Letter from James Rigby to Robert Owen

Scope and Content

Manuscript letter, opening with Rigby providing Owen with a brief account of the progress he has made with tasks carried out on his behalf.

Discussion turns to the ongoing issue regrading Sunday observance with Rigby informing Owen that a band had been due to play that day [a Sunday] in Regent's Park, with over 100,000 expected to attend, but the rain had kept people away. The "Parsons" and "Saints" are said to be frightened, and now wish to cut a deal with the [National Sunday] League which would see the "workers" get a half-day holiday on Wednesday or Saturday so they may go the places they wish, such as the British Museum, National Gallery and The Crystal Palace.

Rigby is somewhat dismissive of what he describes as "little movements" and writes he has often asked friends why they get involved with such trivial matters as the battle against Sunday observance. The lengthy and damning reply which is given is that "Mr Owen applies only to the Government and they can do nothing without the people. The people are only prepared to work the little things, and there is no arrangement to inform them of what they do require. Mr Owen has his annual meeting but they never lead to action. Mr Owen does not try to unite the Socialist and if they attempt to unite of themselves he would not join them and then a number of the best informed of the Social members would stand aloof from the Union and it would come to nothing. So we do the next best thing we can by helping other Unions, having none of our own to help". Rigby feels there to be "much truth" in these objections.

[William] Pare is thinking of going to Ireland before the meeting planned for the 14th May and Rigby begged him to stay until after the meeting as he "must be there!!"


Stamped number: 2725