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Title: Brook Farm: Historic and Personal Memoirs
Author: Codman, John Thomas
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcendentalism; Explained by Mr. Ripley,--The Proposition,--Members
of the Transcendental Club--The first Persons at the
Community--Constitution and Laws; Articles of Agreement--Description of
Mr. Ripley, Mr. Pratt, Mr. Dwight, Mrs. Ripley, Mr. Dana, Mr. Bradford,
Hawthorne and Others.



Thoughts on Reorganization--Fourier on Social Code--Mr. Ripley's
Action--Progress of Society--Theories by Fourier, etc.--Closing of the
Transcendental Period--Reorganization, and the Industrial Period.



Departure from Boston, and Arrival at the Farm--Description of the
Place--Attica--Personal Occupations, etc.--The Wild Flowers.



Descriptions of Members: The "General,"; Ryckman, Blake, Drew, Orvis,
Cheevers--William H. Charming, and Albert Brisbane,--S. Margaret
Fuller--Ralph W. Emerson--Theodore Parker and Mr. Ripley's Joke.



Many Visitors--An Odd Visitor--The Groups and Series, etc.--The
Workshop--My first Spring--Death and Funeral--The Amusement Group,
Dances, Walks and first Summer.



The _Harbinger_ Published; Editors and Contributors, Its
Characteristics and Effect--The Industrial Phalanx--The Phalanstery--A
Financial Report--The Grahamites, and their Table--John Allen and
Boy--The Visitation of Small-pox.



Resumption of Building--The Crowded Conditions--Gardener's
Department--Prince Albert--Jumping the Brook--Retrenchment--The
Doves--The Gardener--The Position of Woman in Association--The Right to
Vote--The Wedding--Lizzie Curson--Our Young Folks.



The Play in the Shop--The Associative Movement--Rev. Adin Ballou's
Letter--Mr. Brisbane's, and Mr. Ripley's Letters--Mr. Pratt's
Departure--The Great Party--Cyclops.



Meetings in Boston, etc.--Two Lady Friends--Music at the
Eyry--Consciousness of Self--The Great Snow Storm--C. P. Cranch's



Fun at the Phalanx--Ripley's Quotation--On Punning--The Robbery, and
the Waiting Group.



The Last Dance, and the Fire--The _Harbinger's_ Account of It--Feeding
the Firemen--The Morning after the Fire.



The Bearings of the Association and its Occupations--Slanders of the
New York Press--Definition of the Associationists Position toward
Fourier--Forebodings at the Farm--Personal Reveries.



Peter's Departure--Mr. Dwight at the Association Meeting--Practical
Christians--The Solidarity of the Race--Mr. Ripley's _Harbinger_



Breaking up--Ripley's Poverty, after Life and Death--Mr. Pratt; Mr.
Dana; Mr. Dwight, and various Persons--William H. Charming--A.
Brisbane--C. Fourier--Letters of Approval.




Student Life--Explanations and Answers to Objections--Letter on Social
Equality--Religious Views.


There were two distinct phases in the Associated life at Brook Farm.
The first was inaugurated by the pioneers, who introduced a school, and
combined it with farm and household labors. The second phase began with
an attempt to introduce methods of social science and to add mechanical
and other industries to those already commenced. These different phases
have been called the Transcendental and the Industrial periods.

Each individual had his special experiences of the life. The writer
chronicles it from his standpoint. None, perhaps, was more interested
in it than he, young as he was, but many were more able to elaborate it
and write it in details, and did he not feel that it was an important
duty neglected by all, these memoirs would have remained unwritten.

The record books of the institution are missing, and are doubtless long
ago destroyed. These chapters have been compiled and written from few
memoranda, at various times, very often after the arduous duties of
days of professional life, and with a desire only to present the
subject truthfully, faithfully and simply; and also, not wholly to
gratify curiosity, or to record the doings of the noble men and women
who were wise before their time, but to whisper courage to those who,
like their predecessors, are seeking some solution of the social
problems that involves neither the too sudden surrender of acquired
rights, the reckless abandon of old ideas to untried and crude
radicalism, or the more to-be-dreaded feuds between classes, that mean
desperation on one side and war on the other; but to aid, if possible,
in inspiring a belief that a peaceful adjustment of our surroundings
will, in time, bring order out of chaos and harmony out of discord.

The reader will have observed long before he lays down this book, that
the Brook Farm life and ideals were purely coöperative and
philosophical, that all the elements of true society were recognized,
and that the attempt was for the better adjustment of them to the
changing and changed relations of their fellow-men, brought about by
the pervading moral, scientific and social growth of the past and
present centuries.

The nation is older, richer and wiser, since the Brook Farm experiment
began. It is more tolerant of one another's opinions, more
enterprising, progressive and liberal, and surely a few weak trials
made half a century ago, are not enough to solve the majestic problem
of right living and how to shape the outward forms of society, so that
within their environments all interests may be harmonized, and the
golden rule begin to be, in a practical way, the measure of all human

The author, in closing, will confide to his readers the wish of his
heart, that this sketch of his early days may inspire some who can
command influence and means with an interest to continue the
experiments in social science, along lines laid out with more or less
clearness by the Brook Farmers.

  J. T. C.



Early in the present century, New England was the centre of progressive
religious thought in America. A morbid theology had reigned supreme,
but its forms were too cold, harsh and forbidding to attract or even
retain the liberal-minded, educated and philosophic students of the
rising generation, or hold in check the ardent humanitarian spirit,
that embodied itself in ideals that were greater than the existing

Yet nowhere prevailed a more religious spirit. It showed itself in
tender care of masses of the people, in public schools and seminaries,
in lectures, sermons, libraries and in acts of general benevolence.

From these conditions developed the idea of greater freedom from social
trammels; from African slavery, which had not then been abolished; from
domestic slavery, which still exists; from the exploitations of trade
and commerce; from the vicious round of unpaid labor, vice and
brutality. Protestations were heard against all of these evils, not
always coming from the poor and unlearned, but oftener from the
educated and refined, who had pride that the republic should stand
foremost among the nations for justice, culture and righteousness.

The old theology was crumbling. A new church was springing from its
vitals based on freer thought, in which the intellect and heart had
more share in determining righteousness. The fatherhood of God and the
brotherhood of man became the themes of discourse, oftener than those
of the vengeance of an offended Deity; and pity and forgiveness,
oftener than those on everlasting punishment.

In truth, the new departure which had begun, soon attracted to itself
the most cultivated persons of the time, some of whom, Sept. 19, 1836,
formed a club that met at one another's houses and discussed all the
important social and religious topics of the day. They were mostly
young people, college-bred, learned, artistic and thoughtful, and of
high ideals in intellectual acquirement, religion and social life. They
were all agreed that there were many evils to be eradicated from
society; in what way--individualistic, governmental or socialistic, or
by a combination of ways--few were agreed.

The problem was an open one. The theories proposed and the discussions
were extremely interesting, but no record of them is at hand, except a
few essays published in the _Dial_, a quarterly magazine which was
edited by members of the organization, which finally took the name of
"The Transcendental Club." One of the _Dial_ editors, as well as one of
the founders of the Club, and at whose house it had its first meeting,
was Rev. George Ripley, a Unitarian minister who was born at
Greenfield, Mass., in the beautiful valley of the Connecticut River. He
was of good farmer stock and had a fine physical presence, though of
medium stature. He was a lover of books, a graduate of Harvard college,
and a well trained and religious scholar. He was then settled over a
Unitarian church worshipping on Purchase Street, in Boston, and
faithfully fulfilled his duties. Above all things his head and heart
sought righteousness for all men. He believed in the justice of God and
the divine nature of man His best creation. He believed man to be
involved in an intricate and un-Christian social labyrinth, and with
deep earnestness of purpose and thorough convictions of his personal
duty in the case, set himself at work to evolve a way to extricate at
least some of humanity from their vicious surroundings; and finally
proposed to the Club a plan which he urged with his customary vigor and

This plan was, in short, to locate on a farm where agriculture and
education should be made the foundation of a new system of social life.
Labor should be honored. All would take part in it. There should be no
religious creeds adopted. The old, feeble and sick were to be cared
for, the strong and able bearing the greater burden of the labor. There
would be no rank, to entitle the owner of it to superior considerations
because of the rank; and truth, justice and order were to be the
governing principles of the society.

The theologians and philosophers of Europe, with whose writings and
logic Mr. Ripley was well acquainted, had impressed him with the truth
of the divinity of man's nature, or had convinced him more thoroughly
that his own ideas of it were right. He had wrestled with progressively
conservative giants, professors of colleges--notably Andrews
Norton--and had won well-earned laurels. Norton was professor of sacred
literature at Harvard, one of his own professors, sixteen years his
senior, and made a point that the miracles of Christ and the writings
of the gospel were the only sure proofs existing of spiritual truths.

The Transcendental philosophy to which Mr. Ripley had become a convert,
claimed that there was in human nature an intuitive faculty which
clearly discerned spiritual truths, which idea was in contradistinction
to the beliefs of the day, which declared that spiritual knowledge came
by special grace, and was proven by the divine miracles; this latter
belief being largely joined to the doctrine of the innate depravity of
man. Mr. Ripley's own words to his church on Purchase Street, declared

"There is a class of persons who desire a reform in the prevailing
philosophy of the day. These are called Transcendentalists, because
they believe in an order of truth that transcends the sphere of the
external senses. Their leading idea is the supremacy of mind over
matter. Hence they maintain that the truth of religion does not depend
on tradition nor historical facts, but has an unswerving witness in the
soul. There is a light, they believe, which enlighteneth every man who
cometh into the world. There is a faculty in all--the most degraded,
the most ignorant, the most obscure--to perceive spiritual truth when
distinctly presented; and the ultimate appeal on all moral questions is
not to a jury of scholars, a hierarchy of divines or the prescriptions
of a creed, but to the common sense of the human race.

"There is another class of persons who are devoted to the removal of
the abuses that prevail in modern society. They witness the oppressions
done under the sun and they cannot keep silence. They have faith that
God governs man; they believe in a better future than the past; their
daily prayer is for the coming of the kingdom of righteousness, truth
and love; they look forward to a more pure, more lovely, more divine
state of society than was ever realized on earth. With these views I
rejoice to say I strongly and entirely sympathize."

The prevailing tone of New England life was Calvinistic. Its doctrines
may be said to have entered every household, penetrated every sanctuary
and influenced all the leaders of society. The new departure was not a
going away from religious thought, but it joined intellect and heart.
It ignored unreasonable extravagances of statement wherever found. It
ignored faith alone. It did not believe that faith stood above works.
It pointed always towards action. It summed up the lesson and meaning
of all good doctrines, that man should _lead a better life here_, where
the duties to our fellows should not be passed by as now, but
fulfilled. It was a newer way of thinking, to be logical with religion
and put it to the test of every-day life. If the new departure meant
anything then, if it means anything to-day, its object is to accomplish
a better life here on this earth. In his soul, penetrated by divine
aspirations, Mr. Ripley heard these words ringing out: "A truer life, a
more honest life, a juster life--accomplish it!"

It was at the Club that he again urged the realization of his plan.
There gathered together were the brightest intellects, the highest
minded, the most sympathetic, thoughtful and talented young men that
New England contained. Preaching was good, but more than preaching was
wanted--the Christian life; could it not be commenced? Could they not
educate the young in practical duties as well as in books, and by their
own good example so surround them that the interior life could be
awakened--the soul's inward goodness and the power to discern the true
destiny of man?

Encouraged by the sympathy of his wife, sister and a few earnest
spirits, Mr. Ripley started on his project. He was in his fortieth
year. He was neither too young nor too old. A few years of life he
could possibly spare for the experiment. He would then be only in his
prime. He had no children to embarrass his movements. He could give all
his strength of body and mind to it. He loved the country life. It was
to be the fulfilling of what he had preached so long and what is, alas,
still preached to-day with not much attempt to realize it--the
Christian life. People would laugh at him! I doubt if that gave him one
disturbing thought. It _was right_; as it was right he would do it. But
maybe in his secret heart he thought that more of those who seemed to
have been awakened, as he had been, to the divine call, would follow
and join with him than did; for, singularly enough, not one of the
members of the Transcendental Club, who first met together, joined Mr.
Ripley's movement. They were all radical to the prevailing theology,
stiff, rigid as it was, and never, in America, was there a group
assembled who aimed higher, or did more, first and last, to elevate
humanity; for the Club contained a galaxy of mental talent.

Mr. Ripley led them all in practical endeavor to form the Christian
commonwealth that many of them had preached.

William Ellery Channing, in whose veins ran the blood of one of the
signers of the Declaration of American Independence, a beloved
preacher, was there, full of earnestness, tenderness, faith and love.
With vigor he poured out his eloquence to awaken thoughts for an
enlarged theology, and with a sympathizing heart criticised chattel
slavery, social slavery and domestic servitude, and afterward became
one of the acknowledged leaders of liberal Christendom.

Young Ralph Waldo Emerson was there, very late from the ministry, known
better as poet, philosopher and essayist; and James Freeman Clarke,
talented writer and preacher; and faithful and independent Rev. Cyrus
A. Bartol. Rev. Theodore Parker, son of a Lexington hero, doughty, bold
and brave, on whose head fell the anathemas of the orthodox and the
curses of the slaveholders at a later day, showed his ever calm,
pleasant and earnest face at the board.

Rev. F. H. Hedge, Convers Francis, Thomas H. Stone, Samuel D. Robbins,
Samuel J. May and another Channing--William Henry--were there;
Christopher P. Cranch, divinity graduate, but now well known as
painter, poet and story teller; and beloved John S. Dwight, famed
mostly as writer on music, and musical critic; and Orestes A. Brownson,
prominent essayist, who was, by turns, a Radical, Unitarian,
Universalist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic.

All these above named persons were attached to the clergy. There were
others who, like A. Bronson Alcott, were teachers, and sometimes
lecturers. There was Henry D. Thoreau, a charming writer who spent two
years in a hut in Walden woods; and Nathaniel Hawthorne, the writer of
many familiar romances; also George Bancroft, the historian, Dr.
Charles T. Follen, Samuel G. Ward, Caleb Stetson, William Russell,
Jones Very, Robert Bartlett and S. V. Clevenger, sculptor. As an
innovation in clubs there were lady members, among whom were Elizabeth
P. Peabody, and her sister Sophia, who became the wife of Hawthorne;
Miss S. Margaret Fuller, remarkable for her intellectual capacity, and
who became the wife of Count D'Ossoli, of Italy; Miss Marianne Ripley,
sister, and Mrs. Sophia Ripley, wife, of Rev. George Ripley.

Or if those persons were not all members of the Club, of which there
seems to be no list extant, nearly every one was, and they can all be
classed as belonging to the coterie or Transcendental circle; all at
times attended the meetings, participated in the discussions, and wrote
articles for the _Dial_ and for what in those days were called the
radical journals and magazines.

The winter of 1840 had been the time of talk. Early in the spring of
the year 1841 it was announced that a location was chosen at Brook
Farm, West Roxbury, nine miles from Boston, Mass. Mr. Ripley selected
it. He and his wife had boarded there the former summer. It was retired
and pretty. Mr. Ellis owned it; Mr. Parker, Mr. Russell and Mr. Shaw
lived not far away, and a small amount of cash paid down would secure
the place for an immediate commencement of the effort. The party who
went earliest to settle at Brook Farm consisted of Mr. George Ripley;
Sophia Willard Ripley, his wife; Miss Marianne Ripley, his elder
sister; Mr. George P. Bradford, Mr. Warren Burton, Mrs. Minot Pratt
with three children, Mr. Nathaniel Hawthorne and several others. Mr.
William Allen acted as head farmer. There were in all about twenty
persons. Doubtless there were blisters on the palms and aching bones,
in the first raw days of labor, and the poetry of life was often lost
in the fatigue of the body.

Of the men of the Transcendental Club only Hawthorne and Dwight joined
what was called "Mr. Ripley's community"; and though Mr. Emerson talked
favorably of it he finally declined to join when asked to do so by Mr.

The farmhouse, the only dwelling there was on the place, must have
resounded with remarkable echoes as the pioneers of the new social
order alighted on its threshold. They were of cultivated families, and
were nearly all from the city and neighborhood of Boston. Their hearts
were open to the tender influence of buds and blossoms, the fresh
springing grass and the bubbling brook. They watched the birds of
various plumage; the oriole, who hung his basket nest from the pendant
branches of the elm, the robin redbreast who built close in the thick
branches of the firs, and the sparrow who was contented with a less
prominent nest, as he picked up hairs from the stable or from
underneath the windows.

They were fond of cows, pigs and poultry. There was a flower garden to
work in. There was a plenty of wild flowers in the fields and in the
woods near by. There was delightful solitude and delightful society,
and there was a wonderful novelty in all. There were contrasts of
character, deep, strong natures to reason with, cheerful hearts to talk
with, and great hopes everywhere. What wonder that they laughed,
frolicked and sang, and got up little parties and masquerades to
entertain the wonderful, wonderstruck and remarkable visitors who came
to see them? The place was a "milk farm" when the "Transcendentalists,"
as they were often called, entered on it. The surroundings were
picturesque. Some one of the party started at an early hour in the
morning with the milk for Boston, nine miles away.

All was new and had to be done by many for the first time. There was
much hard work for the women, as it was not a well-proportioned family;
pupils and visitors added to the labor, but poetry and enthusiasm
changed plain names into elegance, as Deborah into "Ora," and
beautified the laundry and kitchen with hopes and glories.

Immediately the school was set in operation. There were some promising
pupils. The young and talented Dwight, whose heart was too full to
preach what he might better practise in this ideal society, soon left
his pastorate in Northampton, Mass., and joined as instructor, and was
shortly followed by the capable Dana, who gained power for himself as
well as gave it to the Association.

The following persons were nominated for positions in the Brook Farm
School, fall term, 1842:--

  George Ripley, Instructor in Intellectual and Natural Philosophy and
  George P. Bradford, Instructor in Belles Lettres.
  John S. Dwight, Instructor in Latin and Music.
  Charles A. Dana, Instructor in Greek and German.
  John S. Brown, Instructor in Theosophical and Practical Agriculture.
  Sophia W. Ripley, Instructor in History and Modern Languages.
  Marianne Ripley, Teacher of Primary School.
  Abigail Morton, Teacher of Infant School.
  Georgiana Bruce, Teacher of Infant School.
  Hannah B. Ripley, Instructor in Drawing.

The infant school was for children under six years of age; the primary
school, for children under ten; the preparatory school for pupils over
ten years of age, intending to pursue the higher branches of study in
the institution.

A six years' course prepared a young man to enter college. A three
years' course in theoretical and practical agriculture was also laid
out. The studies were elective, and pupils could enter any department
for which they were qualified.

There were various other details, the most striking of which was that
every pupil was expected to spend from one to two hours daily in manual

Before the Association started from Boston, a constitution was drawn
up. The following is a copy of the original:--

_Articles of Agreement and Association between the members of the
Institute for Agriculture and Education._

In order more effectually to promote the great purposes of human
culture; to establish the external relations of life on a basis of
wisdom and purity; to apply the principles of justice and love to our
social organization in accordance with the laws of Divine Providence;
to substitute a system of brotherly cooperation for one of selfish
competition; to secure to our children, and to those who may be
entrusted to our care, the benefits of the highest physical,
intellectual and moral education in the present state of human
knowledge, the resources at our command will permit; to institute an
attractive, efficient and productive system of industry; to prevent the
exercise of worldly anxiety by the competent supply of our necessary
wants; to diminish the desire of excessive accumulation by making the
acquisition of individual property subservient to upright and
disinterested uses; to guarantee to each other the means of physical
support and of spiritual progress, and thus to impart a greater
freedom, simplicity, truthfulness, refinement and moral dignity to our
mode of life,--

We, the undersigned, do unite in a Voluntary Association, to wit:--

ARTICLE 1. The name and style of the Association shall be "(The Brook
Farm) Institute of Agriculture and Education." All persons who shall
hold one or more shares in the stock of the Association, and shall sign
the articles of agreement, or who shall hereafter be admitted by the
pleasure of the Association, shall be members thereof.

ART. 2. No religious test shall ever be required of any member of the
Association; no authority assumed over individual freedom of opinion by
the Association, nor by any member over another; nor shall anyone be
held accountable to the Association except for such acts as violate
rights of the members, and the essential principles on which the
Association is founded; and in such cases the relation of any member
may be suspended, or discontinued, at the pleasure of the Association.

ART. 3. The members of this Association shall own and manage such real
and personal estate, in joint stock proprietorship, as may, from time
to time, be agreed on, and establish such branches of industry as may
be deemed expedient and desirable.

ART. 4. The Association shall provide such employment for all of its
members as shall be adapted to their capacities, habits and tastes, and
each member shall select and perform such operation of labor, whether
corporal or mental, as he shall deem best suited to his own endowments,
and the benefit of the Association.

ART. 5. The members of this Association shall be paid for all labor
performed under its direction and for its advantage, at a fixed and
equal rate, both for men and women. This rate shall not exceed one
dollar per day, nor shall more than ten hours in the day be paid for as
a day's labor.

ART. 6. The Association shall furnish to all its members, their
children and family dependents, house-rent, fuel, food and clothing,
and all other comforts and advantages possible, at the actual cost, as
nearly as the same can be ascertained; but no charge shall be made for
education, medical or nursing attendance, or the use of the library,
public rooms or baths to the members; nor shall any charge be paid for
food, rent or fuel by those deprived of labor by sickness, nor for food
of children under ten years of age, nor for anything on members over
seventy years of age, unless at the special request of the individual
by whom the charges are paid, or unless the credits in his favor
exceed, or equal, the amount of such charges.

ART. 7. All labor performed for the Association shall be duly credited,
and all articles furnished shall be charged, and a full settlement made
with every member once every year.

ART. 8. Every child over ten years of age shall be charged for food,
clothing, and articles furnished at cost, and shall be credited for his
labor, not exceeding fifty cents per day, and on the completion of his
education in the Association at the age of twenty, shall be entitled to
a certificate of stock, to the amount of credits in his favor, and may
be admitted a member of the Association.

ART. 9. Every share-holder in the joint-stock proprietorship of the
Association, shall be paid on such stock, at the rate of five per cent,

ART. 10. The net profits of the Association remaining in the treasury
after the payments of all demands for interest on stock, labor
performed, and necessary repairs, and improvements, shall be divided
into a number of shares corresponding with the number of days' labor,
and every member shall be entitled to one share for every day's labor
performed by him.

ART. 11. All payments may be made in certificates of stock at the
option of the Association; but in any case of need, to be decided by
himself, every member may be permitted to draw on the funds of the
treasury to an amount not exceeding the credits in his favor.

ART. 12. The Association shall hold an annual meeting for the choice of
officers, and such other necessary business as shall come before them.

ART. 13. The officers of the Association shall be twelve directors,
divided into four departments, as follows: first, General Direction;
second, Direction of Agriculture; third, Direction of Education;
fourth, Direction of Finance; consisting of three persons each,
provided that the same persons may be a member of each Direction at the
pleasure of the Association.

ART. 14. The Chairman of the General Direction shall be presiding
officer in the Association, and together with the Direction of Finance,
shall constitute a Board of Trustees, by whom the property of the
Association shall be managed.

ART. 15. The General Direction shall oversee and manage the affairs of
the Association so that every department shall be carried on in an
orderly and efficient manner. Each department shall be under the
general supervision of its own Direction, which shall select, and, in
accordance with the General Direction, shall appoint, all such
overseers, directors and agents, as shall be necessary to the complete
and systematic organization of the department, and shall have full
authority to appoint such persons to these stations as they shall judge
best qualified for the same.

ART. 16. No Directors shall be deemed to possess any rank superior to
the other members of the Association, nor shall be chosen in reference
to any other consideration than their capacity to serve the
Association; nor shall they be paid for their official service except
at the rate of one dollar for ten hours in a day, actually employed in
official duties.

ART. 17. The Association may, from time to time, adopt such rules and
regulations, not inconsistent with the spirit and purpose of the
Articles of Agreement, as shall be found expedient and necessary.

[_This was signed by_]


Not all who signed this document entered on the work. Mr. David Mack,
whose name is attached, for some reason did not, neither did Mr. and
Mrs. Samuel D. Robbins. Mr. Mack afterward founded the Northampton
Association at Northampton, Mass.

It would be interesting to give a history of and describe all the
persons who signed this original document, but room will not permit it.
Mr. Ripley's biography is published; I refer the reader to that book
for particulars of his life, but cannot refrain from selecting one
pen-picture of him by the author, Rev. O. B. Frothingham, who writes:--

"He was no unbeliever, no sceptic, no innovator in matters of opinion
or observance, but a quiet student, a scholar, a man of books, a calm,
bright-minded, whole-souled thinker, believing, hopeful, social, sunny,
but absorbed in philosophical pursuits. Well does the writer of these
lines recall the vision of a slender figure wearing in summer the
flowing silk robe, in winter the long, dark blue cloak of the
profession, walking with measured step from his residence in Rowe
Street towards the meeting house in Purchase Street. The face was
shaven clean, the brown hair curled in close, crisp ringlets; the face
was pale as if in thought; the gold-rimmed spectacles concealed black
eyes; the head was alternately bent and raised. No one could have
guessed that the man had in him the fund of humor in which his friends
delighted, or the heroism in social reform which a few years later
amazed the community. He seemed a sober, devoted minister of the
gospel, formal, punctilious, ascetic, a trifle forbidding to the
stranger. But even then the new thoughts of the age were at work within

Minot Pratt was at one time foreman printer at the office of the
_Christian Register_--a finely formed, large, graceful-featured, modest
man. His voice was low, soft and calm. His presence inspired confidence
and respect. Whatever he touched was well done. He was faithful and
dignified, and the serenity of his nature welled up in genial smiles.
In farm work he was Mr. Ripley's right hand. He was not far from him in
age. They agreed in practical matters; indeed, Mr. Ripley deferred to
him. His wife was an earnest, strong, faithful worker. They entered
into the scheme with fervor, and it was often said of him that he was
first to give Mr. Ripley the hand of fellowship in the practical work
of organizing the society.

John Sullivan Dwight was born in Boston, and was keenly sensitive to
harmony of all kinds; amiable, thoughtful, kind. Touched with the
divine desire to do good to all, he entered into the work with his
whole earnest soul. Modest to a fault, but singularly persistent in
what he felt to be his duty, he never flinched or failed to act when
occasion required it. His tastes were of the most refined order. He
shrank from coarse contact with an unusual degree of sensitiveness, but
his great heart embraced all mankind in brotherhood. He graduated at
Harvard College, and rumor says that he had more than ordinarily the
goodwill of his classmates. He studied and made some fine translations
from French and German authors, and was ordained to the ministry. He
soon left the pulpit, feeling that it was better to try to actualize a
Christian life, preaching it by deeds himself, than to preach it by
words to others. He was supremely musical, though his musical feeling
sometimes showed itself in verse, and he stamped Brook Farm with his
musical influence. Short in stature, delicate in physical organization,
the school claimed the major part of his services.

Mrs. Ripley was born under favorable stars and had superior mental
talent and training, with hosts of friends and relatives. Her devotion
to the "Community" caused a great flutter in her social circle. Her
relatives were noted for their position, their personal dignity, and
generally for a haughtiness of manner unknown in these days. In person
she was tall, slender and graceful, with rather light, smooth hair,
worn in the plain style of the day. Being near-sighted she was obliged
to use a glass when looking at a distant person or thing. Her manner
was vivacious and she was a good conversationalist. Mr. Ripley had
changed since the description given of his appearance in earlier days,
and had grown stouter; had lost his pallor and gained a good, healthy
color. He had allowed a vigorous beard to grow, and shaved only his
upper lip.

