repeat, without the inseparable combina- | restrictive engagement which we call tion of moral and religious instruction, marriage, but which Mr. Owen stigmatiwill be infinitely worse for themselves ses as an accursed thing,' an unnatural and society than even ignorance itself. crime,' a satanic device. And we are sorry to say that, not only by We had long known that Mr. Owen their scheme of national education (which, professed these and similar doetrinesafter all, is nothing but a device to grati- but we hoped, and indeed believed, that fy the enemies of the church, and should the man who could even imagine, and, never be discussed in any other sense), still worse, publish such abominations, but by maný incidental circumstances, must be insane, and that we should next the government shows itself to be either hear of him in Bedlam. In this latter very ignorant or very careless of the surmise, at least, we were mistaken: we moral and religious interests of the peo- have next heard of him-at Court-preple; and this ignorance or inattention sented to the unsuspecting purity of a has contributed in no small degree to the Virgin Queen-by no random Lord in deplorable disorders of the times. Waiting, but, to give the astonishing pro•

Lord Melbourne himself — pollicitus ceeding its full effect and solemnity, by meliora-besides his general and para- the Prime Minister himself! mount share in the measures of every Of 194 presentations to the Queen on department of his government, has, we the same day, 26th June, 1839, the are sorry to say, personally aided and Prime Minister did but three persons the assisted in this general system of disor- distinguished honour of personally introganisation. It is the curious infelicity of ducing them to Her Majesty--the Earl this government, that, in their hands, the of Scarborough-Lord Methuen, his creamerest trifles become serious mischiefs tion-and Robert Owen ! -nuga seria ducunt in mala-scratches But this is not all-mad men and bad turn to cancers. The innocent indispo- men have been heretofore seen at courtsition of a lady in waiting becomes a to the regret of those who knew their chapublic scandal and a fatal tragedy_death racters--but with, comparatively, little to her, and obloquy to others-no one of public scandal : the madness or the wick. whom would, we firmly believe, have edness of such men was either not notoribeen subjected to the slightest criticism ous, or, at least, they had some other or reproach, had the minister who chose claim to appear in the royal circle. And to meddle with the matter looked at it moreover, we may ask, whether the pre, in its true light, and treated it with either sence of a young and female sovereign feeling or sagacity, or even with common ought not to be more carefully guarded sense.

against the intrusion of any shade of imIn the same way he has contrived to purity than might, in former courts, have make of the most futile of all ceremonies, been rigorously necessary ? a presentation at court, an occasion of But these personal considerationsdisrespect to the Sovereign-of insult to though, under the circumstances, very sethe moral and religious feelings of the rious-are not our motive for alluding to country-and of menace to all our insti- the affair on this occasion. tutions. These may, at first sight, seem We have said that we hoped and be. exaggerated results to be attributed to so lieved that Owen himself was insane ; slight a cause—but hear us' out:-the but we had, till lately, no idea that there subject will soon show itself to be one of could have been any one else mad enough the utmost gravity and importance. to adopt his doctrines even as specula

There is a certain Robert Owen, noto- tive theories : it turns out, however, thatrious to the public for several extraordi- under the general relaxation of all pubnary speculations, but principally for a lic discipline-under the general contheory of political and moral government, tempt for all authority, and the general which he calls Socialism, and of which enmity to all our institutions—under the the main features are Atheism and the general arrogance of self-judgment, selfprohibition of all religion, especially the indulgence and self-sufficiency-all of Christian-the irresponsibility of man- which have been growing up for many appetite and self-indulgence the only years, but particularly since the unfortu. rational rule of human conduct-a com- nate Reform Bill, and, most of all, under munity of goodsmand—we hardly know how, with decency, to express the mon

* See Owen's Marriage System of the New Mo. strous proposition-the abolition of that ral World, p. 17.


the Melbourne Ministry--Robert Owen universe;" and maintains that “ to worship such a has made numerous practical proselytes Being is opposed to the rational conviction of every --that he is at the head of a great and instructed to disbelieve the existence of a future life spreading sect, calling themselves Social- and a future judgment; and, consequently, they mainists, and professing the doctrines just tain that man is not responsible for his actions. They mentioned, which are not only incompat, than that of the Koran, and the pretensions of Jesus

are taught that the Bible rests on no better authority ible with our political constitution, moral Christ on no better grounds than those of Mahomet. obligations and religious duties, but we They are instructed that “ no one (to use their own will boldly assert, wholly irreconcileable language) shall be responsible for his physical, inoral,

or intellectual organization,” or “ for the sensations with any system whatsoever of human made on that organization by external circunisociety.

