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PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF THE ASSOCIATION.
LEONARD & COMPANY, PRINTERS,
The Association is now entering upon its fourth year at Oneida; and in accordance with previous custom, for our own convenience, and for the information of friends, we are disposed summarily to post up the current account of the past year, in the form of an Annual Report. The object will be, to note down the various items of improvement that are shown in different departments of the common interest-to set forth facts and principles which indicate the general course we are taking, and to give an idea of the present standing of the Association.
Those who have not met with our publications previous to taking up this pamphlet, are referred to the former Reports of the Association, for a sketch of its History, Organization, Religious Principles, and Social Theory. We need simply to repeat now, that it is a Religious Community, based on a belief in Salvation from Sin, and other kindred doctrines of the New Raven school of Perfectionists: that its organization was commenced in Putney, Vt., by John H. Noyes, who had previously developed the religious truth on which it is founded, and who represents the central spirit of the Association. It was removed from Putney to Oneida, in 184S; its Post-Office address is Oneida eastle, Oneida Co., N. Y.
NUMBER AND CLASSIFICATION OF MEMBERS.
The whole number of persons connected with the Association at the date of the last Report, (Feb.20, 1850,) was 172. The present number is 205; being an increase over last year, of 33. Of this number, 3 were born in the Association.
There has been one death-an infant of 10 months: and one member expelled.
The following synopsis exhibits the age, sex, and number:-
Number of adult members, (males 69, females 66,) 135
Youth between the ages of 10 and 15, (males 12, females 8,) 20
Children under 10, (males 24, females 26,) 50
Whole number of members 205
Of this number, there are living at Brooklyn, (including those engaged on the sloop,) 13
At Newark 5, and at Manlius 8, . ... 13 - 26
4 Third Annual Report
NEW BUILDINGS, &C.
Material improvement has been made the last year in erecting necessary out-buildings, furnishing a play-ground for the children, building fences, and adding other incidental conveniences; but the main improvement in this department, has been the erection of a large and very substantial building for mechanical purposes, on the ground formerly occupied by the old Indian saw-mill. The following is a description of it. The size is 50 by 68 feet, standing on a solid foundation of stone, laid in water cement, 16 feet high. Above this foundation, or basement story, (which, beside giving room for flume, and water-wheels, leaves a well-lighted room 10 feet high, and over one half the size of the whole building,) the main building is of wood, two stories in height, with an attic well lighted by dormer-windows besides those in the gable ends.
This embraces room for a Saw-mill, including circular saws for sawing lath, pickets, &c., and a shingle machine - a Flouring-mill -- Machine-shop, (which can be enlarged by the addition of a wing, if needed,)-and Mechanics' Shop for wagon-makers and carpenters, with appropriate machinery. It is in contemplation to occupy the attic as a printing-office, and secure the advantage of water power, in working the power press. By using extra means to exclude the noise from the other parts of the building, we think we shall secure a room with a proper degree of quietness for this purpose. Access to the attic will be convenient from an outside platform, running the whole length of the building on a level with the second story, which is to be added for the accommodation of the mechanics.
The estimated value of the new buildings is,- Mechanical Building, (including
machinery now introduced,) $5,500
Out-buildings and improvements 350
ENLARGEMENT AND IMPROVEMENT OF DOMAIN.
Since the last Annual Report, the Association have purchased 55 acres of valuable land, at a cost of $2089,61, which, added to their former possessions, increases the domain to 273 acres.
Very much has been done during the past year in the agricultural department, in the way of improvement, and of reclaiming the soil to a proper state of cultivation. In this direction, Thoroughness has taken precedence of extension. The instincts and tastes of the Association, from the commencement of operations at Oneida, have led steadily to a revolution of the practices and notions, commonly associated with the idea of farming. Motives of prolicy, as well as good taste and the habits of
of the Oneida Association. 5
community life, invite our efforts in the direction of making our domain a garden, rather than what is usually understood by tile term farm.
The success which has crowned our labors in this direction, indicates that we are on the right track. The soil and climate are admirably adapted to gardening, and the raising of fruit; as statements which follow by the gardener and horticulturist will show. In this respect, the lines have fallen to us in pleasant places. The garden proper, though hitherto limited to the extent of supplying the wants of the Association, and occupying only one acre, has been a very attractive place of recreation to the members, and has drawn considerable attention from visitors. Arrangements are made for its enlargement, the coming season, to5 ½ acres; and ultimately, as has been said, it will blend with the farming interest, and be extended so as to cover substantially the whole domain. The providence that has furnished us in Mr. HENRY THACKER, a man of experience and ability every way qualified to superintend and develop this department, is worthy of being noticed.
He reports, as a specimen of results in the garden the past year, that on nine rods of ground were raised 350 cabbages, whose average weight was 14 lbs. each. At 6 1/4 cents apiece, (for which one or two hundred of them were sold,) they would amount to $21,87, or at the rate of $388,80 per acre. It is stated that the cost and labor of their cultivation is no more than is required for corn.
On five rods of land, we had 19 bushels of onions. At seventy-five cents per bushel, these would amount to $ 14,25, or at the rate of $456 per acre.
On nine rods, 75 bushels of tomatoes were produced. These, sold at the price of seventy-five cents per bushel, would amount to $56,25, or at the rate of $1000 per acre.
Two hundred bunches of celery were raised on a single rod of land, which, at 6 1/4 cents each, would produce at the rate of $2000 an acre. The common retail price of this vegetable in New York, is from 10 to 12 ½ cents per bunch.
From 95 hills, we had three bushels of sweet or southern potatoes-a better yield probably, than in the case of our Irish potatoes. It is thought that this luxury can be successfully produced here, to any extent, by means of a few weeks forcing in the spring.
The growth and prosperity of the orchards, particularly the young fruit trees that have been planted by the Association, have exceeded our expectations, and confirm the idea that this is a very fine location for purposes of horticulture. Many of the varieties gave us specimens of their fruit the past season, and promise a continued abundance in a short time. Over a hundred young trees have been added to the stock, the present year,
6. Third Annual Report
and preparations are made, to extend the apple and pear orchards, to 1000 trees each.
A plantation of strawberries from a nursery of our own, will be formed the present spring.
The crops usual to this vicinity, were raised on our land the past season, with fair success; including corn, oats, barley, wheat, buckwheat, beans, &c. A portion of the meadows suffered some damage from an unusual overflow of the creek.
An experiment was made in raising broom corn, which succeeded perfectly: and this plant will probably hereafter form a staple article of growth with us; as it offers suitable employment for certain classes during the winter, in the manufacture of brooms.
We may mention, that the operation of bringing our land into a good state of cultivation, has involved an outlay of labor, that in the ordinary condition of isolated interests, and temporary policy, would have been considered entirely inadmissible. The manner in which the Indians managed the soil while in their possession - raising crop after crop without manure, and giving the least possible attention to cultivating their crops, tended materially to reduce it: and after being thus exhausted, it was easy and natural for them to abandon it to be overrun with weeds and briars The soil had not been recovered from this state, when it came into the hands of the Community: but with the advantages of combination which we have, the work of renovation is being accomplished, with a strong hand, and universal satisfaction. We are very favorably situated, in regard to material for enriching the land - our mill-pond affording the best kind of muck, easy of access, and in unlimited quantity. Several hundred loads ~have been taken out for use, the present winter.
The dairy department, and all that interest connected with the keeping of cattle and hogs, is probably less prominent and prosperous with us than any other. This on the whole accords with our idea of a perfect life, and the destiny to which we are called. We have a sufficiency of milk and of meat having produced about 6500 lbs. of the latter within the year-but it is not in the line of our ambition or attractions, to make a main business of waiting on animals. There has been a gradual, and altogether spontaneous reduction in the quantity of meat used by the Association; so that if occasion requires, it can easily be dispensed with entirely. As an offset, the members enjoy a profusion and luxury of fruit and vegetables that they were not accustomed to before, which amply commend the change.
The income of the Printing Office for the year ending Jan. 1,1851, was $460. Of this about one half was for subscriptions to the Circular, and
of the Oneida Community. 7
from the sale of publications, and the remainder was from job printing, for the vicinity. The facilities for printing and publishing have been increased the past year, by an addition to this department of an Adams' power press, a book bindery, and a stereotype foundry, at an expense of about $600. We have also bought within the year, $260 worth of new type of various kinds, and expended upwards of $60 for stereotype plates.
