Autograph note signed ("Robert Owen")
OWEN Robert (1851.)
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Autograph note signed ("Robert Owen") at the head followed by a brief comment by one "Rich. Ford". 1 page 8vo, London, 22 November
An excellent autograph sentiment that speaks to the heart of Robert Owen's socialist philosophy:
"We recommend all most sincerely to enquire whether the qualities & power of man are formed for or by him; believing as he does that the happiness or misery of mankind depend upon the right understanding of this question."
Owen's thought revolves around the principle that the character of individuals is derived from their circumstances, rather than any natural predisposition, hence his lifelong commitment to the improvement of the material conditions of the working classes and his emphasis on the role of education in social reform.
Owen's note, which may well have been a topic for a philosophical discussion, is followed at the foot of the page by a waspish comment signed by one "Rich. Ford", possibly the travel writer and art collector Richard Ford (1796-1858), commenting: "Curious as a specimen of the absurd unintelligibility of socialist metaphysics." There is some irony to the critical tone of Ford's comment; although Owen's thought was unashamedly utopian, the evidence of his legacy is apparent in all corners of modern society, from the eight-hour working day and universal education to social housing and urban planning.
Near fine. The page has been carefully removed from a large album leaf under our direction. The album leaf also included a 1 page 8vo manuscript note in an unknown hand, which has also been removed and is presented alongside Owen's note, quoting from a passage of Sir Charles Murray's Memoir describing Robert Owen.
Stock Code: 243162