Letter from Geo. A. Fleming to Robert Owen

Scope and Content

This manuscript letter opens with a heartfelt plea for Owen's return from France and help with the establishment of the National Community Friendly Society. Fleming's strength of feeling for Owen's prompt return is clear, writing he "beg[s] of you [Owen] not to become French entirely"; Owen must " return to England immediately".

Fleming explains for Owen's benefit the rapid progress made by the Society, in particular through Yorkshire and Lancashire. In Yorkshire, Fleming writes, he has sent off "Charter no.8 to Halifax", where they are to open a splendid Institution on 10th of September, which is in addition to one already open and holding lectures in Huddersfield. Fleming has also toured through Yorkshire, delivering lectures at Huddersfield, Elland - in the Unitarian Chapel there, and both the Secular Chapel and the Assembly Rooms in Halifax. The audience which gathered in the Assembly Hall is described as "crowded, respectable and enthusiastic". Further advances by the Society in Yorkshire have seen "lodgements" taken in Sheff[ield] and Low Moor, while in Bradford a "large room and handsome organ" have been secured.

Such progress is the reason Owen's return is so necessary, as Fleming states they [without Owen] "have neither the talent nor the means to keep up this constant stream of Lectures and agitation which is requisite for making the most beneficial use of the elements we have now in motion"; Owen asked to "come and help us - Stockport, Ashton, Rochdale, Blackburn, Middleton, and the West of Scotland all, are turning their eyes to Manchester [and the progress the Society is making]".

Further progress made by the Society is detailed; £59 being raised in Manchester, with a further £20 coming from Bolton; other donations from individuals in Bolton have brought in £600, whilst £50 was received through the post from a "London Merchant"; the formation of a "Community [the aim of the Society] is a certainly before us as next Congress, as it is possible to be for anything in the womb of the future".

Fleming writes that Messrs Stocks, [Richard] Oastler and Dyer declined being Trustees [of the Society], and they have therefore appointed Messrs. [James] Braby, Smith and [John] Finch as Trustees with [William] Clegg as General Treasurer.

Note

Stamped number: 950