Our paper, the Free Church Circular, has been printed, 720 copies semi-monthly. From the date of this Report, it is expected, to publish it weekly. Of our own publications, besides the Circular, we have printed 1000 copies of the last Annual Report, 2000 copies of Salvation from Sin, and 1300 copies of Faith Facts - besides a variety of printing for home convenience.
MECHANIC TRADES & C.
The business of the different Workshops, and of the Store, has not been much extended beyond the wants of the Association, as it has not been thought desirable up to this time that they should be. The energies of our men have been more profitably concentrated on the work of home preparation.
The amount of work done in the Shoe-shop and Blacksmith-shop, the past year, is equal to about $1200. They have been very valuable in furnishing facilities to several young men and boys for learning tile trades. There are five apprentices in these two departments at the present time.
ORGANIZATION OF TRADES.
A very important thing has been accomplished the past year, in developing a satisfactory theory of the organization of trades. The ideal to which we are committed - perfect unity - demands not only the organization of individuals into the community spirit, thorough subordination of one to another, but it requires a similar organization in every thing; and primarily,in the department of labor. In the world, as every body knows, this whole field is left to take care of itself except so far as it is organized by se1fishness, to increase wealth and grind the poor. Say that industry has every where a common object, which is getting a living; this common object, instead of tending to real organization, is precisely and necessarily calculated to produce the distraction which we see. Instead of proving a bond of union and order, it is the genius of endless confusion.
We have discarded that object, once and forever; and have placed in its stead, the kingdom of God. Then the question arises, where does this object touch the department of business? What is its representative among the arts? That, whatever it is, will be found the king of trades; the' one around which all business should cluster and converge. It seems to us, that Printing occupies this position - that it is the point in the great
8. Third Annual Report
circle of business, where God and his kingdom touch the world. Printing is the art which stands nearest related to mind and spirit; it is the medium of truth; the distributor of life and food to the soul. In this aspect, it is evident from simple inspection, that it takes precedence of agriculture and all other trades, in proportion as the soul is superior to the body. In an important sense, printing has already forced its way to the head of business in the world. Though its kingdom among the trades is one of anarchy yet, its influence in all directions is paramount and increasing.
We propose then, that the publication of truth shall be our central business object; and printing, with the associate arts concerned in book-making, shall be the central trade around which all other industrial interests shall organize; and that these points shall govern our policy in regard to extension. Our project is that of offering ourselves as a whole Association to God, for the development and circulation of truth. The ambition that fills and swells our hearts is, to follow out his purpose in this respect, and to become in our united character an official organ of heaven. We are calling off any lingering desires after the business and fashions of the Gentiles; 'seeking what we shall eat or what we shall drink, and wherewithal we shall be clothed.' We do not look to have introduced among us, any system of agriculture or manufactures as a leading interest; but are content to fill the position of producers of the truth.
The question is, Shall JESUS CHRIST have a voice and place in the world? Shall we have a press, a free and inspired organ, through which he may speak, and suitably represent himself? Look at the state of facts : - Commerce has her immense daily sheets, edited by the very best talent in the world. Every interest, from Education down to Odd Fellowship and rowdyism, has its representative papers, conducted in the inspiration of the subject, and with the best zeal and skill that is to be had. These papers are read, because there is a degree of earnestness in them; they deal with things as matters of fact and every-day interest, and furnish daily food, such as it is, to the reading millions. But where are God's facts set forth? Where is Christ represented in the public press? The only conclusion you can come to from the state of things, is, that they are not worth representing-that there is not interest and reality enough in God and heaven to claim a place beside commerce and politics, in the public attention. And this idea is not only conceded, but actually strengthened, by the Sunday religion of the churches, and by what is called the religious press. It is a weekly affair in every sense of the word-au utter misrepresentation of the truth which they claim to be exponents of. And the misrepresentation is not so much in regard to the abstract importance of spiritual truth, (for that is regularly paraded every week,) as it is in their practical admission that this truth cannot compete in force, and interest, and attraction, with the
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outward engagements of business and pleasure, but must come in by sufferance, and be formally attended to for the sake of escaping hell, in some corner of the week.
Now we believe this is all a monstrous lie; and that God is ready to prove it such. We shall devote ourselves to the purpose of giving him a chance, by placing at his disposal as powerful and thorough-going a press as we can command. Instead of conceding that Christ, and the Truth, are the Sunday characters they are represented to be, we shall invite them into the front rank of business, and all the concerns of life. We believe that Jesus Christ is a more enterprising business man, a greater politician, a more perfect artist and gentleman, than the world ever saw; and if he has a secular character of this kind, why should he not have an organ that will do him justice; Why should his name be confined to the tiresome cant of our 'Observers,' and 'Recorders,' and 'Watchmen' - the so called religious papers. Why, for instance, should he not have a daily press that will carry his name, and power, and presence, into the very world where we live, and where he is needed? We see no way for him to get the advantage of Satan, and take his place on the throne of the world, until he gets possession of the daily press. With earnest and loyal men at his command, we believe he can establish himself there in a way to gain the public attention, and finally to outgrow all competition. And from that center, his influence will extend in all directions; he will win possession of the great practical interests that are every where in the devil's hands ; he will be seen giving new force to enterprise, and new attractions to pleasure; and the outrageous misrepresentations of him will pass away, in the waking up of an emancipated world.
Our object is a clear, simple and distinct one, as much so as that of 'getting a living,' which governs the operations of the world. It offers us a satisfactory key to the organization of trades. And it is evident, on looking back, that we are correctly following out God's purpose from the beginning, in this thing. Perfectionism, in its commencement at New Haven in 1834, entered into alliance with the press. The 'Perfectionist' paper was published there for a time, with great effect. The primary truths were brought out in permanent form by Mr. Noyes, Mr. Boyle and others, and made a wide and powerful impression on the country. After the suspension of the paper there, Mr. Noyes resumed printing at Ithaca; and, after various interruptions, at length placed that department on an independent basis, by purchasing a printing-office, and learning the trade himself. The Putney school were educated as printers. And in all the changes and interruptions that have occurred in the transfer of printing operations from New Haven to Ithaca, from Ithaca to Putney, and from Putney to Oneida, we see the manifest ordering of God, for the purpose
10 Third Annual Report
of enlarging and setting us free. At Oneida we have vastly greater facilities in this department than we could have had at Putney; so that in uniting on this object-the establishment and service of a press that shall be a channel for Christ and the spirits of heaven - we are on a sure track, marked out for us by the purpose of God.
The value to the Association itself, of such a united purpose, and the organization of trades growing out of it, will be readily seen: it indicates the best and shortest way to the attainment of complete harmony and unity. There is a direct tendency, in the very act of giving our hearts, each and all, to one object and one purpose, to allay any irritation and discord among us, and to draw all into sympathy. This will be true, if we stand in any form of unitary purpose ; - but especially true in case of a purpose that is patriotic-looking not merely at the good of the Association, but at the good of all mankind, and, in fact, at the good of God's universal kingdom. Such a purpose as that must be a peace-maker and purifier; and it will be seen to be such still more decisively, when we consider that this purpose which we have now, to be acceptable organs of Truth, is also in the heart of God. In adopting it, we enter into his heart, and join interests with him - community is established with Jesus Christ and the church of the first-born, and the innumerable company of angels. In this purpose, which God is forming in us, to become channels of the Spirit of Truth, we touch every heart in his infinite kingdom. We come into rapport, as it is said, in the first place with God, and, in the second place, with the universal interests of mankind; and, so far as there are any vestiges of attention to the interests of mankind-so far as there is any shade of a patriotic spirit in the world-we come into rapport with that, as well as with each other. Thirdly, we come into unison with all spirits that are within the radiation of Christ's spirit, to the uttermost bounds of heaven. The tendency, therefore, must be to purify, liberalize and enlarge our hearts, and so to harmonize us into the unity for which Christ prayed. We have a godlike purpose, around which to crystallize and organize, and the jarrings and judgments of the transition will pass away.