stances;" and therefore that man is at liberty to give We are not informed of the full extent full scope to the indulgence of the sensual passions ; to which this miserable delusion may Marriage, it'is treated by them with open ridicule ;

--and, lastly, with regard to the sacred institution of have spread, but we have abundant evi- and they propose to substitute for it a licensed system dence that it has become so formidable by of adultery, such as even the worst and most corrupt its numbers, and other elements of power, ages of heathen antiquity never knew.'-pp. 21, 22. as well as by its doctrines, as to have of

Mr. Pearson most truly states that, late excited the apprehensions, not merely of Churchmen and Methodists, but even

the promulgation of these opinions in so many disof others who are little likely to be start- matter of indifference, when it is stated that there is

tricts of the country can be no longer regarded as a led at any form of sectarianism short of at this time a public Institute for the purpose of givabsolute extravagance.

ing lectures, and of other objects connected with the The evil in fact has grown to be of such propagation of these opinions, in the course of erec

tion at Manchester, and that persons were found to magnitude, and has created so much

guarantee the architect in the sum of 50001 ; and that alarm, that the Christian Advocate, in buildings devoted to the same purposes have been the University of Cambridge, however opened in other populous cities in the manufacturing reluctant to notice such abominations

districts.'—p. 8. long as they were confined in their cir- And he gives us the following statement culation, and not calculated to do exten- from their own reports of the growth of sive mischief,' at length felt it to be the the Society, if we may call by that name duty of his office to endeavour to arrest that which is in fact subversive of the and expose the progress and tendencies very foundations of all society :of this profligate system,-a task which 'In the proceedings of the last Congress of this he has performed with great ability and Society, [we beg our readers to bear in mind this effect. It is not our present intention to Congress, and its title, ] which is denominated “The enter into the argumentative part of the ists," held at Birmingham in May [last,] there is an

Universal Community Society of Rational Religion subject, or to show in any detail the wick- account of fifty places, comprehending the most edness and folly of Socialism, but merely populous towns in England and Scotland, at which to state some general facts as to the exist- branches have been formed; and at this meeting the

following reports were made :—“Mr. James Cainpence, progress, and public professions of bell reported the state of the Salford branch. With the sect, with immediate reference to the respect to Lecture-rooms, many present were aware extraordinary presentation of Robert that they had taken the Joiners' Hall, Manchester, Owen to the Queen by the hands of the capable of containing 2000 persons, and which was

generally well filled. The Social Institution, Sal. Prime Minister. But for this purpose it ford, was also well filled, and attended by persons of is necessary to impress on our readers' a superior class. Mr. Murphy, of Birmingham, said, minds the general tenets of this sect, of that the branch had two meeting places, one in Wellwhich we have already given a summary, other in Lawrence-street Chapel, capable of hold

lane, Alison-street, holding about 350 persons, the but which we think it right to reproduce ing 500; both were usually crowded. Mr. Finch, in the more authoritative words of Mr. delegate from Liverpool, stated, that the audiences in Pearson :

Liverpool were generally between five and seven

hundred in number. The branch had established a It would not have beenjustifiable to allude thus pub- Sunday School, conducted by several male and licly to these opinions, unless they had been propagated female teachers. A library of 350 volumes had also with a mischievous activity in those districts of the been formed." '-p. 31. country to which allusion has just been made, and unfortunately with too much success; and unless Then follow reports to the CONGRESS their promoters were making great efforts to extend of the prosperous proceedings of the Sotheir influence more generally through the land. It cialist missionaries at Coventry (17th Jan. will be possible only just to allude to the leading features of this infidel creed—which indeed ainounts to uary, 1839), at Warwick, at Salford (4th nothing less than the absolute rejection of Christianity February), at Yarmouth (13th February), altogether! The first and leading principle of this at Leeds (30 March), at Manchester (3d the assertion, that it is irrational to believe the ex. June), &c.; and after giving a summary istence of a God, who made and who governs the of these reports, Mr. Pearson adds-

* The preceding extracts, which have been made ed that we should not enter into the defrom a considerable number of documents relating to tails of the controversy ; but we shall the same subject, will serve to give an idea of the manyer in which this infidel agitation is carried on in venture to lay before our readers, in corthe principal manufacturing and mining districts of roboration of what we have quoted from the country, of Cheshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Mr. Pearson, a single passage of Mr. Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Durham, &c.'

