Appendix: Brook Farm — an address delivered at the University of Michigan on Thursday, January 21, 1895:
Mr. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by saying that this is intended rather for a conversation than for a regular discourse, and I shall be very much obliged to any one of you who will interrupt me to ask any question or clear up any point that occurs to him. It is almost a subject of ancient history that we are going to consider.
Few persons who are here can be familiar with the outlines of it, and there will naturally be a good many things that may be obscure.
Let these be made plain, if possible, as we go along.
About fifty years ago this country was the scene of an intellectual agitation that I do not think can be quite matched in history.
It began with the antislavery movement, an attack upon an institution fortified by the Constitution of the United States
, and connected with the great commercial interests of the country, amounting in pecuniary value to I know not how many thousands of millions of dollars; and it naturally inflamed the passions of the people, particularly in the Southern States
, where slaves were held.
This agitation was carried on with great intensity and fierceness of feeling on both sides, and with a terrible disturbance of the mind in almost the whole population of the country.
To be called an abolitionist was, in many places, almost the greatest stigma that could be put upon a man. He was accused of attempting to destroy the foundations of the republic; he was launching
us into an unknown and dreadfull struggle; he was appealing to moral sentiments when he questioned what affected more or less the property of the whole land; and the violence of the indignation which he roused was equalled only by the steadiness of his own purpose and his determination to stand by a movement based on the deepest foundations of human nature, and the feelings and the mind of every intelligent person.
That was a great agitation, but it was accompanied by many others.
They sprung up around it as a thicket of plants may surround a great tree.
The antislavery agitation was carried on in two ways principally: by public meetings, conventions, and lectures held in different parts of the country, and by the newspaper press.
The newspapers that were engaged in it at first were very few. There were not many men who had the moral nerve to enlist in the mighty battle.
The most conspicuous of them all was William Lloyd Garrison
, of Boston
, and his principal associate was Wendell Phillips
, also of Boston
They were objects on the one side of great admiration and respect, and on the other side they were assailed with a degree of vituperation which I have never seen surpassed in any political contest or in any contest whatever.
They were mobbed; their meetings were broken up; they were assailed with every insult; they were sometimes in danger of being lynched, and harm of every sort was threatened against them.
Nothing, certainly, but the most indomitable motives of conscience, and the clearest conviction of right and duty, could ever have carried them through their campaign.
Finally the question that they had raised was settled by war, and we can all remember the horrors of that awful, that bloody struggle, whose tremendous features were relieved only by the glorious circumstance that the final decision was in favor of freedom, that it struck the fetters from every slave, and that in consequence there is now in this broad land no such thing as bondage, no such thing as a man who is merely a chattel like the beasts that perish.
It was a genuine emancipation.
It was accomplished by war. And when it was done even those most bitterly opposed to the abolition agitation joined in rejoicings at the
peace we had achieved.
I ought to say, however, that a great deal more of the credit for this crowning result of emancipation and liberty was due to the abolitionists than they have received, or perhaps ever will receive, even in the verdict of impartial history.
They did nothing directly to bring about freedom; they struck off the fetters of not a single slave; but they had awakened by their long labors, by their persistent efforts in the face of every obstacle, a moral sentiment which was active in the hearts of the whole country, and which, of itself, contributed much to the victory that right and liberty and conscience finally achieved.
While this supreme agitation was going forward, every other sort of agitation appeared along with it. Moral principles were evoked and attached to things that apparently had no relations to morality.
Non-resistance was one of these moral principles.
It was wrong to use force, we were told.
The advocates of this theory averred that no government should stand on force.
If it is force that finally decides, where is your republican government?
We might as well have despotism.
Our ideal is a government of intelligence, of conviction, of conscience, and of moral duty.
I remember that this party of non-resistance proved to be pretty large.
Its doctrine was that you must never resist physical constraint.
If a man struck you on one cheek, turn the other to him; overcome evil with good.
Accordingly, there were many men, and men of bright intelligence and genuine culture, who refused to be a party in the operations of government, and who would not hold any office.