In another point of view the purpose that we are forming is harmonizing and uniting in its tendency. Our inquiries in the line of individual experience during the past year, have brought out the principle that Love Of the Truth is the rightful king of the passions - that by which all other passions are to be organized and harmonized. It is evident, that by placing Love of Truth on the throne, and giving it supreme dominion among the passions, they will all be managed and controlled correctly: sooner or later their perfect regulation and subordination will be secured. Because, Love of the Truth goes right down among them with its influences of order, and carries investig~tion and insight from point to point, solving question after
of the Oneida Association. 11.
question, in regard to their relative place and action ; -and so there is an ultimate certainty of perfect harmony through the whole series.
Now the correlative of this doctrine, 'and one precisely parallel with it en the great scale of Association, is our view here stated of the Organization of trades, and the outward business of mankind. As Love of the Truth is king of the passions, so Printing, which is chief of the arts concerned in the circulation of truth, is the king of trades - the central interest in the circle of outward business. In accepting this idea, and heartily embracing the arrangement, a harmonizing agency is at once set at the head of the Association. The Spirit of Truth, which vents itself through the agencies concerned in publication, comes into a position in which it can send investigation and insight into all the channels of other business. A central power of education has taken possession of the center of the Association; and there will be light in all directions, and of course harmony. The setting up of that agency, as central and supreme, will have the same effect in the Association as a business power, that setting up the Love of the Truth has on individual character. It is the beginning of organization-correct organization; because it sets going the agencies of investigation and correction in every direction; and they will sooner or later harmonize the whole circle of outward relations.
Our vocation calls us on the one hand to perfection of inward character-communication with heaven as the fountain of truth-and on the other, to a complete education as an Association in the various arts connected with the presentation of truth; as writing, reporting, printing, stereotyping, book-binding, &c. There has been a very decided progress in all these departments the past year. Mr. Noyes is continually exercising himself in the discovery and expression of truth, as will be seen by the "Home-Talks" reported for the Circular. Besides the attention that is given to general education, most of the Association are interested in the study and practice of Phonography, the new system of short-hand writing; and there are several competent reporters. There is a large force of both sexes in the Association, who have made themselves practically acquainted with the art of printing, in some or all branches of it. "It is noticeable," says one of our sister printers, "that from the commencement of our printing in Putney, women have labored with men in every part of the business, setting type, distributing, inking, folding and directing papers, &c. It is successfully continued here, and the number of women who are competent hands in the printing office, is about equal to that of the men - good evidence that this should be considered the king of all trades. It admits the equal companionship of men and women, and best adapts itself to a harmonic spiritual state." Extensive additions have been made to the material of the printing department, as has been already noticed under its proper head.
12 Third Annual Report
One important feature of our plan remains to be noticed. The terms of the enterprise require that our publications should be free-without price, as the gospel is. God does not sell the truth, and we, as his agents, of course cannot. Such have been our views and practice from the beginning, or since the truth of salvation from sin was first uttered through the press at New ilaven, seventeen years ago. Our publications have been offered freely to those who wished them, without regard to any specified return; and such will continue to be the case, as long as we are permitted to be the channels of truth, and the Spirit of truth.
But the world will ask, How are you going to be supported, if you make the business of publishing your central object, and expect to do that without pay? A visitor, in view of this problem, advised us to pitch our ~ress into the Creek, and to go to manufacturing some Connecticut 'Yankee notions,' so as to earn our bread and butter. In the first place, we don't care about answering questions asked by the infidel Gentile spirit, i. e. the Franklin spirit. That spirit cannot be comforted; there is no answer for it. But to the spirit of rational faith, that would like to see what it is about, we may answer, by asking in the words of Christ, "So far as ye have gone, lacked ye any thing?" The emphatic answer must be, Nothing.
In the second place, this very project will put in active operation' all the spirit of liberality and patriotism there is around us. The spirit that seeks not its own, but the things that are Jesus Christ's, is to have active operation in us; and that spirit, with the educational power that it has, and the printing facilities that it may have, will conquer al~ around it. And if it carries the community spirit into mankind, then will not the money flow? We believe there is all-conquering power in the spirit of this thing, and in the means that we employ. We are feeling after the very central lever of the world. And by turning away from money, and refusing to work for it, we shall get money; that is to say, God will sustain us. He always has done so, and always will. We can say to these men who have treasures locked up, We do not want your money-keep it if you choose; but if you come within range of our batteries, your treasures will be unlocked ;-Christ and the truth will walk in and take possession. So the spirit that seeks not its own, will in the end, be able to rob the love of money-to break its power, and take possession of its treasures.
By our last Annual Report it appears, that on the 1st of January, 1850, the Association were possessed of a capital of $62,000.
It should be understood that much of this property was in Real Estate at Oneida and other parts of New York - in Vermont, Connecticut,
of the Oneida Association. 13
Michigan, and elsewhere-the contribution of different individuals who had become members of the Association, and also in notes due, some on demand, and others payable in one, two, three, four, five and six, years.
The process of converting this property into cash, or making it in any way available to the wants of the Association, has necessarily been attended with a good deal of expense, which we shall not be subject to when these outside matters have been closed up, and our business has become more concentrated.
The wretched credit system of the world compelled many of our members to leave their affairs in a very unsettled state. The evil effect of that system, which we commenced war on with so much vigor in the spring of 1847, giving our testimony against it by word and deed, has followed us to some extent to the present time, operating, so far as it has power, to restrict and embarrass our business energies.
During the past year, however, much of this outstanding property has been disposed of and appropriated to enlarging our business operations at Oneida; and the port' ion that still remains unconvertible, has been placed we think in a better shape than ever before-requiring less time and expense in the care of it, than has heretofore been necessary.
From this general statement, we come to a more particular disclosure of the present financial resources of the Association.
According to our Inventory made on the first of January of the present year, the property of the Association amounts to $67,105,36. Amount of debts due the State, and otherwise 3,015,3. Balance of Inventory January 1st, 1851 $64,090,06. Making an increase of capital during the year, of $2,090,06.
It may be mentioned here, that between the first of January and the time of publishing this Report, a considerable share of the above named debts have been paid, and of course they are not standing at the present time against the Association. But we preferred giving the facts as they were on the first of January, that being the course adopted last year.
It might also be noted, that within the past year, property to the amount of sixteen or twenty thousand dollars has been pledged to the cause by various friends, who hold it as belonging to the Association and subject to their order: but as this is not yet identified with the proper funds of the Association, it does not enter into the above account.
The 'all-important' question now arises, Have you paid your expenses? If by this the anxious inquirer means, Have you by your own labor paid your expenses? we frankly answer, No, O Anxious, we have not. But, we can say, that by the special providence of God, which is the all4mpor-taut item with us, we have both paid our expenses and kept our capital
14 Third Annual Report
good, independent of the funds brought in by new members. But little has been added in this way, as we have not been in a situation to receive many of the latter class.
As an instance of the determinate benevolence of God, toward us, (or if people prefer, they may call it consecutive good luck,) we have been unexpectedly released the past year, from a large portion of the debt we owed the State. The following account of the matter is from the Free Church Circular, of Jan.30:-
"THE COMMUNITY AND THE STATE.-We gratefully acknowledge the special providence of God, in reducing our financial liabilities to the State, for the purchase of land occupied by the Oneida Association. Two years ago a petition to the Legislature of this State was circulated for the signatures of all the occupants of what is known as the Oneida Purchase of 1840 and '41, (referred to in our First Annual Report,) praying the Legislature to extend relief to said occupants, on the ground that the' first appraisal and purchase of the land was far too high, having been made in a time of land speculation; and that it would be impossible for them ever to pay the State for the lands, from the profits of cultivation, unless the price could be reduced to a fair and reasonable valuation. Several of our leading men signed the petition, agreeing also to allow to the individuals selected by the landholders to act as their committee, a certain per cent. on whatever amount the State might see fit to deduct from the original price. After more than two years of persevering effort on the part of the committee, the object has been secured. The liabilities of the Association to the State have been reduced, after deducting the percentage' allowed the agents, more than $2600, leaving only the small sum of $377.84 due the State on our first and principal purchase of one hundred and seventy-one acres at the commencement of our enterprise nearly three years ago. By this reduction the central lot of eighty acres, upon which all our dwellings are erected, and the most valuable portion of the domain, is overpaid nearly two hundred dollars, entitling us, of course, to a Patent from the State."
