John Gray (1799-1883)

John Gray, best known for his Lecture on Human Happiness, is frequently listed among the earliest of mutualists. Certainly, he was an important figure among the more-or-less-Owenite socialists of the mid-1820s. His Lecture was cited by the “Mutualist” of 1826. But we know that at least some of the accounts of this “first mutualist moment” are at least a bit garbled, particularly where Gray is involved. I’m still deciding how to classify Gray’s contribution to the history of mutualism, but the work has recently become easier, thanks to the appearance of a number of digital editions of Gray’s works.

The following works are by Gray, or were part of the propaganda surrounding his proposals. A couple of notes: 1) The texts at are a little hard to work with, but they appear to be complete, which is much more than can be said for the versions at Google Books. I have reported a number of texts missing whole chapters, including one of the books by Gray. So far, I have yet to see a single instance of corrective action in that archive. 2) The “rough pdfs” are genuinely rough, though they are readable at proper magnification. They were provided by a friend who probably went to far too much trouble for such marginal material, but to whom I am very grateful. I hope to have clear, plaintext versions completed for those items soon. 3) An electronic version of the Lecture is in the works as well. I would like to include it in a collection of texts related to the spring course.

  • Lecture on Human Happiness. 1825. []
  • —. Philadelphia, 1826. [digital edition in process]
  • The Social System, a Treatise on the Principle of Exchange. Edinburgh: W. Tait, 1831. []
  • Production the Cause of Demand. Birmingham: Radcliffe & Co., 1832. [rough pdf]
  • An Efficient Remedy for the Distress of Nations. Edinburgh: A. & C. Black, 1842. []
  • The Currency Question. Edinburgh: A. & C. Black, 1847. [rough pdf]
  • Lectures on the Nature and Use of Money. Edinburgh: A. & C. Black, 1848. []
  • Committee of Enquiry into the Validity of the Monetary Principle Advocated in Gray’s Lectures. A. & C. Black, 1849. [rough pdf]
About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.