, in Boston
, one of the most charming men I have ever known, rejected his commission as a justice of the peace, which Governor Everett
sent to him, because he could not conscientiously hold any office the exercise of which implied the use of physical force.
Some of those moral standards which were set up at that time seem to us nowadays to have been fine-spun and unsubstantial.
I remember one of my friends, the late Mr. Bronson Alcott
, a gentleman of distinction in his day, a philosopher and a writer of singular subtlety and elevation.
He came to the conclusion that the use of fire in cooking was wicked, that there could be no purity, nothing heavenly in food that was cooked by fire Why?
Fire belonged in the other place.
Another of his notions, which several of his friends adopted with him, was that it was wrong to use sheeps' wool in making clothes, because nature gave the sheep its fleece for its protection and warmth, and if you shear off the fleece for your own purposes, you deprive this unresisting and helpless sheep of its natural clothing.
Therefore you ought not to do it; it was a sin. If you would go around in the field among the brambles where the sheep wandered, and gather up there the parts of their fleece which had been caught off by the twigs and branches, there would be no sin in making clothes of that sort of wool.
But to go into a shop and buy a piece of woollen cloth and have it made into a coat would be sinful.
As for cotton clothes, they could not be worn because there was slavery in every fibre.
The cotton was cultivated by slaves and gathered by slaves, and the man who put on any American cotton was compromising with slavery, and making himself a party to slavery, when he ought to repudiate slavery, spurn the devil and all his works.
So they couldn't rightfully wear either woollen or cotton clothes, and had to take refuge in linen.
I recollect I was driving along one day in the winter when I came upon two of these gentlemen dressed in linen garments.
They had on overcoats, but they were of linen.
They looked cold, and owned it, and said they were glad when I asked them to drive home with me. When dinner came they were perfectly willing to take seats with us at the table, but they wished us to understand beforehand that they had brought their own food with them, and that they could not take part in any banquet that had been prepared by fire.
They had a bag of apples and a bag of uncracked wheat; and out of that, with a drink of plain water, they made their dinner.
Well, the whole country was full of just such ideas, such arguments, and some of them were sensible and some were not. There was another movement of real and profound importance that was going on at that time, especially in Boston
, and that
was what was known as the uprising of the Transcendental school
It was a school of philosophy.
It grew up in opposition to the philosophy which taught that there was nothing in the intellect that had not before been in the senses.
The Transcendentalists maintained the doctrine of the orginal intuitions of the mind, and that the soul communes with regions that lie beyond the senses, and has intimations of divine truth that the senses cannot reveal.
Their school was very active.
There were men in it of great importance, men whose names remain in literature.
There was Mr. Emerson
, perhaps the first man, in his famous discourse on nature, to declare aggressively in this country the doctrine of this Transcendental school.
Mr. George Ripley
, a Unitarian minister in Boston
, was another advocate of it. He was a man of high education, immense knowledge, and of ability and courage equal to any man's. In this party of Transcendental philosophers the idea early arose — it was first stated by Mr. George Bancroft
, the historian, who sympathized thoroughly with the Transcendentalists — that democracy, while it existed in the Constitution of the United States
, while it had triumphed as a political party under Jefferson
, and while it was then in possession of a majority of the governments of the States, and at times of the government of the United States
, was not enough.
That was not the perfect realization of democracy.
If democracy was the sublime truth which it was held to be, it should be raised up from the sphere of politics, from the sphere of law and constitutions; it should be raised up into life and be made social.
The principle of equality, which allowed every man's vote to be as good as that of every other man, should be extended so that in society and in social life the same principle of equality should be applied throughout.
One of the things that these democratic philosophers particularly objected to was that while the master sat in the parlor up-stairs, the servant sat in the kitchen down-stairs.
They ought to be on the same level; equality and democracy should characterize our social relations.
Every person — this was their teaching — should have an opportunity of education, so that all his faculties could be cultivated and developed, and all the avenues
of knowledge should be opened to every one who desired to enter.
That could only be accomplished by the reform of society; and this reform of society these people, after long study and much discussion, determined it was their duty to realize.