But making money, and the cares of getting a living, as we have often said, are not the first object, and shall never be, with this, body. The past year has been peculiarly one of internal improvement-education-judgment-the clearing of ourselves from the false notions and habits acquired in the world. We are among the 'slow of heart to believe" that man cannot be improved as profitably as things; or that money spent for education is money wasted. In the place of money-making the past year, we are amply satisfied with the personal improvement that has been made, and the steady, successful solution of principles, that is going on; and we should be willing, if necessary to this result that the Association should remain unproductive in a commercial view for some time to come. We know, that in the course we have chosen, we are on the track of a right industrial organization - one that will prove in the end, preëminently productive.
And while we have been battling and overcoming principalities and powcrs, the rulers of the darkness of this world, that cover the whole field of
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labor, and block up the way of life, there has also been a great deal of outward work done, that will tell on our future productiveness. It is not necessary to go into promises or predictions in regard to this, but we may state, in a few words, the preparation and facilities for doing business, which actually exist - which have grown up under the hand of the Community during the time they have been mainly engaged in the deep problems of interior truth. This we will do under the head of
In the course of the following summer, our establishment here will include, besides the agricultural domain, which is in a rapidly improving state--
1. A printing-office, well appointed in every way for book and job printing, with a large and effective corps of printers who have learned the business in our office: editors, reporters, &C This department also includes book-binding and stereotyping.
2. A machine-shop, furnished with several lathes, and all the machinery requisite for the country business. This branch will be supplied with the best of mechanical talent from the Community, and it is believed will be profitably employed by the wants of the surrounding country. If not, 'it may be turned to the use of manufacturing
3. A saw-mill-new, and intended ~to be a perfect piece of machinery of its kind. It is already in operation.
4. A flouring-mill, with three runs of stones; managed by artists in that business, of great experience, and acknowledged reputation.
5. A store, whose business may be extended at pleasure.
6. Various trades; including a blacksmith's shop, shoe-shop, wagon-shop, carpenter's shop, &c.; all in the hands of intelligent and competent workmen.
Such are the opportunities for business that have been forming during the past year, and that are opening before us. But as we have said, we make no promises in regard to outward execution. We do not engage to support ourselves by labor, the coming year. We do engage at all hazards to do the will of God; to seek first his kingdom and its righteousness, to keep the most important thing, which is education - self-improvement - foremost. But as we recognize the care of God in placing these means of business and self-support before us, and also in giving us increasing light on the true principles of business and production, we confidently expect to be able ere long, to take possession of that department, with the Spirit of truth to wrest it from the dominion of evil, and to show the world not only the best results of work, but happy workmen, whose whole life is a worship and a praise instead of a curse.
16 Third Annual Report
We have before stated that the Oneida Association during the past year has been full; and that this fact has compelled the exclusion of many from a residence here, who would otherwise have become members. Notice to this effect was given through the CIRCULAR at an early period of the year; and we have no present intention of enlarging our bounds. We are sometimes met with the inquiry why we do not accommodate ourselves to the reception of new members; and the first idea is, that if successful, we should so increase our arrangements here as to grow into a colossal Association that would astonish the world by its magnitude as well as by its character.
This would doubtless be the course to gratify egotism and personal vanity; but these are not the ends we have to serve; and though there has been some movement in the way of extension the past year, in acquiring stations abroad, yet we prefer for the present to condense and perfect the spiritual machinery we have, rather than to extend its surface action. This is in harmony with the object presented in a preceding section on the organization of trades. We repeat, that our primary calling, the object around which our ambition centers, is the development, cultivation, and circulation of truth; and this object will govern our extension, and limit our responsibilities in that direction. We do not care to expand superficially, any faster than the movement connects and organizes with this central object. Education and the means of education shall keep ahead of numerical increase.
'We are not,' says one of our writers, 'going to sprawl all over the world. God's plans put us in the condition of a watch-spring - coiled up. We have no great space to work in yet, but it is an outward motion, and will act on the whole machinery around, just as certainly as a watch-spring does. God keeps working on our spring at the center-keeps us wound up, and in constant motion-steady. The spring in a clock moves along from day to day, without any violent demonstrations, but it is working all the time to uncoil itself. That is its natural propensity. So our clock keeps ticking-once in a while it strikes-and we shall be able to tell the world the time of day by and by.'
The policy of our friends abroad, clearly is, not to burden the Association with frittering responsibilities in regard to themselves, but to do what they can to strengthen it. If ,they are one with us in heart, they can contribute as effectually to the great object we have assumed, in their present situations, as in any other. And if they are looking forward with interest and desire to a personal entrance into Association, this course we are sure is the most direct for that object. In the mean time they have all the spiritual and social advantages that the primitive church had. The Community will
of the Oneida Association. 17
supply them, to the best of its power, with means of edification and improvement, and will stand ready to assist in persons and means, whenever the time for extending organized unions,, in the course of providence, comes.
In mentioning the foreign operations of the Association during the past year, it will be proper in the first place to give some account of
THE BROOKLYN STATION.
Mr. Abram C. Smith an old associate in the cause of holiness, upon joining the Community in the spring of 1849, bought for its use the house No.41 Willow Place, Brooklyn, N.Y., at a cost of $3300. This has been the residence for most of the time since, of Mr. and Mrs. Noyes, and Mr. and Mrs. Cragin. Mr. Noyes chose to live here, as affording a more quiet place for reflection, and a better opportunity to act upon the Association than a residence directly in it. And that he has performed a large amount of labor here, may be seen by any one who will read the Home-Talks that have been reported, from him in the Free Church Circular during the last two years. Those published, however, form but a small part of his discourses, including those reported for the Association, those waiting publication, and the personal instruction and criticism which he has given in this time. He has been fully seconded in these labors by his associates. Most of the reporting has been done by Mrs. Cragin and Mrs. Noyes.
Forty persons from the Association, of both sexes, including children and youth, have visited Brooklyn, and had the benefit for a longer or shorter time, of what we call the 'Brooklyn School.' Friends from Newark are generally present Sundays, and on some of the evenings of the week. The members of the family are employed, besides the usual household duties, in self-education-which under the stimulus of Mr. Noyes' late discourses, is carried on with great enthusiasm-and in the manufacture of gold chain, a mechanical art which has lately been introduced into the family. The evening is given to study and conversation, including generally a talk by Mr. Noyes.
The house adjoining the one we have occupied, has also been purchased the present spring, and at the same cost, viz. $3300, with the view of converting the two into one. This will enable us to increase the circle at Brooklyn, and to extend the gold manufacturing business, as we choose This branch of industry was taken up providentially, and in the true enthusiasm of inspiration, and besides contributing pretty liberally to the support of the Brooklyn family through the winter, has given us considerable advance in the solution of the industrial problem. Most of the family there, have become expert in making gold chain, and with very little instruction, which is another victory over the narrow-minded profes-
18 Third Annual Report
sional spirit which is bred under the curse of work in the world. 'It is a business that can employ all classes, and in coincidence with the coming in of the 'golden age,' seems an appropriate introduction of the Association, to the mechanical, manufacturing world.
In connection with the Brooklyn station, we should mention the commencement of our interest in navigation. The Association came into possession of the sloop Rebecca Ford, through Mr. Smith, her owner; and during the last season, she was regularly employed in freighting lime-stone from Kingston, on the North river, to Brooklyn and New York. The vessel made over sixty passages between the two places during the season, which is equal to sailing a distance of 6000 miles, and earned the sum of $1250.
The most interesting thing about this business, is the experience, the educational, and, in fact, spiritual advantages it has afforded to a considerable number of the Association. The sloop has been sailed almost exclusively by our men, and by those who took their first experience of the art in this way. It has let us into a new department of knowledge, and into sympathy and connection with one of the most interesting fields of human effort. If Printing is the most important art as the medium for uttering truth, Navigation properly stands next in importance, as the means of transporting it. With these two arms, a competent and organized Press, and a suitable Marine, truth is furnished for the' conquest of the world.
