Letter from Henry L. Pratt to Robert Owen

Scope and Content

Manuscript letter, in which the current state of affairs of the [Stoke-on-Trent] Potteries, in terms of both "men and masters", are related at length to Owen.

Owen is informed, that despite opposition from the Methodists and the Overlookers, one with "all their religious bigotry" and the other "with all the little cunning they possess", the Unions of the Potteries intend to set-up a "substantial co-operative society". Pratt notes, it was following Owen's visit to the area that the seed was sown and took "deep root" with the first show being "truly exhilarating".

Pratt explains that, in order to keep the "Bigots" on their side, it has been necessary to keep the co-opertative society separate from both the Union and from Owen himself and, whilst acknowledging that Owen provided them an "outline of a plan", it is they themselves who will carry out all the necessary steps to establish the society. To all intents, Pratt and his associates have "in appearance" distanced themselves from Owen whilst working surreptitiously to further Owen's ideas.

Pratt writes of visiting Colbrook Dale in Shropshire and of his surprise in finding they have already in place "something of a co-operative concern". Whilst there he distributed a number of copies of the Crisis and has since learnt of them being read by "several hundreds who understood its meaning"; it could become a "famous branch" Pratt feels.

Further detailed discussion of the activities of the Potteries Unions follows with Owen asked for his assistance to achieve the "complete Emancipation of the Productive Classes from the Bodily and Mental Slavery they have been so long under".

Note

Stamped number: 618