And that was what inspired the socialistic movement which began about 1835 or 1838.
It was not, as you will observe, akin in the least to the theory of which Karl Marx
is perhaps the most celebrated advocate, the government socialism, in which the government owns all land and machinery, all means of manufacture, all the shops of industry, and the people are its employees and subjects.
On the contrary, the socialism of that day contemplated merely a system of associated living, of combined households, with joint stock ownership of the joint property; every stockholder to get his share in the profits, which he had helped to earn, and the share earned by the capital he had invested.
The idea of government monopoly in ownership was most repugnant to the theorists we are speaking of. Individuality and liberty were their cherished objects, and all forms of communism they zealously repudiated.
Nor did the socialism we are considering start from the uneducated or the poor.
Its adherents were all people who had gathered in the fruit of the highest education, the fullest knowledge, the highest refinement that was known to American society in those times.
They were scholars, thinkers, clergymen, philosophers, men and women of eminence in literature and society; and when some of them began to discuss the problem of revolutionizing social life, of placing it upon a democratic platform, and of giving each man an equal chance with every other man, their movement naturally drew a great deal of attention.
It was joked about in the newspapers.
The newspapers were great in joking then, as they have been since.
They laughed at it and they prophesied that as every such undertaking of which they had a record had failed before, this would also fail and go out as a passing cloud, as a fancy that had no substantial reality behind it.
The idea of founding a society of associated families was strengthened considerably by the experience of the Shakers,
and this argument was constantly brought forward in the meetings of those engaged in studying the subject.
The Shakers were then of much more importance than they are now. I believe there were more societies of them, and they had the reputation of being rich as well as successful.
They were all democratic in a certain sense.
Every person had the same opportunity.
They had to obey a kind of ecclesiastical authority, and they lived in celibacy; but so far as the ordinary social relations were concerned, the Shakers were entirely democratic.
Then there began to be published at about this time the writings of an ardent enthusiast, an American from western New York named Albert Brisbane
He had lived several years in Europe
, especially in Paris
, and there he had got acquainted with a man who was undoubtedly one of the greatest theorists upon the subject of social institutions and social progress that has ever appeared — Charles Fourier
His system is complicated, but very remarkable and interesting, and well worth studying merely as a subject of intellectual scrutiny.
published several books in favor of Association, Industrial Association, Agricultural Association, Co-operative Association, or, as he called it, the combined order of society, as distinguished from the order of separate households, each family living by itself.
His arguments were very striking.
In the first place, there was the economy of the new system.
You could lodge, feed, and clothe a thousand people in one great, combined household much more cheaply than when each family had its own separate dwelling.
Each family would have its own apartments, and his idea in some respects suggested such great apartment-houses as we now have in some of our large cities, where one hundred families may live under one roof, and yet have an independent style of life.
His views were greatly strengthened in their influence by the adhesion of Mr. Horace Greeley
, of the New York Tribune
, then lately established.
embraced the associative doctrine very early and with great enthusiasm and zeal.
He saw the economical advantages; he saw that a thousand people might live together and save money in a combined household, even when none of
them might have enough to live on separately; yet he did not profess to understand the philosophical theory of Fourier
His advocacy had great weight, and for a long period the newspaper which Greeley
conducted, the New York Tribune
, set apart one or two columns every day, for which the editor didn't assume any responsibility, but which were conducted by Brisbane
That produced a great effect all over the country.
Mr. Parke Godwin
's writings, and those of the Rev. W. H. Channing
on the same subject, were likewise of extraordinary force and persuasiveness.
Now, this new agitation took at once a very marked place in the moral discussions of that time, and in the social and economic discussions.
Not that it drew away from either of the other intellectual and moral movements; there were just as many abolitionists after it as before, and just as many non-resistants; but a great many people-very intelligent people-took up this idea of social reform and of the reorganization of society upon the associative basis, applying the principle of association to industry, to art, to education, to the whole round of humanity's social existence.
