed. I regret, therefore, to see the Socialists express so much undoubting confidence in the truth of their principles, for it may lay them liable to some little bigotry. I, for one, cannot see how there can be a better form of society than that of community, yet it is well to admit that there may be still an improvement on Socialism; as progress in science seems to be endless. That there are some disputed points among us, it shews, how guarded we ought to be. I was much pleased when I observed that Mr. Owen had encouraged Mr. Lloyd Jones in some new views of society, containing some modification of his own. By so doing, he has set an example which no other reformer has. Let the Socialist leaders, therefore, correct this universal error, encourage all to think, practice real toleration, and shew mankind that they not only desire to be liberal, but really know how to be liberal.

The persecution of reformers has been such a common practice in all ages, and the sympathy of mankind when they became capable of seeing it, has always been st great, that it has been a favourite theme for eloquence; in history, in poetry, and in fiction. This feature of persecution has been pourtrayed in that celebrated tragedy of “Prometheus Bound,” where love is represented as having chained Prometheus to a rock, to undergo the unceasing torture of vultures feeding upon his vitals for his love of mankind, in revealing to them from heaven the use of fire and the knowledge of arts and science. Hence, the great sympathy of the Greek audiences in its representation. This principle of persecution is also pourtrayed in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, for revealing new truths, and for endeavouring to produce political, moral, and religious reforms among his countrymen. And his God-like charity towards his murderers, shows how well he understood human nature, by crying out upon the cross, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” And thus it is still with every philanthropist who undertakes the redemption of his fellow-creatures from poverty, sin, and misery. It would seem that the persecution of the reformer is necessary to arouse thought and sympathy sufficient before his measures of reform can be adopted.

Thus every pioneer of truth and science is doomed to be crucified by the bigotry and intolerance of his age. But, will mankind never become intelligent enough, even to suspect (if they can appreciate) that all new views are likely to contain some addition to the common stock of knowledge. If they admit that knowledge is progressive, how can they but infer that the latest cultivator of a science must be likely to add something to that of his predecessor? Why cannot men learn that it is safer to indiscriminately encourage every thing that has pretence to improvement, than to pretend to discriminate and oppose all.

But men of genius are not only disappreciated by the common mass, but also by each other. Newton, who cultivated astronomy, considered Malebranche, the metaphysician, as an idle dreamer. Rousseau and Voltaire ridiculed each other in consequence of the former reciting an ode addressed to posterity, and of the latter observing that it would never reach the “time of its address.” Fourier, it seems, wrote a pamphlet entitled, “The Quackery and Humbuggery of Owen;” but who, it seems, regretted it afterwards.

Lewis Masquerier.

New York, August 5th, 1841.


CAUSE OF EVIL.

THERE is nothing so difficult to perceive as the whole cause of evil. Almost any one can perceive some small item of the cause of evil, but there is scarcely any that can see it all. Even those of us who conceit we see it mostly, see it but dimly. We feel a confusion of sentiment and a feebleness of expression when we would endeavour to portray it in its breadth and depth. It is hard to frame a comprehensive expression that will embrace all the causes, or the deepest, or the great first cause of evil. We may say it is caused by the imperfect organization of all the parts of nature. But then, again, were the present parts of every department of nature now in existence more perfectly organized, these same parts are so continually transforming themselves by improved modifications, that they would become new elements and unsuited to the organized body of which they are a part. The truth is, all nature is progressive, and evil is the contrast between a less and a greater perfection to which she is struggling to attain. Evil, then, in short, is the result of all nature being a gradual creation instead of a finished one at once; of all bodies and qualities resulting from the infinite combination of a few simple elements of matter, and of their analysis to enter again into similar combinations. This alternate composition, decomposition, and recomposition, cannot take place without some improvement at least in the aggregate. A decomposed mass of matter eaves a very different foundation for the next mass to compose in its place, and hence the same body exactly cannot succeed it. Thus a bare rock will become covered with moss, which will in time, decay and become a strata of soil, and cease to produce moss, but give rise to a higher order of vegetation. It is the continuance, therefore, of the inferior and more imperfect order of being when the more perfect is ripe for existence, which constitutes a discordant relation, and developes what we call an evil. The moss may have a very proper relation to the bare rock, but it no longer has a proper relation to a rich coat of vegetable mould which it has itself produced, when an animal being is hungering for the grass which it is capable of producing. This is as near as I can now come in representing the nature of evil. Nature, or matter, is incessantly at work in producing new modes of existence. Every antecedent therefore, in her series of events, is a necessary foundation for its consequent. The primitive formation has necessarily preceded the superincumbent formations. The savage has necessarily preceded the subsequent stages of civilization; and along with them the separate interests in the soil must unavoidably precede that of a unity of interest. The individual interest in property has not been an evil in the ignorant infancy of man. For the agricultural and manufacturing stage, could not have progressed until man was j by the division and individual ownership of the land. Under the present private property system the elements have been created for a higher order of society. And the action of these elements is now about to destroy the organization which produced them, by becoming a new set of causes, which must necessarily produce a more cooperative and equalizing form of society. The individuality of property has aided the imperfect knowledge of man, and produced the elements for a new society, of heads, fields, architecture, machinery, engines, &c., with an advanced state of art and science. And though this system of private accumulation may have been right in the commencement to prompt man to exertion, it is now no longer right, since it has reached the greatest inequality of wealth and poverty, and since man has attained to a higher degree of intelligence. The new materials of society have become so destructive to equality in the present system, that they are producing its ruin.