In sailing the sloop, as in all other business, it was found necessary at the outset to get free of the trammels of the world, to follow inspiration, and keep the spiritual foremost. Success was found to depend on constantly realizing the fact that we were at work for God and our own education, and not as the servants of men. The lessons that were learned on this point, were of great value to those concerned. It is sufficient to say that by the confidence we secured in employers, and by our peremptory purpose to be free, the business was soon put in a shape where our time and personal movements in the matter, were at our own disposal; and such is the character of our contract for the coming season.
The sloop men make their home with the Brooklyn family when in this port, and at Kingston with friends there; and the incidents of voyaging make a frequent and pleasant fund of conversation. Criticism and all the improving exercises of Association are carried on board; and the writer of this has felt the same spirit reigning in the little cabin of the sloop, as we lay at anchor in a night storm in the Hghlands, that forms the element of life at Oneida or Brooklyn.
of the Oneida Association. 19
STATION AT NEWARK.
At Newark, N. Jersey, Mr. Inslee, machinist, and' Mr. Thomas, jeweler, have entered into combination with each other and the Association, on the principles of a common interest. Their business employs four men from the Association, besides eight or ten persons in the family at Brooklyn, who have taken up the business of making gold chain in connection with Mr. Thomas. ' Though there is no necessity yet for a formal organization, there is a substantial beginning of association in Newark. Meetings for improvement are held several evenings in the week; all the affairs 'of the circle are conducte4 on the principle of a common interest; and the business object is to create and sustain a true press.
STATION AT MANLIUS.
A member of the Association having a good farm at Manlius, which he was prevented from selling by unfavorable circumstances, it was decided to occupy it ourselves. Accordingly, it has been the residence of several families of the Association during the winter.
This department is conducted on the same general plan as in preceding years, with such improvements as the increased experience of the Community has enabled them to make. The spiritual state of the youth and children of the Association, constituting them the outside circle, and therefore most exposed to the influence of evil, created a demand for a more decided movement in their behalf. In the latter part of August, Mr. Noyes instituted a special committee to take, charge of the spiritual education of the whole class below the age of fifteen. The labors of this committee were directed to carrying the same sincerity, love of improvement, and impressibility to the Spirit of God, that was in such successful operation in the main body,, through the extremities of the Association. In pursuing this object, the committee were led to take the same course as with older persons-to attack the spirit of reserve and darkness which from the earliest age follows transgression, and by the presentation of truth in love, lead them to a frank disclosure of every thing which their hearts had concealed through fear or shame. In this way the fetters of insincerity were broken, and a habit of living in the light was formed. Another great object has been to induce the young to cultivate the fellowship and society of their superiors, in preference to those of their own age, for the sake of improvement to both parties, and to give the Spirit of truth free course from the head to the smallest members. A searching judgment on the spirit of disobedience and insincerity, has gone through the juvenile ranks, corresponding to the judgment process in the main body; and the
20 Third Annual Report
triumph of the love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity, over false philoprogenitiveness, which has been secured in the parents, is part of the best experience the Association has ever known.
During part of the fall and winter, in addition to the usual family and school exercises, daily Bible classes were held with the older children, besides occasional meetings for personal conversation. The results of these labors are apparent in the increased docility of the whole juvenile circle-in the frank and cordial relations between the children and their superiors, and in their intelligent confessions of Christ. Their impressibility to truth, and fellowship with their teachers, renders it easy to 'transfer almost any new illustration of truth, or criticism, from the general evening assembly to the children's morning meeting, and find there receptive hearts and understandings.
In regard to the question of industry,' we consider that our' children are growing up under the best influences. The spirit of obedience and faithfulness which they have, is a foundation for every thing good. They enter into all kinds of suitable labor with enthusiasm, not from the common motives of necessity or gain, but as a part of their education equally important as their school. They will reap the benefit of the solution of the labor problem, free from many disadvantages that those have to overcome who grow up in a selfish world.
The health of so large a family of children is an important item. "We look back with thankfulness," says a mother, in a communication to the Circular, Jan. 22,1851, "through the heats of the past summer, and see that among our fifty children, of all ages from 12 years to a few months, there has not been one case of dysentery or any summer disease; and that up to the present time, the middle of winter, there has been a similar and very remarkable exemption from colds, sore throats, and other disorders, which attack children in cold weather. Truly, the experience of the past fills us with gratitude, and the future is radiant with hope."
We have elsewhere avowed our belief, that the Day of Judgment has commenced; that is, that the eternal Spirit of Truth, and the powers of the world to come, have begun to take effect upon the cases of men. The inner experience of the Association more and more confirms our belief. The spirit of criticism, as it proceeds, becomes more penetrating and refined, more prompt and inevitable in its detection of evil, and, at the same time, more good-natured and genial in its manifestations. Under its operation, we are conscious of real deliverance-conscious that the separation of the great day, between good and evil, has come. And, however painful at the time, the process only increase~ our love for the tru~h, which
of the Oneida Association. 21
is our deliverer as well as judge. One member, who proved unimprovable under criticism, has been induced to leave.
Another striking feature of the judgment has come out the present year, in the exposure of our past lives, or what we call historical criticism. It is found in many eases, that present difficulties of experience root themselves in the past life, and cannot be reached but by a process that carries light and judgment and separation clear back to their beginning. A yielding to temptation in former years, by which we admitted the spirit of the devil, and defiled our consciences, or the entanglements of evil associations through 'friendship and love, though they may have been long excused and forgotten, were nevertheless vital seeds in our life, and are found, 'on close scrutiny; still active, and operating in our central experience. Life, we say, is a ball, wound up with the threads of our passing experience; and whatever we have wound in the past, whether good or bad, is still there: it is vitally our own, and, in a very important sense, enters into our present character. To state the principle in the fewest words, We are, what our past lives have been.
With this view, and by the earnest persuasion of their own minds, many have entered upon the course of historical self-criticism; and the result has been, numerous confessions of wrong in the past, that had lain secret -perhaps half-forgotten-but necessarily darkening and poisonous to the party concerned. From these revelations, the Community gained a knowledge of human nature, a knowledge of the secret state of the best society in the world, and a preparation for the disclosures of the judgment, such as they never had before. The truth is, in the world, no man knows his neighbor. Persons meet only in form and appearance, and under the various disguises that are convenient. If a person knows himself, his object is to forget a great many things, and, at any rate, to hide them from others; so that the customary respectability is, before God, and in fact to the separate consciousness of individuals, a great sham - a thing used to cover and hide universal misdeeds of thought and action; and this is true, particularly, in the department of sexual relations. The remark that Christ made to the scribes and Pharisees, when they brought to him a woman taken in adultery - ' Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone, - if applied now to any class of persons would show the same result that it did then: all would go out convicted of their own consciences. And yet this subject is particularly covered up in conventional darkness. The real experience of mankind, the sinful, woful, death-working action of this passion, is closely hidden in the heart, and all pass along under the smooth mask of outward respectability. However this surface show of propriety may serve as a useful temporary restraint, we believe the time has come when the mere coverings of character are to be taken off, and when people
22 Third Annual Report
will be forced, to see things just as they really are They will have to let in the broad daylight upon the whole field of character.
The operation of historical criticism and confession, with us, has be en of this kind. It has been like the opening of our inner selves to daylight. And though it requires heroism of faith, thus to betray ourselves to the truth, and to retrace with the spirit of judgment our past lives, yet we have found salvation in the result. We have been able to correct our mistakes; to separate our souls from the devil's snare; to untangle and put away from our life the threads of evil that were woven into it; and the effect has been a new feeling of innocence and the peace of God.'
The day of judgment is also the day of justification and resurrection; and we think these characteristics fully keep pace, in our experience, with the work of criticism. With the increase of sincerity, there has been a corresponding increase of unity and 'strength. The power of the resurrection is felt in breaking up habits, displacing the spirit of old age, and in our continual renewing toward the freshness and freedom of youth. This work remains to be perfected; but we have the best evidence that it proceeds in full proportion to the power and entrance which the Spirit of Truth gains among us. It is seen in the continued ascendency of health in the Association-in the unassisted recovery of those who brought serious disease with them, - and in the uniform victory which we have, had over the ailments which occasionally threaten. There has been no death of an adult believer, in the Association, since its commencement, and we know of none that are seriously unwell.
