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addressed, and on a subject which ought to be leveled to the appre: hension of all. We aimed at being understood; and this required great plainness of speech. It is better to have to claim indulgence trom the learned, than to have to incur the censures of the illiterate.
In point of arrangement and style, Mr. Owen had a very great advantage in having the whole of his argument written down. It is true he frequently spoke extemporaneously, but generally his written argument was the text. His written argument was his bible, and his speeches were sermons upon the essential doctrines of his (welre apostles.
Considering the rapidity of my pronunciation, which is said to be surpassed by very few, Mr. Sims, the stenographer, has certainly done himself great honor in the accuracy with which he has taken down my speeches. I have not, it is true, yet read them all; but those I have read have far surpassed my anticipations. I did not think that any stenographer could take down nay speeches verbatim, and especially one who was out of the practice for any length of time.
Mr. Sims having been for some time a citizen of New Harmony, was well acquainted with Mr. Owen's style; and Mr. Owen being rather a slow speaker it was comparatively easy for Mr. Sims to report his speeches to a word. Mr. Sims did not promise to do this for me; but he promised to give every idea, if not in ipsissimis verbis, in terms fully expressive of them.
His fidelity I cannot but admire; for although somewhat sceptical himself, and once almost persuaded to be an Owenite, and, upon the whole, on Mr. Owen's side of the question, I cannot complain of the least partiality in any one instance. When he failed to report any sentence, he was careful to note it, and thus has given me full satisfaction.
It will afford the reader some satisfaction to know that Mr. Owen has had the opportunity of revising all his speeches. This liberty I cheerfully conceded to him, and he has availed himself of it. He continued in Cincinnati till Mr. Sims got through with his speeches, and he had my assent to improve the style as much as he pleased.
The original copy of Mr. Sims' report, by a stipulation of the parties, is to be deposited with the public records of the county in which it is published; and in case of any cavil by either of the parties or their friends, it is to be forthcoming.
Every thing on my part has been done to give to the public the most faithful and credible report of this discussion. That it might appear in the most impartial form, I offered, with Mr. Owen's concurrence, the right of publishing to the Reporter. I first agreed with Mr. Gould of Philadelphia; had written, signed, and forwarded for his signature, articles of agreement, authorizing him to publish 20 or 30,000 copies, if he pleased, as a remuneration for his reporting faithfully and fully the discussion. Learning from the newg. papers, that Mr. Owen had been in Jamaica or Vera Cruz some time in March, he despaired of his arrival at the time appointed, and declined coming on. I made a similar proposition to Mr. Sims of Cincinnati,
ON THE EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY, &c:
CINCINNATI, Monday, April 13th, 1829. MR. OWEN rose and said Gentlemen Moderators,
IT is necessary on my part to explain the cause of the present meeting.
After much reading and calm reflection, early in life, and after extensive personal, and, in many instances, confidential communications with the leading characters of the present times, I was deeply impressed with the conviction that all societies of men have been formed on a misapprehension of the primary laws of human nature, and that this error has produced disappointment and almost every kind of misery.
I was also equally convinced that the real nature of man is adapted, when rightly directed, to attain high physical, intellectual, and moral excellence, and to derive from each of these faculties, a large share of happiness, or of varied enjoyment.
I was, in consequence, impressed with the belief, that I could not perform a greater service to mankind, than to endeavor to relieve them from this grievous error and evil. I made arrangements to apply all my faculties to discover the means by. which it could be effected. For this purpose I instituted experiments in England and Scotland, to try the effects of some of these new principles in practice. I published preliminary remarks on the subject, and submitted them to the civilized governments of Europe and America. I visited various foreign countries, that I might communicate, personally, with the leading minds in each; and I presented an explanatory memorial to the congress of sovereigns and their ministers at Aix la Chapel, in 1818.
I held public meetings in Great Britain, Ireland, and the United States; and I widely circulated these proceedings in every part of the world where the English language is known.
Finding that these practical experiments exceeded my most sanguine expectations, and that the most experienced, enlightened, and comprehensive minds, when confidentially applied to, admitted the truth of the principles which I placed before them; and doubted, only, if the period had arrived when ignorance could be so far re. moved as to admit of their immediate introduction into practice; I
applied myself to discover the best means by which these all-important truths might be taught, and all prejudices removed without producing the evils arising from sudden and extensive revolutions,
To effect these objects, I felt it was necessary to be governed through my whole course, as far as times and circumstances would admit, by the laws of nature, which appeared to me correctly true in principle, and beautiful and beneficial for practice,
1, therefore, placed these truths gradually before the public, some times in one form, and sometimes in another; but always in the least offensive manner teould devise.
When parties, whose prejudices were by these means aroused, became angry, and reviled, as it was natural for them to do, not understanding. my object; I could not be angry and displeased with them, and, therefore, reviled not again; but I calmly put forth more and more of these truths, that ultimately all of them might be understood.,
When the partisans of political parties fully expected I would unite with them in opposition to some part of the existing order of things, I could not join in their measures, knowing that they saw but a small part of the-evil, which they fruitlessly, yet often honestly, endeavorod to remove, and consequently erred in the means of attaining their objeet.
With my views I could belong ito no party, because, in many things, I was opposed to all. Yet I freely conversed and associated with all classes, sects, and characters; and it was interesting and instructive to discover the various impressions which were made on individuals belonging to all parties by the principles which I adyocated. To many, according to their prejudices, I appeared a demon of darkness, or, as some of them said, I "was worse than the Devil;" while to others I seemed an .angel of light, or “the best man the world ever saw;" and, of course, of every gradation between these extremes.
