James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Richard Rush, 8 September 1824

From Richard Rush

London September 8. 1824

Dear Sir,

Mr Owen,1 the eminent philanthropist of New Lanark, in Scotland, being about to visit the United States, I beg leave to put into his hands this letter to you. Without giving an opinion on the feasibility of all his plans for improving the condition of human society, I can only say that all agree that they are full of benevolence, and that good has already resulted from them in some places. By those who rank among Mr Owen’s personal friends, and it has been my good fortune to do so since I have been in this country, he is as highly esteemed for a train of amiable qualities, as he is known and respected as a philanthropist. Begging to join Mrs Rush in kind compliments to Mrs Madison, I remain, dear sir, with the most affectionate attachment and respect,

Richard Rush

RC (PHi: Richard Rush Papers). Docketed by JM.

1Robert Owen (1771–1858) was a successful Welsh businessman whose experiments in education and the treatment of workers at New Lanark, Scotland, beginning about 1800, had become famous. His anti-religion and socialist sentiments met with much resistance, however, and in 1824 he came to the United States and bought a large property in Indiana that had been settled by German pietists. Owen named his community New Harmony and operated it on socialist principles. By 1828 the community had failed and Owen had disassociated himself from it. He spent the rest of his life writing and lecturing about his social reforms. For a discussion of JM’s assessment of Owen and his ideas, see McCoy, Last of the Fathers, 204–7.

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