Monday, June 11, 2007

Clarence Lee Swartz, Josiah Warren and His Work

C. L. S., "Josiah Warren and His Work," Liberty, 14, 25 (February 1905), 3-4.

Josiah Warren and His Work.

Josiah Warren, as Liberty’s readers know, was the original founder and teacher of Philosophical Anarchism in America. A scion of the Massachusetts puritan house of Warren, which numbers among its many distinguished members the revolutionary hero of Bunker Hill, Gen. Joseph Warren, Josiah, who was born in Boston toward the close of the eighteenth century, became one of the most noted social reformers of his time.

As the exponent of the doctrine of Individual Sovereignty and Cost the Limit of Price, he blazed the path which Liberty, for twenty-five years, has followed as its chosen field. Warren began his sociological experiments with Robert Owen at New Harmony. At the age of twenty- seven he became convinced of the futility of all communistic schemes, and with remarkable steadfastness of purpose devoted his life thereafter to the championship of complete individualism in economics and politics,—that is, Anarchism.

To this end he started papers, time stores, and colonies. He was also an inventive genius of no mean achievements. His pioneer work in mechanical devices, designed to simplify and cheapen the art of printing in order to facilitate the dissemination of his new ideas, resulted in the roller press, which he invented and made with his own hands a generation before it was universally adopted for producing the modern newspaper.

Warren was an original thinker, who made it his life work to put his theories to the practical test. His services in the cause of liberty were recognized by men so eminent as John Stuart Mill, who embodied many of Warren’s views in his own writings. The importance of Warren’s experiments, such as his Long Island village of Modem Times, cannot be too highly valued by those who to-clay are interested in social reform.

Most of his writings have long been out of print, and are inaccessible to the student. No life of Warren has ever been published nor had any competent writer attempted a till account of his varied career, his aims, and ideas, until Mr. William Bailie some years ago, realizing the need of such a work, undertook the task. The sources of information were scanty and widely scattered. None of those now living who had met Warren could tell much except what related to his closing years. As a labor of love, with painstaking care, Mr. Baffle slowly gathered the materials from his book from sources contemporary with Warren. The essential facts of Warren’s career have been set in their proper order, the development of his views has been luminously traced, and his philosophy subjected to a critical comparison with the teachings of the leading social reformers of the nineteenth century. The book, in its entirety, forms at once a history and an exposition of the principles of Philosophical Anarchism as it grew up indigenous to the American soil.

It is now proposed to publish Mr. Bailie’s book, provided sufficient interest is manifested in it, and to this end it is desired to know how many copies will be subscribed for in advance at one dollar each. The book will consist of approximately one hundred and fifty pages. It will be printed on good paper, and will be neatly and substantially bound in cloth, with first-class workmanship in every particular. The payment of subscriptions will not be requested until the book is ready for delivery. Those wishing to subscribe should communicate at once with the editor of Liberty, so that it may be known as soon as possible whether the publication of the book will be warranted.

C.L. S.

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