Amidst these conflicting feelings, I pursued the "even tenor of my way," and turned not from the great object I had in view, either to the right hand or to the left. .
I thus proceeded, step by step, until the most important laws of our nature were unfolded; for I early perceived that a knowledge of these laws would soon unveil the three most formidable prejudices that ignorance of these laws had made almost universal.
These prejudices, arising from early education, are district religions in opposition to these divine laws, indissoluble marriages, and unnecessary 'private property.
Yet the prejudices produced by education, on each of these subjects, are very different in various countries. Among most people, however, these prejudices, whatever form they may have taken, have been deeply rooted, through a long succession of ages, and have uniformly produced the greatest crimes, suffering and misery; indeed almost all to which human nature is liable: for the natural evils of life are so few, they scarcely deserve consideration,
It, therefore, appeared to me to be the time when these artificial evils might be removed, and when an entire new order of things might be established.
Many well intentioned and partly cnlightened individuals, who have not had an opportunity to reflect deeply on these subjects, imagine that it will be more easy to remove one of these evils at a time, not perceiving that they are three links, forming one chain; each link being absolutely necessary to support the other two, and, therefore, that they must be all retained or go together.
Instead of these links becoming a band to keep society in good order, and unite men in a bond of charity, justice, and affection, they form a chain of triple strength to retain the human mind in ignorance and vice, and to inflict every species of misery, from artificial causes, on the human race.
Seeing this, I was induced to develope other arrangements, all in accordance with the divine laws of our nature, and thus attempt to break each link of this magic chain, and thereby remove the only obstacles which prevent men from becoming rational and truly virtuous beings.
In these new arrangements, the countless evils which have been engendered by conflicting religions, by various forms of marriages, and by unnecessary private property, will not exist: but, instead thereof, real charity, pure chastity, sincere affections, and upright dealing between man and man, producing abundance for all, will every where prevail.
By pursuing this course I was, from the beginning, conscious that the worst feelings of those who have been trained in old prejudices must be more or less excited, and I would willingly have avoided creating even this temporary evil, if it had been practicable, but it · was not. I endeavored, however, by calmness and kindness to turn aside these irrational feelings, well knowing that the parties were not the authors of the impressions made upon their respective organizations, and I strove to prevent any unnecessary pain in performing a duty which, to me, appears the highest that man can perform, and which I execute solely under the expectation of relieving future generations from the misery which the past and present have experienced.
In pursuance of these measures I last year delivered a course of lectures in New Orleans, explanatory of the principles and many details of the practice of the proposed system.
During the progress of these lectures many paragraphs appeared in the New Orleans newspapers giving a very mistaken view of the principles and plans which I advocated. Discovering that these paragraphs proceeded from some of the city clergymen, I put an advertisement in the newspapers, offering to meet all the ministers of religion in the city, either in public or private, to discuss the subjects of difference between us, in order that the population of New Orleans might know the real foundation on which the old systems of the world were erected, and the principles on which the new systein was advocated. These gentlemen, however, were unwilling to enter upon the discussion.
About the same period Mr. Alexander Campbell, of Bethany in Virginia, was solicited by a brother minister, in the state of Ohio, to meet Dr. Underhill, who was publiciy teaching, with success, the principles of the new system in the upper part of that state.
Mr. Campbell declined the call thus made upon him; but he offered as a shorter mode, in his opinion, of terminating the difference, to meet me and discuss the merits of the old and new systems in public, at any time and place convenient to both.
He afterwards, on seeing my proposals in the newspapers to meet the clergy of New Orleans on specific grounds, publicly offered to discuss those subjects with me at Cincinnati any time within twelve months from the date of his proposal.
Having occasion, about that period, to pass, on my way to Europe, within twenty miles of Mr. Campbell's residence, I went to see him to ascertain whether his proposal to meet me in public emanated from a conscientious desire to discover valuable truths for the benefit of the human race, or from a wish to attain a useless notoriety by, a vain and futile contest of words without any definite meaning.
By my intercourse with Mr. Campbell I concluded he was conscienciously desirous of ascertaining truth from error on these momentous subjects, that he was much experienced in public discussions, and well educated for the ministry. His superior talents were generally admitted. Under these circumstances, I did not feel myself at liberty to decline the call he had publicly made upon me, therefore, agreed to meet him in this city, at this time, that we might, by a fair and open discussion of principles never yet publicly advocated, discover, if possible, the foundation of human errors respecting vice and virtue, and the real cause of the continuance, at this day over the world, of ignorance, poverty, disunion, crime, and misery: and, if practicable, lay a broad and solid foundation for a union of all tribes and people, that peace, good will, and intelligence, may every where prevail, and contention and strife cease from the earth.
Such is the origin and progress of the events and circumstances which have produced the present assemblage at this place, and my sole wish is that it may terminate beneficially for mankind.
I wait Mr. Campbell's confirmation of this statement as far as he is personally concerned in it.
MR. CAMPBELL rose and said My christian friends and fellow-citizens In rising to address you on this occasion, I feel that I owe you an apology. Do you inquire, For what? I answer, For bringing into public discussion the evidences of the christian religion. Not, indeed, as if either the religion itself, or the evidences of its truth and divine authority, had any thing to fear from an examination, however public or however severe. Why, then, do you say, apologize for bringing this subject into public debate? Because, in so doing, we may appear to cons