Acting under this impulse a party of philosophers in Boston
, after long study and deliberation, now determined to try the experiment of an association, though without any of the special features of Fourier
The same determination was reached in other places.
There was a party in Northampton, Massachusetts
, which organized a small association.
There was one begun by a Universalist clergyman, a most excellent man, the Rev. Adin Ballou
, at Peacedale
, also in Massachusetts
He was a non-resistant; so much so that I remember when a proposition was made to him, after several months, to combine his society with the Transcendental party that I have been speaking of, with Mr. Ripley
and his associates, he emphatically declined.
The Transcendentalists said, “Let us all go in together and put our resources together, then we shall be a good deal stronger and our chance of success will be increased.”
“No,” said Mr. Ballou
, “we cannot do it. We are non-resistants, and you tolerate the application of force in government.
Therefore we must remain apart.”
It was in the spring of 1841 that Mr. Ripley
and his friends determined to buy a farm of two hundred and odd acres in West Roxbury
, about eight miles from Boston
It was a very pretty piece of land, most excellently situated, well watered, and not a bad soil — a very eligible place.
They organized a society called the Brook Farm Institute
of Agriculture and Education, and began work.
This organization was conceived in Transcendentalism, and designed to carry on social life in accordance with democratic and Christian ideas.
There had been all the time a notable agitation respecting the unsanitary habits of college students, of people who pursued literature and learning.
They used to sit in their studies and get no regular exercise, and had no life in nature; they did not go out in the free air and gain their livelihood by the sweat of their brows.
The argument was that while any one was pursuing philosophy and literature and philology and mathematics, he ought to work on the land, to cultivate the earth; and the man who didn't work on the land could not have first-rate health.
This was their position.
So, in order to reform society, in order to regenerate the world, in order to realize democracy in the social relations, these friends of ours determined that their society should first pursue agriculture, which would give every man plenty of out-door labor in the free air, and at the same time the opportunity of study, of instruction, of becoming familiar with everything in literature and in learning.
So they began the Brook Farm Institute
of Agriculture and Education.
They went out in the spring and took possession of their farm.
Next to Mrs. Ripley
and Mr. Ripley
, the most distinguished person who went with them was Nathaniel Hawthorne
He had also adopted the idea that he would like to work out-doors.
He had got tired of the routine of literary life in his study, and of the more tedious routine of official life in the Salem
custom-house; and so he started in by advancing money towards buying the farm along the brook.
A large majority of the Brook
-Farmers were literary people or of literary associations, but there were people of other callings among them, too. There was a pressman and a grocer, each with his family.
Several had been farmers'
hired men. There was an English girl who had been a domestic, and a very superior woman she was. I also remember particularly an Englishman who came to Brook Farm from his service as valet to an English baronet then staying in Boston
His name was John Cheever
, and he proved to be one of the most entertaining members of the society.
He was very amusing, and always pleasant as a companion at table, for we all took our meals in the same room.
There was no social differentiation at Brook Farm.
They began operations with zeal.
They planted their crops and cultivated them, and these studious men, whose hands were soft before, and who had never touched a ploughshare or a sickle in all their lives, now set to work as farmers.
As a result, their health was improved and they had a great deal of entertainment out of it. And the people who read the newspapers got some entertainment, too, because their doings and transactions were occasionally reported.
I was not there, but I afterwards became one of them.
I broke down my eyes at Harvard College, and candor compels me to say, however, that I didn't break them down studying.
I sat up a good part of one night and read Oliver Twist
The book was just then published, and was very badly printed.
When I got through I thought I would never see again.
It was three o'clock in the morning.
Well, in those days when a person broke down his eyes he had to try farming or else to go to sea---my cousin, Richard Henry Dana
, spent two years before the mast for that reason, and a noble book he made out of it. Some of my friends said to me, “Now is your chance; go out to Brook Farm.”
So I went there.
I had known them well before, and they kindly took me in. After I had been there a month or two I was elected one of the trustees, and from that time out I was fully in the movement.
A great deal of romance has been written and more has been talked about the transactions at Brook Farm.