A young man of education, culture and marked ability was Charles
Anderson Dana when from Harvard College he presented himself at the
farm. He was strong of purpose and lithe of frame, and it was not long
before Mr. Ripley found it out and gave him a place at the front. He
was about four and twenty years of age, and he took to books, language
and literature. Social, good-natured and animated, he readily pleased
all with whom he came in contact. He was above medium height; his
complexion was light, and his beard, which he wore full but well
trimmed, was vigorous and of auburn hue, and his thick head of hair was
well cut to moderate shortness. His features were quite regular; his
forehead high and full, and his head large. His face was pleasant and
animated, and he had a genial smile and greeting for all. His voice was
musical and clear, and his language remarkably correct. He loved to
spend a portion of his time in work on the farm and in the tree
nursery, and you might be sure of finding him there when not otherwise
occupied. Enjoying fun and social life, there was always a dignity
remaining which gave him influence and commanded respect. If you looked
into his room you saw pleasant volumes in various languages peeping at
you from the table, chair, bookcase, and even from the floor, and they
gave one the impression that for so young a person he was remarkably
studious and well informed.

George P. Bradford had the department of Belle Lettres. Of him, after
his decease, his former friend and pupil, George William Curtis, wrote
as follows in _Harper's Monthly_ for May, 1890:--

"The recollection of George Bradford is that of a long life as serene
and happy as it was blameless and delightful to others. It was a life
of affection and many interests and friendly devotion; but it was not
that of a recluse scholar like Edward Fitzgerald, with the pensive
consciousness of something desired but undone. George Bradford was in
full sympathy with the best spirit of his time. He had all the
distinctive American interest in public affairs. His conscience was as
sensitive to public wrongs and perilous tendencies as to private and
personal conduct. He voted with strong convictions, and wondered
sometimes that the course so plain to him was not equally plain to

"It was a life with nothing of what we call achievement, and yet a life
beneficent to every other life that it touched, like a summer wind
laden with a thousand invisible seeds that, dropping everywhere, spring
up into flowers and fruit. It is a name which to most readers of these
words is wholly unknown, and which will not be written, like that of so
many of the friends of him who bore it, in our literature and upon the
memory of his countrymen. But to those who knew him well, and who
therefore loved him, it recalls the most essential human worth and
purest charm of character, the truest manhood, the most affectionate
fidelity. To those who hear of him now, and perhaps never again, these
words may suggest that the personal influences which most envelop and
sweeten life may escape fame, but live immortal in the best part of
other lives."

Among the signers was also Nathaniel Hawthorne, the writer, and it may
not be out of place to make here a few comments on his relation to the
Brook Farm life, so often alluded to by writers.

Hawthorne was an idealist in its broad sense. The idea of a juster and
more rational social state pleased him. He felt himself honored, and
was very grateful for the appreciation of the men and women by whom he
was surrounded in the literary circle of the Transcendental Club, but
he never surrendered the well-matured plan of his youth, to be a writer
of stories.

When, he went to Brook Farm he thought that his manual labors might in
a small way do a trifle towards aiding the formation of the ideal
state, and evidently felt that in his leisure hours he could compose,
write for magazines, and the like; but the hard, unwonted though
self-imposed labor, the peculiar surroundings, the buzz and hum of the
large family in which he could not fail to take an interest, distracted
him from his purpose. James T. Fields, the publisher, said of him, "He
was a man who had, so to speak, a physical affinity with solitude." He
could not put his mind to his special work. The seclusion in which he
had worked before, he could not find, and though "no one intruded on
him," as he says, yet he was not in his best element.

Had he stayed longer, this newness of situation would doubtless have
worn off, and he would have found a seclusion little dreamed of at
first acquaintance with the life. He was in haste to be at his writing;
so after a few months of manual labor, bidding adieu to the farm, he
found himself back in Boston. There were other interests that carried
him there, for we find that in the next year he married Sophia Peabody
of Salem, Mass. Critics have said that the Brook Farm life was hurtful
to his genius. He never once intimated it, but said afterwards to
Emerson that he was "almost sorry he did not stay with the Brook
Farmers and see it out to the finish."

The most ingenuous, the most simple-minded of all men in matters of
ordinary business, in relative values and exchanges, and unwilling to
act as teacher, he could only be counted as an ordinary day-laborer,
except where he could use the twin gifts of intellect and imagination
with which he was so highly endowed. His allusion to his "having had
the good fortune, for a time, to be personally connected with it," and
"his old and affectionately remembered home at Brook Farm" speak
volumes, as does also this little passage from "Blithedale Romance":--

"Often in these years that are darkening around me, I remember our
beautiful scheme of a noble and unselfish life, and how fair in that
first summer appeared the prospect that it might endure for
generations, and be perfected, as the ages rolled by, into the system
of a people and a world. Were my former associates now there--were
there only three or four of those true-hearted men still laboring in
the sun--I sometimes fancy that I should direct my world-weary
footsteps thitherward, and entreat them to receive me for old
friendship's sake. More and more I feel we struck upon what ought to be
a truth. Posterity may dig it up and profit by it."

In "Years of Experience" the writer, Georgiana (Bruce) Kirby, one of
the early associates, says:--

"Hawthorne, after spending a year at the Community, had now left. No
one could have been more out of place than he in a mixed company, no
matter how cultivated, worthy and individualized each member of it
might be. He was morbidly shy and reserved, needing to be shielded from
his fellows, and obtaining the fruits of observation at second-hand. He
was therefore not amenable to the democratic influences at the
Community which enriched the others, and made them declare, in after
years, that the years or months spent there had been the most valuable
ones in their lives."

Messrs. W. B. Allen, Minot Pratt, Warren Burton, Charles Hosmer, Isaac
Hecker and George C. Leach, with Mr. Hawthorne, devoted most of their
time to outdoor farm work.

Many of the pupils became interested in the new life with which they
came in contact. It influenced them for good, and in after years they
were full of gratitude and praise for the help and moral tone it
imparted to them. An extract from a letter from Mr. Richard F. Fuller,
the father of Margaret Fuller, to Mr. Ripley at this time reads as

"A lady asked me not long since where she should send her daughter to
school. I said at once, to the _Community_, for there she would learn
for the first time, perhaps, that all these matters of creed and morals
are not quite so well settled as to make thinking nowadays a piece of
supererogation, and would learn to distinguish between truth and the
'sense sublime,' and the dead dogmas of the past. This is the great
benefit I believe you confer upon the young."

The pupil who became most prominent was George William Curtis, who
always acknowledged the beneficial effect it had upon all his future

New England and New York sent in their share of pupils until the
accommodations were crowded. The school flourished. It was not large,
but select. It was necessary to have more room, and a neighbor's
cottage was hired. Enthusiasts wished to build on the place. Plans of
procedure for the Association were indefinite. The central idea of
justice to all men and women was ever uppermost. Mrs. Olvord, a lady of
means, built a small gabled cottage of wood, which, owing to ill
health, she was able to occupy but a short time. At the highest point
of the domain, on a ledge of "pudding-stone," the Association erected a
small, square, wooden building which was named "the Eyrie," and at
another period a large double or twin house was built to be conjointly
occupied by two brothers from Plymouth, Mass., of the name of Morton;
it was called "the Pilgrim House." The original farmhouse was
christened "the Hive." The cultivation of the farm proceeded, and some
ornamentation in the shape of flower-beds was done around the houses.
It was soon found that much milk was needed at home, and the sale of it
was discontinued.

A few individuals making a common family on a farm near a city, would
seem to be too unimportant a matter to excite much comment now, even
though the people who did it were superior in attainments, of high
purpose, and above criticism in their moral and social standing; but at
this date of our country's history, all thoughtful people in New
England seemed to be gaping at them with curiosity and wonder, and
comments were unlimited. As they were neither dogmatists, nor active
fanatics who brandished anathemas of terror and destruction at those
who followed not in their ways, but simply and unostentatiously
attended to their own business, and seemed to care very little for what
anyone said derogatory to their proceedings, the conditions appeared so
unique, that interest in their doings increased day by day.

Mr. Ripley wrote of it a few months after its commencement: "We are now
in full operation as a family of workers, teachers and students. We
feel the deepest convictions that, for us, our mode of life is the true
one, and no attraction would tempt any one of us to exchange it for
that we have quitted lately." And it would be an impertinence now to
penetrate into its private circles and bring its members and doings to
the gaze of an investigating and curious public, were it not that its
doings and its members have become, from their relation to social
science, a part of public history.

The pressure of life was off at Brook Farm, for the nonce. What anyone
did that was out of the common, might cause smiles and laughter but no
frowns or scoldings. Each felt and believed in the demonstration of his
or her own individuality, and, as a first consequence, there was
something that was often mistaken, by strangers, for rudeness and want
of order. Some forgot that it was especially work they came for, and
were anxious to have their theories discussed. Independence in dress
was universal. The Mrs. Grandys were all away, and if the young ladies
thought it was prettier to exhibit the grace of flowing tresses than to
bind them up in "pugs" behind their heads, who should, who could,

Prim Margaret Fuller, who was a visitor--and never a member of the
community as has often been stated--professed herself disturbed, at
first, by the easy and perhaps indifferent manner in which they
listened to her long conversations, as they sat on the floor or on
crickets; but on a later visit, she expressed herself as better
pleased. Doubtless some of the individual angularities had been rubbed
off, by this time, by the pleasant but close contact of the Community
life--and some of hers as well.



Two years of the experimental and "idyllic" life, ran rapidly away, and
the Community had gained something of position and name in the outward
world. Personal contact had modified the extreme views of many of the
founders. Changes had taken place in the Individuals composing it; some
had departed. Six of the original stockholders remained. The number had
increased to about seventy, including some thirty who were pupils. The
financial success had not been all that was desired. Everything else
was getting more settled. The social life was charming. Improvements in
material matters, in comforts, in discipline and in grace of manners
were visible. But what was to be developed next among all the things
desirable? Was it to push the school still further in progress, to
attach mechanical industries to the organization, to work up the farm
life into more prominence, or what?

It could not be expected that this large number of persons, whose early
surroundings and ideas had been so varied, could at once agree as to
what next steps were necessary to take, or to what definite end the
Community should be shaped. There was need, certainly, of some central
purpose strong enough for all to unite upon to inspire permanence.

Neither Mr. Ripley nor any of his co-workers had heard of Charles
Fourier--the French exponent of industrial association--or his
doctrines, unless in a most casual way, and certainly they had not
studied them when they started the Community. They were independent
workers in a field of social science; but when they became acquainted
with his ideas, especially his ideas of industry made attractive by
organized labor, and its relation to the higher standard of work and
liberal belief they had adopted and maintained thus far, their
enthusiasm was awakened for them and they resolved to graft some of his
formulas on their institution. The little Community, with its bright,
cheerful school and its happy members, was not paying its way. There
were philosophers enough in it. There were plenty of sweet, charming
characters and amateur workmen in it, but the hard-fisted toilers and
the brave financiers were absent.

Still, it was not entirely absence of financial success that led the
responsible men of the Community to make the change in the organization
that they did, but truly because the grand and reasonable ideas of the
distinguished Frenchman bore such internal evidences of harmony with
human nature and with God's providence and laws that they carried
conviction to the great and sympathetic minds of Brook Farm. Fourier
argued that there was a sublime destiny for mankind on this earth, that
the Creator was infinitely good, that all the instincts of our nature,
when not subverted by bad conditions, pointed towards that destiny, and
that humanity was on its way upward--that the past progress argued what
the future might be.

I give as illustrations, a few extracts from "The Social Destiny of
Man," by Albert Brisbane, page 269:--"Four societies have existed on
the earth--the savage, patriarchal, barbarian and civilized. Under
these general heads may be classed the various social forms through
which man has progressed up to the present day. _If four have existed
may not a fifth, or even a sixth, be discovered and organized?_ Common
sense would dictate that there could, although the world has
entertained a different opinion."

Page 293: "If the barbarian asserts that the lash is the only means of
forcing the slave to labor, the civilized is not far behind him in his
reasoning, for he will assert with equal confidence that necessity and
want are necessary stimulants to industry. The barbarian is as ignorant
of the levers which civilization puts in play as is the civilized of
the powerful incentives to action which the groups and series will call

Page 464: "If He [God] has not known how or has not wished to give us a
social code productive of justice, industrial attraction and passional
harmony;--_if he has not known how_, how could he have supposed our
weak reason would succeed in a task in which he himself doubted of
success? _If he has not wished_, how can our legislators hope to
organize a society which would lead to the results above mentioned, and
of which he wished to deprive us.... What motive could he have had to
refuse us such a code? Six views may be taken on the subject of this

"_First--either he has not known how_ to give us a social code
guaranteeing truth, justice and industrial attraction; in this case why
create in us the want of it, without having the means of satisfying
that want which he satisfies in creatures inferior to us, to which he
assigns a mode of existence adapted to their attractions and instincts:

"Second--_or he has not wished_ to give us this code; which thus
supposes the Creator to be the persecutor of mankind, creating in us
wants which it is impossible to satisfy, inasmuch as none of our codes
can extirpate our permanent scourges:

"Third--_or he has known how and has not wished_; in which case the
Creator becomes a malignant being, knowing how to do good, but
preferring the reign of evil:

"Fourth--_or he has wished and has not known how_; in this case he is
incapable of governing us, knowing and wishing the good which he cannot
realize, and which we still less can attain:

"Fifth--_or he has neither wished nor known how_; and we must attribute
to him both want of genius and evil intention:

"Sixth--_or he has known how and has wished_; in this case the code
exists, and he must have provided a mode for its revelation--for of
what use would it be if it were to remain hidden from men for whom it
is destined?"

Page 468: "If the human race were at the commencement of their social
career--in the first ages of civilization--they would perhaps be
excusable for founding some hope of social good upon human science,
upon the legislation of man; but long experience has proved the
impotency of human legislation, and shown clearly that the world has
nothing to hope from human laws and civilized constitutions."

Page 260: "Either the passions _are_ bad or the social mechanism _is
false_, for evil prevails, and to a melancholy extent. If the former be
true, then there is no hope of a better state of things, for every
means of repression and constraint that human ingenuity could invent
has been applied to regulate their action; but all in vain--they have
remained unchanged, and in the eyes of the moralist as perverse as
ever. If, however, the latter be true--that is, if the social mechanism
be false--then there is a chance for a better future; for our
incoherent and absurd societies are changing more or less with every
century. They are at the mercy or whim of a tyrant, or of a revolution
of the mass; they may therefore be reformed or done away with entirely."

These grand words and this powerful logic, if even too strong for some
of the readers of this book, were not so for the brave hearts of the
leaders of Brook Farm, and for Mr. Ripley in particular. The tentative
feeling, the search for science to back up the social impulses, seemed
at last to have found something solid in a society conceived by the
Creator; the man created by him, fitted to it by him; the society
fitted to the man; the one the counterpart of the other. Albert
Brisbane, Parke Godwin and Horace Greeley, with the _Tribune_, were
arousing the thinkers in New York; Gerritt Smith was agitating the land
question and giving away to actual settlers vast tracts of land owned
by him. The works of the communist Owen and others were read.
Antislavery, anti-war and non-resistance societies were vigorously
prosecuting their claims. It was an era of great social activity.
Thousands were aroused. "Communities," "Associations" and "Phalanxes"
were springing up in various quarters. It seemed that the tide of
change from social chaos to order was fast rising. A great wave of
reform was sweeping over the land. Should the Community moor itself
where it was, or be borne on with the flood?

This was the question of moment; and while the young danced or played,
acted in charade or masquerade, and the youths wove garlands of green
around their straw hats, and amused themselves by wearing long tresses
and tunics, the sedater heads were solving this important question. And
they must decide it, but first of all Mr. Ripley's wishes must be
consulted: the key to the situation was in his hands. What would he do?
Would he, and should they, take among them men and women endowed only
with practical, everyday talents, able to be honest and make shoes and
sew garments; to strike with a sledge and a blacksmith's arm; to be
adepts, maybe, in all the cares for the outward wants of the body, but
who had never read Goethe or Schiller, and, possibly, neither
Shakespeare, Scott nor Robert Burns; and might not care to read or
study Latin, French, German or philosophy! It was for Mr. Ripley to

Did he then think of the little church in Purchase Street, and of what
he had solemnly said to the listening congregation? Had he not told
them that in every soul was a divine fire that aspired to the right no
matter how deeply it had been covered from sight or buried by the
troubling cares and surroundings that environed it: that there was a
divine equality of spirit at the base of all human lives?

Did he not hear reverberating in his soul the sublime passage, "If I be
lifted up, I will lift all others up to me"? Had he not been lifted up?
Had he not been supremely blest with health, strength, education,
talent, friends, companionship with the great and his cup filled full
of the sweet and sublime accords of the Christian faith? Had he not
been lifted up, not in crucifixion, but by myriads of silent blessings,
and was it not Christ-like to aid in lifting all others up also?

Alas for those who speak of Mr. Ripley's action at this time as
"Ripley's fall"! These were the moments when he achieved his glory,
when the greatness of his character arose, almost without exception,
above all others of the Transcendental School, who hovered around, and
wished to claim him as a bright example of a man separated from the
common herd of humanity, as a leader of a select group of men and
women, cultivated intellectually and socially. Then, as before, when he
saw what he deemed right, or, rather, when the intuitions of his soul
told him his duty, he did not hesitate.

Soon he was practically deserted by Emerson and his coterie, by some of
the associates and pupils of the school, and boarders, who were scared
out of their propriety by the fear of losing social caste, and they
showed their disfavor by leaving him alone; but, intrenched as he was,
and surrounded by a multitude of friends, new and old, and many
secretly admiring his intrepid spirit, they could only vent their
disfavor in sly sneers and hints that Mr. Ripley, and, of course, his
followers with him, had fallen from their high estate. Yes, they who
sat near by on the fences and crowed reform the loudest--they who had
never soiled their ink-stained fingers with the grass-green sod of old
Brook Farm in practical example of work--found most fault with him,
because he chose to remain and risk his social standing still more than
he had already done, in his magnificent work and experiment.

In order to show more clearly some of the philosophy under which the
leaders of Brook Farm based the changes in their theories and
organization, let us pause a few moments to give a slight sketch of the
growth of human society from its primitive formation to the present
time, trusting that the time spent on it may not be unworthily used,
and the patience of those to whom these ideas are old is asked for the
benefit of others to whom they are new.

It is evident that, at some time, there was a beginning of social life.
To those who have full faith in the Mosaic record it was in the Garden
of Eden; but that may be considered as before society, as such, was
fairly begun. It was the very dawn of the childhood of our race. To
those who recognize the fact that the primitive man was a weak,
unskilled, uncultivated savage, the conclusion must come that the first
social life of the race was very crude; that men lived in trees or in
caves and rude huts, and that they formed societies or hordes for
protection from the huge and formidable wild animals that roamed the
uncultivated earth.

Upon the slain beasts, wild fruits and grains they existed. They hunted
and fished, and although the passions of friendship, love and ambition
implanted in their souls by their Creator shone out at times, at other
times they quarrelled like the brutes they slaughtered. This state of
crude society is named _savagism_.

But as the beasts became less formidable foes, and were much diminished
in numbers by being slain and possibly from other causes, it is
probable that at times the race suffered hunger, and finding that the
ground readily produced from seed, the primitive race or races began to
plant, and finding also that they had slain so many of the wild animals
that they could keep herds of cattle without great danger of their
destruction by them, the life of the herdsman began. But as the herds
began to be numerous, it was found necessary to travel with them in
order to give them new pasturage, and then the nomadic or wandering
life was fully installed.

With their cattle and their wives, and their limited knowledge of
cultivation, the patriarchal tribe moved from place to place; sometimes
to find water, sometimes to find pasture for their horses and cattle,
and at harvest time they returned to their fields to harvest the grain
which had been planted for all. This, as you see, describes crudely the
second state of society, which is the "_patriarchal_" state.

As population increased, the difficulty of constantly changing the
place of residence was more and more apparent; and as some arts had
sprung up, such as the manufacture of pottery, farming implements and
defensive weapons, which could not be equally well carried on in all
places, towns, and afterwards cities, sprang up, where the artisans
resided; and being often liable to marauders, especially when the
outside population or tribes were wandering away from them, they
enclosed them with walls. By industry some wealth was acquired; some
luxury and comparative splendor were introduced. Prominent and
naturally ambitious individuals and families raised themselves into
power, and, placing themselves at the head of armies, with the newest
weapons of war, made by their own hands, went forth to conquer. Thus
the third, or what is called the "_barbaric_" state was established.

Still moving on in the same direction, a great variety of class
distinction was made. Woman arose steadily from a condition of almost
hopeless slavery to be the one companion of man, and direct slavery of
man to man was abolished. Invention was stimulated, and means of
dissemination of knowledge, such as the printing press and the
university, came to light. Kings and princes reign by law, which is
fully established, and commerce and trade flourish. These things
inaugurate the advent of civilization; but perhaps the most marked
types of civilization are the _independence of the individual,
monogamic marriage_ and _free competition_. Thus was established the
fourth societary condition.

Society having progressed so far, and gone through so many changes, is
it reasonable that it must now stop at what we call "_civilization_" as
the _ultimatum_ of its progress? With a little thought it will be seen
how surely man has, through all these changes, emancipated himself from
physical surroundings until he stands forth free and independent, but
without, however, any positive relation or duty binding him to maintain
the independence of all the human brotherhood. His independence is for
himself alone, and in that relation he is forced by _conditions of his
surroundings_ to neglect and trespass on the rights of his fellow-man
to keep his individual supremacy, and to develop various promptings of
his soul, which are ofttimes good, great and noble.

In the early days of civilization, free competition develops the
resources of man. The prospect of wealth, and the power it brings with
it, encourages trade to seek the ends of the earth, and from its
products vast enterprises are built up. As every fruit has in it that
which causes its final dissolution, and within it also the germs of a
future and higher life, so civilized society carries in it the germs of
its decay and dissolution, society being a natural product, as fruit
is, of God's providence. _Free competition_ is the destructive agent,
or one of the most important agents in its dissolution. Observe that
the power which ripens a natural fruit causes, in the end, its
destruction. Observe also that free competition, which in the early
stages of civilization glorifies and typifies it, by continuing at its
work will finally destroy it.

There is another element which is called capital. In savage life there
is hardly anything which can be called capital. The amount of capital
depends on the wealth of the community. As society advances, wealth
increases; from savagism to civilization, from early civilization to
the present time. This wealth, this capital comes from the reserved
products of labor; "dried labor," it has been called, for labor is its
only source of production. This wealth belongs to the community that
has earned it, saved it and inherited it. It is the grand moving power
of society as it now stands, and without it we would return to the
savage state. Society can never be too wealthy, any more than it can be
too powerful, and the one is the synonym, to a great extent, of the

But capital with interest, as the agent and assistant of competition,
is destructive. Capital joined with labor builds manufactories,
railroads, towns, and is the great moving power of civilization; but in
the growth of civilization vast amounts of it have accumulated, and
being unevenly distributed, there are those who are constantly seeking
its use to help them to business and to elevation, and have been ready
to pay a royalty, which we call interest, for the use of it. This has
made capital a commodity.

The progress of arts and inventions has been, in modern days, in such
increased ratio to the increase of capital that it has created so great
a demand that a monopoly has been made of it; more is paid for the use
of it than its real worth, so that wealth, even in this democratic
country, is piling up in colossal fortunes by being drawn from the
great body of society. Consequently, classes of people grow relatively
poorer as fast as other bodies of people or individuals grow richer;
the extremes of riches and poverty constantly increasing.

Every advance in the producing capacity of machinery gives organized
capital a better hold on labor, because capital owns the machinery,
and, in homely phrase, labor "is the under dog in the fight" all of the
time. It makes no practical difference to it whether the laborer
becomes capitalist or no, for the moment he becomes so he is engaged in
the same crusade. He is no better nor worse than the one whom we called
capitalist yesterday. It is the _unnatural position_ or _relation_ of
_capital and labor_ that makes him what he is. To change this relation
to a more just one was among the grandest ideas of the Brook Farmers,
and the only way it could possibly be done, in their estimation, was by
reorganizing society on a new basis; by combining the capital of the
workers and others interested and using it so as finally to control
machinery for the benefit of labor, and to reduce its hours of toil so
that the laborer could have time for self-improvement.

Having traced the progress of society from its earliest forms to our
present civilization, it can be easily shown how the supreme or
governing power is first in the hands of the most powerful physically;
then passes to the one most able by prowess to sway a tribe or people;
then passes into the hierarchy of the church, that rules by swaying
mental terrors; next into the hierarchy of the state, that rules by
both mental and physical terrors; and, in our present civilization, has
passed or is passing rapidly into the hands of a moneyed class ruling
with powers according to the amount of capital swayed; and it can be
proved that these changes are but the natural result of forces that are
as sure and constant as sunlight and electricity.

This present form of social power, it is argued, is transient, and like
the others, will pass away and be replaced, and can only be replaced by
anarchy, or by a hierarchy of organized talent arranged in serial order
from the most talented down to the humblest laborer, and this was
another of the grand ideas of the Brook Farmers. From the seeds of this
civilization will spring--is springing--a higher order. It is an order
that the teacher Fourier called "_guaranteeism_." It is an order in
which the _governing power_ passes from the moneyed aristocracy into
the hands of _organized bodies_. It is an order in which the spiritual
and material truths are incorporated into organic societies and
governments which guarantee to everyone support in sickness and
protection from dangers of various sorts; an order which, in fact,
abounds in mutual guarantees covering by degrees all the numerous
necessities and wants of life--hence its name; and finally, in the
process of time, placing all the material wants of the people under
protective guarantees.

This fifth condition of society must pass into the sixth order, which
is the _associative order_, or the coöperative phase of society in
which it will be proven by practical works that, by adherence to
principles and proper organizations, we may avoid a large share of the
miseries we have in the past so unsparingly laid to the charge of the
Deity as discipline for us, but which are the results of our own
ignorance. The "_harmonic order_" is associated life of a high type,
and includes association of families, economy of means, unity of
interests, labor made attractive, equitable distribution of profits,
integral justice, etc., in such a way as to bring about very great
happiness among _all_ people, thus deserving its grand name. From the
commencement of the age of harmony, which is a higher octave of life,
society begins a new era, the beauties and accords of which no one can
do more than speculate upon.

This sketch of the progress of the human race may seem trite to many
readers. It may have a familiar sound, but it is necessary to our
narrative. It was promulgated many years before our modern writers came
into the field with their evolutionary theories, and it is at least a
theoretic base for social scientists to build their hopes of present
and future progress on. To the Brook Farm leaders it was new; it was
sensible; it was reasonable. Communism they did not favor, for their
motto was, "Community of property is the grave of individual liberty."
Instinctively they rebelled against it.

The organized communities held everything in common--houses, lands,
moneys and goods; even prescribing what garments should be worn, and
also electing a religious creed for their members. It was not
compatible with the greater ideas of freedom held at Brook Farm. It was
not a free life and it could not be a true life, for they all believed
in the motto, "The _truth_ shall make you _free_," and instead of
freedom, the "Communities" used mental constraint and tyranny to hold
themselves together.

The Brook Farmers believed that the laborer owned the value of his
labor; if it was used, it was credited to him, and a part of the
increased value of the domain belonged to him. It never belonged to the
organization;--that is, the value of it--but by mutual consent might be
retained, invested and added to the laborer's stock. Theoretically the
result would show that the person who was the most capable, active and
industrious would in time own the most accrued capital. This the Brook
Farmers claimed was right and according to nature, and, combined with
_yearly diminishing interest_, could not be destructive, as capital is

They had fallen unwittingly, it may be said, on ideas that coincided
with those of Charles Fourier. There was an agreement between them,
unknown at the start. Their idea that certain mutual guarantees were to
be in the constitution, such as immunity from labor in extreme age and
youth, care in sickness--a certain "minimum" of rights according to the
prosperity or wealth of the institution--and that an "integral
education" was a duty of the Association--an education not of the mind
alone, but of the hands, heart and affections--coincided exactly with
Fourier, and it was easy to adopt his motto of "_coöperative labor_,"
for they had already adopted the principle; also "_association of
families_," for that had been agreed on. It was easy to adopt his
formula of "_honors according to usefulness_"; they believed in it.

Usefulness, not wealth, station or any artificial distinction, was to
receive the highest rank and the greatest honors and favors from the
body politic. It might be an invention of the mind; it might be some
Herculean or disagreeable labor of the body, or it might be some
enthusiasm imparted from some brilliant soul, that would win the honor;
but it could be given to none except those who had won it by superior
usefulness, whether that usefulness came from doing the work in the
"sacred legion"--who were a body of persons who did unattractive work
from a sense of duty--or in any other body or group.