Giles's general exposition (Giles's 1st Lect. But as we have said, it is not Church- pp. 1 and 2) of Mr. Owen's doctrine:men alone who are alarmed and scandal.

Though many have smiled at the presumption ised at these proceedings. We have be- of their wild and visionary projects for a new arfore us two lectures (the third has not rangement of society, only few have suspected them yet reached us), delivered by Mr. John of aiming at nothing less than the subversion of reEustace Giles, minister of a Baptist con-Founder of the System carefully concealed at first

ligion. To prevent unfavourable impressions, the gregation at Leeds, and we appeal to his his infidelity from the world; while, under promise evidence the rather because nobody who of great advantages to the working classes, he drew knows anything either of the general attention to his plans and experiments for social imcharacter of his sect, or of Mr. Giles in- extent, the public ear, he deemed it no longer necesdividually, will suspect him of any undue sary entirely to withhold his daring speculations on bias towards establishments, nor of any morality and religion; though, in making them prejudice against sectaries. Mr. Giles kuown he has proceeded in a manner so gradual,

and under such pretences of reason and virtue, as states that his attention having been were least likely to "shock the prejndices” of man, drawn to Socialism by the great increase kind; while many of his associates have practised of the sects in his own immediate neigh- the more impudent fraud of endeavouring to shelter bourhood, he felt it his duty to examine their designs under the name of Christianity.

In his recent publications, however, he has extheir tenets-he accordingly, procured ercised less caution, and laid himself open to the Mr. Owen's publications-indeed they public view as the undisguised enemy of Revelawere furnished to him by the Socialists tion. " Theology," he affirms, “when stripped of themselves, in the hope, it would seem, which, with another afterwards explained, " is the

useless words, is founded in a simple dogma," of making a proselyte. These he pro- evil genius of the world—the Devil of the Christians, ceeded to read

and the real and sole cause of all lies and hypocrisy.

" Religions,” he observes in another place, “ found. with the prepossession in their favour that they were ed under the name of Jewish, Bndhu, Jehovah, God the productions of a mind [Robert Owen's] some

or Christ, Mahomet, or any other, are all coniposed what sceptical and visionary, yet incapable of malig- of human laws in opposition to Nature's eternal laws; nant hatred to religion, and by no means unfriendly and when these laws are analysed they amount only to good morals. The perusal soon convinced him

of to three absurdities, three gross impositions upon the his mistake, and unfolded so many impious and licen- ignorance or inexperience of mankind.” To which

I tious principles; so many hypocritical pretences, not

may add, that, in a publication yet more recent, he withstanding, to virtue and philanthropy : 50 many a blow, to destroy both virtue and religion, denounces

not only repeats the same sentiments, but hoping, at apologies for crime; so much inveterate hatred to civil government; so many artful contrivances to en

the Christian law of marriage as “ a Satanic institusnare the superficial by crude metaphysical subtleties, tion," "an accursed thing;" and deliberately prothe indolent by proinises of Inxury without labour, poses that men, like other animals, should be left to and the sensual by a perpetual eulogy of the animal the inclinations of nature, and proceeds to ask appetites, and the prospect of a Mahomedan Paradis , as awakened in his mind a detestation of the

- what we dare not venture to copy !system to which he was previously a stranger. With And this is the man whom Lord Mel. these altered impressions, the writer, after further bourne went out of his way to present to delay elsewhere explained, felt bound to caution the public against the folly. wickedness, and mischievous a royal Virgin !—and the time he chose tendency of a system, which he saw propagated with for doing so was that precisely when the an industry worthy of a better cause.'--Giles, 1st growth of the pestilence had alarmed Lect., Pref.