The city people who went there occasionally on fine summer days and walked over those beautiful fields where our philosophers were mowing or reaping, or those who stayed in the evening and attended one of the literary conferences, which were often
held, were always much impressed.
came once or twice a year, and when he came there was a gathering in the parlor, and he would discourse, and some one else would discourse, and others would ask questions, and there would be a discussion of some interesting literary or philosophical theme, and everybody listened with pleasure to this high debate.
The same was the case when Margaret Fuller
paid us an occasional visit.
It was really delightful, and it gave a kind of character and reputation to the place that it never would have got from the more prosaic mowing and haying that went on there in the daytime.
Then the opportunity of education was open to everybody who belonged to the society.
Every person, member or member's child, paid so much for his board, and the Greek and Latin, the esthetic philosophy, the singing and dancing were thrown in. But the regular students who were not members paid, and some of them worked, too, because they liked it. I remember one young gentleman from an aristocratic family in Boston
had the misfortune to get rusticated at Harvard
, and he was sent off for six or eight months. Well, he came to Brook Farm; and I remember that some of his natural predilections developed themselves there as they had not before been able to do. One of his passions was horses, and if he could get a horse to curry and brush down, his happiness was complete.
Nobody asked him to do it; he asked if he might, and he got the permission very easily, I assure you. So in the morning he would work an hour or more around the horses and then get his breakfast.
In the afternoon, after he had done with his lessons, if he could drive four oxen to plough, or if he could get a stout team of horses and go and haul in wood, he thought it was lovely.
He was never happier in his life than when he had on a long blue farmer's frock, and was starting off with his big cart after a load of wood.
So everybody enjoyed it. And it was really delightful, because there was this combination of intellectual occupations and out-door work; and the living, too, was pretty fair.
It was not luxurious; it was fair; it was nutritious.
Everybody enjoyed it, and the thing went on beautifully.
now and then some intellectual swell would come to pay us a visit, and he would hold a discourse or a conversation, and we were all delighted to hear him. It was like having a free lecture course every evening.
But there was no communism about it. Individual liberty and independence were strictly guarded.
The only thing that had the appearance of communism was the common opportunity of education and a living at the same time.
Nobody could get better board than all had, and access to the means of instruction was open to every one alike; and there was a common compensation.
Each man got one dollar a day, and each woman the same.
That was passed to the credit of each.
Each one paid for his board a certain amount; I think it was two dollars and fifty cents a week.
Woman stood on the same plane as the lords of creation.
A woman in that society was just as good as a man, and sometimes a great deal better.
But it didn't pay. We kept a good school, with a most extensive range of instruction, but we didn't have scholars enough, or get enough money from them.
There wasn't enough money coming in. It wasn't exactly like an ordinary school, where the scholars sit around on benches and stand up when they are called on to recite.
Everybody there could begin in the morning, and stay until four in the afternoon if he liked.
Each pupil undertook to learn certain things, and those things he had to learn.
His hours of recitation were regularly appointed, and he came knowing his lesson or else he was sent back to learn it. There was no absence of strictness in the mental discipline of the school.
And yet it was a great deal freer than ordinary schools.
If a young man wanted to go out and study his lesson under a tree, he had that privilege.
The air of freedom and democracy about the place was one of its principal attractions.
But the needed income did not materialize, and after the experiment had gone on about three years, it was concluded that we were not likely to revolutionize the social system of the world in that way. Our design was good, and we were most seriously in earnest.
I never saw a more determined purpose than that pervading our membership.
Here was the world suffering.
The same complaints
abounded that we hear now, but the great public did not come over to us. We were constantly getting applications for admission from families that wanted to come in, and we took them in if we thought best; but we hadn't accommodations, buildings, or the capital required for enlarging the establishment.
We concluded that the reason we were not succeeding as we should do, and as we had hoped to do, was that we were too weak, too poor.
We also began to pay more and more attention to the works of M. Fourier
, the French
We concluded that if we could organize ourselves upon his system, which seemed to be getting adherents all over the country, we would be sure of making a greater impression on intelligent people.