It was easy to adopt "_attractive industry_," another of Fourier's
mottoes, for were they not trying mind and body to make it so? And
finally, it was easy to adopt the aphorism that the attractions of life
in the universe are in proportion to the destinies they assist in
accomplishing--"_attractions are proportionate to destinies_," as it is
translated. Certainly it was simple and easy to grasp and believe, when
explained so well as it had been by Fourier, and by Brisbane and
Godwin, his American translators. And lastly, if all these things were
true, why not say so and adopt them? They were outside and free from
modern society. They had one of their own. They were happy in it. They
had adopted truth as their guide--truth as they saw it, and whenever
and wherever they saw it.

Thus closed the first chapter in the history of this little society.
They had gathered together without any idea of scientific organization,
but from profound convictions of the present wrong relations of the
human brotherhood, from religious convictions of duty, and in the
belief that they would increase in love to one another, and draw to
themselves by their example the good and wise; believing also that if
they planted the seeds of truth and unity they would be watered with
deeds of faith, and by degrees overtop and destroy the evil undergrowth
that abounded in the so-called civilization all around them.

Now came to the leaders a new revelation! It was of science applied to
society. Mr. Ripley had great faith in scientific agriculture. Was
there to be science applied to society? Was it true that the actual
laws applicable to social life had been discovered? Were they immutable
as the laws of earthly bodies--of the sun, the stars and the universe?
And did they actually agree with the laws of music, color and
mathematics? It seemed so. They could but try them. And with a faith
for which, during all these succeeding years, they have been, laughed
at by cynical philosophers, they went to work to apply them, as far as
possible, to the actual life they were then leading. All honor to them!

When the resolution was finally taken to join with the movements that
seemed to be, as it were, a new impulse for humanity's sake--an
outpouring of spirit upon the children of men, instanced by the very
great and sudden interest taken by numerous bodies, societies and
individuals along the line of social reform--it was not entirely
palatable to all who had looked on the little Community as their pet
property, their ideal home; for the sainted individualists, for
cultivated book-worms, for theorists who could read Latin and Greek but
whose ideas of labor extended only to planting flowers or washing with
care a few muslins to adorn their beautiful selves; and fearing a loss
of selectness some departed. The motive extended to the school, and,
although many of the former pupils left, their places were soon filled
by others.

The responsible men looked at the matter from another standpoint. They
felt that the labor on the farm had been the least success of anything,
and that to organize and improve it was one thing important, if not
_the_ one thing needful. Many good men stood at the outer gates waiting
for entrance. The members of the "Direction" were firm, and brave. They
felt that the experience of the first two years was a permanent
advantage to them, and they reorganized under the same name as before.
With the new constitution was published a preliminary statement from
which the following is extracted:--

"All persons who are not familiar with the purposes of Association,
will understand from this document that we propose a radical and
universal reform rather than to redress any particular wrong, or to
remove the sufferings of any single class of human beings. We do this
in the light of universal principles in which all differences, whether
of religion, or politics, or philosophy, are reconciled, and the
dearest and most private hope of every man has the promise of
fulfilment. Herein, let it be understood, we would remove nothing that
is truly beautiful or venerable; we reverence the religious sentiment
in all its forms, the family and whatever else has its foundation
either in human nature or Divine Providence. The work we are engaged in
is not destruction, but true conservation; it is not a mere resolution,
but, as we are assured, a necessary step in the progress which no one
can be blind enough to think has yet reached its limit.

"We believe that humanity, trained by these long centuries of suffering
and struggle, led on by so many saints and heroes and sages, is at
length prepared to enter into that universal order toward which it has
perpetually moved. Thus we recognize the worth of the whole past, and
of every doctrine and institution it has bequeathed us; thus also we
perceive that the present has its own high mission, and we shall only
say what is beginning to be seen by all sincere thinkers, when we
declare that the imperative duty of this time and this country, nay,
more, that its only salvation and the salvation of civilized countries,
lies in the reorganization of society according to the unchanging laws
of human nature, and of universal harmony.

"We look, then, to the generous and helpful of all classes for
sympathy, for encouragement and for actual aid; not to ourselves only,
but to all who are engaged in this great work. And whatever may be the
result of any special efforts, we can never doubt that the object we
have in view will be finally attained; that human life shall yet be
developed, not in discord and misery, but in harmony and joy, and that
the perfected earth shall at last bear on her bosom a race of men
worthy of the name."

[_Signed by the Directors_.] GEORGE RIPLEY. MINOT PRATT. CHARLES A.

Brook Farm, Mass., Jan. 18, 1844.

This constitution was largely like the first one, but varied from it in
the following particulars:--

"The department of Industry shall be managed in groups and series as
far as is practicable, and shall consist of three primary series, to
wit: Agricultural, Mechanical and Domestic Industry. The chief of each
group to be elected weekly, and the chief of each series once in two
months by the members thereof, subject to the approval of the General

"Persons wishing to become members must first reside on the place as
applicants for one month."

"Applicants who have passed acceptably through their term may become
candidates, and remain in this new relation a month more, when they may
be admitted as Associates."

"Personal property may be received as stock by the Direction of Finance
when it shall be deemed advantageous to the Association."

"Persons shall, on becoming residents on the domain, deliver an exact
inventory of all the furniture and implements which they may retain as
private property, to be filed for reference in the office of the

"New groups and series may be formed from time to time for the
prosecution of different and new branches of industry."

"Three hundred days shall be considered a year's labor. The hours of
labor shall be from the first of October to the first of April at least
eight hours daily, and from the first of April to the first of October
at least ten hours daily, and no person shall be credited for labor
beyond that time."

"No debt shall be contracted in behalf of the Association by any person

"Articles furnished to the Associates shall be charged at cost as
nearly as the same can be ascertained."

"The period of education shall extend from birth to the age of twenty
years, and shall be divided into three stages: Infancy to six years,
Pupilage from six to sixteen years, and Probation from sixteen to
twenty. The education during probation shall be in the practical duties
of Associates."

"No public meeting for business or amusement shall be protracted beyond
the hour of ten P. M."

       *       *       *       *       *

Many persons who have heard of the Community life at Brook Farm have
idealized it into a little coterie of choice spirits who sat around the
study lamp at early eve, after the light toil of the day had ceased,
and discussed the intellectual problems of the German philosophers who
had given much of the impulse to the Transcendental Club, and brought
so many young men forward as leaders of thought; but this was only
partially true.

Mr. Ripley at first endeavored to instruct the assembly and impart to
them some of his own intellectual enthusiasm. Evening classes were
formed; readings took place from some of the prominent poets--Goethe,
Schiller, Shakespeare; from Carlyle and Cousin as well as Emanuel Kant;
but when the industrial period began, he had more than his hands full,
and he laid his books on the shelf. They were his tools--they were the
ladders on which he had mounted to his high estate. Why should he
worship them? They had taught him, as had the Hebrew writers, faith in
the Creator; faith in His best creation, man; faith in reason, faith in
right, faith, in a magnificent human destiny. Why should he spend his
life in singing praises of them? To work! To begin to shape society to
higher ends! That was indeed the worthiest end in life, and his
worthiest homage to the writers and their books.



It was a pleasant afternoon in March, 1843, when I left Boston, in a
small omnibus, that started from Brattle Street for West Roxbury
Village and Brook Farm. My father's family of three had preceded me, he
remaining behind to close his business; it was a question of but a few
days when we should be all embarked in the new and untried life to
which we were looking forward with pleasurable emotions.

The nine miles of interval was passed, riding through an undulating
country, by pleasant farms surrounded with the stone walls so common in
Massachusetts and the eastern states, and by pretty white houses, with
green window blinds and little front flower gardens, with fruit and
shade trees standing sentinels on their borders. Here and there a ledge
of "pudding-stone" cropped out, and the scenery grew more primitive as
we neared the vicinity of the farm. Slowly we rode on, leaving
passengers and parcels by the way until it showed signs of deepening
twilight, when we reached by a slight acclivity the door of the
farmhouse that was at the entrance of the place, where I was soon
joined by my relatives who took me in charge and made me presentable
for supper; but I was too late to join with the family, and took my
first meal with them the following day.

Looking out of the window the next morning, I found it overlooked the
farm-yard and the broad meadow that lay south of the house. What
awakened me was the sound of a trumpet or horn, blown by some one for
rising or breakfast. I dressed leisurely, as I found it was the first
or "rising horn," and went out of the front door for a survey. Before
me was the driveway. A wooden fence, and a row of mulberry and spruce
trees stood guarding the two embankments that were terraced down to the
brook and meadow. On the embankments were shrubs and flower beds. A
couple of rods to the right stood a graceful elm, beside a gateway that
opened on a pathway to the garden and fields.

Passing by the front of the house I found that two wings had been added
to it in the rear, leaving shed and carriage room beneath. Directly in
front of me, and facing due east, was a large barn raised upon stone
posts, which was open on the south side to the large barnyard, and
between the barn and house was a driveway or road, leading over the

In the kitchen, which was directly in the rear of the dining room,
there was a clatter of dishes, and a few persons were going from place
to place outside.

Some one was in the barn attending to the cattle. He had on a tarpaulin
straw hat, and a farmer's frock of blue mixture that hung down below
the tops of his cowhide boots. I looked sharply at the man, and found
it was Mr. George Ripley. The "second horn" sounded; it aroused the
dog, who howled pitifully or musically--in bad unison with it. Soon the
persons from the other houses came to breakfast, strolling leisurely

I found that all the people, unless ill, took their meals at the
farmhouse dining room. A little quaintness of dress, some picturesque
costumes--such as the blue tunics with black belts of leather, that the
men wore; the full beards, that were not common then as now; the broad
hats and graceful, flowing hair of the young ladies; the varied style
of garments of the students and the boarders--all interested me.

The long, low dining room had rows of tables, some six in number,
seating on an average fourteen persons each. White painted benches
supplied the place of chairs. The tables were neatly set in white ware;
white mugs served for both cups and drinking glasses. There were white
linen table cloths, and everything was scrupulously neat.

At the farther end of the room sat Mr. Ripley. The garments of the
husbandman and farmer had all been laid aside, and, neatly dressed, he
was smiling and laughing, his gleaming eyes seeming to reflect their
brilliancy on the golden bows of his spectacles. At his right sat his
wife, and near by his sister, who poured the morning libation of tea or
coffee. Most of the pupils were at this table. Mrs. Ripley, tall,
graceful and slim, was, like her husband, near-sighted, but only on
occasions would she raise a gold-bowed eye-glass to look at some
distant object or person. The fare at the table was plain; good bread,
butter and milk from the farm were present. It is hardly necessary to
say that I looked around with peculiar interest on those who were to be
my new friends and companions. It was not a dismal or sober meal. There
was a happy buzz that indicated to me a probability of great future

How well do I remember the old dining-room with its familiar forms and
faces--too many to describe now! There were the young and pretty Misses
Foord; the one a dimpled blonde, lovely, rosy-complexioned, with large,
wonderful blue eyes; and her sister with her clear skin and dark hair
and eyebrows, both wearing their contrasted and unbound tresses flowing
over their graceful shoulders. And hark! 'tis Dolly, dear Dolly Hosmer,
with her rollicking, noisy laugh. And pretty Mary Donnelly--oh, how
pretty! with the dimples and the peach-bloom on her face, her white
teeth and coal-black hair--ever pretty whether she was smiling at you
or peeling potatoes. And Charles Newcomb, the mysterious and profound,
with his long, dark, straight locks of hair, one of which was
continually being brushed away from his forehead as it continually
fell; with his gold-bowed eye-glass, his large nose and peculiar blue
eyes, his spasmodic expressions of nervous horror, and his
cachinnatious laugh. There were sturdy Teel, and heavy Eaton, and
frisky Burnham, and bluff Rykman, with round-eyed Fanny Dwight and
another graceful Fanny, and oh! so many more men and women, friends and
workers striving for a sublime idea. I could describe very many of them
and the minute details of all the houses and surroundings, but it would
unwisely overcrowd these pages.

Mounting the central and highest portion of the farm I found it was
beautifully situated in an amphitheatre surrounded by hills on all
sides, and formed a charming picture. There was a young orchard of
apple trees, and here and there stood a few shade trees by the walls
and roadside. There were fields, or rather patches, where corn and
vegetables were grown for family use. Some of them were exposed on the
southern faces of the hills, and some were in the hollows. In front was
the broad, meadow, like a pleasant sea of green, stretching far away.

From the first house, the old farmhouse called now "the Hive"--a pretty
and well-chosen name--the driveway led to the other houses. It
descended nearly to the level of the meadow, and did not rise again
until it neared the "Pilgrim House," the most distant one. From that it
turned on itself on the high ground toward the "Cottage" and "Eyry,"
the remaining houses.

The "Pilgrim House," an oblong double house, occupying a commanding
position, was plain and white, without ornamentation, and squarely
built like most of the New England country houses of its date. There
were no trees around it, and it was the least attractive house on the

The "Cottage" had four gables, and was also plain and unpretending; it
had only some half-a-dozen rooms and was painted a dark brown color. It
was situated on a little knoll, with flower beds in the rear, and
greensward all around it.

Beyond and nearer to the "Hive," in the centre of the domain, was the
"Eyry" (this is the way Mr. Ripley spelled it; some spelled it "Eyrie"
and some "Aerie"). It had for its base a ledge of Roxbury conglomerate
called "pudding-stone," and it was banked up with two greensward
terraces. It had the highest and finest location, with a background of
oak and maple woods, and looked out on the orchard, commanding a fine
view. It was a square, smooth, wooden structure painted a light gray,
sandstone color. It was made of smooth, matched boards, and had a
large, flat cornice or flange that surrounded it near the top, which
saved it from extreme plainness. Yet it was pleasing to the eye, and it
had low, French windows that open like doors out on to the upper

As I looked in it for the first time I saw that a few pictures adorned
the walls: pressed fern leaves filled the mantel vases, and the bright
remnants of last autumn's foliage were in some places fastened to the
walls. There was also a piano, over which hung an oil painting, and in
the opposite room was a large array of Mr. Ripley's books. It was "the
library," and many of the works were in German. In particular, there
was a set of fourteen volumes, "Specimens of Foreign Literature,"
edited by Mr. Ripley, that attracted my attention.

At the Cottage were the school-rooms principally for the younger
children; and the Pilgrim House was used mostly for family lodgings.

For a time my sleeping apartment was with others in the upper room of
the rear wing of the farmhouse, dignified by the name "Attica." My
companions were all single men; good, reliable fellows who were working
for a principle and would ordinarily have declined such a
lodging-place, but under the circumstances were not apt to grumble, but
made the best of it. It was like camping out, and all its mischances
were turned into fun. My roommates were called "the Admiral," "the
Dutchman," "the General" and "the Parson,"--nicknames given each one of
them for some personal peculiarity.

There were advantages as well as disadvantages in living in "Attica."
It was nearest the centre of the life and business of the place. In the
winter mornings there was no long walk to meals, as those had who lived
at the other houses. We were near the warm kitchen; and when the house
was still and work suspended--all save the baking of bread, which often
proceeded in the evening in the range ovens--a group would gather
around the fire and talk and gossip--for we were not beyond the last;
speculation, theory and argument went pleasantly on until bed-time.

No, Attica! I have not forgotten the days spent inside thy walls, thy
strange inhabitants, or the mysteries that surrounded thee on my first
entrance into thy domain! I have not forgotten the long, low roof and
projecting beams, or the half dozen bedsteads that were standing
around; the two large chimneys that arose in the centre and the number
of stove-pipes that came from below and entered them; or the skylights
that were thy only means of illumination save the window at "the
Parson's" end, which looked out on the pleasant fields and the houses
beyond; or the plain, uncarpeted floor, the washstands by the chimneys
and the clothing hung up around.

Neither have I forgotten the nights when lying in bed I have heard the
rain pouring and pattering above thee and me; or when I saw by the dim
light of a single oil lamp, as I lifted myself on my elbow in bed, one
of the occupants moving his cot bedstead from some gentle leak that was
getting too familiar with his bedclothes; or when in the dreary winter
the Storm King howled around and bore some fleecy flakes on his windy
gusts through a stray hole in the roof, and morning showed us a
miniature white mountain on the floor.

No, to this day a vision of the "Parson" (Capen) comes to me, reading
by the light of an oil lamp placed on a shelf at the head of his
bedstead, long after others were asleep; lying in bed at the
furthermost portion of thy space; now chuckling to himself, then
drowsily reading on and on, with his spectacles dropped down on to the
point of his long nose--as the passage was either witty or dry; or
visions of the early risers, waking betimes and disturbing the dreams
of the later ones by the preparations of the toilet; or the sound of
the morning horn as it rose from beneath us on the clear air!

I was seventeen years of age, and having passed the time when I could
have been by right a pupil in the day school, was assigned to manual
labor. You will see by the Constitution that I was a "Probationer." It
was fortunate that I loved the grass and trees, and the routine of farm
life. My youth excused and deprived me of the council meetings and the
right to vote, so that many hours spent by some, though but a little
older than myself, in meetings, were absolutely mine to rove in, or to
use as I liked. Though born to city life and work I dearly loved the
country and a farm, but did not know its duties, nor had I the strength
for heavy labor, so I assisted in work in and about the houses in the
early hours of the day, and in some of the lighter farming, as
planting, hoeing, weeding and driving the oxen, horses and cows; in
fact, taking a lad's place in the farm and house employments.

Owing to the amount of labor and the disproportion of female help, some
of the young men under age oftentimes assisted after meals in wiping
dishes and supplying hot and cold water. It was a matter of rivalry
between parties to see which could beat in a match, the washer or
wipers. Two lads of near my own age supplied dishes and hot water as
fast as it was needed, and one young lady washed the plates, saucers,
mugs and the like, the same young men doing the wiping.

There was plenty of plain crockery piled up and it was rushed into a
capacious receptacle and washed with great dexterity. Then wipe, young
men, wipe! Will you allow a young lady to wash faster than two can
wipe? _Never_, _boys_, never! and with incredible speed the surface of
the plates and dishes was changed into mirrors. There was one young
lady who was hard to beat; often when the parties thought they had
nearly succeeded she would cry out for "hot water"! and one would have
to supply her with it, and by that time his partner would be
overwhelmed with a stock of unwiped crockery. Need I say that at times
I was one of those boys?

There were none of the modern conveniences for water, and the pump had
to do its share of work. The rooms were supplied daily by a water
carrier who went from house to house filling the pails and pitchers in
the rooms and halls.

I was willing and tractable. The fresh air, the simple diet and the
free life began at once to tone up my organization. I soon found that
the Eyry steps and the Eyry embankments were where the air was freshest
of an evening, and the tones of the piano presided over by the "poet's
sister," Fanny Dwight, attracted me more and more. The pupils and those
of their ages grouped naturally together. I did not care to go among
the arguers and the disputants who talked anti-this and anti-that, the
new sciences of medicine--the water cure and homoeopathy; who disputed
the doctrines of community of property, western lands, politics,
approaching war with Mexico, etc., etc. Nor did I care to group with
the few who played euchre and smoked "conchas," and the book of nature
had very often more charms for me than any other.

Our family rooms were small, and as stated I was sandwiched in with
others, in rather unpromising quarters. But I almost only slept there.
My interested parents often spent the evenings as well as the days in
domestic duties, so I was much alone. I cared not. I could thoughtfully
contemplate the climbing constellations, and sometimes one of the many
who grew friendly to me would point out the planets and name the stars
for me, and I would watch the moon rise slowly above the horizon. The
beautiful meadow was below me, and above and around the whole eastern
hemisphere of sky. Or I would wander around the houses to see what was
going on, meeting groups of promenaders by the way. At the cottage the
piano would be playing, and likely as not Lucas and José or Willard and
Charles were waltzing with Anna and Abbie or Katie and Agnes to
Louisa's playing. Or it was singing school, and all joined it; or Mrs.
Ripley was going to read "Margaret"; or the "Professor" (Dana) wanted
me in his German class; or it was full moon and we would walk a mile or
two down the highway, or make a moonlight visit to the pines. Otherwise
I was dreaming day-dreams to Fanny's piano playing.

Ah! do you think I was indolent? Not so! In my meditations I was
working out social problems and solving theories of life and religion.
I was nursing kindliness of heart, love to all men. I was awakening a
crushed nature, and absorbing influences that made the mottoes of
"Unity of man with man," "Unity of man with God," "Unity of man with
the universe," seem like real, tangible things. But who can say how
much was also due to the low, soothing harmonies that floated out of
those graceful windows with parting sashes that opened like doors down
to the windowsills?

In time I explored every cranny and hollow of ground. I wandered in the
woods, found every wild flower, knew every tree; knew where the
trailing evergreens grew; could go to the spot where I could find what
I wanted for bouquets, and surprised the Community with their ample
size and beauty. I came in with wreaths and garlands; gathered
varieties of grasses untold; picked rhodoras in early spring, saracenas
and orchids in summer, asters and gentians in the late fall, and
innumerable flowers in various places of a neighborhood wonderfully
rich in botanical specimens.



When I arrived, Hawthorne, Bradford, Hosmer, Hecker, Burton, Leach and
Allen had gone; as had also the Curtis brothers, George and Burrill,
the Bancroft boys, sons of the historian, and Barlow (since General
Barlow)--all pupils; as well as some of the ladies--Miss Dora Gannett,
niece of Rev. Ezra S. Gannett, Miss Georgianna Bruce, (afterwards Mrs.
Kirby), Miss Allen, Miss Sarah Stearns; and the phase of the Brook Farm
life jocosely or seriously alluded to by the after-comers as the
"Transcendental Days" or "Community Times," gave place to the
"Associative or Industrial Period."

In the place of the Transcendentalists came other men and women, new
and untried, with not so much of Greek and Latin, not so much suavity
of manners, not so much "cultivation," but warm of heart and brave of
purpose. The magnificent idea was a revelation of truth to some but
also a great temptation for many shivering poor and impatient
outsiders. They could thrive on it. They felt it was their right, their
destiny, having failed in the civilized fight for bread and butter and
comfort, to have from some source food, shelter and protection; and it
struck them that Brook Farm was just the place to go for it. So the
Association was inundated with applications of all kinds by person and
by letter.

It is my fortune to possess the originals of a number of these
interesting letters, specimens of which may be found in the appendix.
The replies by Mr. Ripley were drafts of the letters sent; they are all
in his fine handwriting and _bona fide_ documents which the writer
personally secured at Brook Farm many years ago, after the organization
had broken up.

The Directors used discretionary power, and if there was any
probability that the applicant would be useful, his case was presented
for action at a general meeting of the Association.

I was not long on the farm before I became acquainted with many of the
Associates besides those before mentioned--those who belonged entirely
to the Associative period; and among the unique figures there was no
one that struck my young fancy more than that of Peter, or, in familiar
talk, "the General."

Peter M. Baldwin was about his work when I was introduced to him, and
as he put forth his hand I saw that his arms extended no little way
through the sleeves of a common green baize jacket; and that his large
feet, which were encased in an old pair of slippers, had descended some
six inches below a pair of blue overalls before they touched the
ground. If he had been inclined to corpulency, his frame was ample to
build upon for a man of Websterian proportions, but he was not so
inclined; on the contrary, he simulated other great men in his
personality--Jackson, or our modern Abraham Lincoln. He was spare,
bony, nervous. His heavy eyebrows, his dark hair well sprinkled with
gray, which arose straight upward from his high, indented forehead, and
his large, half Roman nose, prominent cheek-bones and thin cheeks
reminded one so forcibly of the pictures of General Jackson that he was
by unanimous consent nicknamed "the General."

He shook me by the hand warmly and asked me a few questions, and it was
not until after this first interview that I discovered he had an
impediment in his speech. A rapid talker, he would rattle on in
conversation and then stop as suddenly as though you had put your hand
over his mouth. You would look up in astonishment, and then find by the
contortions of his face that he was trying to speak some troublesome
word but could not. The word once recovered, his speech flowed on as
before and perhaps for a long while, until he stumbled upon another
fence-like one; when he would dismount, take down the bars, or jump it,
and proceed as before.

This impediment, strange to say, never troubled the General when he had
prepared a piece for recitation, for he would then speak with dignity
and precision, and made the very beau ideal of "the lean and hungry

He was a universal favorite, on account of the kindness and benevolence
of his disposition. This generosity was superabundant, for if any of
the younger portion of the family wished for the sweets of the
storeroom, over which he presided, they had only "to coax the General"
to succeed in obtaining their wishes.

"The General" was the baker and made the bread, cake and some of the
pastry. He also assisted the "kitchen group" in domestic cookery.
Beyond this he was particularly fond of three things--disputation, the
newspapers and a cigar. He was thoroughly devoted to the doctrines of
"United industry" and to Brook Farm. He was among the first up in the
morning and last at night, attending to his ovens and his bread.

Peter's room was at first in Attica with others, where I saw him often,
and his favorite pastime was a game of euchre, which had not then
worked itself into general favor. I did not care to play it then, or
any cards; I was too much charmed with the life of the place, with the
society of the young, with social games under the inspiration of the
hostess, with love of dance and music and the ever-changing face of
nature, to care for such dull solace as the pasteboard games.

But the General did; he conversed, he smoked, he read the newspapers,
he argued, stuttered and talked the "water cure," and one day I was
surprised on going into the room to find him fully embarked for the
cure of a desperate headache. What had he done? Why, taken the
wash-bowl and filled it with water, placed it on the floor, stretched
himself out at full length on the floor also, and, with a pillow at his
shoulders, laid the back of his head into the wash-bowl. But being of
an active temperament he could not be quiet and idle long, so, calling
for a newspaper and lighting a cigar, he gently puffed the weed and
read the news, lying still in position while the "cure" was
progressing. It was a funny sight!

My attention was soon drawn to a large, portly gentleman who carried
his head erect and had an easy, familiar way about him; for he was
acting as host, being charged with the reception of guests and
strangers who came to visit or to look about the place. He walked with
the grandeur of a Falstaff and the dignity of a sachem. His capacious
gray coat and broad-brimmed hat might suggest to a stranger that he had
been at some time a member of a Shaker community, but his closely cut
gray hair and his heavy, o'erhanging eyebrows and brave visage gave the
lie to any such suggestion. Aye, aye, every hair that stood bristling
up on that front of his seemed to stand in rebellion against such a
charge, seemed saying, and growing more bristly every moment, "I, a
Shaker? Not I!" A large mouth was an appropriate companion to a
ponderous throat and chin, which were daily shaven with scrupulous
adherence to the first principles of warm water, soap and a sharp
razor, and a practice of thirty years gave a polish to his face unknown
to those less adept in the art.

On one occasion, some of the members fled from the tyranny of the
brutal blade and let their beards grow in uncut stubble, not, however,
without criticism from our host, who said in answer to their argument
that it was natural for the beard to grow, "Art is the perfection of
nature! Look at this garden!" It was after dinner, and some were taking
a few moments' rest in front of the Hive, lounging on the fence and
looking down the terrace into what was called "her majesty's garden"
and toward the bubbling brook. "What would it be without its walks,
flower-beds and arrangement?" he continued. "And these fields--what
would they be without the art of cultivation? You see it is art that
perfects nature."

Then some wag suggested that he was trying to cultivate "the field of
his face," but nothing could disturb the imperturbable gravity of his
composition. Gravity, solid gravity, was one of the basic elements of
his nature. When, however, he lighted his enthusiastic lamp, and his
warm heart gushed forth in song or story--I think I hear him singing
now, "A man's a man for a' that!"--he carried his audience with him.

The "Omniarch," as Mr. Ryckman was called, was a man of family, his
short, sprightly, nervous little wife acting as hostess and attending
to the lady visitors.

Many visitors asked the question of him, "Mr. Ryckman, do the Brook
Farmers hold all their property in common?"

