Friday, June 8, 2007

Mr. Warren's Lecture

"Mr. Warren's Lecture," Boston Investigator, 18, 38 (January 24, 1849), 3.

Mr. Warren's Lecture.

PEOPLE’S SUNDAY MEETING—The lecture delivered by Mr. Josiah WARREN on Sunday last, was very interesting, and well attended. We should be pleased to give an extended report of it, but horn the manner in which a great part of the lecture was carried on—namely, by questions from the audience and his answers thereto—we fear we should not be able to do it any thing like justice did we attempt a detailed report, and the whole subject being a new one in this quarter, we should regret very much to say even a word upon it that should tend to give an erroneous impression of its real character. Besides, we are not without hopes that Mr. Warren, before he leaves our city, will furnish us with a series of short articles for publication, detailing minutely the theory and practice of his new Social Experiment at Utopia. By this method, it will not only be well understood in this section, but by means of our circulation it will be spread over the country at large, and thus be ought to the notice of a great many liberal and enquiring minds who might not otherwise have an opportunity to acquaint themselves with its merits. Referring again to Mr. Warren’s mode of lecturing, we cannot well refrain from alluding to a very original feature, which strikingly exhibits his remarkable candor and fairness —and that is, his custom of inviting the audience to raise any objections they may deem necessary for the better understanding of any particular point he is illustrating. No more convincing test than this can be given of a Reformer’s sincerity and honesty; and were the honorable and candid example followed by the clergy, they would no longer have occasion to complain of empty pews, for the intelligent and enquiring would crowd their sanctuaries from floor to ceiling, and soon liberalize the whole church system.

But though we are not able to present in detail the lecture of Mr. Warren, we believe we can state correctly some of his general propositions, and thereby give a faint idea of his system. He took it for granted that the great problem of harmonious society was yet to be solved. His solution was comprised in Equitable Commerce, by which he included all intercourse between men. Equitable Commerce was based on individual interest; every individual is his or her own sovereign, and must always be above or superior to institutions; people (of whom there are twelve families in Utopia) do not sign any pledge, constitution, or regulation—there is perfect individuality there. Again, his plan included the just reward of labor Articles were not bought and sold at Utopia at a value, but at their cost, which cost was regulated by the amount labor bestowed on their production. Repulsive and attractive labor were not paid equally. The per cent. principle was discarded altogether. All worked at Utopia at some trade other, and a hours’ work a day was all that was necessary to obtain a good subsistence. Among other institutions on the premises, was a college for teaching trades.

This, of course, is but a mere outline of Mr. Warren's theory, which must be patiently studied in order to be understood. We are happy to state that he will continue his lecture next Sunday. All who are interested in Social Reform—and what reflecting man or woman is not?—should make it a point to attend.

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