As the elements of nature must be right, it is their organization that must be wrong. Large farms, parks, palaces, factories, labour-saving machines, ships, railroads, water, wind, steam, and other powers, by which a single individual can influence the destinies of millions, cannot harmonize with the private property system. For the natural wants and powers of production of each man are so nearly the same, that their rights are also the same. Every man, therefore, has a right to an equal share of light to see, air to breathe, sounds to hear, food to eat, sex to love, soil to cultivate, and materials to fabricate. Now as he cannot secure and perpetuate all these rights in the present form of society, it is a proof that its organization is defective. And as it is the unequal share of property possessed by a few, it is evident that the remedy is to be sought in that organization of society which will give Communities of united interests seem to be now prescribed as the panacea for all the evils that afflict us. Communities of a size to supply all their wants within themselves, and place every person in a situation to be a producer as well as a consumer. Society now exhibits the extraordinary phenomenon of an aristocratic few that produce nothing, and yet own nearly the whole property of the earth. Through all ages, there has been a numerous class of non-producers, whom the labouring class has supported, so as to leave but a bare subsistence for themselves. The labourer has maintained the haughty aristocrat in his palace, while he himself lived in a mud hovel. And yet, oh, sad to relate, the fat, sleek, and insolent lord of the manor, seems not to be aware that he is starving those that support him, neither does the labourer see the deep-rooted cause of his oppression. Stupid wretch! he has only to divide the amount in value of all the property in his country, by the number of its inhabitants, and the result will be the average, and the competence which nature has provided for each one; and by applying the principle of equal rights, resulting from equal natural wants and capacity for labour of all, he will see that it is the bad economy in the arrangements of society that permits an aristocratic few to monopolize nearly all the wealth of the country. He will see that it is the individual ownership of from five hundred to one thousand pounds that enables a man to leave the ranks of the operative, and to join that of the aristocrat. By the power of this sum, he indirectly and unperceived by the ignorant property producer, lives and spends every year the price of about two years of his hard labour. How indignant would the white negro repel the attempt to force him directly to labour for the lord like the slave of the Southern United States; yet his labour goes as effectually to the support of the property-holder, as that of the poor negro for his master. I hope, therefore, that we may be able to break through the cloud of our ignorance, and see widely, though dimly, the cause of evil, until the sun of the new moral world now rising in the east, shall disclose it with noonday brightness to our enlightened gaze.

Lewis Masquerier.

New York, U. S.


GREAT ECONOMY OF THE COMMUNITY FAMILY SYSTEM.

If we compare the community family with the isolated system, it will aid us in seeing the great difference between them. Take a portion of country six, miles square. See there a number of isolated farmers so far from any co-operation with each other, they are scarcely acquainted. There, see each of them by his own unaided exertions and insufficient capital, through a long series of years, at length succeed in clearing his fields and erecting his dwelling, barn, and other houses. See the number of small enclosures he is compelled to make for his different plants and animals. Now, if his was associated with his neighbors’ farms, but a small part of this fencing would do in proportion to the quantity of ground. See him, at the expense of several hundred pounds, keep horses, waggons, ploughs, harness, &c., that if kept all the time in use, would serve ten other families. See the number of other implements which each farmer must have, but who can only use them occasionally. A farm for a single family must have all the implements that a community need have. Above all, see the one hundred different employments and errands of an isolated farmer before he can supply all his wants. In the same day he may have to cart, to plough, to sow, to feed the stock, to make fires; nurse children, and, before going to bed, (at least in the Western United States,) shell a bag of Indian corn, that he perhaps will have to take ten miles to a horse mill the next day, and then wait till midnight perhaps till his turn comes, before he can hitch in his horses and grind it. See this farmer going off ten or fifty miles to market in his waggon, up and down hills, through toll gates, ferries, &c., and then tarry for days, and sell out sometimes at a sacrifice. See, too, how far others have to go to market, grocery or store, and then be cheated with bad articles and counterfeit money.

Now, suppose all these farmers, by way of beginning a thorough community, while each still retained the right to the property of his farm, were to purchase in common in some central point in their neighbourhood, a site, and erect a villa or parallelogramic village. The surplus capital of almost any fifty or one hundred farmers, would be sufficient, at least, to commence this common village. Here they might all occupy their community dwellings, and still cultivate, though in common, their farms. By these means they could avail themselves of all the labour-saving machinery of the age; and economise, by co-operation, to so great an extent, that with one-fourth of the labour they could produce more. By these means, the same fire could warm and light all the dwellings. One engine would move all the machinery; and one fire, kitchen, and table, with a few cooks, would be sufficient for the whole community, instead of the several hundreds which the present system requires. Thus the labour saved in the kitchen department of the stem is particularly great. Under the present isolated family system, a great portion of female labour is employed in the domestic department, which would nearly all be saved by co-operation. In short, by joining a community of interests, almost all the labour of man may be performed by machinery; and what labour each person does would be of that kind. But now each family has to do a little of most kinds of work, with the aid of but little machinery. In the co-operative system, there is the greatest division as well as union of labour. Such is its economy, that but two, and eventually but one, hours labour, may be adequate to supply the wants of society. Competitive machinery at present increases the hours of labour to those it employs, and takes it away from the balance. Thus it completely works against instead of for us.

How long, then, my fellow-labours, will you suffer the burdens of the present inſational arrangements of society? Will you ever delve in poverty and rags, when a little thinking, a little enterprise, would place you in a terrestrial paradise. Then arouse from your lethargy and assume the dignity of men. You have it in your power, not only to relieve yourselves, but to regenerate a world. Combine and labour for yourselves. You can, recreate the world, and become its real and successful saviours. You are now undergoing that crucifixion which will work out its salvation. The extreme tyranny of the present system will vibrate to the opposite; as the presence of evil is necessary to point out the good. If we were comfortable in the present system, we would never be aroused to the establishment of a better. Society is now scourging itself into the knowledge of its true interest; and it is ardently hoped that, ere long, it will become self-regenerated.

Lewis Masquerier.

New York, U. S.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2009 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.