With a bland smile he would say to them: "Certainly not; the idea of a
Community, as it is generally understood, is a society that owns or
holds all the property or capital of its members as its own, in its own
corporate right--that no one can remove, but everyone can use portions
of at will, or in turn. If the ideas of the first projectors were not
all definite on this point, we now stand boldly as champions of
individual property. It is one of our watchwords. For what is property?
It is but the extension of the individual; wings to fly with; hands to
work with; dried labor; labor's product laid away for future use, to
bless oneself with. It is the bottom and foundation of material
society, for none exists without it, and the greater the amount,
distributed fairly and justly, the greater the power and strength of
the society that holds it. We take human nature as it is--as God made
it. We do not propose to remake it; that is the folly of reformers and
theorists, and more especially moralists in and out of the church. The
desire, the personal desire, to acquire property is a fundamental trait
of character more or less strong in every individual. If a society
cannot be adjusted to that trait it will fail. We think one can be. We
think ours is so, as fairly as the nature of our transitory conditions
will allow. We want capital here. That we can make it here in time,
there is no doubt, but we must labor long to secure a plus of labor
that we can dry and store for future use. Meanwhile we want to build a
suitable unitary building, which is almost an absolute necessity;
farming implements and various appliances are wanted to suit the new
conditions under which we live, and many things for comfort, too
numerous to mention."

The host was not sparing of his words, especially when stimulated by
charming questioners, in ways like these: "Tell me more, Mr. Ryckman."
"What are you living here for?" "Can you expect anything from this

"Yes, madam, we expect a great deal. The theory of our life is that a
great saving can be made over ordinary ways of living. It now takes one
hundred houses for one hundred families, and one hundred housekeepers,
and probably, on the average, one hundred servants, one hundred
kitchens, one hundred fires, and as many cooking stoves or ranges, and
everything in proportion. Now by combining together the saving on the
cost of all these houses and cooks, kitchens, coal and wood, dispensing
with all unnecessary servants and labor, a house of magnificent
proportions adapted to the wants of the combined families could be
built, with elegant parlors for lectures, assemblies and music;
dining-rooms, kitchens and laundries which would not cost as much as
the separate households full of inconvenience and discomfort.

"This economic side of our life is easily seen, but there are many
other sides or phases that are not as readily comprehended. We are here
as a protest to the unnatural life of our crowded cities. We are here
to build society anew on juster principles, believing that if we once
get a fair foothold, the institution will be self-supporting, and so
attractive that we shall have no need to seek for true, earnest
workers; they will seek us, rather than we seek them, and we shall be
able to choose of the best material for an eternal city where all will
be rich in the fulness of the surrounding life, and the children will
be educated from the start to industry, goodness and justice."

Among the pleasant pictures of memory is that of Thomas Blake as he
appeared after he had changed his civilized clothes for a Brook Farm
tunic of blue plaid, a "tarpaulin" straw hat and a neat broad rolling
shirt collar of large dimensions that gracefully tended towards his
square shoulders. I see again his dark, manly countenance lighted up by
his keen brown eyes; his Roman features; his closely curling hair; his
intellectual forehead and pleasant smile, and his very neat, "trig"
appearance. The new life seemed to fill him full of pleasure, and he
was always ready for his share of work, study or enjoyment. His short,
nautical figure and his name, Blake, soon earned him the complimentary
title, which with one accord we gave him, "the Admiral." A nearness of
age brought us together, and a strong sympathy of tastes cemented our
friendship. We worked, played, danced and sung together, and wandered
up and down the paths and roads discussing social problems and all
sorts of subjects, ever returning in our talks to our home life, its
pleasures, aims and duties.

I thought that there was a little of the dapper look about John Glover
Drew who arrived the same day with the Admiral, as I met him for the
first time near the corner of the Hive. He seemed stiff and formal in
dress and manner, and his face had in it the cool, matter-of-fact
element which did not attract me; in fact he looked too "civilized."
His clothes were of fine materials; dress coat, silk vest and dark
pantaloons. His stylish and plump person filled them out thoroughly. A
tall silk hat set a trifle back on his head exposed his large forehead;
a fob and seal that hung below his vest, in contrast to the Brook Farm
dress, made an added conspicuousness to his appearance. I can see him
now, in my mind's eye, lift his watch out of its secret enclosure and
examine it to secure promptness of his engagements.

His large head was covered with dark, slightly curling hair. His smooth
face, toned by a delicate beard and fine arching eyebrows, reminded one
of the portraits of Shakespeare. His nose was short and round and his
nostrils dilated when in animated conversation. The muscles of his firm
mouth were ever on the play and gave life to his countenance, which
when in repose assumed a heavy and somewhat stern appearance. The union
between his head and body was made, apparently, by a high, stiff, black

He was fully of medium height, and healthy, but if one in his presence
tried the blowing of a flute or the tuning of a violin it would set him
in agonies, and the of his wrath was not forthcoming. He was wholly
alive. There was not a point where you could touch him and not
appreciate that the nerves of sensation vibrated and quivered. Droll
and jocose in manner, he was constantly quoting from Shakespeare or the
poets, of whom he had been a constant reader. He was witty, too, and
did not disdain a pun, or repartee.

He had the elements of a good mercantile training, and was therefore
just the man needed in the young Association, and soon arose from one
position to another, winning the meaner laurels of "chief of group" and
"head of series," and in time became the "commercial agent" and member
of the "Industrial Council." Thenceforth and ever after, he was more
bustling than before, both in and out of doors; hovering around the
barn with its horses and wagons; ever tackling up teams and starting
for the city; unpacking boxes, bales and barrels; ever in conference
with the chiefs, inquiring what was needed--anyone could see that
almost everything was needed--and showing by his exterior the busy
brain that worked within. Mr. Drew was an especial admirer of some of
Byron's poems, and it was rumored around that the corners of newspapers
had occasionally been garnished with the fruits of his pen.

Here let me say that first impressions in this case gave no index to
the manly, brave spirit that was in him, which, true as steel, bore to
the end witness to his belief in the truth and the divinity of the
associative and coöperative ideas.

There was in the farming group a healthy-looking young man, of ruddy
countenance and fair skin, with brown hair and beard that grew
luxuriantly, who soon made himself conspicuous by his individuality,
his good nature and cheerfulness. There was a positive side to his
character; he was in earnest, and he put himself by his earnestness
into a positive way that to the superficial seemed to savor of the
important, so that Irish John nicknamed him "John Almighty," and it
stuck to him, as an old simile says, "like a burdock to a boy's
trousers." His devotion was rewarded by chances to lecture. He became
one of the faithful, and faithful he has always remained. Amid all the
changes of life that have come to him since, and notwithstanding the
many persons indoctrinated with Fourier's ideas, he has been for years
almost the only man among them broadly advocating them and directly
working for the laboring man by endeavoring to organize societies and
industrial unions of various sorts for their benefit. I sincerely honor
the devotion of John Orvis, continued through so many years of his life.

But what would be the use in sketching the characters that throng
around me by the hundreds, who were associated with this new life?
Good-natured, full-faced Frederick Cabot, of Boston, whose capacities
were devoted to the bookkeeping department and who was clerk of the
corporation, who was in the vigor of young manhood, unique of face and
beard, with stout neck and low, rolling collar, when beards were absent
and collars high; and plain, unpretending Buckley Hastings, who could
work like a Trojan--were of them; and the corps of farmers and workers,
male and female, who made the body politic, all were interesting, but
they must be left out of this narrative, along with the great number of
kind and sympathetic persons whose dear hearts encouraged, and whose
dearer presence stimulated the Association in its labor.

But it will hardly do to leave out John Cheevers from the list of
strange characters on the farm, because, though he did not belong there
as member and was as a barnacle on the body politic, he was so quaint
and queer. He was Irish and came to America as valet to Sir John
Caldwell, who died very suddenly at the Tremont House in Boston. Pity,
compassion or the like induced Mr. Ripley to befriend him, and being
introduced to the life he became, as may be said, omnipresent. His
education, his refined tastes, seemed to spring from a crude and
vigorous soil. Travel and contact with high and low made his
conversation interesting, and the mystery of a supposed relationship
with Sir John added a romance to his life.

His affection for many of the residents was very great. He was
introduced into associative life in "Transcendental days," and many a
tale he told of the departed ones, often alluding to them as "extinct
volcanoes of Transcendental nonsense and humbuggery."

Like many of his countrymen, he carried things to extremes. Extremes in
language were the most common, for he had all the oiliness and glibness
of an Emeraldic tongue, and in conversation, when a little excited, the
words tumbled out with headlong velocity or flowed like molten brass
into the mould of the founder, and, to carry the simile farther, some
would sputter over. He had in his storehouse of language, many queer
phrases and sayings that he brought out to embellish his conversation,
some of which were only used as a _corps de reserve_, or brought into
action when all others failed in argument.

He prophesied that all people, no matter how high they might carry
their heads, would sooner or later "find their level." He believed in
the practical. All "folly" and "nonsense" were eschewed by him, and yet
no one was more fond of a joke than he, excepting when it was played on
himself. John professed great love for the mother church if you
attacked it; but if anyone spoke earnestly in its favor he was equally
persuaded by him not to believe in such "Jesuitical nonsense and
folly." His tunic dress, instead of being a blue one like what most of
the men wore, was made of green plaid, but on Sundays, a dark blue
"swallowtail" coat with brass buttons made its appearance, and with
shoes newly polished he was ready for church.

Unlike the majority of the men, who wore the hair moderately long, his
was cut short to his pate, not a straggling hair protruding itself
beyond the others. In deference to the seventh day, he exchanged his
shirt of blue cotton for a white, well-starched linen one, and donned a
high black lasting neck-stock and dark vest, and shaved his face so
clean that it reflected his own sunshine if not the solar ray. In
person he was of medium height, with a head of thick, dark, almost
black hair, slightly sprinkled with gray, and his small dark eyebrows
were high above his full eyes which were set almost flush with his
forehead. The muscles of his face were prominent, and deep lines were
marked around his large mouth with its long under lip, which half the
time was on a broad grin.

He walked with a headlong sort of gait, his body slightly bent forward,
deriving its motion from the lower portion of his frame, without that
swaying of arms and chest so common, and which gives grace to motion.
He was ever moving, bustling about; ever inquiring--now for this one,
then for another; occasionally taking from his pocket a small paper
parcel into which he thrust finger and thumb mysteriously and
guardedly, and turning half away from you would make the cabalistic
motions common to imbibers of "old Rappee"; and having satisfied the
desire of that extraordinary pug nose of his, would be off in a
twinkling to some distant part of the farm, where you may be sure that
he was edifying his hearers with a specimen of good-nature, and the
peculiar intonations of a mellow voice flavored with genuine brogue.

There are two friends of the movement who cannot be left out, who were
often on the farm, whose characters were very unlike and almost at
antipodes; yet both were impressed with the associative theories. One
of them viewed them from a Christian and moral side, believing that
Christianity favored them, that they were productive of the earthly end
toward which the sublime doctrines of Christianity pointed; and the
other believed that scientific social organization alone would act so
powerfully as a stimulant and teacher to humanity, that mankind and
human nature would gravitate to their own sublime places at once if an
organization was presented suitable to their needs. They were Albert
Brisbane and William Henry Channing.

Among the devoted friends there was no one for whom we had greater
admiration and esteem than Rev. William Henry Channing. He was a
Unitarian minister and a nephew of the celebrated Rev. William Ellery
Channing. His figure was tall and stately, though rather slender. He
carried himself finely, and walked with head erect. His features were
sharp cut, clean and regular. His hair was dark and curling, and worn a
trifle long for these days. His forehead was high and slightly
retreating. His eyes were sharp and piercing, deeply set, with delicate
dark eyebrows. His complexion was warm and brilliant, his beard closely
shaven. He had a pleasant smile which, when it deepened, showed a fine
set of white teeth. All of these physical signs were in his favor, but
there was about his face, so handsome at times, an earnestness that
seemed almost painful, when, devoted to the cause, he spoke with the
burning, eloquent words he so often uttered.

In social life he was charming. His voice was soft and melodious; his
education and talents were of the finest order. He was a firm believer
in the mission of Jesus Christ to bring peace, order and justice out of
our social chaos. He was an Associationist from the Christian side, if
I may so speak. His belief in Christ was so thorough that it made him
think all things possible that were Christlike, and he believed that
associated life contained more of the spirit of Christ in it than any
other form of society, ancient or modern.

He desired to join the organization with his wife and young children,
but Mrs. Channing did not, and we were deprived of his union with us,
as well as of the company of a charming woman and her family. But he
was around us like a protecting spirit. He spoke on social occasions to
us. He was full of inspiration and full of hope, though his education
was not of a practical sort after a worldly standard. He couldn't
calculate market values. Neither could he organize a workshop or build
a barn. His thoughts were for greater things; for everything that
elevated large numbers of people--education, morals, faith, peace,
anti-slavery and the good government of his country.

One Sabbath afternoon we were invited to meet with him in the near-by
beautiful pine woods, for religious services; and like the Pilgrims and
reformers of old, we there raised our voices in hymns of praise, and
listened to a sermon of hopefulness from his eloquent lips. Would we
had a picture of that marked company as they were seated around on the
pine leaves that covered the ground, following their "attractions" by
joining in groups with those they most admired or most sympathized
with--young and fair, bright and cheerful, as they mostly were, with
the warm sunlight glinting through the sighing pines; hearts and eyes
illuminated with great thoughts; hands and faces browned with working
for great, world-wide ideas. Memory is the only photograph of it, and
be assured the picture is a beautiful one.

The church was Channing's first love, but he found it bound with
creeds, and not broad enough to cover all humanity, as his great
bounding heart did. After music and an inspiring address under the
trees, and the arches of Nature's temple, looking heavenward, he said,
"Let us all join hands and make a circle, the symbol of universal
unity, and of the _at-one-ment_ of all men and women, and here form the
Church of Humanity that shall cover the men and women of every nation
and every clime."

Who shall say that it was not so?--that then and there was not formed
one of the impulses of life, one of the branches of the spiritual
church that shall live forever! Their daily toil, the thousand and one
annoyances they had to submit to from uncomfortable surroundings and
private discords--for no one need think that all the persons and those
connected with them who came to Brook Farm were equally inspired and
interested--and the risk of personal losses, were part of their pledge
and baptism of earnestness.

Mr. Albert Brisbane, of New York, was equally tall with Mr. Channing,
but of a type of features that was ordinarily less pleasing; wearing a
full beard closely trimmed, intellectual in forehead and face, with a
voice one could hardly call musical; a rapid, earnest talker; the
travelled son of a wealthy man, who had spent some years abroad and in
France, where he became acquainted personally with Fourier and with his
doctrines of association, which had deeply impressed him. On his return
to America he advocated them in the New York _Tribune_, and by the
publication of two or more volumes, by active interest in a society,
and by various writings for papers and magazines.

I do not know whether Mr. Brisbane owned stock in the Brook Farm
Association or not. Certainly he never gained any dividend by his labor
there, but was an interested observer who boarded at the farm at
intervals, sometimes passing a few days only, and finally residing some
months, occupied in the study and translation of Fourier's works.

He was an enthusiast, but his over enthusiastic moods influenced the
Brook Farmers, it seemed to me, often-times unwisely. He saw the
full-blown phalanstery coming like a comet and expected every moment.
We shortly would be in a blaze of glory! He loved to talk of the good
things to be--of social problems worked out by science and by harmonic
modes; to flatter himself that without great self-sacrifice, devotion
and untiring industry, the world was to be regenerated. It seemed to
his mind, that it could be done all at once by organization and
enthusiasm, and it was only necessary to create enough of them to carry
everything before them as in a bayonet charge.

He labored hard with the society to change its name to Phalanx, and to
push the movement as far as possible into the formulas and organization
described by Fourier, which did not advance it a single step in
material or spiritual progress, and acted, as in the case of the
constitution, as a dead weight, owing to the burdensomeness of its
details, which called for too much labor to keep the accounts of so
complex an organization.

Having described a few of the many persons who were members of the
Association, I must speak of three noted persons who are very often
accredited as belonging to the West Roxbury Community; they are Miss
Margaret Fuller (afterwards Countess D'Ossoli), Ralph Waldo Emerson and
Theodore Parker. They were all personal friends of Mr. and Mrs. Ripley,
and belonged to the Transcendental Club. In the first period of the
experiment the two former made lengthy visits at the farm, but during
the Industrial Period only one of them, Mr. Parker, that I remember
visited the place. I must except a single visit from Miss Fuller, whom
I recall as plain-looking, and plainly to old-fashionedly dressed, with
a crane-like neck and a long gold chain around it, which reached to her
waist. She talked quite easily and freely, and the impression of the
blue-stocking was left perhaps unfortunately on my mind.

Rev. Ralph Waldo Emerson--for he had been an ordained minister--wrote
for the _Dial_, furnished it with queer poems, wrote articles on the
wrongs of labor, and agreed fully with Mr. Ripley on so many points
that he has been mistaken many times for a Brook Farmer.

Concord, Massachusetts, Mr. Emerson's home, contained a marked radical
centre, and some of the Concord people were affiliated by kinship and
by sympathy with the Brook Farm people from first to last during the
entire experiment. Mr. Ripley invited Mr. Emerson to join it, but he
declined in a letter which may be found in Mr. Frothingham's "Life of
George Ripley," Appendix, page 315. I make the following extract:--

       *       *       *       *       *

"My Dear Sir: It is quite time that I made an answer to your
proposition that I should venture into your new community. The design
appears to me noble and generous, proceeding as I plainly see, from
nothing covert or selfish or ambitious, but from a manly heart and
mind. So it makes all men its friends and debtors. It becomes a matter
to entertain it in a friendly spirit, and examine what it has for us.

"I have decided not to join it, yet very slowly, and I may almost say
with penitence. I am greatly relieved by learning that your coadjutors
are now so many that you will no longer attach that importance to the
defection of individuals which you hinted, in your letter to me, I or
others might possess--the painful power, I mean, of preventing the
execution of the plan."

       *       *       *       *       *

Rev. Theodore Parker, the noted liberal Unitarian preacher, of whose
close personal relations with Mr. Ripley much might be said, lived two
miles away, at West Roxbury, where he preached in the village church,
and his afternoon walk every few days was over to the Farm and back for
exercise, and to meet and converse with Mr. Ripley at the Eyry. At the
close of their chat you would see them coming down the hill together
towards the barn, where Mr. Ripley's duties as milkman took him at that
time of day, when they would part--Mr. Parker for his long walk home.

One afternoon they were seen as usual coming down the hill. Theodore
Parker had not then become famous, but preached in a little square,
wooden church, to his small country congregation, and once on a time,
being on a visit to a friend at a distance (we will call the friend's
name Smith, for convenience sake), Mr. Smith asked Mr. Parker how Mr.
Ripley was getting along with his "Community." "Oh," said the faithless
Parker, "Mr. Ripley reminds me, in that connection, of a new and
splendid locomotive dragging along a train of mud-cars."

Soon after Mr. Ripley heard what Mr. Parker had said of him, and
resolved to pay him in his own coin. So he held him that day in
pleasant, lively conversation until he reached the farmyard by the barn
at the Hive, and the unsprung joke was running all around the pleasant
lines of his face and twinkling in the corners of his brilliant eyes.
Towards the close of the conversation, as Mr. Parker was about to
leave, Mr. Ripley casually said that he had met Mr. Smith, and he had
spoken of Mr. Parker and his church.

"Indeed," said Mr. Parker, "and what did he say of me?"

"Well, if you must know," Mr. Ripley replied, "he said that you and
your little country church over there in West Roxbury, with its few
dozen of farmers, reminded him of a new and splendid locomotive
dragging along a train of mud-cars."

It would have been worth a month of an ordinary lifetime to be there
when Mr. Ripley exploded his joke, to hear his merry peal of laughter,
whilst his sides shook again, and his reverend friend stood confounded.

But such little jokes did nothing towards rupturing the sincere
confidence and friendship of these two brave men, and soon after this
Mr. Parker was writing pleasant notes to the "Archon," as Mr. Ripley
was often called. By good fortune, I am the possessor of one of them,
and as it shows the playful side of a great man, the side often
withheld from the public, I give it here. It is charming. It is without
date and reads:--

       *       *       *       *       *

"Archonite Illustrissimo: I have just received a letter from the
Secretary of the Navy, who informs me that he has jurisdiction over the
_waters_ of the U. S. A., and accordingly over _Brook_ Farm. He
therefore requests me to investigate your proceedings and report to the
department. He thinks of appointing yourself to the command of the
fleet destined against Texas, and wishes me to _Sound_ you on that
point. (How would Little John do for California?)

"I am to come over tomorrow P. M. and make investigations, so have the
chips picked up, and the pigs shut up in the library. Now hold yourself
in readiness to receive _Blanco_ White, who thinks you were one of the
greatest men who had appeared since Balaam the son of Beor. Pray reward
him for the honor he has done you.

     "Yours, T."



The departure from the ordinary mode of living initiated at the farm
seemed to stir up every curious, investigating and odd mortal, from one
end of the country to the other, and they all wanted to visit the
place. At first they were made welcome to the table, and to what there
was to spare of the members' time, but when their name was "legion" the
Board of Government found it necessary to exact a fee for meals. This
did not diminish them; the cry was "Still they come!" Men, women and
children were passing from Hive to Eyry on every pleasant day from May
to November, and over the farm, back to the Hive, where they took
private carriage or public coach for their departure. Among these
people were some of the oddest of the odd; those who rode every
conceivable hobby; some of all religions; bond and free; transcendental
and occidental; antislavery and proslavery; come-outers, communists,
fruitists and flutists; dreamers and schemers of all sorts.

The number of notable persons who visited the farm at this period was
large. I was too young to appreciate the positions they held, in
literature, the church or the nation, but append a list of names,
selected almost at random, mostly of distinguished persons who were
occasional visitors. Horace Greeley, Parke Godwin, Henry James, Freeman
Hunt, Charles Kraitsir, Henry Giles, S. P. Andrews, all of New York;
Rev. O. A. Brownson, Rev. James Freeman Clarke, Rev. Henry A. Miles,
Rev. Edward E. Hale, Rev. Samuel Osgood, Rev. Frederick T. Gray, Rev.
A. B. Green, Rev. C. A. Greenleaf, Hon. John G. Palfrey, Hon. E.
Rockwood Hoar, Hon. George H. Calvert, of Newport, R. I.; Hon. Charles
Sumner, Judge Ellis Gray Loring, Judge Wells, Dr. W. F. Channing, R. H.
Dana, A. Bronson Alcott, George B. Emerson, Samuel G. Ward,--Marcus
Spring and Edmund Tweedy, of New York; James A. Kay, of Philadelphia.
W. W. Story, C. P. Cranch, E. Hicks, Joseph and Thomas Carew, John
Sartain, John A. Ordway and Benjamin Champney, were among the many
artists who came; the major portion of all the above named persons were
from New England.

It will not do to forget young and curly-headed John A. Andrew, who
became the war governor of Massachusetts, or Robert Owen, the English
communist, well known for his social experiments at New Harmony, Ind.,
who, at this time, was a ruddy-faced, almost white-haired person, with
a large nose, and carrying well his seventy years on a vigorous frame.

George R. Russell, Francis G. Shaw and Theodore Parker, with their
wives and members of their families, were very friendly visitors.

There were numerous ladies, also, who came. I remember Miss A. P.
Peabody, Pauline Wright, Mary Gove and sweet Lydia Maria Child, of New

The old record book that lay in the reception room at the Hive would
reveal a list of four thousand names, registered in one year, to select
from, but alas! it is lost forever.

A. Bronson Alcott came one day and brought his friend Lane, who was
anxious to visit the "Community," but Lane was opposed to eating
anything that was killed or had died, so he ate neither fish nor flesh.
Neither would he wear wool, because it was an animal product, for he
did not like animal products. Neither would he wear cotton nor use
sugar nor rice, because they were the products of slave labor. And
finally, he walked from Boston in a linen suit, because he would avoid
using a horse, for his argument was that the value of time spent in
providing food, lodging and care of animals, was not returned to the
owners for the outlay. Lane came from England, and was not a "Yankee
crank," as some might possibly think.

Miss Louisa M. Alcott wrote of him in connection with her father and
herself, in an article entitled "A Journey to Fruitlands." Judging from
my remembrance of all the characters, the picture is faithfully drawn.

Among the odd visitors the climax was reached, when a man came to pass
a day and a night, who announced, that he had no need of sleep and had
not slept for a year. The statement was passed by as a mere whim, we
thinking of course that when night came he would not refuse a bed, but
he did. After spending the evening at the Eyry, where the visitors were
more especially entertained, he was notified that an attendant would
show him to his bed, but he politely declined one, and as there seemed
to be no other way, he was allowed to remain in an easy chair, with a
lamp burning, after the household had retired.

It was late when Irish John Cheevers, _our_ odd genius, prowling about
the premises on his way to his room at the Cottage, saw the light in
the Eyry parlor, and supposing some of the household were awake, went
softly up and looked in at the window. There sat the visitor in the
chair, _asleep_. He then went in, but his noise aroused the sleeper,
and as John couldn't possibly keep his tongue still a minute, he said,
"I beg your pardon, sir, I did not intend to disturb your sleep--not in
the least, sir," in his palavering way, at which the stranger protested
strongly that he hadn't been disturbed, as he had been awake all the

In the morning the stranger was there, still sitting in his chair, and
declared he had passed the night pleasantly, but had not been asleep.
Of course the improbability of the thing made, as the newspapers say, a
"sensation." "By gad," said John, "I caught him asleep in the Eyry
parlor. I did, upon my word; I did, my very self."

John wasn't inclined to be profane, but when anyone pretended to be
what they were not, it aroused his combative spirit, and it was the
"blank humbuggery of the thing" that mightily displeased him. But the
time came when the laugh was against him. He had been in bed and slept
some hours one summer night; it was the time of the full moon, when its
transcendent beauty led the young folks to wander over the farm from
house to house, to sit a while on the doorsteps or on the knoll at the
Hive; to sing "_Das Klinket_" or such part songs as "Row gently here,
my gondolier," or "The lone starry hours give me Love, when calm is the
beautiful night," or anything else to let out the joyousness of their
hearts. They were not wild, for they labored enough to take away the
wildness that indolence brings, and to sober them down to the cheerful
mood; and cheerily would talk to one another of the people around them,
and of the hundred little excitements the novel life led them into,
that were wanting elsewhere, and often it was an hour or two later than
the usual time for rest, before they were in bed.

John had been to his couch, and when he awoke it was broad daylight. He
dressed and went down to the Hive, and as some one was going away early
to Boston, concluded to get the wagon ready. But first he looked into
the kitchen; the door was unlocked, as it always was, day and night;
there was no one there, and it was surely time some one should be up.
He drew out the light wagon from under the shed, and went for the
harness. All the time the universal stillness surprised him. Where
could all the people be? He thought he would see how high the sun was,
and looking up into the sky, beheld the full face of the most beautiful
moon that ever shone on God's fair acres, when a new thought struck
him, that he had mistaken moonshine for daylight. He wheeled the wagon
into the shed, and then went for another long nap; but some of the
young men, who hadn't been in bed a great while, overheard the
movements, and had their laugh and fun out of it!

During the first spring and summer of my stay my hours were largely
spent in the Farming Series, working in the various groups. I assisted
at planting, hoeing and driving or leading the horses at the plough. I
also helped the gardener, who arrived with plants, in the care of them
and in the ornamentation of the place.

According to the science of Fourier, everything is naturally arranged
in groups and series. A group consists of three or more individuals or
things, and a number of similar groups together make a series. To have
harmony in society requires the application of this law or arrangement
to all the relations of daily life; or in other words, it is natural to
be thus arranged in industrial and social life. The Brook Farmers,
being ambitious to introduce a resemblance to such an organization--for
it could be but very faintly shadowed by their few members--and also
desirous to indoctrinate all into the idea of this natural arrangement,
organized "groups and series" in the following manner as proposed in
the new constitution. "Three or more persons combined for some object
or labor" made a group; harmonic numbers for groups--three, five,
seven, twelve, etc. A series consisted of three or more groups for a
similar object, joined under one head or chief.