We think the distinguishing feature of this Association, is its spirit of education. Other associations have been formed, some in fancy, and some in fact; outwardly resembling ours, but each with its own peculiar animus and ambition. The Shaker ideal is exhibited in big barns and fat cattle, and unenlightened spiritualism. The imaginary Phalanstery of the Fourierists, is a place of personal enjoyment-a pleasure-garden of the senses. But the central object and inspiration of this Community, is decidedly that of education; by which we mean of course, universal, orderly education-development under the Spirit of Truth.
This is the passion which is at work in all classes, and which will be encouraged ~ any expense, until it has full possession of the body. It is, we believe, the beginning of resurrection-the working of that mighty power which raised Christ from the dead, and which, as it is received by faith, is adapted to quicken all the elements of life and character. We expect to be saved, and raised to immortal fruitfulness, by the infusion of this very principle which we are even now conscious is having its own way in our central nature
of the Oneida Association. 23
To show its operation in breaking up the humbug of old age, and restoring persons from the mental and moral impotence which is bred by worldly experience, we will insert a few personal testimonies taken from a mass of similar statements :-
From Jonathan Burt. - Age 45.
Although I have had charge of the erection of our mill - which is the largest job of work I ever undertook - and which in the world would have absorbed all of my time and attention-I have still found time to pursue different branches of improvement and education: and when not engaged 'in labor, my mind has been free to take hold of studies with all the enthusiasm of youth. My opportunities to get an education in the world, were very limited; and I had lost all, in that respect previous to joining this Association; but since coming here, my desires and ambition have been awakened on' this subject, and I hope to extend my education in all branches of improvement. All my efforts in this direction have been crowned with success.
From Albert Kinsley. - Age 49.
My advantages for obtaining an education when young, were very limited. And when I came to the years of manhood, my mind was occupied with the cares of the world, getting a living, and providing for a family; and I supposed that the time for gaining an education had gone by. The idea of making improvement, in the way of education, was banished from my mind, and remained so until I joined the Association. Since that time, and especially within the last year, I have had an increasing ambition for improvement. I find it easy to engage in different studies; and the ardor of the youthful spirit in regard to getting an education, is evidently returning to me. I also find it easy to take hold of any new branch of business. I can say that the past year, which is the fiftieth year of my life, has been more like my youthful days, in respect to expansion and improvement, than any intervening period. And I attribute the change in my feelings and spirit, to the Spirit of Christ, that reigns in this Community. I now feel that I am in the school of Christ, and that in all I do I am getting an education.
From Isaac Seymour. - Age 62.
Previous to the time that I came to this Association, I had made up my mind that I was truly in the down-hill of life. The cares, toils and pains of isolated life, were pressing upon me, and bringing me into a state of ill health, from which it seemed impossible for me to recover. But since I came to the Community I find my health in a great measure restored. The buoyant life and hope that seem to pervade all hearts in the Association, are fruitful causes, tending to produce a genial and healthy atmosphere. I feel however that the resurrection power and spirit of the living God, operating in the inner lives and hearts of the individuals of this body, is the all-powerful agency which brings 'life and immortality to light;' that it is this agency, working from the inner man outward, that gives new life and health to both soul and body. I feel that this spirit and power is working in me; and that I am wending my way back to my school-boy days; that I am having the same ambition for an education,
24 Third Annual Report
that I had in the days of my youth; and although I have not made any great attainents in this direction, yet I feel that the attainments I have made, the ambition that I find in my heart, and the advantages afforded in Association over those of isolated life, are sure guarantees that I shall obtain a good education.
From Eunice Y. Joslen. - Age 47.
The change that has taken place in my views, as it regards my own improvement and education, is very striking since I received the doctrine of holiness, and more particularly since joining this Association. Previous to that time, or since my youthful days, I had not sought or expected intellectual improvement; and the idea that education was a prerequisite for heaven had not once entered my mind. The vague, indefinite views I then had, have given place to more rational and consistent ideas of the philosophy of our existence, and the importance of becoming thoroughly educated, as a means of fellowship with God, the primitive church, and the central spirits of this Association. I now feel ambitious for improvement in every department of my nature; ambitious to coöperate with the Spirit of truth, in the cultivation and refinement of all the faculties God has given me.
From Wm. H. Woolworth. - Age 26.
My interest in the subject of education has very much increased since joining the Association. I realize my deficiencies, and have been tempted to regret my past neglect of this subject; but I have banished all such feelings, and now feel as though I was just beginning life, with bright prospects before me. I have received a new ambition in respect to education. I appreciate the facilities we enjoy here for attaining that object; and I am conscious of continual expansion and growth of heart and mind.
I am prizing more and more the circumstances our children are placed in, and the discipline they are under. I can see that they are learning obedience; and I know that in learning obedience they are learning to be happy.
From Morris E. Lawton. - Age 29.
I am twenty-nine years old. It is somewhat more than five years since I became a believer in the gospel of holiness, as presented to the world by Mr. Noyes. As respects my health I can truly say, that at the time I embraced the truth, I was five years older in feelings (if they are allowed to testify) than I am at the present time. By the wear and tear of worldly labor, and other causes, I had become more or less subject to disease, which was preying upon me with tenacity; and I know now, that nothing but the grace of Christ could have checked it, and brought me into that youthful vigor which I now enjoy, and which has greatly increased since joining the Association. I ascribe it wholly to the truth - the grace of Christ - the power of his resurrection in me, that is bringing me into a state of eternal youthfulness with him.
Since I was nineteen years old, I have had more or less ambition for obtaining an education. I can now see that the impulse was a selfish one, having in view to use education for my own purposes, to give me tact and skill for competing with the world. The gospel found me in what we term the 'Educational spirit of New England; and it has changed my mind
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entirely, in regard to what a true education is. I have learned since I have joined the Oneida Association that the true business of life is to educate completely man's whole nature - fitting him for the society of heaven, and fellowship with Christ and the Primitive Church. The true ambition is one that does not recognize time as a boundary, but commences eternity now, accepting for our teacher 'the Spirit of truth', and under its guidance advancing on our way of improvement in all things, to obtain a universal education. Here old and young are incited alike with new ambition for pursuing the various branches of arts and science; and the man at the age of fifty applies himself to some new science with the zeal and ambition of a lad in his teens. This spirit of improvement that reigns here has taken possession of me, and incited me to obtain such an educ4ion as is destined to be the lot of all this happy people, whose God is the Lord-and who recognize the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom.
This principle of growth and improvement reaches in every direction: it touches the practical as well as the theoretical-the whole department of art, as well as of science and spirit. It invests all with the ability and purpose to do any and every thing that comes before them to be done. As indicative of its application in industry, and the learning of new arts, our members are accustomed, and cheerfully ready, to be shifted from one occupation to another, as convenience or their own profit seems to require. Nothing comes amiss that offers an opening for new truth, and new practice. The farmer goes from the plough to the mechanic's shop for a few month's diversion, and some one else takes his place at the plough. Mr. Van Velzer, who has had principal charge of the Shoe-shop, says-"While engaged in business in the world, I was in the habit of receiving apprentices; and it required much time and care, to make them useful and available: but here, I find I can take persons into the shop, who have no natural taste for the business, and they very soon become good work Mr. Leonard, our professional printer, says in reference to his department-" The system of rotation in working at the business, which has been pursued here for the last year, bids fair, as the demand for publishing increases to make type-setters and book-binders, of our whole community. Mr. J-----, a man over fifty, [a lawyer by profession and but lately a member,] is an example going to show that none are too old to learn a new trade. Some months ago he was appointed by the Community to a situation in the printing office. He came down, looked over the matter, and got discouraged the first day. He looked at the types, but could not see them; he picked them up, but could not feel them; I put a composing stick in his hand, but that was maimed, and it seemed that he could never learn how to hold it. He remained in the office about a month, so much discouraged that he scarcely undertook to do any thing. During this time, I had been engaged at the mill; but I now returned to the office
26 Third Annual Report
again, and determined if it were possible, to encourage Mr. J--- to learn to set type. Though he has a maimed hand, which disables him for some parts of the work, yet he is now as good a compositor, nearly, as we have in the office. He works slow, but makes up for this in being a real plodder - continuing at his ease whenever there is copy, from morning till night-week in and week out."