If we could only apply his system we might be able to accomplish our absorbing desire for a universal social reform.
We might thus do the duty that we felt was incumbent upon us.
So we determined to endeavor to apply Fourier
That is a very complicated doctrine.
A great point of it is that the troubles, conflicts, difficulties, and disturbances that exist in society are due to the fact that the soul of man isn't suited with such social institutions as now exist.
Man was made to be a harmonious being, to live in harmony with his fellow-man; and life upon this earth was designed by the Creator to be a scene of happiness and joy, with no other reasons or occasions for suffering than the events of mortality and the occasional accidents or attacks of sickness.
How can a society be organized which will give happiness to man?
You must begin with a true analysis of human nature; you must find out what are the constant, the lasting needs of human nature, and you must organize society to meet those needs, to satisfy those wants; and in order to do that we must obtain a scientific knowledge of human nature.
That is not set out in any current and received philosophy.
There is no school that teaches the real constitution of the human soul.
According to Fourier
, there are in the soul of man passions or affections and faculties.
There are three kinds of these passions.
First, there are the five that bring man into relation with the outer world through his senses-sight, taste, touch,
Then there are four social passions-namely, friendship, ambition, love, and the family affection.
Then there are three intellectual affections which distribute the harmonies of the others.
These are: First, the love of change-nobody wants to pursue any occupation longer than an hour and a half or two hours. The mind becomes tired and you need alternation.
The next is analysis.
That impulse takes a subject to pieces and finds out its parts.
Then the third is the composite or combining passion, the desire that takes the parts of anything which you have analyzed, and combines them in a new whole, as Beethoven
combined and varied the notes of the octave in a symphony or oratorio, in which the whole is new, while the elements are all old and familiar.
Then, finally, in this system of metaphysics, the soul of man as a whole has an impulse towards unity, a passion for universal harmony, a religious passion.
If, now, you arrange society in accordance with this analysis of the soul, if you combine all these elements, as a great composer combines the notes of the musical scale, you will have harmony, economy, joy, and delight, and life will be one scene of continuous pleasure and continuous usefulness, greater, nobler, more elevated, more complete than man in this world has yet known.
Industry, instead of being monotonous, tedious, and repugnant, will be attractive, a source of pleasure and of artistic delight.
That is the theory of Fourier
stated in a most general manner.
But it requires at least eight hundred men and women, eight hundred people, to apply this theory at all, and eighteen hundred to apply it thoroughly.
With fewer than that it is impossible to arrange this social symphony; also it requires a vast capital.
labored all his life on the problem.
He had few friends, apparently.
He was all his life publishing books of impressive eloquence, brilliant analysis, and indignant protest, and appealing to kings and millionaires to come forward and give him the two million dollars which he found necessary to realize his theory and demonstrate to mankind that the millennium could now be begun and developed on the earth.
But he never found the backer he was looking for, and died without even beginning to illustrate his idea.
At the time of this new evolution in Brook Farm, there were several communities or associations in different parts of the country organized very much on our original plan.
There was the North American Phalanx
, so called, in New Jersey
, twenty miles from New York; the Ontario Phalanx
, in northern New York; there was one in Ohio
, and there were several others.
But none of them was successful; they did not pay. So we at Brook Farm made the change we had so long considered.
We got an act of the legislature incorporating the Brook Farm
Phalanx, and our whole society was merged into this new establishment.
We began again with hope.
We got some new capital and we took in new members and added some new branches of industry-shoemaking, carpentry, work in britannia metal, and so on. But after a year or two we found that the business was not going profitably enough, and we went to work to erect a new building.
We were now a phalanx, as Fourier
's association is called.
The habitation of a phalanx is a phalanstery, and we put into ours the last cent we had. Well, one night the whole thing took fire and burned up. And there was one unpleasant fact about it. I was at the head of the financial department, and I was away at the time in New York, and the one thing that we were most ashamed of was that the insurance expired the day before the fire and hadn't been renewed.
But the faith of the majority of the members was not shaken.