To illustrate the system we will suppose it to be the spring of the
year. The Farming Series will then consist of the following groups:
First, a Cattle Group, Which attends to the feeding, grooming and
general care of the cattle--horses, cows, oxen, pigs, etc. It may
include the milking of the cows, or that may be a group in itself under
the name of the Milking Group. Second, a Plowing Group, who attend to
the plowing of the fields. Third, a Nursery Group, who have the care of
the young trees, grafting, budding, etc. Fourth, a Planting Group,
which may later in the season change into a Hoeing Group, or into a
Weeding Group, or into a Haying Group, or a separate organization for
each may continue till the end of the season. Each chief of a group
recorded the hours expended in labor in his group, so that it was
possible to tell, at the end of a season, how many hours had been spent
in a given occupation, as hoeing, weeding, planting, etc. These groups,
each having a chief, formed the aforenamed series, and the heads, or
"chiefs" of all the groups together elected the head of the series, who
kept a record and had general charge of the work done under his

The Mechanical Series, consisting of shoemaking, carpentering, sash and
blind-makers' groups, were usually the same persons the year around.
If, however, the shoemaker was tired of his group, and could be spared,
he took his hoe and rake, and went into some group in the Farming
Series for a change of occupation; the hours he spent there were put to
his credit on the book of the group in which he labored in that series.

The Domestic Series had care of the houses and all domestic work, and
was divided into Consistory, Dormitory and Kitchen Groups. There were
also Washing, Ironing and Mending Groups, and perhaps some others. The
beds, rooms, halls and lamps had to be attended to every day, water and
towels provided, and the "Dormitory" and "Consistory Groups," situated
as the Brook Farmers were, were obliged to go from house to house to
attend to these duties.

There were independent groups on the farm, not connected with any
series, as the Teachers' Group, and the Miscellaneous Group, who did a
variety of miscellaneous work; and there was a Commercial Agent who
bought and sold goods for the Association. There was also a group
called "The Sacred Legion," who did exceptionally disagreeable labors,
not from the love of them but from the sacred principle of duty. Only
occasionally some repugnant task had to be undertaken, and be it to the
honor of the leaders, not one of them, even the most fastidious or
cultivated, shirked the responsibility of it.

The industrial system of Fourier has often been objected to as a
mechanical arrangement, by which persons were fixed, automaton-like,
and expected to work where they were placed, and has been opposed with
the criticism that human beings are not automatic--that they have the
restlessness of human nature and will constantly rebel at such

Another and a greater criticism has been that the levelling tendency,
as is supposed, of the Fourieristic doctrines, is inimical to every-day
experience, and that the natural differences of characters, ambitions
and mental conditions were not recognized in the system, consequently
there would be no place for all these varied human attributes to work
and progress in.

These are very great errors, and are entirely attributable to the
superficial knowledge of the man and his works. If ever there was a man
in this universe who had faith in the Supreme Power, Fourier was that
man. His theology covered the _absolute wisdom_ and _absolute goodness_
of God. Starting from these two fixed standpoints, he believed that the
Creator wisely planned the universe and laid out the destiny of the
human race from its inception, as a wise and beneficent being, fixing
its beginning and its end and all of the intermediate stages between
them as parts of the plan. Creating man as a social being, he must,
therefore, have created from the first the form of society under which
he should, finally, as a race, pass the greatest portion of his sojourn
here, and, being an _absolutely good_ Creator, he must have created
absolutely good social conditions as the destiny towards which all
mankind is now tending, and which will finally be reached.

Having also created man with many varied talents, the society or the
social order in which he intends him to live, must have room in it for
the use and development of the variety he has created: a place for the
strong, a place for the weak; a place for the proud, a place for the
lowly; a place for the penurious, a place for the lavish; a place for
the sober and a place for the gay. Moreover, if the Creator is wise, he
has created just the number and variety of mental and physical
personages to fill the otherwise empty places, and no others; for, if
he has created a surplus of them, he is unwise, and they must be in
discord with the rest. If the movements of the heavenly bodies are not
left to chance, neither is the destiny nor the place of any human being
in creation left to chance, either here or hereafter.

Far from any levelling tendency in Fourier's system, far from any
communism, it contains, in itself, room for the completest aristocracy
there ever was, the natural and the true aristocracy, ordained by the
logical mind of the Creator, implanted in our natures, and which we
intuitively admit and admire. But having given man freedom of will, not
having made him to associate automatically, as he has, apparently, made
the honey-bee, the beaver, the ant, and various social creatures, it is
necessary for him to go through a period of ignorance, and,
consequently, of some suffering, whilst he is learning by experience to
find his powers and his position in creation, even as the little child
does, who reaches out its hand for the moon, and stumbles over trifles
lying in its way that were easily removed, could it, in its undeveloped
condition, have sense enough to do it. But the two conditions are not
possible, together. Both ignorance and knowledge of a subject cannot
dwell in one person at the same time; therefore it is only slowly and
painfully that we find, by degrees, our wonderful powers, the bountiful
provision for happiness, and the grand destiny that so peacefully lies
in the arms of the future, awaiting our embrace and caress.

Fourier discovered the arrangement in nature of the "Serial Order" or
the law of the Groups and Series, which on paper seems formal, but is
simply one of the mathematical rules of society, and which, under right
conditions, does not intrude itself, any more than the rules of
arithmetic do when we are buying a few apples, but are nevertheless
ever present. The writer does not wish to impose a dissertation on his
readers, but felt impelled to answer, in this place, these objections
made by many worthy people.

The workshop, which was being built at the time of my arrival, was two
stories in height, sixty by forty feet in size, with a pitched roof;
well lighted with windows, and situated some three hundred yards behind
the Hive, in a northwesterly direction. At its further end, in the
cellar, was placed a horse-mill, afterwards exchanged for a
steam-engine, that carried the machinery for all the departments of
labor. Our engineer, Jean M. Pallisse, a worthy Swiss, a very
intelligent man, had a calm face that fitted well with the quiet
wreaths of smoke he sent up on the air, from his almost ever-present
cigar. It was our delight to coax him to bring out his violin on dance
nights, and give us a charming waltz or two. You would hardly associate
his intelligent and pleasant face with the dull work of an engine room,
but he was there day by day, faithful and regular as a clock, for he
was in earnest. He had the sublime faith in him, and in later years
held a responsible position in a wealthy importing house in New York

The shop was partitioned off, according to the needs of business, and
in the time of our greatest numbers, when crowded with members and
visitors, no other place being found to stow people in, beds were
placed in its upper story.

The general impression of my first summer at Brook Farm is that it was
one of great activity and great hopes. Everywhere the ambition was to
enlarge--to increase the number of members, to increase the
occupations, to increase the tillage by turning over the grass-grown
meadows and "laying down" more land; to increase the nursery for young
trees and plants, to increase the hay crop by clearing the brushwood
and mowing the stubble close. Everywhere were busy people with ploughs
and cultivators, hoes and rakes, and I was with them wherever there was
work to be done.

The glory of the summer was the hay field. On the fair meadows we
turned and gathered the hay. It was a large crop; although the hay was
not all of the best, it was mostly of fair quality. And when the
hoeing, weeding and haying were done, the farmers dug meadow-muck for

Ready and willing as I was to try my hand at whatever came along, I
went into the meadow and followed the plough with a bogging hoe, and
one day tried digging muck but the chief of the group thought the labor
was too heavy for me; I would have to wait until I grew stronger.

Coming home one day I was told that one of our number had passed away.
She had been sick at the Hive a long while before my arrival. I could
scarcely be called acquainted with her, though I had been into her room
and called with others. In health she had been a brave worker, and in
sickness bore her severe suffering patiently. Messrs. Chiswell and
Tirrell of the Carpenters' Group were called on for their help, whilst
Mrs. Pratt and others prepared the body for its final sleep. Members of
the Direction selected a lovely spot in a little pine grove beyond the
Pilgrim House for a grave, and we gathered for a last service.

I expected to hear Mr. Ripley speak, but true to a sensitive instinct
of propriety he did not, for though he was at the head of the
Association, she had her own faith and creed which he deemed sacred.
She was an Episcopalian, and after the service was read by one of our
number a solemn procession was formed which followed her body, borne on
our light wagon, to the grave, where, singing a hymn, we left her
quietly in peace.

Soon after the gardener planted some young evergreens, and placed
flowering shrubs and a little fence around the sacred spot. If one must
die, must surrender life, oh, where can it be done better than under
such circumstances? From first to last no stranger's hand had aught to
do with this sister either in life or in death. No idle or curiously
intrusive person came near, and all the surroundings, though simple,
were in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion. There was no pomp
or rivalry of show, no gaudy deckings, that we in our hearts despise,
but which an unhallowed custom forces upon us; but all was done
decently, lovingly, peacefully and well. It was a simple name she
bore--Mary Ann Williams.

There was an amusement group, the members of which did not receive
pecuniary compensation. Its duty was to provide amusement for the
people and the scholars, as often as could be afforded, without
trespassing on school and daily duties.

Miss Amelia Russell, a little, plump woman, with a pleasant smile,
dimpled cheeks, round, laughing eyes, cultivated and easy manners, was
chief of this group for a long period. Her title was "the mistress of
the revels." Under her direction there were various plays, games,
dances and tableaux.

Besides the walks in the fields and woods there was an occasional
"children's festival," in the grove of pines, in which a large portion
of the elders joined. There were plenty of amusements, for although the
amusement group took general charge of them, there was nothing to
prevent any person or number of persons from amusing themselves to any
extent, and in any way, not interfering with the business of the place.

Being among the minors, the pleasures of dancing and roaming over the
diversified country, were most attractive to me; for the young people
danced without expense--as we were, anywhere, any time, for five or ten
minutes, an hour or an evening, and it never became a dissipation; it
was too natural and common to be a dissipation. There were never late
hours. There was no dancing for show, or to display handsome clothes,
but simply for the love of it, its harmony and love of one another's
society and companionship.

When the cares and lessons of the day were laid aside, and the evening
meal was over, we sauntered up the hill to the Eyry, and passing near
the Cottage, would perhaps find some one at the piano in the music
room, and if we numbered four or five, would waltz or dance to one or
the other's playing, the players and dancers taking turns until it was
time to stop. It might be there was a class in history or in reading at
eight, or maybe singing school would soon commence. If so, that
terminated the matter. Perhaps there was to be music at the
Eyry,--there was no formality, we went without ceremony to hear it.

There were times when there was a regular "dance at the Hive." The
mistress of the revels was kind enough to assist young or old, whose
"education had been neglected," and who had never been taught their
"steps," by forming a dancing class and including all in it; and it
would have done your heart good to see the old fogies try for the first
time in their lives to put on grace. Grace it was, but often of the
oddest kind. Imagine the tall, spare figure of "the General," turned of
forty, full six feet in height and stooping in the shoulders, all legs
and arms--who could sit in a chair and wind his legs around each other
until the feet changed places, and sit comfortably so--as pupil of the
plump, little woman, straight as an arrow, and only (at a guess) four
feet six in height, and looking shorter for her plumpness, taking his
"one, two, three," and "forward and back steps."

Imagine, also, all hands seated at the supper tables, with the rattle
of knives, forks, mugs and plates, and the full buzz of conversation;
waiters crowding up and down, supplying the fast vanishing food, and
everything cheerful, when a rapping on one of the tables arrests the
attention of all. One of the gentlemen, arising, announces, "There will
be a dance in this hall this evening, at eight o'clock, to which all
are invited." This is received with applause by the young people.
Perhaps it is a surprise to them; for some of the pupils who have a
little pocket money, have gained permission of the authorities, and
have sent for the Dedham "feedler," as our Dane used to call him, to
play the violin and call the dances.

As for music, our orchestra was not very large. I am almost ashamed to
say that one violin, solitary and alone, or a piano brought down from
the Cottage, was often the only solace and cheer. But then the room was
not large, and certainly it was not high, so that nothing was lost in
its expanse, and truly the young man played very well, and I remember
there were some brass instruments used on an especial occasion.

You should have been standing outside, looking in at the window just
the time that supper was over. Wouldn't you have seen some busy young
folks, clearing the tables and washing the dining-room ware! And you
would have seen the clean, white mugs and plates put up in huge piles
in the dining-room closet. Wouldn't the benches and tables disappear
quickly, and the floor be swept, and the lamps lighted, and everything
put in "apple-pie order"! And then the young women workers would
disappear, and in a few minutes reappear dressed in their best, like
magic pictures of youth and beauty, adorned in simple garments, with a
rose bud or a wreath of partridge vine (Mitchella) with its bright red
berries, woven into their tresses, or with some simple adornments; and
then for an hour or two of enjoyment!

The dance would commence. One by one, after the young persons were in
the midst of the revelry, the older persons would come in, and the
non-dancers would range around as spectators; and now and then you
would distinguish our leader by the curly locks, the gleaming eyes and
gold-bowed spectacles, his glowing face expressing satisfaction in our

At ten o'clock, the dance ceased; immediately the tables and dishes
would reappear, as if by enchantment, and in a twinkling the dining
room was arranged for the morning. We had had our pleasure, and were
ready to pay for it by restoring things to immediate order. Besides,
what young man could leave the young ladies to set the tables alone,
after having danced with them all the evening? After this there were
hours enough left for sound sleep, and there were no headaches in the
morning. The result was, all the young people grew strong, graceful and

My peculiar temperament and strong love of nature made the walks and
wanderings in the fields dear to me. I recall them with the greatest
pleasure, and think that some others among the living must do the same.
There were no stated, regular hours for walking. The teachers went when
their classes for the day were over; the young folks when their tasks
were completed, or at twilight, in the long summer days, and often the
larger parties were on Sunday afternoons, for then there was greater
freedom from care. Some went to West Roxbury to church in the morning,
some, maybe, to the Eyry to read Swedenborg or other writers, and
unless Mr. Channing or some other minister who desired to preach was
present, there were no set services; and even if there were, a walk
might be arranged for a later hour in the summer afternoons.

The tall, slim figure of the wife of our president, wearing a Leghorn
shade hat, with one or two graceful lady pupils by her side, was often
present and leading the procession; then perhaps the manly form of our
head farmer, and his stout wife, and his boys and girl; our "poet,"
always beside some fair maiden, in cheerful conversation; a visitor and
the visited; groups of young people together, with muslin dresses, blue
tunics and straw hats intermingled; children; and maybe the stately
form of William Henry Channing, with his regular profile, and his head
carried high, looking upward and off, as into far, pleasant and dreamy
distances, walking beside a tall, black haired woman, with a spiritual
face of high type,--in all some thirty to forty in number, making a
delightfully picturesque group.

Such parties would generally make the large and beautiful pine woods
that were near us the _ultimatum_ of their walk. Others would take a
longer walk, to the thicker woods of "Cow Island" (now covered with
houses), or to the Charles River. Leaving the farm they dived into the
young oak woods, by a small path in the rear of the Cottage, and
entering the magnificent grove of pines after a short walk, found a
grassy wood path that led a long distance through them. Soon the party
would begin to straggle and divide, some to gather wild flowers and
berries, and more to find materials for wreaths, or ferns and mosses
for decorations.

The walks ended where walks do that have no definite plan--anywhere in
the woods, sitting on the boulders or the pine leaves, or in some shady
nook where a topic would be found for discussion, or a pleasant book
would be read. When the supper horn sounded, you found the absent ones
together again, with bright, rosy faces and good appetites; and only a
few of the younger folks would be late, who had strayed farther or
walked slower, to enjoy the companionship of those of the same age; to
listen to their sweet voices, and to linger, as only young folks love
to linger.

The summer came on with joy and beauty. I recall the long waves of
nodding grass, that swayed in the June wind and were chasing each
other, fugue-like on the broad meadows. How beautiful it was, tipped
with its various hues of green, yellow, red and purple, bending and
rising as each breath of wind passed over it! The crops looked well,
and the table was supplied with varieties of garden produce.

If you approached the farm in the middle of the forenoon, you wondered
where all the people were, but at the sound of the first horn, half an
hour before dinner, "from bush and briar and greensward shade" they
would begin to start out like Robin Hood's men, and when the second
horn was sounding, the daily, the tri-daily procession was fairly on
the move, approaching the Hive from all sides. It was a very pretty and
novel sight.

The men had been in the field planting, hoeing or weeding--the farmer's
triad of duties in the vegetable field--and as they worked side by
side, the questions of the day were discussed with freedom and with
partisanship, but with good nature. The one who had a bias for art
brought forward his art hobbies; the dress reformer aired his and the
vegetarian argued his cause. Personal questions often came to the
front--as how Smith probably voted in the Association meeting in the
case of the admission of some mooted person; he was so sly you could
not find out! And they quizzed one another, and they laughed and
rivalled one another in speed of work, which they did faithfully and
interestedly. It was a good school of human nature, and sooner or later
each one was sized up with a deal of exactness. With the sounding of
the horn the hoes were left in the field or put on the shoulder for the
march to the barn, where, in its little room, the toilet for meals was

When I think under what disadvantages these toilers worked for five
years, I wonder at their patience and firmness. What would our city
families say to all going out from their apartments, male and female,
young and old, and walking from an eighth to a quarter of a mile--often
making their own path through the deep snow of our severe New England
winters--three times each day, for the simple meals we had there to
eat? What would they say to living in crowded rooms, without private
parlors, and the public one at the Hive not much better than an office
in a back country hotel, and the other disadvantages heretofore named
and many more, simply for the principle of the thing?

Of course there was enthusiasm, and that sweetens many dull dishes; but
for those used to home comforts, to be sandwiched in with comparative
strangers--squeezed down, as it were, into a press--oftentimes having
the family separated into various and disunited parts of the mansion or
into different houses, was decidedly uncomfortable to bear.

These disadvantages could not but make the Association quite early
decide that the one thing above all others needed was a new building
with suites of rooms, where families could have the comforts and
privacy of homes, which with a large kitchen, bakery, dining rooms,
parlors, etc., would make a "unitary dwelling"; approximating to an
apartment house of more modern days in many of its details, and
improving on it as regards unitary cooking, dining and social

The autumn fled rapidly away, and things had to be hurried up and put
into shape for the winter. The gardener had no greenhouse, and was
growling for fear the early frost might take a fancy to his plants. So
the Association built him a temporary one in the "sand bank" by the
side of the farm road, and the plan was to bend their energies towards
getting the new dwelling started as early as possible in the spring,
and to build a permanent greenhouse near it.

I do not know what passed in the General Direction during the winter.
They were undoubtedly busy in endeavoring to obtain money for
constructing the new building, preparing plans for its interior
arrangement, and personally lecturing in various places, to aid in
awakening the public to the new ideas, hoping also that some benefit
might accrue to their organization, as well as to the cause, from their

The winter was mild, and it passed rapidly. There were coasting parties
of young and old, but it was not often that the snow was favorable.
There were literary societies, and we admired "the General" when he
recited the part of the lean and hungry Cassius. He didn't stammer
then, and he received the additional title of "Shakespeare's hero."
These things, with reading, dancing and singing classes, an occasional
"social" at the Hive, with private gatherings and chats around the
kitchen fire by "Hiveites" (i.e., those living at the Hive), found us
with spring at hand before we could realize it.

Among other matters in progress in the spring was the garden. The
gardener was urging upon the Association the usefulness and
profitableness of the growth and sale of garden and greenhouse plants
and flowers; the great benefit they would be in adding attractiveness
to the place, and also the importance of starting plants so that they
might be growing into sizable shrubs, to return an early profit for
their outlay. These facts decided the Association to commence a flower
garden, and they located it on a partially level piece of ground behind
the Cottage, covering perhaps a half acre, with a chance of future
extension by cutting the wood adjoining and cultivating the untilled

There was much labor put on this piece of land, as it was first reduced
to a level by removing the soil and subsoil, and levelling the gravelly
bottom; then returning the subsoil and soil to the top. Walks were next
laid out with great care, and flower beds made. A border was also dug
for the expected new greenhouse, and filled with rich soil and compost,
and the end of the summer saw it erected.

But the most important step taken in the spring was the establishment
of a journal devoted to the interests of Association and Associative

It is easy to see how naturally, independent of the need of an organ
for a new movement, the Brook Farmers took to the idea of publishing a
journal. In the first place there were at hand men who were abundant in
talent; who were used to writing, and well up in literature and fine
arts, to whom the idea was grateful as water to young ducks, And,
second, there were at least two or three printers and compositors
residing on the farm, who were as able in their department as the first
named were in theirs. There was in this connection, also, the
possibility at some future time of obtaining printing for the Printers'
Group, should that branch of labor be well established.

The scheme cannot be better introduced than by giving here the
prospectus of the _Harbinger_, the beautiful name of the new weekly
paper. You will find in its brave words some of the ideas that the
leaders of this movement developed, but more particularly the broad
faith they had in human nature and in great principles applied to
social life, and the greater trust they had that the Providence under
which we live had ordained man for a sublime destiny.



The following is the prospectus of


Devoted to the Social and Political progress. Published simultaneously
at New York and Boston, by the Brook Farm Phalanx. "All things, at the
present day, stand provided and prepared, and await the light."

Under this title it is proposed to publish a weekly newspaper, for the
examination, and discussion of the great questions in social science,
politics, literature and the arts, which command the attention of all
believers in the progress and elevation of humanity.

In politics, the _Harbinger_ will be democratic in its principles and
tendencies; cherishing the deepest interest in the advancement and
happiness of the masses; warring against all exclusive privilege in
legislation, political arrangements and social customs; and striving
with the zeal of earnest conviction, to promote the triumph of the high
democratic faith, which is the chief mission of the nineteenth century
to realize in society.

Our devotion to the democratic principle will lead us to take the
ground of fearless and absolute independence in regard to all political
parties, whether professing attachment to that principle or hostility
to it. We know that fidelity to an idea can never be reassured by
adherence to a name; and hence we shall criticise all parties with
equal severity, though we trust that the sternness of truth will always
be blended with the temperance of impartial candor. With tolerance for
all opinions, we have no patience with hypocrisy and pretense; least of
all with that specious fraud which would make a glorious principle the
apology for personal ends. It will therefore be a leading object of the
_Harbinger_ to strip the disguise from the prevailing parties, to show
them in their true light, to give them due honor, to tender them our
grateful reverence whenever we see them true to a noble principle; but
at all times, and on every occasion, to expose false professions, to
hold up hollow-heartedness and duplicity to just indignation, to warn
the people against the demagogue, who would cajole them by honeyed
flatteries, no less than against the devotee of mammon who would make
them his slaves.

The _Harbinger_ will be devoted to the cause of a radical, organic
social reform, as essential to the highest development of man's nature,
to the production of those elevated and beautiful forms of character of
which he is capable, and to the diffusion of happiness, excellence and
universal harmony upon the earth. The principles of universal unity as
taught by Charles Fourier, in their application to society, we believe
are at the foundation of all genuine social progress, and it will ever
be our aim to discuss and defend these principles, without any
sectarian bigotry, and in the catholic and comprehensive spirit of
their great discoverer. While we bow to no man as an authoritative,
infallible master, we revere the genius of Fourier too highly not to
accept, with joyful welcome, the light which he has shed on the most
intricate problems of human destiny. The social reform of whose advent
the signs are everywhere visible, comprehends all others, and in
laboring for its speedy accomplishment, we are conscious that we are
devoting our best ability to the removal of oppression and injustice
among men, to the complete emancipation of the enslaved, to the
promotion of genuine temperance, and to the elevation of the toiling
and down-trodden masses to the inborn rights of humanity.

In literature the _Harbinger_ will exercise a firm and impartial
criticism, without respect of persons or parties. It will be made a
vehicle for the freest thought, though not of random speculations; and
with a generous appreciation of the various forms of truth and beauty,
it will not fail to expose such instances of false sentiment, perverted
taste and erroneous opinion, as may tend to vitiate the public mind or
degrade the individual character. Nor will the literary department of
the _Harbinger_ be limited to criticism alone. It will receive
contributions from various pens, in different spheres of thought, and,
free from dogmatic exclusiveness, will accept all that in any way
indicates the unity of man with man, with nature, and with God.
Consequently all true science, all poetry and arts, all sincere
literature, all religion that is from the soul, all wise analyses of
mind and character, will come within its province.

We appeal for aid in our enterprise to the earnest and hopeful spirits
in all classes of society. We appeal to all who, suffering from a
resistless discontent in the present order of things, with faith in man
and trust in God are striving for the establishment of universal
justice, harmony and love. We appeal to the thoughtful, the aspiring,
the generous everywhere, who wish to see the reign of heavenly truth
triumphant, by supplanting the infernal discords and falsehoods on
which modern society is built--for their sympathy, friendship and
practical cooperation in the undertaking which we announce to-day.

The _Harbinger_ was launched, and it weathered the, storm for four
years, until its editors sought other and wider fields for their
genius. Besides the motto on the prospectus, they took the following
from Rev. William Ellery Channing: "Of modern civilization, the natural
fruits are, contempt for others' rights, fraud, oppression, a gambling
spirit in trade, reckless adventure and commercial convulsions, all
tending to impoverish the laborer and render every condition insecure.
Relief is to come, and can only come from the new application of
Christian principles, of universal justice and universal love, to
social institutions, to commerce, to business, to active life."

It was printed in quarto form, sixteen pages to every number, with
clear type and in excellent style. The index of the first volume bears
a list of twenty-two names as contributors, and it contains many worthy
ones. The New York names were as follows:--

Albert Brisbane. William Henry Channing. Christopher P. Cranch. George
William Curtis. George G. Foster. Parke Godwin. Horace Greeley. Osborne

The New England names were:--

Otis Clapp, Boston, Mass. William W. Story, Boston, Mass. T. Wentworth
Higginson, Boston, Mass. James Russell Lowell, Cambridge, Mass. J. A.
Saxton, Deerfield, Mass. Francis George Shaw, West Roxbury, Mass. John
G. Whittier, Amesbury, Mass.

Other contributors were:--

E. P. Grant of Ohio. A. J. H. Duganne of Philadelphia.

The Brook Farm writers were:--

George Ripley. John S. Dwight. Charles A. Dana. Lewis K. Ryckman.

In the second volume are two more of the Channing family as
contributors, Dr. William F. and Walter, and also the name of James
Freeman Clarke, of Boston, with an additional writer from Brook
Farm--John Orvis.

Mr. Ripley and Mr. Dana wrote most of the editorial Associative
articles. Mr. Dana was the principal reviewer, and noticed the new
books. Mr. Dwight wrote an occasional article on Association, reviewed,
and attended to the musical and poetical department. He also earnestly
advocated the doctrines of social and industrial life suggested by
Fourier. Translations in prose and poetry were common. Parke Godwin and
W. H. Channing assisted in translations or selections from Fourier's
writings. George William Curtis wrote the musical correspondence from
New York, and among the poetical contributions in the first volume, is
one from J. G. Whittier, "To My Friend on the Death of His Sister," and
five poems by Cranch, Higginson, Story, Lowell and Duganne; also poetic
translations from the German by Dwight and Dana, as well as original
poems by them.

The paper was not local. It aimed high as a purely literary and
critical as well as progressive journal, and I must ever consider it a
fault that it did not chronicle more of Brook Farm life. We look almost
in vain through its pages for one word of its situation, finding none
except in some allusions to it in the correspondence from abroad.
Occasionally the school was advertised in a corner, but for the rest it
might as well have been published elsewhere as at Brook Farm. The
leaders, feeling that the life there was an experiment, and perhaps a
doubtful one, were not disposed to gratify a curiosity which they
probably considered morbid, by yielding to it. This was a mistake. It
was a mistake, as much as it would be for us to leave out of our
letters to our friends the petty incidents of daily life, and describe
only grand principles and outside events. It is only to those loved
most by us that we recite the trivial things, for we know that those
trivialities link us closer than anything else, filling all the chinks
in our friendship or love. It was a disappointment to those who desired
to know often of the spirit of the workers, and of the little events
that happened there, not to find more notices of them.

In many other respects the _Harbinger_ was a grand success. In all that
pertained to music, criticism, poetry and progress no journal stood
higher. I cannot tell of its pecuniary success for I do not find any
memorandum of its finances. The first number commenced with a story
translated from the French of George Sand (Madame Dudevant) entitled
"Consuelo"--in some respects the sweetest story she ever wrote. It was
translated by our neighbor, Mr. Francis G. Shaw, who would oftentimes
mount his horse, and, with his little boy, a tiny fellow, on a pony by
his side, gallop over to see us. How hard it is for me to realize that
afterward the same little fellow, as Col. Robert G. Shaw, led his
colored regiment through fire and smoke and the whizzing bullets up to
the cannon's mouth of bloody Fort Wagner, and there laid down his life
for his country.