As an instance showing the effect of the spirit of improvement which is at work in the Association, it might be mentioned that a volunteer class of seventeen persons was formed the past winter for the study of Phonography, whose ages averaged over 50 years. Four of the class were over 60.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
Any close observer may see, in the prominent facts of the past year, a powerful combination of influences, calculated to affect, directly or indirectly, the present social constitution, and particularly bearing upon the institution of Marriage.
1. The 'Spirit manifestations,' or 'Rappings,' that have excited so much of the public attention, are calculated to call up new questions and to force the world into a new position in regard to' marriage. The fact has become convincingly apparent that spirits are substantial forms, and that those of the other world have found a way to communicate with persons in this. The spirits of the departed are found seeking intercourse, and affectionate familiar converse with their living friends. Wives and husbands, children and parents, are accustomed to meet in this way. A great deal of such communication, it is acknowledged, is secretly going on in the country, while the facts about it are suppressed, from a desire of the parties to avoid publicity. But hints are given of more palpable interviews with the spirits than those which are commonly described, and the promise is made of increasing facilities of Communication.
This state of facts, it will be seen, is calculated to revive the old question which the Sadducees put to Christ concerning marriage. In the case of parties who have been married more than once, it may pertinently be asked, who they belong to. A woman for instance who has a living husband, may have two in the spirit state, equally related to her, and as things appear now, equally accessible. What will those interested do with such a case? The old custom of removal by death, is becoming no removal at all. Time is merging in eternity, and with it are coming in the conditions of the resurrection, where Christ's answer to the question of the Sadducees must begin to apply. Again, in this invasion of spirits there is coming in a class who cannot be held by human law. There is no legal redress to be had of them for any violation of the laws of marriage and
of the Oneida Association. 27
society which they may choose to commit. If it is true, as seems to be the case, that the barrier between this world and hades is being penetrated, then a vast population is being let in upon us, who are entirely above human jurisdiction - all protection by statutes and penalties is at an end; and the world must revert again to the original law of nature, and the direct judgment of God. In both these aspects, it is evident that uncontrollable events are bringing the terms and conditions of the present marriage system to an end. It must expire by its own limitation, and the only safe alternative, is for people to prepare themselves for that world in which there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage.
2. A new agitation of the subject of 'Woman's Rights' is commencing under more favorable conditions than ever before. It is conducted by intelligent, influential women, and is sustained by the leading newspapers. Whatever may be the professed aim and object of this movement, one thing is certain: its result, so far as it has any, must be against marriage. The things claimed and demonstrated to be the just rights of women, are wholly incompatible with the, present domestic relations; and if they persist in the attempt to gain their rights, marriage must be subverted. All the wrongs which women suffer in distinction from men, are grounded in and authorized by this institution. By marriage, man comes into proper legal ownership of woman; and any specific wrongs under that ownership, are legitimate and to be expected as parts of the system. They cannot be subtracted and leave the marriage system as it is. The present discussion of woman's rights is, therefore, virtually a movement against the marriage of the past.
3. The Fugitive Slave Law excitement and discussion, is continually evoking principles, which in the end must overthrow the institution. In the first place, the ground is boldly taken by the best people at the North, that there is a 'higher law' than human statutes; and that our domestic institutions must be regulated by that higher law of righteousness and truth, or they must fall. Disobedience to the laws created by Slavery, is openly advocated in the leading pulpits of the North, on the ground that they contravene, not the letter, but the spirit of God's known law, the law of justice and of love. But in thus going back of custom, antiquity and human law, to ascertain the interior divine law on the subject of Slavery, they establish a precedent which must be applied to Marriage. That, too, must be investigated on its own intrinsic merits, with reference to righteousness, justice, and the direct will of God. And it will as surely fail, before such a free investigation, as Slavery does. Precisely the same principles are involved in the two cases; and the controversy which is bringing out the horrible character of negro slavery, is but furnishing principles to mirror forth the exceeding iniquity of marriage slavery. To show the
28 Third Annual Report
analogy between the two things, we will introduce and apply to Marriage the arguments used by Antislavery men, in the form of a triple colloquy.
CONVERSATION BETWEEN JUDGE NORTH, MAJOR SOUTH, AND
MR. FREE CHURCH.
SCENE, - Newspaperdom. Mr. FREE CHURCH and other Gentlemen, reading. MAJOR SOUTH and JUDGE NORTH in angry dispute about slavery; threatening fight. MR. FREE CHURCH interposes.
"Mr. Free Church.-Gentlemen, be calm; there is a more rational way of getting satisfaction than this. Let us have a fair discussion. We will hear your attack and defense, and help you to a more judicious conclusion than running each other through with the sword.
Judge North. - Very well: I am willing to debate the subject with Major South.
Major South. - Commence then, Judge N., as you are the assailant.
Judge N. - I am always ready in so good a cause. I affirm then, to begin with, that slavery is an arbitrary institution, created by law, and contrary to natural liberty. All men are created free and equal.
Major S. - I affirm, on the contrary, that the condition of master and servant is natural. Servitude, or the labor of one for another, exists every where; and slavery is only one form of this necessity.
Judge N. - It is a most cruel and oppressive form, you must admit, one under which horrible wrong and outrage are committed. Look at the every-day accounts of slaves being whipped to death.
Major S. - There are instances of cruel treatment, it is true; but they are exceptions, not chargeable to the system, which is naturally one of protection and confidence.
Judge N. - It is a vicious system in itself, because it gives unlimited power; and such power, in the present state of human nature, is sure to be oppressive. Ownership of man by man is wrong, and prolific of wrong.
Major S. - But the law protects slaves from abusive masters.
Judge N. - You know, however that the law is merely nominal, or, at most, applies only in extreme cases.
Major S. - The slaves are happy; they do not ask your pity. You could not persuade them to leave their masters, or exchange their condition with your own free laborers.
Judge N. -This is no argument in favor of Slavery; it only shows the degraded state of the slave. The noble instinct which chooses liberty or death, is all crushed out of him. His spirit is broken under the yoke. Then, he is treated as a brUte in respect to his affections. Family ties are sundered without remorse, and the tenderest connections rudely broken. What can you say in defense of this cruelty?
Major S. - I affirm that Slavery is sanctioned by the Bible. Moses and Paul both recognized it, and gave regulations concerning it.
Judge N. - The Bible permitted Slavery, on account of the barbarism of the times, but certainly does not sanction it with any thing like approval; on the contrary, its whole spirit is opposed to it, and fully carried out, would lead to its immediate abolition. Furthermore, Slavery is a system that recognize~ no Bible. So far as the slave is concerned, that book
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might as well have never been given. You take away his right to read and inquire the way of life for himself; and if he ever gains a knowledge of his duty and a religious faith, your monstrous claim of ownership is still paramount. He has no liberty to follow the dictates of his own conscience. Thus, by your power to heathenize and coerce him, all spiritual as well as bodily freedom is taken away.
Major S.-The liberation of the slaves would be attended with pillage and bloodshed; and your tender mercy to them, is murder to their masters.
Judge N. - I contend that liberty breeds virtue; and that the slaves, if liberated and treated justly, would be better citizens than they are now.
Major S. - They are not capable of taking care of themselves; their masters would have to support them, or they would starve.
Judge N. - This is a false assumption; for it is universally proved that free labor is more profitable than slave labor. The slaves would do their work more cheerfully and better for wages, than they do from fear of the lash.
Major S. - Just compare our servants with the free negroes of the North, and say which class is the happiest? You cannot deny that the lot of the slave is vastly preferable.
Judge N. - If this were so, it is because our free negroes suffer the disgrace and abasement of their brethren; so that their wretchedness is owing to the existence of Slavery Slavery is a curse to the whole African race.
Major S. - Well, be that as it may, it is the corner-stone of our republican edifice. Your abolition principles strike at the very foundations of society. Besides, it is intermeddling with what does not concern you. The South have a right to their own domestic institutions, and this Northern interference is intolerable. For one, I am ready to defend my rights at the point of the sword.
