1818 · Philadelphia
An important early American utopian tract and probably the earliest appearance of Owenism in America. Blatchly, a New York Quaker and apothecary, was founder and moving spirit of the New York Society for Promoting Communities, an important source of utopian ideas and activity for several years preceding Owen's arrival in America. In 1822, Blatchly published "An Essay on Commonwealths," which contained extensive selections from Owen's "New View of Society." A copy was presented to Owen on his arrival in America by Blatchly himself. Ironically, it was this first champion of Owen in America who was largely responsible for injecting a strong dose of religious fervor into Owen's secularism, which became a major obstacle to Owen's success in America.
Blatchly's radical ideas are set forth for the first time in the essay on poverty included in this work. In it he quotes from Owen's writings continuously for 15 pages; the essay itself occupies 50 pages, and has its own title page. This must be the earliest appearance of Owen's writings in America, at least in book form, preceding by 5 years the more systematic exposition in the "Essay on Commonwealths." Branagan's book first appeared in 1817 and included the Blatchly essay; this is its second edition.
AI 43438. (Inventory #: 26041)