Francis George Shaw was of a Boston family and a gentleman of means. He
took great interest in our experiment and its hoped-for results. I have
not words to praise his kindness, and his gentlemanly manner and
bearing towards us all. He looked on life from a high standpoint.
Wealth did not corrupt him. He was a Christian in large heartedness and
philanthropy. He recognized his Maker's image in all men; the garment
he saw through; the color he saw through; and he desired above all
things the education, progress and culture of all the human family.

Appended is an additional list of all the advertised contributors of
the _Harbinger_, during its publication at Brook Farm, not including
those already mentioned:--

John Allen, Brook Farm. Jean M. Pallisse, Brook Farm. S. P. Andrews,
New York, N. Y. William Ellery Channing, Concord, Mass. Joseph J.
Cooke, Providence, R. I. Fred. Henry Hedge, Bangor, Me. Mark E.
Lazarus, Wilmington, N. C. E. W. Parkman, Boston, Mass. J. H. Pulte,
Cincinnati, Ohio. Samuel D. Robbins, Chelsea, Mass. Miss E. H. Starr,
Deerfield, Mass. C. Neidhart, Philadelphia, Pa.

The presence of a weekly journal on the farm, with its varieties of
current literature, poetry and music, could not but awaken in many of
the colaborers most pleasurable emotions. Prose articles and poetry
from it were discussed by daylight and by the fireside, by the
roadside, in the shops, on the farm--in fact, everywhere. The "Admiral"
was wild over Hood's "Bridge of Sighs." It was so quaint; the rhythm
was so unique; it was so full of sentiment; it was so tender; it
displayed so touchingly the sorrows of a young heart, and was so in
harmony with the humanitarian sentiment of our lives, that he and
others could but repeat it over and over, and the poet's rhymes kept
ringing both in our physical and mental ears. The lines--

  "One more unfortunate,
  Rashly importunate
  Gone to her death.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Take her up tenderly,
  Fashioned so slenderly
  Young and so fair."

were repeated times without number. Cranch's, Story's and Duganne's
poems were favorably criticised, the authors being friendly to the
Association, and the verses of our own members touched tender spots.

When Mr. Emerson's poems were published, there was quite a desire to
know what his sonnet to our friend William H. Channing was like. The
disappointment was great when, instead of a grand, glowing sonnet to a
great-souled man, it took up only an exceptional point of feeling in
his mind on the Abolition question, on which they were not quite
agreed. Quite a little discussion took place between two young persons
as to the propriety of the lines,

  "What boots thy zeal, O glowing friend,
  That would indignant rend
  The Northland from the South?"

The one party contended that "boots" was entirely inadmissible in
poetic phrase. "What boots? Cowhides or patent leathers?" said he,
whilst the other contended that the whole scope of the meaning made the
poetry. But still the first stuck to his point, that a grand sentiment
needed grand words as well as grand ideas, and "boots" was a homely and
inadmissible word with which to express a high sentiment.

Among the many volumes noticed, "Festus," by Philip James Bailey, was a
constant source of admiration and criticism in some of our circles, and
we had many varied ones. Listen to what Mr. Dwight said of it at the
time in the _Harbinger_: "There are more original and magnificent
images on a single page of Festus than would endow a dozen of the
handsome volumes most in vogue. The conclusion you come to as you read
on, is that his wealth of imagination is illimitable, and that you
might as well cut a cloud out of the purple sunset atmosphere, as a
figure from the boundless atmospheric beauty of this poem."

"Festus" still retains its charm for me.

The _Harbinger_, as may be seen, was to be published by the Brook Farm
_Phalanx_, not _Association_. The reason why the name was changed was
because "Association" was not a definite one, conveying distinct
impressions to the public mind, like "Community"; and the name
"Phalanx," although to American ears, new in its connection, was
expressive, and was also adopted by a number of social experiments just
starting, and it was desirable to have them all associated in name as
well as in general doctrine. The name "Community" was rejected because
all the societies organized under that name held their property in
common, which the "Association" distinctly did not.

There were other changes made at this time, more important in idea than
in practice. The name "Areopagus" was applied to an enlarged general
council, and our leader got in this connection, without warrant, the
name of "the Archon."

"Come!" said jocose Drew to him one day, as he sat on the wagon-seat
ready to start for the city, "we are waiting for you!"

"Ah!" was Mr. Ripley's reply, "I see you have the _wag_-on, and are now
waiting for the Archon!"

The government was vested in a General Council consisting of four
branches: First, a Council of Industry, composed of five members;
second, a Council of Finance, of four members; third, a Council of
Science, of three members, and fourth a President, who, with the
chairmen of the other three councils, constituted a "Central Council."
The Council of Industry was appointed by the chiefs of the several
series devoted to manual industry; the Council of Finance, by the
stockholders; the Council of Science, by chiefs of the series devoted
to educational, literary and scientific matters, and the President by
the concurrent vote of the three series.

The Areopagus, whose duty was advisory, consisted of the General
Council; the chiefs of the several groups and series; stockholders
holding stock to the amount of one thousand dollars or more; all
members of the Phalanx over the age of forty-five who had resided on
the place for two years or longer; and of such other persons as might
be elected by this Council on account of their superior wisdom, merit
or devotion to the interests of the Association; no person voting who
was not a member of the Phalanx.

There was a curious and interesting addition to the constitution in the
"Council of Arbiters," which was to consist of seven persons, "the
majority of whom shall be women." To this council individuals and
departments were to bring all complaints, charges and grievances not
provided for in other ways. They were to take cognizance of all matters
relating to morals and manners, and to report to the General Council
all cases wherein their decision was not complied with. The reader can
judge by this that there were men and women who understood "woman's
sphere," and were ready to assist her to it quietly and naturally, long
years ago in this little band.

A considerable number of arrangements were made to secure what was
considered justice in the relation of capital to the Phalanx, its
members and its stockholders. The capital stock was divided into three
classes, namely: loan stock, or that which received a fixed percentage
for use; partnership stock, depending on the general product of the
Phalanx for its dividend; and labor stock, that represented the
dividend to labor.

The arrangements for the dividends on stock of the several kinds were
quite complicated, and, under the light of after events, seem farcical;
but the constitution makers believed they were arranging matters not
only for the Brook Farm experiment, but for all who might adopt the
social life of the Phalanxes, present and future. Looking at it in this
light, the constitution might deserve more thought than can be given to
it now.

There was a preliminary article, written and signed by George Ripley,
President, from which the following extracts are made:--

"At the last session of the Legislature of Massachusetts, our
Association was incorporated under the name which it now assumes, with
the right to hold real estate to the amount of one hundred thousand
dollars. This confers upon us all the usual powers and privileges of
chartered companies. We have introduced several branches of profitable
industry, and established a market for their products; and finally, in
the constitution which follows, we have applied the principles of
social justice to the distribution of profits in such a manner that the
best results are to be expected.

"Nothing is now necessary to the greatest possible measure of success
but capital to furnish sufficient means to enable us to develop every
department to advantage. This capital we can now apply profitably and
without danger of loss. We are well aware that there must be risk in
investing money in an infant association as well as in any other
untried business, but with the labors of nearly four years, we have
arrived at a point where this risk hardly exists. Not that we have
surmounted all the difficulties of the enterprise; these are still
sufficiently abundant. But we have, by no means with ease, laid the
foundation, and now stand ready to do our part in rearing a
superstructure, which approaches more nearly to the ideal of human
society than any that has as yet existed--a society which shall
establish justice between all interests and all men; which shall
guarantee education, the right to labor, and the rights of property to
all, and which by actual demonstration of a state of things every way
better and more advantageous, will put an end to the great evils which
at present burden even the most fortunate classes.

"What we have already been able to accomplish ought to give weight to
our words. We speak not from abstract conviction, but from experience;
not as mere enthusiasts, but as men of practical common sense, holding
in our hands the means of escape from the present condition of society,
and from that still more frightful state to which in all civilized
countries it is hurrying.

"Accordingly, we calmly and earnestly invite the aid of those who
perceive how little security existing institutions offer against the
growth of commercial feudalism on the one hand, and pauperism on the
other--of those whose sympathies are with the unfortunate and
uneducated masses; of those who long for the establishment of more true
and genial conditions of life, as well as of those who are made
restless and fiery-souled by the universal necessities of reform.

"But by the increasing number, whose most ardent desire is to see the
experiment of Association fairly tried, we are confident that the
appeal we now make will not be received without the most generous
response in their power. As far as their means and their utmost
exertions can go, they will not suffer so favorable an opportunity for
the realization of their hopes to pass unimproved."

I cannot say that I think all parties in the Association were pleased
with the changes in the constitution. They were not simple enough to be
easily applied and quickly comprehended, and were too weighty and
cumbersome for the little society.

Early in the second spring (1844) of my sojourn at the farm it was
decided to build a large unitary building on the high ground, almost
directly in front of the Eyry, though at some distance from it, on the
eastern verge of the slope facing the meadow, and nearly in line with
the distant town road. It was late when the preparations were concluded
and the work was commenced. There was not money enough in the treasury
to pay for it, but it was thought that means would come. The result of
the season's work was that the foundation walls were laid, the first
floor was boarded, and thus it was left for the winter.

It was to be an oblong, wooden building, with an entrance on a level
with the earth terrace. The lower floor was divided into some five or
six apartments, with parlors, a reading room, reception rooms, large
dining hall, with an adjoining kitchen and bakery. From the main hall
or entry, which was on the left of the centre of the building, arose a
flight of stairs which led out on to a corridor or piazza which
extended across the whole front of the building. This corridor was
duplicated by one above it, and the roof jutted out to a line with the
lower story and covered them both. Pillars supported the roof, and were
attached to and supported the corridors. On the lower corridor or
piazza were the entrances to the suites. There were seven doorways that
entered seven houses, as distinct as any other seven houses, except in
being connected by the corridors and being under one roof, each house
containing two suites. Thus could privacy be maintained and sociability

The building would add wonderfully to the advantages of the
Association, and being near the centre of the domain, would diminish
the travel which consumed a great deal of time. It would give room for
increased numbers; would furnish a suitable assembly room, and more
especially would it give to the larger families a chance to place their
members together in the natural family order. It would also allow the
other buildings to be used exclusively for family purposes, and if
success increased the resources of the Association, the main building
would be enlarged by adding wings to it.

The proportion of unmarried persons in the Association was large, and
young men predominated. They had, in a general sense, a good home in
the Association, but there was lacking the family circle to draw around
at night, and a good deal of motherly care and sympathy. They were
reliable young men, and many of the families would not have objected to
having them joined to their evening circles, had they not been crowded
themselves; to having a sympathizing care over them, and to looking
after many of those trifling things that make the difference between
comfort and discomfort.

It was a theory that all should have a home--that the Association, as a
general home, should not take the place of the private family; and it
was also considered a duty by many to join to their family circles one
or more of these single persons. It was proposed in the apportionment
of the rooms in the new building, to place a family in each house and
proportionately distribute the young men, when desirable to do so,
among them. This would give all a more equal chance, and not doom the
young and productive members to reside in attics, or in groups in any
place convenient for the Association, in its crowded state, to put them.

Extracts from the Financial Report to the Association.

"The Direction of Finance respectfully submit their annual report for
the year ending Oct. 31, 1844:--

   The income of the Association during the year from
    all sources whatever has been . . . . . . .$11,854.41
    and its expenditures for all purposes,
    including interest, losses by bad debts,
    and damage of buildings, tools and
    furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,409.14

    leaving a balance of . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,445.27
    from which deducting the amount of
    doubtful debts contracted this year . . . .    284.43
    we have . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,160.84

which is to be divided according to the Constitution.

"By the last yearly report of this Direction it appears that the
Association has been a loser up to November 1, 1843, to the amount of
$2,748.83. In this amount was included sundry debts against associates
amounting to $924.38 which should not have been included. There were
also some small discrepancies which were afterwards discovered, so that
on settling the books, the entire deficit appeared to be $1,837.00.

"To this amount should be added the proportion of the damage done to
the tools, furniture and general fixtures and depreciation in the live
stock, by the use of the two years which the Association has been in
operation previous to that time. The whole damage of this property by
the use of these years has been ascertained by inventory to be $365.54,
according to the estimates and statements prepared by Messrs. Ryckman
and Hastings, which are herewith submitted.

"Of this sum, $365.54, we have charged one third, $121.85, to the
account of the current year, and two thirds, $243.69, to the account of
the two preceding years. To the same amount should also be added sundry
debts which have since proved to be bad, amounting in all to $678.08,
and also an error in favor of I. Morton amounting to $17.74, which has
since been discovered in his account, so that the total deficit of the
preceding years will appear to be as follows:--

  Deficit on settling the books..... $1,837.00
  Damage on furniture and fixtures..... 243.69
  Bad debts, including debts of
  associates considered doubtful....... 678.08
  I. Morton............................  17.74

  Total.............................. $2,776.51

"From this amount is to be deducted the value of the farm produce
consisting of hay, roots, manures, etc., on hand November 1, 1843,
which was not taken into the amount of last year, but which has been
ascertained to be $762.50, as well as the value, $49.13, of the family
stores which were on hand at the same time, but were also omitted from
the amount.

"Deducting these two amounts ($762.50+$49.13= $811.63) from the deficit
as above stated we have:

  Deficit.......... $2,776.51
  Farm produce and
  family stores....... 811.63

  Real deficit for
  1842 and 1843.... $1,964.88

"It was the opinion of a majority at least of this Board that this sum
must be chargeable upon the future industry of the Association, and
that no dividend could be declared until it had been made up.
Accordingly the quarterly statement for the quarter ending August 1,
1844, was based upon this opinion, and a deficit of $526.78 declared to
exist at that time. It is but justice to say that that statement was
made up in the absence of one of the members of the Direction, Mr.
Ryckman, who on seeing it objected entirely to the principle which it
embodied. Subsequent consideration has convinced the Direction that the
statement was in that respect erroneous, and that the transactions of
previous years ought not to affect the operations of this, in the way
proposed in the statement. It should be borne in mind that the deficit
before spoken of is not a debt in itself, but is the difference between
the amount of our debts and our joint stock, and the nominal value of
our assets. The Association is not bound to pay the sum or to make it
good in any way. It pays interest upon it, but can never be called on
to pay the principal. The sum total of the actual liabilities of the
Association, that is, of debts and obligations which it is bound at
some time or other to pay, is much exceeded by the cost value of its
property. Its joint stock, which it is not bound to pay, much exceeds
the deficit we are speaking of, so that clearly the deficit is not to
be paid, but only the interest upon it, that is, five per cent per
annum forever. So that it is evident that the principal is by no means
chargeable upon the industry of the present or of future years, but
only the interest. And even if the said deficit were a debt to be paid
it would still, as we conceive, be perfectly just and legitimate to
issue stock for its amount to those members by whose labors it was made
up. Because in that case we should merely, in consideration of such
labor, bind the Association to the yearly payment of the interest
aforesaid according to the terms of our joint stock compact.

"This is, as we are persuaded, the only way whereby labor can receive
justice. If a hundred dollars in money is invested in our stock, we
issue certificates for that amount, and why must we not do the same
with an investment of a hundred dollars' worth of labor? The claim in
the latter case seems to us even more imperative than in the former.
The dividend of each year ought, as we are convinced, to be made with
reference solely to the difference between its gains on the one hand,
and its expenditures and losses on the other.

"The earlier losses of the establishment must be regarded as the price
of much valuable experience, and as inevitable in starting such an
institution. Almost every business fails to pay its expenses at the
commencement--it always costs something to set the wheels in operation;
this is not, however, to be regarded as absolute loss. This is the view
which is to be taken of the condition of the Association at the
beginning of the present year.

"The true value of any property is precisely the sum on which, in the
use for which it was designed or which it may be put to, it pays the
requisite interest. The price of railroad stock, for example, is not
regulated, either by its original cost or by the present intrinsic
worth of the property it represents, but by the dividend it pays and by
the condition and durability of the railroad. For any other use than as
a railroad the property of the road is of course comparatively
worthless, but that consideration has no effect upon its value.

"The case is entirely the same with the property of this Association.
As long as it is able, in the use and under the management of the
Association, to pay the stipulated interest--five per cent per
annum--upon the stock shares by which it is represented, so long those
stock shares will be worth par, whatever may be the nominal cost of the
property, or its value for any other purposes than those of the

"In accordance with these views and for other considerations which we
shall hereafter allude to, this Direction is altogether of opinion that
the results of this year's industry ought to be divided irrespective of
the results of former years, and certificates of stock issued to those
persons who are entitled to such dividends.

"To some persons it may perhaps seem remarkable that a dividend should
be declared when the Association is so much in want of ready money as
at present, but a little reflection will show anyone that it is a
perfectly legitimate proceeding. A very large part of our industry has
been engaged in the production of permanent property such as the shop,
the Phalanstery and the improvements upon the farm. These are of even
more value to the Association than so much money, and a dividend may as
justly be based upon them as upon cash in the treasury.

"As soon as the Phalanstery shall be completed it will become necessary
to establish different rates of room rent. It is a matter of doubt
whether such an arrangement is not already desirable. In our present
crowded condition, indeed, the general inconveniences are distributed
with tolerable equality, but still it is impossible to avoid some
exceptions, and it might contribute to the harmony of the Association
if a just graduation of rates for different apartments should now be
established. As far as possible no member should be the recipient of
peculiar favors, but when all are charged at an equal rate for unequal
accommodations, this is unavoidable. For the same reason a difference
should be made between the price of board at the Graham tables, and
those which are furnished with a different kind of food. It is only by
this means that justice can be done and differences prevented.

  "C. A. D."

The first thought that will arrest the attention of some in reading
this report is the smallness of the figures. It does not appear to-day
that the corporation was much of a financial affair, for there are
thousands of persons in our land now who could easily sustain such an
institution and pocket its yearly losses; but we must bear in mind that
the intervening years have changed the value of money, and its relation
to property. A fair price for a mechanic's labor then was a dollar for
a day of ten to twelve hours; the same persons would now receive three
to four times as much for less hours. We should remember also that the
colossal fortunes of to-day were not in existence then. The means at
the command of the Association were very small, and the wonder is that
with so little money capital the enterprise should have attracted the
wide notice it did.

In this report was an allusion to the Graham table. In the dining room
there was always, at the time of which I write, one table of
vegetarians--those who used no flesh meats, and generally no tea or
coffee. They passed under the name of "Grahamities," from the founder
of the vegetarian system in America, Dr. Sylvester Graham, whose name
is still connected with bread made of unbolted wheat because it was by
him considered the very perfection of human food. These persons were of
both sexes, different ages and occupations. They worked on the farms,
in the schools, the houses and the shops. They had the diet of the
place, minus the meat and sometimes the tea and coffee. Little
attention was paid at first to this departure from common habits, but
by degrees the numbers increased until they began to be a power. Their
constancy, their earnest belief, soon swept away all ridicule, and the
proof that they could do their share of daily work was not wanting.
Among the number were many very devoted and cheerful persons.

Dispensing with meat, with the restricted diet, led some to say: "Our
table does not cost as much as the others, for we eat no meat, saving
the expense of it to the Association, and we drink no tea or coffee,
saving that cost also. Let us have the money we have economized, spent
for us in things that we want, in additional fruit and vegetables, or
in some articles of diet that we need to replace the food we do not
use." The answer to it was that the Association furnished certain
things, and if the members did not eat them it was their loss, as it
could not be expected that the Association could cater to individual
tastes. But after a while the injustice was made apparent, and it led
to the notice we have just read in the report.

I have been requested to give my personal testimony as to the effect of
a vegetarian diet as seen at Brook Farm. I willingly do so. For two or
three years the farmers, mechanics and others worked side by side, and
no one could conscientiously say that in ability to work in any field
of labor, physical or mental, the vegetarians were out-matched by their
companions. Their health was fully maintained and their mental
cheerfulness was surpassed by none.

From this report it can easily be learned that no important financial
progress had been made at Brook Farm, and that any accumulation of
wealth was yet in the future. The Brook Farmers were working in hope.
It was still an experiment, and as an experiment it will be necessary
for me to point out by-and-by the defects which will answer the often
asked question, "Why did Brook Farm fail?" But it is well to bear in
mind the starting point. Most men of business go into trade with a
capital, some reserved fund, but the Brook Farmers had none, and as
they progressed, the want of it was more and more felt. "It is the
first step that costs," as the French proverb says, and the Brook
Farmers had a great many first steps to take, steps that no others had
taken, and inevitable costs and losses must occur. But we pass on into
the second spring of my Brook Farm life.

And here another character came into our circle, and joined in work on
the farm. He was very enthusiastic. His wife had lately died, and he
brought her body to Brook Farm as to Holy Land and buried it in the
little grove by the side of our first and only grave, so that there
were now two mounds that the gardener ornamented with sods, shrubbery
and flowers.

I do not think this new friend had a fine face. His features were not
large, and, if we except the full forehead, not very attractive. His
mouth was small, and his dark brown hair asserted its rights in spite
of brush and comb, and would not lie gracefully down over his brow, and
it added to the look of determination there was in the little man's
countenance, shown by the lines in his face and the rigid and spare
muscles, a "hold on" expression which so well coincided with his

New England at this time put its fingers in its ears and stifled the
beatings of its heart that kept time with justice, in order that the
peace of our country should not be disturbed by men who thought slavery
a curse, and proclaimed it so. Rev. John Allen was then in a pulpit,
and dared to speak his mind to his people, at which they rebelled and
would not hearken. "Speak I must; speak I will," said he, "or we part!
Let me but preach a sermon once a quarter on the subject of slavery!"
But the church said, "No." "Let me then but preach once in six months,"
and the church said, "No." Finally he said he would continue with them
if they would allow him to preach one sermon a year on the subject--I
doubt not that that _one_ would have carried flint and steel enough to
set fire to all the tinder in the congregation--but the church would
not listen, and they parted.

He had one little child, an infant a year or two old, who, deprived of
his mother, was brought to the farm and had a great deal of attention
and pity bestowed upon it. This little boy brought a misfortune which
threatened the lives of the members, the business and life of the
Association. He was the pet of his father, who took him to Boston on
his lecture tours and brought him back, for Mr. Allen was engaged to
lecture for the cause. The child had never been vaccinated, and being
ill at the Hive, it was discovered that he had symptoms of small-pox,
which disease he had taken somewhere in the city. Imagine the commotion
among the persons who had handled and fondled the young darling, and in
the Association in general! But the bravery of men and women who had
dared to leave their homes and share the fortune and fate of this young
Community was everywhere displayed.

The child was isolated and cared for, but in due time backaches and
headaches foretold the coming of the dreaded disease, and preparations
were made for anticipated results. The Cottage was vacated, and the
sick were conveyed thither. The disease took a variety of forms. There
were those who had nothing but the symptoms, or a pustule or two; some
had a few dozen on them, scattered from head to foot; they were almost
absolutely well; they refused to be made invalids of; they kept at work
on the farm or were only disabled for a day or two when the disease was
at its height. The lighter cases increased in number, and finally the
Direction saw it was useless to try to isolate all, and that the
disease must have its run, and they must trust to fate for final
results. The worst cases were in the improvised hospital, under the
care of kindly nurses. "Hired," say you? No; not a bit of it! but dear,
kind women and men volunteered to attend to this sacred duty, and after
weeks of imprisonment, came out with the glory of having protected
every life, and the Associated family lost not a member. There were
more than thirty cases. The simple diet, the pure air and the healthy
mental stimulus of cheerful lives, with the knowledge that they were
something more than in name a united body, must have had its effect,
for the whole trouble passed away like a summer shower, and left no
permanent impression on the society. There were three or four extreme
cases, but only one or two persons who bore scars that were
defacements, and there was no panic in our midst. The members took the
whole matter with wonderful coolness.

Like a shower it wiped out the army of visitors! When any persons came,
an attendant warned them of our condition ere they reached the Hive
door, and they precipitately retreated. Occasionally only, a carriage
or a few persons travelled the accustomed ways. Not until the epidemic
had passed did the interminable throng resume its accustomed walk, or
strange faces appear at the "visitors' table," and our many constant
and cheerful friends greet us again as of yore. The labor of the
Association was much disarranged, and there was loss in many ways, but
it was truly to be congratulated that it escaped from such an unusual
danger as comfortably as it did. From the first days of the Community
until its close, there was only one death on the farm, and that of the
person described in a former chapter.



All through the spring the talk was of the new building, the
"Phalanstery," as we called it. Everybody was thinking what great
progress could be made when we should live in it. One day, passing by,
I found the carpenters had resumed work, and from thenceforth it
progressed until it assumed the resemblance of a mammoth house.

The round of daily life this season was little varied from that of the
past, but there was more activity and more crowding. A great many
makeshifts were had to enable persons who wished to visit the place to
get even lodging for a night, for no one knew who or how many were
coming before the evening coach arrived. Oftentimes it came full, when
it seemed there was not a sleeping place to be found on the domain. The
Association buildings overflowed, and a neighboring house was leased
and occupied just across the road, by the Hive. It was sometimes called
the "Nest," and had been hired in the first days of the "Community."
Even then every corner was filled.

There was some income from this crowd of visitors, and at the same time
the work and system of the place were much retarded, for as carriage
after carriage and vehicle after vehicle came, each one would require
an attendant, who was taken from labor, and when the regular attendants
were all occupied the horn would be sounded to see if anyone of the
shoemakers or printers or farmers or teachers would leave his work and
volunteer for this duty.

Frequently all these visitors would leave as suddenly as they came, and
would only give their thanks, not even being of a single cent's
immediate value to the place for the outlay of time taken from
productive labor. Sometimes a growl would be heard because a trifle was
taken for the expense of meals, or about the absence of feathers in the
beds, by some visitor who intruded himself uninvited. I pitied the
Dormitory Group, running from house to house at edge of evening to find
a stray corner to lodge a guest; seeking out the rooms of absent
members, and hunting up towels, furnishings and fittings, through all
the pleasant summer weather. But this was cheerfully done for "the
cause," and much more had to be done.

Our lecturers were wanted--men who were in practical associative life,
and they were taken from remunerative work to speak to the public. Thus
we entered into the summer, and the beautiful grass waved again on the
meadow; the pleasant lights gleamed again from the Eyry windows; the
pure moon looked down on the summer fields; the merry voices of the
young and happy folks were heard as the farmers came up from the
fields, and the horn sounded its "_toot-toot_" as a signal for all to
join at meals.

I was in the gardener's department, assisting him in the care of the
greenhouse plants and making flower beds, but our especial work was
laying out and planting a large garden which should be a permanent
addition to the beauty of the place, and a future source of income. On
the farm was a fine imported bull who did not seem to be doing his
share of work in our very industrious place, so a ring was put in his
nose and he was my especial charge in the way of a team. It appears
cruel to one who for the first time sees a bull led by the nose, but
there seems to be no reason why a bull should complain, when there are
so many humans continually led through life in the same fashion.

In fact the bull throve and had in some ways considerable sense. He was
harnessed into a tipcart and we made him work for us. He was a strong,
powerful fellow, and has carried his eighty loads of gravel a day, from
one part of the garden to the other. At noon I would relieve him of his
harness and mount his back for a ride to the barn. I would then be the
"observed of all observers." Sometimes, for the frolic, I would load my
cart with young misses and dump them at the Hive door, backing up to it
in the most approved style of an old "gee-haw" farmer.

"Prince Albert," the bull, was a gem. He worked admirably. He never
gave me any trouble, or anyone else human, but when stalled near the
oxen he had a peculiar fancy to poke his horns into them. Early one
morning, by some mischance, he got loose in the barn, and "going" for
one of them frightened him so much that he also broke loose, and in
trying to make his escape from the bull, backed into the barn-room.
There was a large trap door in it, and the ox ventured on it, breaking
it, and fell through. The bull was so close behind that he could not
escape, and they dropped together into the little room below, the door
of which was open. The ox escaped into the yard, and ran for dear life
around the front of the Hive, pursued by the bull. Whether the jar of
the fall, his escape, or his quiet disposition sobered him I know not,
but he soon fell into a jog-trot pursuit, and was caught and returned
by a neighboring farmer.