every one who had ever heard of Mr. The justice of this indignation against Owen, and when the solemn and unusual Mr. Owen, Mr. Giles proceeds to justify presentation of this wretched man by the by numerous and frightful quotations Prime Minister seemed as if it was pre. from his works, and by able and acute pensely calculated and timed to give the commentaries on them—of which, as of greatest and most opportune encourageMr. Pearson's discourse, we should, at ment to his profligate votaries, and to exfirst, have said that their only fault was cite the greatest alarm and indignation that they took superfluous pains to refute throughout all the loyal and Christian fallacies and follies by which no sane community! mind could be led astray; but the recent But we hear some angry Ministerialist spread of the system quite justifies the exclaim, in affected derision, "What a fuss zeal both of Mr. Pearson and Mr. Giles is here !-just because Lord Melbourne's in its refutation. We have already stat- careless good nature consented to in.


dulge the vanity of a foolish fellow who and his petition was to solicit the pawanted to be seen at court !'

tronage of the Queen to the tenets of his We do not question Lord Melbourne's society, at which the very title of the careless good nature, nor that ministers petition pointed in significant terms. It may inadvertently commit mistakes in was the petition of the UNIVERSAL COMsmall matters of Court ceremonies as MUNITY society ; that is, a society for well as in weightier affairs, and it is cer- universal community-a community in all tainly not the habit of our publication to things ; with whom all things--WOMEN give undue importance to such trifles, not excepted—shall be in common ! And quas incuria fudit:--but this is no such this a petition to a mạiden Queen, who

had just turned her twentieth year, in Will Lord Melbourne say that he presence of her whole court, and by the knew nothing of Robert Owen ?—Then introduction of the First Minister! he should not have presented him to the But this, as to our understanding it Queen.

seems, gross insult to her Majesty's feel. Will he say that he had indeed heard ings, person, and authority, is still more of him as a harmless visionary ?-What remarkable and abominable, because it business had such a visionary, however was, as far as appears on the face of it, harmless, at Court ?

utterly gratuitous and wanton : for the But having heard that he was a vision- petition did not even pretend to ask any. ary; ought not Lord Melbourne to have at thing of the Queen herself. It professes least satisfied himself that he was harm- only to solicit the Government to invesless? Had his lordship never heard of tigate certain measures,' an object for Socialism ? Did he never converse with which a presentation to her Majesty was his Secretary for the Home Department, wholly unnecessary; and Mr. Owen need on the state of the country? Did he have gone no farther than to Lord Melnever hear of the Socialist meetings in all bourne himself ; but no! Owen wanted the great towns of the north, between to obtain for himself and his " universal the months of January and June ! Have community' doctrines some pretence and the Christian Advocate' at Cambridge, colour of royal sanction : it would legal. and the dissenting minister at Leeds, ise, he thought, his CONGRESS to have its been forced reluctantly into conflict with acts recognised and accepted by the a wide-spreading moral plague, of which Queen, under the immediate advice of the Prime Minister had never so much as the First Minister; and the very fact that heard ?

SUCH a petition had been placed by their But monstrous as such a supposition founder and leader in the Queen's own may seem, the real fact is still more hands would excite and bewilder the immonstrous.

aginations of his ignorant proselytes inOur readers will recollect that Mr. to some idea of royal patronage and apPearson founds many of his statements probation. on the report of the Congress of the Uni- And here it cannot escape observation versal Community Society of Rational Reli. that while Lord John Russell—the avowgionists.' This Congress was held in May; ed friend and encourager of popular meetand we find by the Court Circular' that ings—thought it necessary to censure the introduction, on the 26th June, of and finally to dismiss a magistrate of his Robert Owen to the Queen, by Lord own creating for attending a CONVENMelbourne, was to present a petition TION of delegates,' Lord Melbourne had

no scruples in presenting at Her Majesfrom the Congress of the Delegates of the Universal Community Society of National Religionists, soliciting ty's levee Robert Owen, who had no the government to investigate measures which the other business or character there but as Congress proposes to ameliorate the condition of so- representative of a'Congress of delegates' ciety.'— Times, 27th June.

quite as illegal and much more dangerous Thus, then, this presentation was not an than that which had so lately excited the accidental slip of Lord Melbourne's care severity of Lord John Russell. less good-nature. Mr. Owen was not a But what did Lord Melbourne mean, mere commonplace intruder: he came by lending himself to these proceedings ? for an object, an avowed object, and, we -We cannot tell: we do not suppose boldly assert, an illegal object; an im- that he meant to express any approbation moral, indecent, and disgusting object. of the doctrines of Socialism; whatever Every one who ever heard of Mr. Owen he might think of one part of the system, knew that the most remarkable of his we cannot suspect him of any wish to tenets was the abolition of marriage ;' share his estates in Herts or Derbyshire