Judge N. - Justice must he done if the heavens fall. A state of society founded on unrighteous principles ought to be subverted; and I shall not cease agitation against Slavery, if it stirs up war.
Mr. Free Church. - Before you proceed to such extremities, allow me a few words with Judge North. Perhaps I shall be able to divert your mutual wrath. Will you be moderator, Major South?
Major S.- O certainly; proceed.
Mr. F. - Judge North, I hold the same opinion about Marriage that you do of Slavery-that it is an arbitrary institution, and contrary to natural liberty. What do you say to this opinion ?
Judge N. - I say that it is manifestly false; nature every where dictates marriage.
Mr. F. - It dictates sexual union, I will allow; but this marriage in pairs is only one form or method of bringing about sexual union; and I believe that this method is as arbitrary as the slaveholder's method of securing natural service ; and it is very extensively, if not universally, a cruel and oppressive method of uniting the sexes - especially to woman, the weaker party. The catalogue of woman's abuses under the tyranny of matrimony, compares very well with the cruel lot of the slaves. Let me read, for instance, an account of a conjugal mauling and murder, which I cut from a late paper :- "OUTRAGE AND PROBABLE MURDER.- An examination has been going on at Albion, during the past week, of Mr. Lowder, residing in the town of Yates, about fifteen miles north of that village, for the supposed murder of his wife. The facts brought to light on the testimony of the neighbors and daughter of the prisoner,
30 Third Annual Report
show a degree of depravity, of relentlessness and fiend-like cruelty, which it is seldom our lot to record. It appeared in evidence that he had been in the habit, for several weeks previous to her death, of treating his wife with the most wanton cruelty as a pastime - had knocked her down on several occasions with an ax-helve - would place her repeatedly on the bed, jerk it from the bedstead to the floor, and, after beating her without mercy, would replace the bed and repeat the act. On one occasion it was said that after repeating the transaction described above several times, he raised the cellar door, threw her into the cellar and kept her there till morning. The circumstances of her death wore, that she went to bed in usual health, and was found dead in the morning. When the coroner's inquest was held, Dr. Huff of Albion, took the stomach to his residence, in which was detected, on examination, a considerable quantity of oxalic acid. It appeared that Mr. Lowder had purchased poison a short time previous to this event, and that a paper of white powder, admitted to be poison by him, had been found in the bed by the daughter."
Lockport (N.Y.) Courier.
Judge N. - This is an extreme case. You will find such abuses only among the lowest classes and they cannot be charged to the Marriage system.
Major S. - But I said the same, you will recollect, of bad treatment of the slaves.
Mr. F..- The truth is, Marriage gives man the power of ownership over woman; and such ownership is as wrong, and prolific of wrong, in the case of Marriage as in that of Slavery
Major S. - You must see the force of this argument, I am sure, Judge North.
Judge N. - The law protects a woman from the violence of her husband.
Mr. F. - Nominally, I admit; but as in the case of Slavery, this protection applies only in extreme cases.
Judge N. - Woman is devotedly attached to Marriage. You will make yourself perfectly odious to her, by advocating its abolition.
Mr. F. - The fact that the victims of Marriage are attached to it, and could not be induced to abandon their situation, only proves their degradation. The Hindoo woman chooses to be burned with the body of her husb'nd, because she knows no other way, and prefers death to the odium of unfashionable behavior. Marriage separates and breaks up families. In every instance, union at the altar, as it is justly called, (considering the cruelty of the sacrifice,) mutilates two family circles. Weddings are frequently as woeful to the parent families as funerals. Examples of the rending of family ties are at hand. My father's family saw one of its daughters exiled to the south, and another to the west, and both hurried to their graves by uncongenial climates and hardships. My friend here, Mr. M., has brought up a large family of children, and yet now in his old age, he and his wife have been obliged to go fifty or sixty miles to meet an "Orphan's Friend Society,' for the purpose of getting a child of strangers to live with them. Marriage has taken all their children away.
Judge N. - But the Bible sanctions Marriage, and you must admit it is a divine institution. 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' is one of the ten commandments.
Mr. F. - The Bible sanctions Marriage only as it sanctions Slavery - i.e. temporarily, and because the world, by reason of sin, has not hitherto been prepared for better institutions; for it expressly declares in Matt.22:30, that in the final state of mankind, Marriage will be abolished; and that state all look for, and at least pray for, as often as they use the Lord's
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prayer - 'Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.' If the decalogue sanctions Marriage by the commandment, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery' - it also sanctions Slavery by the commandment, 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's man servant, nor his maid servant, nor his ox, nor his ass;' and in the New Testament, the same discourse which enjoins love and obedience on husbands and wives, also enjoins forbearance on masters, and faithfulness and submission on slaves. Eph. chs. 5 and 6, and Col. chs. 3 and 4.
--- But perhaps the worst feature of, Marriage, like that of Slavery, is, that while it claims the sanction of the Bible, its actual operation in innumerable instances is, to subvert the Bible and prohibit its influence. It is a huge Bastile of spiritual tyranny; where men and women have the power to debar each other from their rights of conscience, and tke enjoyment of their religious faith. Abundant, every-day facts prove this: and as you showed in the case of Slavery, it is inherent in the system. Marriage commits a man and woman to each other in such a way, that selfishness stands sentinel over the religious convictions of both. In the first place, to preserve the fictitious union with which they commence, it is for their interest to shut their eyes to truth. But if subsequently an attraction for God and religious improvement is awakened in one, then jealousy takes fire in the other, and marriage despotism is the order of the day. Either party has power to embarrass, persecute, and often to crush the other in the exercise of their conscientious duties; and in how many cases is this power used! Men and women arrogate every day under the privileges of Marriage, the right to veto God, and exclude each other from his service. Under circumstances where most of the religion is merely fashionable and formal, the inquisitorial oppression which belongs to Marriage is not so apparent; but in any case where novel or unfashionable doctrines are involved, it shows its bolts and shackles and instruments of torture, I assert that in the married community, there is not one woman in fifty who could become a heretic in the manner of primitive believers without braving oppression; and but seldom a man, who would not have to fight for the liberty of devoting himself and his property to an unpopular cause.
Judge N. - But the abolition of Marriage would lead to unbridled licentiousness and social ruin.
Mr. F. - I reply in your own words, that 'Liberty breeds virtue;' and I maintain that free-love, or complex marriage, combined with community of property, would annihilate the very sources of adultery, whoredom, and all sexual abuse. It is the poverty and compulsory abstinence of the Marriage system, that gender these crimes in society. The feeling of plenty would directly stimulate to chastity and self-control.
Major S. - Good. Liberty breeds virtue, Judge.
Judge N. - What would become of women and children, if it was not for the system of maintenance and care that Marriage provides? They cannot take care of themselves, and they would fare hard if there were no responsible husbands.
Mr. F. - They would certainly fare better under a system of free-labor and free-love in Association, than they do under the Marriage system, where each family is at the mercy of one man. A responsible association of brothers and sisters is the protection secured to every woman and child, in the system I advocate.
32 Third Annual Report of the Oneida Association.
Judge N. - Look at the forlorn condition of old maids and old bachelors, and especially the class of abandoned women. What a contrast with the happy family relations of married life.
Mr. F. - These outsiders, my friend, are the 'free negroes' of the marriage system - that is, their position and degradation result from the existence of Marriage, just as the degradation of the free blacks results from the existence of Slavery. You can see for yourself that the abolition of Marriage would have the same effect upon their condition that the abolition of Slavery would have upon the negroes of the north. Their reproach would be taken away, and the genial influence of equality and restored self-respect would be greatly for their improvement.
Major S. - You have furnished your opponent with every argument so far, Judge.
Judge N. - Well, this is interfering with 'private rights, which no man of spirit will consent to. It strikes at the foundations of the social structure.
Major S. - "Fiat justitia, ruat oeum," Judge North. Remember the story of the Farmer and the Lawyer in the old spelling-book, and abide by your own decision in our dispute.
Judge N. - I see I am trapped. Well, this must be taken into consideration. I must either let Slavery alone, or go for a revolution of society at the North as well as the South.
Mr. F. - I should advise both parties to go for the kingdom of God, in which neither Slavery or Marriage covers wrong, but love works righteousness in freedom. [Exeunt Omnes