There was great roaring and noise in the fracas, which was of short
duration, but long enough to bring out the men from the Hive to witness
the affair. The General, who had been sleeping a little late--probably
he had been baking bread the night before--made his appearance from his
little room on the ground floor, with boot on one foot and shoe on the
other, just as it was all over, with the impatient inquiry, "W-w-what
is it all about?" On an explanation of the affair being made, the next
question he asked, in all earnestness, soberness and simplicity, was
"W-h-o-i-c-h came out ahead?" The personal appearance and manner of the
General, and the absurd question, uttered in a vehement and stammering
way, touched a ludicrous spot in the minds of the spectators so
permanently that should you ask one of them to-day, "Which came out
ahead?" he will smile or give you a shout of laughter in return.

It took but little to amuse, sometimes, for on one of the beautiful
summer days at nooning time, a group of men were resting in the shade
of the arbor that was on an island artificially made in the brook below
the terraces in front of the Hive, breathing the pure, balmy air of
outdoors instead of the indoor air of the workshop, reclining on the
thick greensward, when some two or three essayed the not very difficult
feat of jumping the merrily running brook, from embankment to
embankment, and dared Tirrell, one of the number, to follow. He was the
oldest and a little less supple than the others; and in trying the jump
deliberately landed about three inches short of the opposite bank, knee
deep in the water. It was, as the young people say, "too funny for
anything," but equally funny to the lookers-on to see the amused
Chiswell, one of his mates, roll over and over on the greensward in
repeated convulsions of side-splitting laughter, whilst the others,
standing up, had hard work to keep their perpendicular and writhed in
awful shapes as they joined in chorus with him, as Tirrell was slowly
wading out of the water up the embankment.

Trouble in financial affairs still existed. Cash in large amount was
not received, and it was perilous times with the Direction. When the
fall of the year came, it was announced that we must retrench our
meagre diet, to enable us to go on until our labor could pay us
better--until we could improve our employments and enlarge the
institution so that there could be more producers--and it was submitted
to without much complaint.

The work on the new building ceased, so that all hope of entering into
it before the coming spring was abandoned. There was one motto,
"Retrenchment," and it was echoed from all sides with all manner of fun
and mock solemnity; but those who were in the inner circle doubtless
felt, more than the youngsters did, the seriousness of matters. A more
strict account of everything was kept; indeed it seemed that the time
spent in keeping all the various items, was out of proportion to the
work done. I shall not soon forget, in this connection, the joke of
"the Parson," E. Capen, who, holding up a pair of pantaloons that he
had just received from the Mending Group, said sharply, "I have just
gotten a _reseat in full_ for these pantaloons!"

It will not be necessary to go into details of changes made to secure
more prosperity. I was undisturbed by them. I could go with crust of
good bread all day and be satisfied, growing strong and healthy. I
could endure the cold and heat without trouble, and have often braved
the winter wind, taking no pains to keep it from being blown on my bare
chest, and without discomfort.

The new greenhouse was built in the autumn, just in time to save the
plants from frost. It was situated back of the cottage and garden,
almost parallel with our boundary wall, and about fifteen feet from it.
There was a little sleeping room connected with it, where I lodged
summer and winter. Above me in the gable, a variety of beautiful doves,
consisting of Pouters, Tumblers, Ruffs, Carriers and Fantails, was
installed. They were very tame, and were much admired by our family and
visitors. They came at my call, alighted on my hands, head and
shoulders, and picked corn from out my hands and from between my lips.

We planted grape vines that bore promises, but were too young for
fruit, and we made bouquets and sold them to Boston and West Roxbury

Peter N. Klienstrup, the gardener, was under the spell of the powerful
weed, tobacco, and he tried time and again to break from the habit of
using it, but as often returned to its enchantment and its witchery.

"Dis is my last piece," I have heard him say many times, showing me the
fragment of a "hand," and when that was gone and for some two or three
weeks afterwards everything soured him. He was as cross as a bear, but
after that time his nerves would gradually become calmer and his
complexion clearer.

The gardener would persevere in the disuse of tobacco until the
enchanter's spell seemed broken, when some disturbing thing would upset
him, and he would turn his pockets inside out, and fumble with his
thumb and finger in their extreme corners for the least particle of the
"luxury." "John, I _must_ have some tobacco," he would say, and in a
day or two would be again under the full influence of the weed. I
pitied the old man, as I do the thousands of younger men who are to-day
under the same enchantment.

Swept into this little nook in the industries of the place, I left the
Farming Group forever.

It is often stated that the home circle is the sphere of women, but at
times it is a very narrow circle--a very narrowing circle to its
occupants. There are thousands who enter it as brilliant young ladies,
and come from it at the end of a few years morbid, harassed, depressed;
sunk in all the graces and powers that make a woman's life beautiful
and distinct from a man's. The circle in many cases is so narrow that
there is no room for growth. The humdrum toils, the petty cares and
rude contact with hired help, sink many a charming woman into a
domestic drudge and scold.

It has been asserted that Associations and Communities may do well for
men, but that women can never get along in them. The experience of
Brook Farm testifies against the assertion. If ever there was a clear
record of faithfulness and devotion, of sacrifice, of love of
principle, and earnest, unselfish work for unselfish ends, the women
toilers of Brook Farm can claim it and secure it without cavil. Morning
and evening, in season and out of season, in heat and cold, they were
ever at their posts. And the self-imposed toil made them grow great. It
opened their hearts as they daily saw the devotion of others.

It was for the meanest a life above humdrum, and for the greatest
something far, infinitely far beyond. They looked into the gates of
life and saw beyond charming visions, and hopes springing up for all.
They saw protection for all, even to the meanest of God's creatures; a
life beyond cold charity, up among the attributes of the Creator's
justice; an even garment for all, protecting the weak children of life
against the strong, the strong against the machinations of the weak.
How could they grow otherwise than great?

Wherever woman's hands were wanted to work, wherever woman's head was
wanted to plan, and wherever woman's care and sympathy were needed,
they were always forthcoming. Some were witty, too. One of our ladies,
with her hands full of apple blossoms and her eyes bright as stars, was
met by Mr. Ripley, who said to her, "You have been foraging, I see!"
"Oh, no," she said, with an arch smile, "I do not go _foraging_."

The pupils of the school took the infection of labor. At first often
haughty and distant, they soon mellowed, and were ready to assist the
young associative friends, with whom they became acquainted, in various
little works, and enjoyed the labor. The prevailing tone was health.
Sickness was a rarity to either sex. The pupils mingled with the games
and sporty, walks, rides and parties, and many seemed as devoted as
though belonging to the body, and when they returned from vacations, it
was with happy greetings to all and from all, and like returning home,
rather than to tasks.

Separate and distinct from the school was a room for the young at the
Hive, where mothers could leave their children in the care of the
Nursery Group whilst they were engaged in industrial work, or as a
kindly relief to themselves when fatigued by the care of them; for a
primary doctrine was "alternation of employments." It was believed that
more and better work could be done by not being confined to one
employment all the day of labor; that it was better for the mental as
well as the physical system to have a change--in theory as often as
once in two hours. In practice, under the conditions which governed our
life, an attempt only could be made to alternate labor and to relieve
the mothers from the excess of burden that the care of young children
often is. Some very sweet and choice ladies attended to this
employment, choosing it from their attraction towards it; thus
inaugurating the day nursery system, now coming into vogue in our large

In the matter of dress, the women who chose, had made for themselves a
short gown with an under garment, bound at the ankles and of the same
material. With this dress they could walk well and work well. It was
somewhat similar to the dress worn by Mrs. Bloomer and called by her
name years after this date.

The question of the "right to vote" for women was not one that troubled
the politicians of Brook Farm. At all of the meetings for the
acceptance or rejection of applicants and other purposes, women cast
their votes without criticism, for were they not mutually interested?
And now, nearly half a century since, we are asked to form a party to
secure similar rights. Why, men and women, the party was formed when a
majority of persons now living was not born; only it was a very small
party, and, need I add--select!

Only once did we have a wedding ceremony at the farm, though the
friendships commenced outlasted the Association. The financial
conditions for marriage were not inviting. One pleasant evening, later
than this date as I remember it, we were all invited to the Pilgrim
House to a wedding of one of Mr. Dwight's sisters. Our friend Rev. W.
H. Channing officiated.

It was a homelike affair, and after the ceremony "the Poet" (J. S.
Dwight) was invited to speak to us; but no, he was not in the mood. He
was urged--for all liked to hear his kindly voice, and we thought this
a particularly pleasant subject--so he at last arose from his seat and
commenced with these words: "I like this making one." It seemed to
touch various chords in the minds of the hearers, for the applause and
laughter that followed silenced the rest of the speech and it was never
finished. Then some one proposed that all should join hands and make a
circle, as the symbol of universal unity, and a pledge to one another
that all were united in effort to continue and carry on the great work
of harmonizing society on a true and just basis of unity of interests,
attractive industry, mutual guarantees, etc.

  "Come, let us join hands! let our two flames mingle
    In one more pure;
  Since there is truth in nothing that is single
    Be love, love's cure,"

sang our Poet after this time in the _Harbinger_, and some said with
double meaning. I have a list of names of fourteen married couples
whose mutual friendship was begun or continued through Brook Farm life,
and I have yet to know of an unhappy marriage among them all.

The question was often debated whether such a life as was led in
Association would have a tendency to favor early marriages or not, but
like a great many other questions of importance, it was debated without
settlement. One party claimed that from the freedom of social
intercourse and facility of acquaintance, an intimacy would spring up
that would result in early marriages; and the other party maintained
that with the certainty of true friendship from woman, and pleasant
social relations, marriages would not be hurried, but delayed until the
parties' thoughts and temperaments were well harmonized and all proper
and natural arrangements of support and comfort thoroughly secured.

There was with us a variety of female characters. We had our Marthas
who were troubled with much serving, and our Marys who loved to sit at
our leader's feet and hear the glad tidings and the new doctrines; and
now and then we had an uncomfortable woman, fully out of place and
consequently unhappy. Such an one was usually the wife of some man
whose whole energies were devoted to his work and who was happy in
himself, on his half shell, and was to be pitied that his other half
lived not in his shadow, but cast a shadow on him.

All Brook Farmers recollect with pleasure, among special cases of
devotion, the little, straight, light-haired, smiling woman, who was so
long chief of the Dormitory Group, who was at nightfall wandering about
with stray towels, sheets and pillows, always making arrangements in
the shifting population for every one who came; hunting places for
stray visitors, when we were crowded; puzzled and wearied oft--for no
one knew at what hour of the day or evening visitors might come and we
had oftentimes almost to make a Box and Cox affair of it, for there was
no hotel within a long distance. This little woman was at her post
again in the morning doing dormitory work, never tired, going from
house to house, ever with a smile on her face; and this position she
voluntarily occupied more than two years. Sweet Lizzie Curson!

Then the young folks--the young misses--were full of devotion. Commend
me to the young for unselfish work, or was it that the life awoke in
them a devoted spirit? This I know, that the sympathy and friendship
which sprung up in those days has lasted all these years, and will
remain as long as life. But it was not personal beauty that held me in
sway, and still holds me after so many long years--years that have
transformed most of those beautiful girls into old matrons and weeping
widows, plain and homely--but because it seems to me that there never
was a more gentle, kind, amiable, trusting, self-respecting, loving set
of young folks anywhere assembled.

And oh, how they learned! How they grew in grace and in education, both
of the practical and the ornamental! How fine in health and figure,
from the free life, from the grace learned in dancing, the repose at
early hours, the simple diet and the mind filled every day with
pleasant thoughts and ideas. I do not know of any one who was not in
fine, robust health. They all, without exception, developed into
healthy men and women; or, to be a little more exact, as long as they
remained on the farm they continued to develop in health, strength,
grace and beauty.



The need of especial amusements was not particularly felt at the farm,
but sometimes a set, inspired by an active mind, would venture out of
the common course and try to do a "big thing," which, like many big
things, would prove a failure. There was no hall for performances
except the dining hall, and it could not be taken possession of until
after supper; consequently, for a dramatic performance where it was
important to have the hall prepared before hand, it was useless, and so
the Amusement Group secured the lower floor of the shop for a special
occasion, and Chiswell, the carpenter, made a portable stage which
could be arranged for rehearsals and taken down easily, and all hands
went to work, some to learn their parts and others to make dresses,
properties and scenery.

The influence of a strong, active mind and persuasive tongue like that
of Drew, was felt on this occasion, for he induced the Amusement Group
to allow a portion of his favorite poem, Byron's "Corsair," to be
acted. With pencil and scissors he went to work, cutting and slashing
the "Corsair" with these ungodly weapons until I fear he could not, had
he been in the flesh, have fought a brave fight.

I cannot at this late day describe the dresses worn on the occasion;
but Glover was the corsair, and burnt cork had to suffer, and I know
that there was quite a pretty Miss whom he had no especial objection to
embracing as Medora. When he said, "My own Medora!" it was quite
pathetic--enough to cause a titter among the younger portion of the

_Apropos_ of the audience, it was noised abroad that there was to be a
performance at the farm, and there was more than the usual number of
outsiders present. Even the Reverend Theodore, who never ventured out
in our vicinity in the evening, was tempted to come over for this
"great occasion." Some round-faced, pretty daughters of a well-to-do
neighboring farmer from "Spring Street" were there also, and with
friends and neighbors, the shop was full; for us a large audience.

Well, the "Corsair," clipped as it was, dragged its slow length along
to an end. We then ventured to start our great drama, "Pizarro," or the
death of Rolla. But here again I am foiled in my remembrance. I know it
took the "whole strength of the company" to fill out the many
characters needed. Carpenters, shoemakers and farmers were turned into
Spanish chieftains and Peruvians; our young maidens were changed into
sun-worshippers, and our musical man adapted a portion of one of
Mozart's masses, to sing to these words, "The _sun_ is in his holy
temple," etc., at which some of our people cavilled; but which portion,
sung by the maidens, in white, was perhaps the best of all the

I remember, however, that "the Admiral," or some one else, was
stationed behind the scenes with a gun to fire at Holla when he runs
away with Alonzo's child; that one of the great points made was, "By
Heaven, it is Alonzo's child!" and that rushing over scenic rocks he
should in imagination be shot; but the pesky gun behind the scenes
would not go off until many desperate attempts were made--no report
being heard until the play had further progressed, when all of a sudden
the gun was fired, and frightened individuals had the temerity to ask
"what that gun was for."

I remember this also, that long before the play was ended, the Reverend
Theodore and others of the visitors had departed, thinking their own
thoughts, and that the curative effects of that performance lasted so
long the like was never attempted again; and although some were a
trifle disheartened by the failure to reach the summit of their hopes,
yet it was a source of merriment to others, and there are those whose
eyes may meet these pages, who will still smile if you quote these
lines to them: "O'er the glad waters of the deep, blue sea." "List,
'tis the bugle!" (I can vouch that it was nothing but the old trumpet
we blew for dinner.) "Ha! it sure cannot be day! What star, what sun is
bursting on the bay?" (It was only the barn lantern that was raised
outside the window, and an awful poor light at that!).

"Well, how was Drew's play?" said one wag. "All blood and thunder, eh?"

"No; all thud and blunder," was the rejoinder.

The associative movement had now touched thousands of hearts in this
country. The Brook Farm Community, at its formation, was the only
community founded in America on the principle of freedom in religion
and social life--all others being founded on special religious creeds.
The agitation of social questions, the doctrines of Fourier and others,
brought many societies into existence; but like enthusiasts in other
schemes, the founders of them preached unity, but did not unite. The
leaders of Brook Farm urged upon the prominent men in the social
belief, to take part with them in their already established society,
with all the power they could command; but Mr. Greeley and the New York
men joined hands with the North American Phalanx, an association
founded at Red Bank, New Jersey, and lent their influence and means to
its development. Mr. Greeley thought the land at Brook Farm was of too
poor quality; that the debts of the organization were heavier than they
should be for a beginning, and that by starting anew, a better chance
for thrift could be had--especially if a location could be selected
with an excellent soil--and he desired it should be located near the
great market of New York. This departure from a true idea--the idea of
concentration--was certainly a great mistake, and the end proved that
the young societies, with little means, and needing much, should all
have joined together for financial success.

At a very early date in the movement, there was a Community formed at
Hopedale, Milford, Massachusetts, under the leadership of Rev. Adin
Ballou, a man of considerable ability, whose tenets were those of peace
in absolute distinction to those of war. The Community was pledged by
its members not to enter into any hostile act, and to use its influence
for universal peace, they being all of a sect called "Non-Resistants."
Our leader, wisely, I think, made overtures to them to unite with the
West Roxbury Community, but the proposition was declined in the
following letter:--

"MENDON, MASS., Nov. 3, 1842.

"DEAR BROTHER RIPLEY: Since our last interview I have met our brethren
and had a full consultation with them on the points of difficulty on
which we are at issue with your friends. We are unanimous in the solemn
conviction that we could not enlist for the formation of a community
not based on the distinguishing principles of the standard of Practical
Christianity so called, especially _non-resistance_, etc. We trust you
will do us the justice to think that we are conscientious and not
_bigoted_. The temptation is strong to severe, but we dare not hazard
the cause we have espoused by yielding our scruples.

"We love you all, and shall be happy to see you go on and prosper,
though we fear the final issue. We are few and poor, and therefore you
can do without us better than we without you--your means and your
learning! But we shall try to do something in our humble way if God
favor us. We beseech you and your friends not to think us unkind or
unfriendly on account of our stiff notions, as they may seem, and to
regard us always as ready to rejoice in your good success. Let me hear
from you occasionally, and believe me and those for whom I speak,
sincerely your brethren in every good work.

"Affectionately yours,


I remember that the Association, through its leaders, urged upon all
the principal men who came within their sphere, with considerable zeal,
to unite in their movement. This is a matter of record that should be
placed to their credit.

A little later than this I find a letter from Mr. Brisbane, who showed
his characteristics so well in it, that I present all its important
parts for reading:--

"NEW YORK, the 9th December, 1845.

"MY DEAR RIPLEY:--Yours of the 3d just received, the 5th came to hand
yesterday. I note all its contents in relation to your views upon the
necessity of developing Brook Farm. The reason why I have spoken in
some of my last letters of the best means of bringing Brook Farm to a
close, and making preparations for a trial under more favorable
circumstances, is this. In the middle of November I received a letter
from Charles in which, in speaking of the varioloid, he stated the
difficulties you have to contend with, and expressed fears for the
future in such a way that I decided you had made up your minds to bring
things to a close. I feared that Morton might be foreclosing his
mortgage, which would be a most serious affair. This is the cause of my
adverting to a possible dissolution and the necessity of looking ahead
to meet in the best and most proper manner such a contingency.

"As to any opinion of what is to be done, it is easily explained.

"First, we must raise a sufficient amount of capital, and the amount
must not be small.

"Second, when that is secured we must prepare and work out a plan of
scientific organization sufficiently complete in its details to serve
as a guide in organizing an Association. For my own part, I feel no
capability whatever of directing an Association by discipline, by ideas
of duty, moral suasion and any other similar means. I want
organization; I want a mechanism suited and adapted to human nature, so
that human nature can follow its laws and attractions and go rightly,
and be its own guide. I might do something in directing such an
organization, but would be useless in any other way. As we all like to
be active, I would like exceedingly to take part in and help construct
a scientific organization.

"How can we raise the capital necessary to do something effectual? I
see but two ways. The first is for C. and I--and if he will not do it,
then for you and I, if you would possibly engage in it--to lecture
patiently and perseveringly in various parts of the country, having the
translation of Fourier with us, _and continue at the work_ until we
have enlisted and interested men enough who will subscribe each a
certain sum sufficient to form the fund we deem necessary. Patience and
perseverance would do this. One hundred men who would subscribe one
thousand dollars cash, would give us a fine capital. Something
effectual, I think, might be done with such an amount; less than that
would, I fear, be patchwork.

"Second, if C. or you cannot engage in this enterprise, then I shall
see what I can do alone. I shall make first the trial of the steel
business--that will now soon be determined, probably in a few weeks.
There are chances that it may be a great thing; if that turns out
nothing, then I shall take Fourier's work and do something of what I
propose you or C. and I should do together.

"If the capital can be had, where shall we organize, you will ask? That
is a thing to be carefully considered, and which we cannot decide at

"Placed under the circumstances you are, all these speculations will
appear foreign to the subject that interests you, and useless. You want
capital, and immediately, for Brook Farm. Now it seems to me a problem
as perplexing to get fifteen thousand dollars for Brook Farm as it does
to raise one hundred thousand dollars. Where can it be had? The New
Yorkers who have money, G., T., S., etc., are all interested in and
pledged to raise ten thousand dollars for the North American Phalanx,
to pay off its mortgage. You might as well undertake to raise dead men,
as to attain any considerable amount of capital from the people here; I
have tried it so often that I know the difficulties.

"The fact is, we have a great work to accomplish, that of organizing an
Association, and to do it we must have the means adequate to the task,
and to get these means we must make the most persevering and Herculean
efforts. We must go at the thing in earnest, and labor until we have
secured the means. I really see no other way or avenue to success; if
you do, I should be glad to hear your explanation of it. Fifteen
thousand dollars might do a great deal at Brook Farm, but would it do
the thing effectually--would it make a trial that would impress the
public? And for anything short of that, none of us, I suppose, would

"We are surrounded by great difficulties. I see no immediate chance of
obtaining a capital sufficient for a good experiment, and until we have
the capital to organize upon quite a complete scale, I should say that
it would be a very great misfortune to dissolve Brook Farm. No
uncertain prospects should exercise any influence; the means must be
had in hand before we made any decisive movement towards a removal or
organizing in a more favorable location, even if you were perfectly
willing to leave New England and the neighborhood of Boston. As I said
I spoke of it, and should be urged to make at once the greatest efforts
to obtain capital only under the fear that circumstances might force a
crisis upon you.

"I have touched merely upon generalities to-day; after further
correspondence I will write you more in detail. I will also come on and
see you if you deem it advisable. The other experiment keeps me here at
present; I think that next week I shall test it. I am greatly rejoiced
to hear that you are getting on well with the translation.


I present in contrast, the draft of a letter by Mr. Ripley, showing the
difference in the ideas of the two men. Among the social organizations
at this date, was the Community founded by Mr. John A. Collins, at
Skaneateles, New York, to whose friend the letter was addressed. This
movement was based on "community of property" which was denounced by
the school of Fourier as a fallacy. I commend the letter to careful
perusal. It is beautiful in language; its spirit is transcendent.


"MY DEAR SIR:--I thank you for sending me the circular, calling a
convention at Skaneateles for the promotion of the community movement.

"I had just enjoyed a short visit from Mr. Collins, who explained to me
very fully the purposes of the enterprise, and described the advantages
of the situation which had been selected as the scene of the initiatory
experiment. I hardly need to say that the movers in this noble effort
have my warmest sympathy, and that if circumstances permitted, I could
not deprive myself of the privilege of being present at their
deliberations. I am, however, just now so involved in cares and labors
that I could not be absent for so long a time without neglect of duty.

"Although my present strong convictions are in, favor of cooperative
Association rather than of communities of property, I look with an
indescribable interest on every attempt to redeem society from its
corruptions, and establish the intercourse of men on a basis of love
instead of competition. The evils arising from trade and money, it
appears to me, grow out of the defects of our social organization, not
an intrinsic vice in themselves; and the abolition of private property,
I fear, would so far destroy the independence of the individual, as to
interfere with the great object of all social reform, namely, the
development of humanity, the substitution of a race of free, noble,
holy men and women, instead of the dwarfish and mutilated specimens
which now cover the earth.

"The great problem is to guarantee individualism against the masses, on
the one hand, and the masses against the individual, on the other. In
society as now organized, the many are slaves to a few favored
individuals in a community. I should dread the bondage of individuals
to the power of the mass, while Association, by identifying the
interests of the many and the few--the less gifted and the highly
gifted--secures the sacred personality of all, gives to each individual
the largest liberty of the children of God.

"Such are my present views, subject to any modification which farther
light may produce. Still I consider the great question of the means of
human regeneration still open, indeed, hardly touched as yet, and
Heaven forbid that I should not at least give you my best wishes for
the success of your important enterprise.

"In our own little Association we practically adopt many community
elements. We are eclectics and learners, but day by day increases our
faith and joy in the principle of combined industry and of bearing each
other's burdens, instead of seeking every man his own.

"It will give me great pleasure to hear from you whenever you have
anything to communicate interesting to the general movement. I feel
that all who are seeking the emancipation of man are brothers, though
differing in the measures which they may adopt for that purpose; and
from our different points of view it is not, perhaps, presumptuous to
hope that we may aid each other, by faithfully reporting the aspects of
earth and sky as they pass before our field of vision.

"One danger, of which no doubt you are aware, proceeds from the growing
interest in the subject, and that is the crowds of converts who desire
to help themselves rather than to help the movement. It is as true now
as it was of old, that he who follows this new Messiah must deny
himself and take up his cross daily, or he cannot enter the promised
kingdom. The path of transition is always covered with thorns and
marked with the bleeding feet of the faithful. This truth must not be
covered up in describing the paradise for which we hope. We must drink
the waters of Marah in the desert, that others may feed on the grapes
of Eshcol. We must depend on the power of self-sacrifice in man, not on
appeals to his selfish nature, for the success of our efforts. We
should hardly be willing to accept of men or money for this enterprise,
unless called forth by earnest conviction that they are summoned by a
divine voice. I wish to hear less said to capitalists about a
profitable investment of their funds, as if the holy cause of humanity
were to be speeded onward by the same force which conducts railroads
and ships of war. Rather preach to the rich, 'Sell all that you have
and give to the poor and you shall have treasure in heaven.'


Although the working condition of the Association was never better than
now; although its organization was complete as it could well be under
its disadvantages, it was with sorrow that the Direction heard that one
of the earliest members with his family--our head farmer--had decided
to leave the Brook Farm life. It was true that he could be spared, that
his three children were unproductive and that there was talent enough
on the farm to run the Farming Series well; but it seemed a break in
the established order, showing, perhaps, that things were not as
successful as they appeared to be, and that maybe the event was a
raindrop predicting a storm.

I think no one blamed him, but all were sorry to part with one whom
they loved so well. That his interest in the cause and the Association
had not waned is apparent from the following letter, April 3, 1845:--

"Dear Sir:--In withdrawing from the Association I cannot believe it
necessary for me to say to you that I do not cease to feel an interest,
a very deep interest, in the success of the cause in which I have in my
humble way labored with you for the last few years. The final success
of this attempt to live out the great and holy idea of association for
brotherly cooperation, will be to me a greater cause for joy than any
merely personal benefit to myself could be.

"I wished, but could not do it, to say to you and others how much I
love and esteem you, and how painful it is for me to leave those to
whom I am so much indebted for personal kindnesses. You know me well
enough to believe that I feel, more deeply than I can express, pained
by this separation. God bless you. God bless and prosper the
Association individually and collectively.

"Yours truly,


It was about this time that a "party" was given by the "Great Apostle,"
as Mr. Brisbane was called by us. I made a memorandum of it at the
time, which aids my memory in presenting it.

The day had been pleasant; it was one of the last in March. The farm
work had progressed as usual. Old Kate was at the plough and Cyclops at
the wagon. Who was Cyclops? She was a large, raw-boned, gray-white
mare, whose feeding did not show well; the more oats and meal and hay
she had, the more ribs we counted in her sides--you have seen such an
animal! But she was wonderful, because she stepped longer, than any
other of the horses; worked harder without showing fatigue, and made
the nine miles to Boston in a practical if not a graceful way.

She had a fault, and horsemen had to admit it (you know they seldom
admit a fault but what is very visible). This was a visible fault, and
yet at the same time it was a want of visibility. She had but one eye.
And so Glover it was, I am quite sure, named her Cyclops.

By the by, she had one other fault that I had almost forgotten, and
that was of elevating her heels against the dashers of wagons, when she
had an ugly fit, which took place semi-occasionally, and the
peculiarity of it was that she was not particular as to time or place
where she made her exhibitions. It might be in Dock Square or State
Street, or it might be on the farm, just as all were starting out. It
was not over pleasant to be near her when she flung those long hind
legs some six feet in air, and the dash-board was flying in pieces.