[ocr errors]

with Robert Owen, Seriously, we be, nay, for the very acknowledgment of a
lieve and admit that he was not aware, God?
to its full extent at least, of what he was We believe that there is not å depart-
doing. He probably did not-as, how- ment in the state, nor a part or province
ever, he should have done-look at even of the empire, from which we could not
the title of the petition-much less make produce analogous instances of the truck.
any inquiries as to its purpose-but he ling of the pseudo-government to every
assuredly never contemplated anything species and degree of agitation, high and
like the covert insult to the Queen's sex low, and of countenance and preference
and station which it involved. The pre- given to persons who are or have been
senting Owen and his petition he thought notorious in their several localities as
-if he thought about it at all-a matter busy leaders of that already too powerful
of course; and that he was doing no party that would not have things so;
more than his daily task of upholding his and we could prove-if common sense did
government by its ordinary and indeed not of itself sufficiently establish it how
only means of existence—the crouching much this gross misapplication of the in-
(most reluctantly, we cannot doubt) to fluence of a government has tended, and
every vulgar agitator, demagogue, or necessarily must have done so, to pro-
fanatic, who can raise himself into notice duce that general spirit of insubordina-
by hostility, however foolish or however tion and disorder which every honest and
wicked, to the established order in poli- benevolent mind must deplore, and at
tics, morals, or religion.

which the boldest look with dismay, and
But then if such be the case-if such the most sagacious almost without hope.
be the dire and irresistible necessity of And where is this to end ?-and whence
Lord Melbourne's position-if such be can we expect such a happy change of
the empty phantom that would pass itself circumstances as shall restore the gov.
off on us for a governmentwhere is ernment to a healthy, constitutional, and
there any permanent safety for the coun- governing condition? During the exist.
try—if a ruffian is to be made a magis- ence of the present ministry it is mani.
trate in one year with no other apparent festly impossible ; and it would be a gross
claim than the profession of principles injustice to them, and an equally gross
which next year bring him to the gallows delusion of ourselves, to imagine that the
-if a Chancellor of the Exchequer is to dangers of our present situation arise so
induce the legislature to remit an import- much from any mischievous intentions in
ant branch of revenue on the promise and the individual ministers as in their lam-
pledge that certain illegal, immoral, and entable weakness and utter inability to
incendiary publications should thereupon resist the torrent which--while they seem
be prosecuted and suppressed, and if such to careless observers to rule and direct it,
publications are nevertheless allowed to is in truth sweeping them on, involuntary
proceed with increasing scandal and un- victims, to destruction.
interrupted impunity--if the minister

We do not mean to palliate their errors especially charged with the preservation --their ambition, their selfishness, their of the public peace is so blind or so wilful folly, their party spite--which drove them as to volunteer a public panegyric on to employ as agents evil spirits which are popular meetings at a moment when pop. now become their masters. When they ular meetings were everywhere threaten- found they could not command the suping the public tranquillity-if a pococu- port of the more legitimate foundation of rante Premier can, from carelessness or governments-property and intelligence from weakness, be drawn into giving to —they looked for help to physical force, the brutal and abominable tenets of uni- agitation, and disorganization: versal community the appearance, how

• Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.' ever false or flimsy, of Royal and ministerial sanction-if, we say, we are to be

Lord Melbourne had neither by his priexposed to such an unnatural perversion, vate nor political inclinations any tenor such a miserable abandonment, of the dency towards Robert Owen, whom he powers and duties of a government-presented to the Queen --nor Mr. Spring who or what shall be safe or sacred ? Rice for Mr. Vincent, at whose unstamped where will there be any security for pro- periodical he connived ;-nor even Lord perty or for life-for the honour of men John Russell, with his all natural and hereor for the chastity of women-for the ditary Whiggism, any violent affection existence of religion--for the authority for Mr. Frost, whom he exalted, -any of law--for any bond of human society, more than Lord Normanby for Mr. O'Con.



« ForrigeFortsett »