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MONTESINOS. But how is this to be effected? Announce the speedy Restoration of the Jews, and youwill find believers. Preach up the duty of converting the Turks, and you may form a society for that express purpose. But if you propose to render civilization complete by extending it to those classes who are brutalized. by the institutions of society, half the persons whom you address will ask how this is to begin? and the other half, where it is to end? Undoubtedly both are grave questions. Owen of Lanark indeed would answer both: but because he promises too much, no trial is made of the good which his schemes might probably perform.
SIR THOMAS MORE. In your opinion then he has shown how the beginning might be made.
MONTESINOS. If I were his countryman, I would class him in a triad as one of the three men who have in this generation given an impulse to the moral world. Clarkson and Dr. Bell are the other two. They have seen the first fruits of their harvest. So I think would Owen ere this, if he had not alarmed the better part of the nation
by proclaiming, upon the most momentous of all subjects, opinions which are alike fatal to individual happiness, and to the general good. Yet I admire the man; and readily admit that his charity is a better plank than the faith of an intolerant and bitter-minded bigot, who, as Warburton says, “ counterworks his Creator, makes God after man's image, and chuses the worst model he can find,..himself!"
SIR THOMAS MORE. : You must, however, acknowledge that the prejudice which he has thus excited against his political speculations, is not unfounded : for the connection between moral truth and political wisdom is close and indissoluble; and he who shows himself grievously erroneous upon one important point, must look to have his opinions properly distrusted upon others. To maintain that the state ought not to concern itself with the religion of the subjects is the greatest and most perilous of all political errors: and to regard religion with indifference is the most dangerous of all moral ones;..if indeed in any case that may be called an error, which assuredly in most is less a mistake of the understanding than a sin of the will.
MONTESINOS. • A craniologist, I dare say, would pronounce
that the organ of theopathy is wanting in Owen's head, that of benevolence being so large as to have left no room for it.
SIR THOMAS MORE. Away with such systems! Where there is most love of God, there will there be the truest and most enlarged philanthropy. No other foundation is secure. There is no other means whereby nations can be reformed, than that by which alone individuals can be regenerated. In the laws of God conscience is made the basis of policy; and in proportion as human laws depart from that groundwork, error and evil are the sure result.
MONTESINOS. So Lord Brooke teaches, the wisest man that ever uttered dark sayings in verse. National happiness must be produced through the influence of religious laws. There is nothing, however, in the practical part of Owen's polity to exclude them; and indeed so far as his scheme of society might easily and beneficially be put in execution, it would strengthen their influence; its purport and effect being
That private hearts may unto public ends
A set of journeymen in London endeavoured
to make the attempt. They were chiefly printers. A committee was appointed to digest their plan, and the Report which they put forth upon the subject was worthy of more attention than it obtained. In this Report they declared themselves fully persuaded that by combining their industry, their skill and their mental faculties, they should not merely bid defiance to poverty, but secure a competency of the goods of life, a great accession of intellectual enjoyments and rational amusements, and, above all, the means of giving their children an education which would ensure them an adequate portion of useful knowledge, and confirm them in virtuous habits. Clubs and Friendly. Societies, they said, had made them familiar with the blessed effects of union; and they were certain that by thus uniting they should obtain the power of creating new wealth for themselves, procure a larger quantity of the means of subsistence for the same money, and enable their wives to perform their domestic duties more skilfully and in half the time which those occupations now required. They calculated upon an average saving of one fourth per cent. by purchasing articles for the community in wholesale: upon a saying of time not less advantageous, by a proper distribution of domestic occupations, and upon the benefit of avoiding waste by having at hand all conveniences and facilities for economy. For the children large school-rooms were to be provided, (appropriable to other purposes after school hours,) and a large playground, which would keep them from the accidents and temptations of the streets. Constant superintendence was to be exercised over them, by changing the teachers every three hours, and they hoped to unite the advantages of public and private education, the children being at all times accessible to their parents, and constantly with them at certain times of the day. For themselves, their dwellings would be more commodious, their food better, their habits cleanlier: and their wives, not being worn down by over exertion, nor by the distraction of conflicting duties, would become better companions, and be better fitted to participate in innocent recreations. The Establishment would in reality be a College of useful arts: it would have its lectures, its library, its infirmary, and its medical practitioners.
The result of their estimates was that a saving of £7,780 per annum might be effected by means of the proposed plan upon the expenditure of 250 families, averaging four persons in a family; and that if each adult male member paid one guinea per week to the general fund, the collective sum would provide the whole establish