The faith of Mr. Ripley
especially, a philosopher of the first order, was just as firm, and he was just as firmly convinced of the truth of the associative theory when he saw the building go up in smoke as he was before; he was just as certain then as when he laid the foundations.
But after the building was burned up we had no longer the means of taking new pupils or introducing new industries and creating new revenues for ourselves.
When we came to make up our accounts for the year we found we had taken in considerable money, and we had spent all but one thousand dollars of it. There were about seventy people in the establishment, including the members, children, and students, and certainly one thousand dollars wouldn't carry us through the next year.
You may like to know something about the mode of life there.
In reorganizing the society and bringing it down to the new basis, the teaching of Fourier
, which we adopted, was that all industries should be carried on in groups and series.
For instance, there should be a series of gardeners.
One group of them cultivated trees, another small fruits, another vegetables, and there were half a dozen of these different but connected groups.
So it was all through the establishment.
There was a series that managed the domestic labor or housework.
There was a group called the group of the dormitory that made the beds and took care of the bedrooms generally; one called the consistory that had charge of the parlors and public rooms; and one called the refectory, which included the cooks, the waiters, and the dishwashers.
They were organized and worked together.
I know that, because I was the headwaiter.
And it was great fun, I can tell you. There were seventy people or more, and at dinner they all came in and we served them.
So every department of the establishment was carried on in that way. Each person chose what he wished to do, what groups he would work in, and none of the boys and girls tried to shirk.
There was more entertainment in doing the duty than in getting away from it. Every one was not only ready for his work, but glad to do it, and this brings me to a peculiar feature of the system: the person who did the most disagreeable work was the one to receive special honor and distinction, because he was a servant of the others and was rendering to his brothers a service not pleasant in itself, but which, in other circumstances, they would render to him. In this scheme of social democracy that was one of the most suggestive features.
In the phalanx the young people, the middle-aged, and the old should all be ready to do a duty which may be inconvenient, as well as that which it is convenient for them to do. For instance, Mr. Ripley
, the head of the phalanx, was the chief of the cow-milking group.
I belonged to the same group.
That was a universal quality and characteristic of the society.
Just as a sculptor who is carving an Apollo, an image of divine beauty, goes to his work with joy and passion, so among us every duty and every kind
of labor ought to be performed with the same enthusiasm, the same zeal, and the same sense of artistic pride.
That is the theory.
It is true it was not always fully realized, but we realized a great amount of instruction, a great amount of satisfaction; and when we finally separated after the burning up of our building, in which so much of our hopes had been centred, we went away, each to begin life in the world again.
I went to Boston
to earn five dollars a week on a morning newspaper.
We all began anew very soon except Mr. Ripley
He remained and settled up the affairs.
And when the business was closed up and all the accounts settled and paid, as they all were, we owed nobody a dollar.
But I am sorry to say that George Ripley no longer possessed the fine library that he had previous to our experiment; it was sold to pay off the creditors.
We were all proud of the fact, though he never spoke of it. And in a general way our experience was duplicated by the other associations or phalanxes.
Without our special misfortune they all came to a similar end. I don't know of one of them that lasted till 1860.
That is the story of the socialist movement of that day, and it certainly went far beyond the dreams with which Coleridge
and their friends are said to have entertained their youth a hundred years before.
We may say that, as a reform of society, the movement accomplished nothing.
But what it did accomplish was a great deal of good for those who were concerned in it and no great loss for any of those who furnished money.
Still the questions remain: Is the theory sound?
Is that sort of social reform practicable?
said it was, and that in the revolutions of time it would be brought about by natural causation, and without any special effort, though it might be hastened.
There was nothing in any of these experiments to determine the absolute value of Fourier
's system, since none of them started with the required capital, or with a selected membership of sufficient numbers, or a perfect knowledge of Fourier
's law of groups and series and passional attraction.
But is it a valid philosophy?
Is there truth in it?
Is it the Destiny of
I do not know; but I am sure that if it be the destiny of the future, mankind will have reason to thank the Infinite Father
for conferring upon His children the manifold blessings of industrial attraction and passional harmony.