Letter from James Rigby to Robert Owen

Scope and Content

In this manuscript letter Rigby reflects at length on both the progress made by those who wished to change society and to bring in a "New System", and also what the future may hold. He explains he feels in the beginning it was the case of a few individuals coming together who "held a deep conviction that society was wrong", and, once organised, they "opened their door to all". This saw the "refuse and outcast from every sect" join, men who "could agree with no one" and soon they had become "divided amongst themselves - their mission being ended they fell" [the disbanding of the Unions].

In terms of the present, then Rigby believes that "new ideas" are everywhere and once again men are coming together again in hope of effecting change. However, Rigby remains to be convinced of the paucity of such schemes as the one put forward by [Pierre] Baume and [Thomas] Atkins to establish a "Educational and Industrial Colony" - they will either "advance the cause 20 years on 1, or will put it back 5".

An update of progress with the Baume and Atkins scheme follows, with Rigby informing Owen that an office has been taken on Judd Street, the preliminary financial arrangements for rent from the cottages and land have been set. Meanwhile [William] Pare, [Robert] Corss and [Henry] Travis wish to have meeting with Atkins to ascertain what he wishes to do on the estate and also to meet with Baume and know "distinctly" what he is prepared to do; they will then determine amongst themselves what they will do and if they should become Trustees.

The letter closes with Rigby recounting to Owen a meeting he had with Baume. At this meeting Baume put forward his reasons for gifting his estate for the setting-up a 'colony' and outlined his stipulations regarding the transfer of the estate. This includes obtaining two "medical men" to write a report [to certify that Baume is not insane].

A small newspaper cutting in German reports that Baron Corvaja has published a German paper.


Stamped number: 2454