The "General," with some others, was about to take a ride one day, when
she put a hind foot over the dasher, which caused him to dismount
precipitately. "For," he said he, when speaking of it, "I thought if
she was g-going to _g-get_ in, it was time for _me_ to get out!"

The horn, as usual, rang out its cheerful tones for meals. There were
but few notes of preparation shown outside the rooms, for the event of
the evening. Up in the greenhouse the gardener and myself were busy
picking out choice flowering plants, and clipping off a stray dead leaf
or twig, and scouring the pots until they shone; and as the other teams
were busy, I harnessed my "Prince" to his cart and carried them to the
Hive where we made the best display of them we could in the dining room.

We had some mottoes on the walls, as "The Series distribute the
Harmonics of the Universe," "Attractive Industry," "Universal Unity,"

At half past eight o'clock everything was in order. Side tables were
spread with a simple repast, and around the room were flowering plants,
azaleas, camellias, heaths, geraniums, etc. When the company had
assembled, the choir sang some glees, after which Mr. Brisbane made a
speech, and gave as a sentiment, "Unity of the Passions." Let me here
explain a little of what is meant by this sentiment. The twelve
passions are what are generally called "the human feelings or
sentiments." They are divided into the intellectual ones, the social
ones and the sensitive ones or those pertaining to the five senses.

There are three intellectual ones, viz., Analysis, Synthesis and the
Composite. These exhaust the powers of the intellect; or, in other
words, the mind separates things, puts things together and compounds
things, and that is all that it can do in its primary intellectual

There are four social "passions," viz., Friendship, Love, Familism (i.
e., the family sentiment) and Ambition; and all our social life is
based on one or more of these four sentiments.

Then there are five sensitive passions, which are aids and attendants
of the body--"sight, smelling, hearing, touch and taste."

"The five sensitive passions tend to material riches, refinement and
harmonies. The four affective passions govern social relations and
those of individuals. Friendship tends to social equality and to the
levelling of ranks. Love regulates the relations of the sexes,
Paternity those of ages and generations; Ambition produces hierarchy of
ranks and distinctions among individuals; it establishes in society
gradations of all kinds based upon skill, merit, talent, etc.; it is
opposite in its effects from friendship."--"Social Destiny of Man,"
page 453.

The four social passions correspond to the four primary prismatic
colors of the Newtonian system, to the common chord in music and to
various other natural things. The three intellectual passions
correspond to the other three notes of the musical scale and to three
other prismatic colors; and the five sensitive passions correspond to
the five semi-tones, and also to five intermediate colors of the prism.
Now this at first sight looks very much like a scheme or a notion, but
the founder of this doctrine lays his claim to a higher judgment. He
says practically, "These are facts founded in nature by God himself."
Let me give you his own words, often reiterated: "I give no theory of
my own, I deduce. If I have deduced erroneously let others establish
the true deduction." Can words be more simple or more modest?

These "passions," or "faculties," if you like the last word better, as
taught in the general schools of theology, are all at war with one
another, but as taught by the school of Fourier will all work
harmoniously together when right material conditions exist. Or in other
words, there is no inherent discord among these twelve sister faculties
residing in the nature of man. It is the duty of man on this earth, and
his destiny also, to bring them into harmonious relations, first by
organizing industry, and bringing man into right relation with nature
and his fellows, so that they can commence their natural action; and
this is what is meant by the "Unity of the Passions," and is the first
step towards universal happiness. Let me give a quotation from the same

"The impulses (passions) have a right and a wrong development. The
right development produces harmony, good, justice, unity. The wrong
development produces selfishness, injustice, duplicity."

I have no memorandum of what was said by the speaker, but I remember he
was enthusiastic beyond bounds, and that he went in fancy from this
earth up into the starry vault of spheres that he fancied were peopled
by living beings----Jupiter and Saturn being in harmony--and in his
enthusiasm cried out, "I _love_ those great worlds up there!" looking
upwards with outstretched arms and uplifted hands; and it was telling,
for he was eloquent as well as enthusiastic.

After this warm gush of rapture came quiet Dwight in one of those
sweet, calm, choice, dignified, exact speeches for which he was noted,
and gave as a sentiment, "The marriage of love and wisdom," the idea
being that present society, however much it may be filled with
love--love for the poor, the needy, the slave and the outcast--can
never avail much towards universal happiness until it marries itself to
wisdom: wisdom to do justice, to adapt means to ends, to exchange
charity, which is a curse to him that gives and him that takes, for
even-handed justice, divine law and social order; so that pauperism and
its kindred vices may be done away with forever, and in its place the
reign of peace and harmony prevail.

Mr. Dwight was an admirer of Swedenborg's poetic fancies. He thought
many of them more than fancies. He believed that he gained through
unknown sources some glimpses of a higher life; and some of his
doctrines, as that of "correspondences" bore so strong a resemblance to
Fourier's "universal analogy" that it was quite striking; but his
claims to special theological inspiration, he did not admit. I speak of
this because some one might accuse him of plagiarism, the phrase of Mr.
Dwight's sentiment being similar to Swedenborg's words. Pardon this
digression, and we will return to our party.

Mr. Ripley followed in his free and graceful style, and brought things
slowly down to our own door with pleasant word and wit (Ripley was a
punster with the rest; one of our wags one day called him a
Pumpkin--Pun-King--a paraphrase on New England pronunciation of the
word), and in conclusion gave us a sentiment: "The Hive! May it be a
hive, full of working bees, who make a little noise, a great deal of
honey, and sting not at all."

Mr. Dana, the youngest of the four, then followed with a glowing
speech, in earnest, clear and chosen words. Not as fluent as either of
the other speakers, he yet commanded full attention, and we all knew he
meant what he said; there was no doubt about it--the frank manner, the
natural gesture, the glowing face, proved it. He gave as a sentiment,
"Ambition, the greatest of the four social passions!" He admired it! It
was that which carried life onward and made youth able and strong; the
ambition for higher things, for higher life and higher opportunities.
It was that which brought this little band together--an ambition to
better social life; and it was this passion that would lead them
onwards through discords into a higher unity and harmony. But in the
present social order a misplaced ambition led men to do a thousand
wrongs; it produced war, misery and discord, but when placed on the
side of humanity it tended upwards towards God and the heavenly
accords. True ambition was the unsatisfied thing that never ends except
in something higher, nobler, grander.

Here let me explain again. The four social passions before named
correspond to the common, chord in music, but ambition corresponds to
the seventh note on which no music ever ends. It is always incomplete
without the eighth note, the first of the octave above; it runs into
it; it is restless, it must never be left alone, but always has an
object--the higher unity. Such is true ambition, and such are its
results in the natural order.

Applause followed Mr. Dana's speech, and after his remarks the
sentiment of the evening turned towards, home life. The orators spoke
of the earnest endeavors of the men and women by whom they were
surrounded; of their constant daily labor to produce harmony and higher
social development, and more particularly of their years of personal
toil and devotion, and of their own earnest affection for one another,
until tears started in some eyes.

Mr. Ripley spoke of the devotion of the persons about to leave the
Association to found "a little colony of their own," for whom he had
the highest personal esteem, cemented by years of friendship, counsel
and labor together; his sorrow for their departure; his good wishes for
them, and his hopes for their present and future welfare, and closed
with a sentiment, "The late chief of the Farming Series, Minot Pratt
and his family--they can not remain long in _Concord_ without returning
to _harmony_" (Concord, Massachusetts, was where our farmer was going),
for which the modest gentleman returned thanks for himself and wife in
a few kind and earnest words.

One after another joined in pleasant remarks, and the simple feast, the
music and the conversation were kept up. The ever-present fun and
frolic abounded in some corners, but the joke of the evening was
perhaps that of the Parson--him of the sharp face and nose, who read so
late by the light of the lamp in "Attica"--who commenced his remarks by
saying that he desired to offer a sentiment, and must be pardoned if it
was of a personal nature. Now the reason why this gentleman got the
title of "the Parson" was not from his reading, his gravity or want of
gravity, but from the fact of his having been educated for the
ministry, which in those days required a great deal more preaching
damnation to sinners than now. His unwillingness to do so was the means
of his leaving the pulpit, and this gave the pith of the toast or
sentiment offered.

Parson Capen's speech was sharp. He did not spill over on every
occasion. He had no little spurts of wit like a spatter of water on a
hot stove, but when he let out his joke it went off like a percussion
cap. The attention of the company being secured, he alluded to his
present position as a change, he believed, for the better--from his
former relation to society when he was preaching against, to the
present time when he was working for, humanity; and gave as a toast,
"Ephraim Capen--_thrust into_ the pulpit to _damn_ mankind, _thrust
out_ of the pulpit to _bless_ mankind."

Laughter followed this sharp witticism, and the hours passed quickly on
until it was near midnight, when it was suggested that "Old Hundred" be
sung, and all joined in the anthem. As the last note died away, the
stroke of the clock announced the hour of twelve, and all departed to
their houses to sleep, and dream of the pleasant time they had enjoyed.



We now pass over some months of the life with few words. I have tried
to portray it on the farm as it appeared to me, and leave you to think
that it continues on and on, ever in the same general current, through
the long, clear days and moonlight nights of summer, and the cooler
days and misty evenings of the later season, to the time when the
warning comes to the farmer to gather in the ripened products of his

I pass over the later autumn--when the fields are cleared of all but
the remains of vegetation, and we hear no more the songs of the
crickets and the multitudinous insect life that fills the air of the
August and September nights, as the full moon looks down on the fields
and meadow rich in foliage--to the time when the thought of the farmer
is for wood for the winter, for the preservation of the farming
implements, for making all things "taut and trig" about the barn and
houses to secure their warmth for the coming cold weather and snow;
past the day of the New England Thanksgiving, along to Christmas time,
saying only in passing that the leaders were much engaged in lecturing,
as well as with other duties.

One evening in autumn a party from the farm, myself the youngest of
them, started for Boston to hear one of a course of lectures. Mr.
Ripley was the chairman, and the ever bounteous joyousness of his
nature sparkled out in wit and mirth. These meetings were free, and
discussion was invited, but there was present an excitable woman who
had a habit of rising at any moment, no matter who was speaking, to
make odd remarks and inquiries. She was considered a great nuisance,
especially at the meetings of the antislavery societies, where she was
often found, and I more than once saw her "suppressed" by police
officers. On this occasion, whilst Mr. Brisbane was speaking, she arose
to propound questions.

Immediate excitement was visible in the audience, and cries of "Put her
out," arose. Mr. Ripley was on his feet in an instant. He declared the
meeting to be a free one, and that it was ever the faith and duty of
those engaged in this liberal movement to give the largest liberty to
all inquirers; he appealed to all to be quiet and hear what the lady
had to say, for she would, as well as all others, give them credit for
having paid respectful attention to whoever wished to make inquiries,
and whenever Miss F. had spoken, she could not but acknowledge that
they had always and at all times listened to her with the utmost--and
he hesitated as if seeking carefully for the exact word, which he
uttered slowly and with the utmost gravity--_patience_. At this queer
termination the audience laughed loudly, and gave her a hearing, and
shortly, pleased at her conquest, she sat down, and disturbed no future
meeting of the Associationists.

Again during the discussion Mr. Ripley announced that a contribution
would be taken to defray expenses, "but as the speaking was to be
continued during the time the box was passing round," the audience was
requested to _"put in as many bills as possible so as not to disturb
the speaker by the rattling of small change."_ After the meeting
closed, the wagon in which we rode to town was deserted by some half
dozen of its male passengers who, with the speed of Indian runners,
started for the farm on foot. Being slight of build and not over
strong, I would have been left behind, had it not been for the
friendship of the Admiral, who awaited my movements, but we still sped
on with rapidity, overtaking some, and neared the farm in time to hear
the bark of our dog Carlo announce the arrival of the team only a few
minutes before us.

The autumn and early winter were very mild. The ground was not frozen
on the twenty-fourth day of December, and the gardener had many crocus
bulbs unplanted, owing to too much labor in and around the new
greenhouse and garden, and being desirous of saving them, commenced to
plant them on the Hive terraces in "her majesty's garden." There were
hundreds of them. In the morning we prepared our beds and dug our holes
for planting. The sky was lowery, and it was afternoon when we
commenced to plant.

Shortly the raindrops began to fall, but we continued our work. It
rained harder and harder. I had on only ordinary woollen clothing,
cotton shirt, no undershirt, and wore over it only an old green baize
jacket. Wet to the skin; the rain ran off of me in streams. With my wet
hands I assorted and handed the bulbs, four or five at a time, to the
gardener, and as they touched the ground or his fingers, the earth
stuck to them and mixed mud and plants together. The rain began to grow
colder and colder, and our work was not done, but as the shades of
night began to fall we finished it. Chilled and cold we wended our way
towards the greenhouse, where I changed wet clothes for dry ones. The
night came on cold; the wind howled; the rain turned into snow and on
Christmas morning the ground was covered with a rough, hard
conglomerate of snow and ice.

But the next day neither chill nor cold resulted from the long
exposure. Was it because our lives were more in harmony with nature
than is usual?

At the Eyry all through the winter, in its cosy little parlor, reigned
our queens and kings of art and music. I was partial to the room and
the company, yet neither felt nor understood the deep music. It is true
that I sang songs of my own and made my own harmonies as I wandered
over the fields and meadows. The mystic measure of the sunny waltz
haunted me happily at times, and my heart kept time to its rhythm even
as my feet had kept time in the merry dance; but it seemed to me as
though there was a lack of sense in the jingle, and a depth of feeling
untouched in me that the music of the parlor had not or could not
reach--I did not appreciate it.

It was a pleasure for Mr. Dwight to secure a quartette of singers from
the city. I could mention names, but I forbear, yet there are two faces
so indelibly linked with those most happy hours, that I must, in order
to be true to this sketch of Brook Farm life, twine them into my

The first face was serene, charming and dignified. Its cheeks were
round and gracefully full, and colored with delicious pink, and a
dimple rounded in them when the kindly face smiled. Above them reigned
a queenly forehead, and over the brown eyes a fine brow. The nose was
straight, the upper lip short, and the features were regular. The owner
of this face was tall and graceful, and her dark, glossy hair was
combed plainly back. She was ever neatly dressed, and her favorite
decoration was a wreath of the wild partridge vine, rich with its red
berries, which added to her graceful presence. It was her sweet voice,
soft and low, that chimed in, in our quartette. She came and went and
seemed one of us, as in spirit she was, though in fact only a friendly

The other face was different and not as pretty, yet it grew upon you
more and more.

There was no blue like those eyes of blue, if they were delicately
small, and if there was a little drooping expression as though the sun
above was a trifle too powerful for them. This was no detriment,
however; it lent them a mildness, a soft haze, like that we so much
admire in a landscape, and made them more in keeping with the mild,
tranquil countenance.

The eyebrows were softly penciled--not bold, not prominent--and were
not much arched, and the nose, that was Grecian, was full between the
eyes. The lips were of good size as well as the mouth, and the upper
lip long enough to indicate strength of character. The chin was finely
drawn, and the throat rather large and full. About the mouth, even in
repose, seemed to rest the faint semblance of a smile, as though it
could not leave its pleasant dwelling place; as though it was akin to
the features themselves, as the color of the eyes or hair. The forehead
was pure, womanly; intellectual enough, full enough, high enough, but
toned down to the sweet, womanly features. It was a fine face; a
vigorous, womanly one, unmarked with a single manly symptom, but
independent, pure and serene.

And what could set off this face better than that soft, light, blonde
hair, that wound into full, large ringlets, looped up in Grecian style?
In vain it is for me to describe the tints of it. It seemed as though
the Divine Artist had taken the beautiful colors from his palette and
mixed them for this especial head. There was a touch of sunshine in it
also, and it seems but yesterday that I saw the old gardener take a
stray one from the sleeve of his baize jacket, where by chance it had
strayed and caught--for the fair owner liked to visit the
greenhouse--and hold it admiringly and enthusiastically up in the
morning sunlight, and I remember the golden shimmer it had in it, for
he called my attention to it. A French writer's words seem to meet its
description better than my own: "Non pas rouges--Mais blonde avec des
reflets dorés, on delicatement se jouait la lumière du soleil."

In distinction to the lady named before, the present one was short, of
fairly full figure, and not above the average grace. You might even say
that the large head was carried a little too far forward for elegance.
In distinction also to the calm, quiet manner of the other, she was
vivacious, quick and spritely; was fond of conversation, but no matter
how trivial the subject of discourse, it grew into earnestness in her
mind unless she was wholly playful. But her chief distinction was her
love and talent for music, and in the capacity of beautiful singer she
was first introduced to us.

I cannot tell how this pure soul first took to the sublime idea of
society founded on justice to all, the Christianity of the idea, and
the truths of industry, or how the idea came to her that in this one
way and only in this one way could the kingdom of God prayed for for
eighteen centuries, come to us on earth; but I think it was born in her
as jewels are born in the earth, and sparkle when they come to the sun.
But this I know, that when they took possession of her she could not
withstand their power, more than Saint Paul could the heavenly
influences that brought his Jewish heart to love all, and live and die
for all the races of God's humanity. Friends, relatives, companions,
were opposed to her visits among the Brook Farmers. It was intimated to
her that there were suspicious persons residing there. She bravely
pinned her informers to facts; she made searching inquiries, and,
convincing herself, boldly stood by the idea and the Brook Farmers as
living symbols of a better and more Christian life, and triumphed over
all in her sublime truthfulness and dignity.

How willing and ready she was to acknowledge her trivial failures! How
ready to do for all such kindness as came in her sphere to do, and how
quick she was to comprehend great truths. Untied from the dead letter
that killeth, she was overflowing with its pure spirit that gave its
abundant life, rich, full and charming, to all around her.

One of the young poets of the farm many years ago paid this graceful
tribute to her charms:--


  Dearly love I to be near her--
  Though thought of her is not dearer
    Than friendship may say.
  Yet around will I hover;
  Bringing joy like a lover,
    To brighten her day.

  Ever am I lingering near her--
  Her whole soul seems to me clearer
    Than others that are.
  And her love-lighted blue eye,
  When an aching heart is nigh,
    Beams forth like a star.
  It's good for me to be near her--
  Should she e'er sorrow, to cheer her
    Out of her sad moods;
  Her dark path to make lighter,
  And behold it grow brighter
    Like sunlight through woods.

  Still stay I lovingly near her,
  Enraptured--sometimes I fear her
    Soul is on its wings--
  And ask will it yet return?--
  Seems it so pure, so lost and gone,
    Whenever she sings.

  Lingering and waiting near her--
  The words that she speaks are dearer
    Than birds' songs in May.
  With sweet thoughts will I surround her,
  As on the day I first found her,
    Forever--for aye.

I have been particular in my description of this lady and friend,
because they became the encouragers of the later movement in Boston,
where those who remained true to the Brook Farm ideas formed themselves
into a society of zealots to propagate the faith, she giving her
splendid talents and her warm enthusiasm freely to the movement, and
because they were as truly united with us as if enrolled as members on
the farm.

It was in the latter part of the month of January that we had the
fulfilment of a promise of a long visit from the fair singer. The
winter had grown cold and stormy; the white snow covered the fields,
and at times we gleefully slid down the hills over its frozen crust on
sleds and improvised vehicles. And there were days of transcendent
beauty. I remember especially, a solitary visit to the pine woods after
a deep snow storm, and the lifelong impression of it remains.

The evergreens were bowed heavily with the weight of the snow, and
across the wood path birches and various trees bent as if in prayer,
obstructing the way. The clear air, which was not very cold--for it was
one of those subdued days of winter, when the glare of the sun was
obstructed by a cloudy mantle--the intense quiet, the strong contrasts
of the dark trunks of trees with the heavy evergreens, and the
immaculate purity of whiteness laid on by the greatest and sublimest
painter were so marked and so lovely that I seemed to be drinking the
nectar of the god of beauty, and was soul-subdued.

Up to the Eyry in the evening, I went with others to hear the singing,
when Mary, "the nightingale,"--as we sometimes called her--came. I went
often and stayed long. Some were at the Hive, reading; some were,
perhaps, engaged in Shakespeare; some in their rooms with their
families; some at the Cottage practising the piano, and all "following
their attractions," to use our common phrase, in their own little
sphere--whether it was reading the papers and journals of the day in
the improvised reading-room at the Hive, or commenting on the last
articles in the _Harbinger,_ or doing a little work out of hours for
amusement or profit, or attending one of the interminable number of
meetings for consultation and arrangement held almost nightly.

There the quartette sang the "Kyrie," and "Gloria in Excelsis" from the
masses of Mozart and Haydn. An edition had just been published and
forwarded from London, and by degrees they became familiar to us as
household words. Did it not seem strange, you may ask, that these
radical thinkers and "come-outers" from ordinary forms of society,
should turn with pleasure to the emanations of a profoundly
conservative church? I answer that, having freed their minds from
sectarian prejudices, they recognized beauty and genius wherever found,
and did not care what church or creed they had served, so that they
found the gift of beauty from the infinite Father to man in them. With
one glorious soprano voice and boundless talent, how much of joy was
added to the circle! How we revelled in the choice creations of the
masters of harmony, and how, slowly but surely, the missing link that
was wanting in my mind to realize that music could cover the void that
separated sound from feeling, came to its place--I am tempted to tell.

The sweet songstress was asked to sing. Did she make excuses? Of course
she would do so to follow traditional usage. She must have a slight
cold, she must think she won't, must be coaxed, and then--why, do it
with a grace. But here was a woman so touched with the divine fire of
genius and truth, that no excuse came from her lips. She was always
ready if you desired it. In her I first learned that music was not a
put-on art, an accomplishment, but the outpouring of soul.

One evening when our little party was being filled with music, and the
quartette had bravely sung Rossini's "Prayer in Egypt," with the grand
vigor and expression that the soprano put into it, she exclaimed with
feeling, "How beautiful that is!" From that moment I understood what
music meant. She had translated it for me. But instead of inspiring me
with joy, it made me sad. It aroused that terrible feeling,
"consciousness of self." It waked me to new ideas of duty and destiny,
to wondrous thoughts and aspirations; and they would not down at my
bidding. Over and over again I tried to banish them, but the inward and
spiritual ear was open, and the sad strains of Schubert's "Elegy of
Tears," and "The Wanderer," and the "Ave Maria," seemed my sorrow, my
wanderings and my prayers. Sadness was not my nature; I was as cheerful
as the bird that sings, save a mighty something which clung to me and
overshadowed me like the enormous wings of a terrible genius.

One day it began again to snow; a million feathers from the frost
king's fleece were flying in the air. It snowed all day, and in the
evening it snowed and whirled and blew around the Eyry, with its little
party of choice spirits in its cosy parlor making merry and singing.
Perhaps it was the "Wood Robin," or the "Skylark," or one of Colcott's
glees, or one of Mendelssohn's two-part songs, or Schubert's
"Serenade," or Beethoven's "Adelaide"; or maybe an interlude of piano,
one of Mozart's Sonatas, or "Der Freyschutz," and then a Kyrie, Dona
Nobis, Gloria, or Agnus Dei, one or all, until it was time to retire.
And still it snowed and snowed.

From the Eyry parlor I would go to my quarters in the greenhouse, and
there the old man would be anxious for the flowers, that the fire be
neither too hot nor too cold, and with a long story to tell me of
manners and customs of his youth in Denmark--some of them quaint and
strange enough--would slowly finish out the evening, and it was often
midnight before we retired.

All the next day it snowed, and piled up its pure whiteness over every
projecting thing, whirling and tossing its feathers about, unlike
anything else in nature, and at night it snowed still. It snowed
steadily for three days and nights, but when the fourth morning broke,
it was on one of the clearest and most beautiful days ever known and to
my surprise I awoke full of renewed cheerfulness and physically like my
former self. The youthful storm of my life was over.

But the "Ego" had changed. I was living in a poetic atmosphere and
imbibing its qualities and its stimulants. Born with artistic tastes, I
had imagined an artistic future; but as the procession of realistic
lives passed before me, I seemed to see the inward side of the real and
the ideal. An artistic life!--a triumph after long years of labor,
awarded by the hand-clapping of a few admirers, most of whom had no
appreciation of the work, and no sympathy with its higher motives.
Would it not be cold? Would it not slowly freeze my heart to the warm
love of human beings, with every one of whom I had now something in
common? A real life, taking part in active work, in plain, daily toil;
touching the great, full, seething heart of humanity on its warm side;
working for them; working with them; being one with many--one with her.
Which was best? Which was the supremest ideal? I think the latter.

There were other visitors who came, attracted by the little group of
singers. There was a young lady, Miss Graubtner from Boston, who
touched the piano with the grace of a master. Her German name indicated
the stock from whence she sprung, and the training she received from
her musical father. There were tenors and basses who were attracted
also, but they came and went; the sweetest songstress remained, and the
cold days of winter were beginning to give way to the warm March sun
when the visit was completed, and we reluctantly gave her back to

Among the pleasant occasional visitors was a gentleman who joined in
the circle with his flute, who had the reputation, well deserved, of
having written some fine verses--some of them are in the
_Harbinger_--and who was in very friendly sympathy with our music man,
as an old and, I think, college acquaintance. His accomplishments were
varied. He had graced a pulpit, and afterwards made his mark with his
pen, pallet and brush. He had a very pleasant gift of imitation, and,
with his modest and gentlemanly bearing, made quite an impression on me.

I fancy I see him now, with his tall, graceful, upright figure, his
wealth of dark, curling hair, and his young manhood, with his sober,
dignified face and large forehead, just retiring from our crowded Eyry
parlor to the hall, where under cover, he can more readily introduce
his menagerie--menagerie or barnyard you certainly would think it was;
for from behind the door comes the imitation of the cow with its young
calf; a sow and its pigs are squealing; the lambs and sheep are
bleating; the rooster begins to crow, and near by the house dog is
heard; soon all is still except his persistent, hoarse bark; then from
a distance we hear the bark of another dog awakened by the first; soon
another, nearer still, wakes up and tunes his note; presently we hear
all the dogs of the village who are now awake. Then the sound of the
starting up of the locomotive drowns all other noises, and when it has
passed away we hear nothing but far in the dim distance some one
solitary dog still barking. The frogs begin to peep, and the turtles
whistle, and the doves coo, until you are carried away from the circle,
its lights and its pleasant, laughing faces into the bosom of nature.
It is needless to say that all these sounds came from the throat of
Christopher P. Cranch, the poet-artist, and were clever imitations
which were hugely appreciated by the young folks.



A lady said to me not long since, knowing it from experience, "There
was a great deal of fun at Brook Farm." This was true, and I deem it
worthy of particular mention, as I can scarce believe that there ever
was in New England a body of men and women who for so long a time,
maintained such friendly and intimate relations, and yet kept up such
an interminable fire of small fun and joke, puns and _bon-mots,_
inoffensively shooting them off right and left at all times and places.
Being of an evanescent nature they have mostly vanished from my mind,
but the spirit of them remains.

There were "All-Fool's" day tricks played by the young people on such
smart, independent geniuses as Irish John; the sending of a letter to
him from a supposable lady friend, with a post-mark painted on it by
one of the young ladies; putting parsnip ends into his study lamp for
wicks, etc. But these are not to be classed with the fun that was
present of the genuine sort. There were a few live wits who were Tom
Hoods on a small scale, seeing everything with a double meaning, and
"double-enders" (_double entendres_) were for breakfast, dinner and
supper every day in the week.

Some little children were chasing one another one very warm day. "Why,"
queried one, "are those children like native Africans?" "Because they
belong to the 'hot' and 'tot' race!"

"Is Mr. ---- much of a carpenter?" "Not a bit of one, that's _plain_,"
was the reply.

"What sort of a man is that long-haired fellow opposite?" said one. "He
is good in the _main_," replied the other.

"These Grahamites will never make their ends _meet_," said one. "You
may _stake_ your reputation on that," said the other.

"Mrs. ---- is a regular steamboat," said A. "Yes, I know it; she goes
by steam----_self 'steam_," said B.----which was smart, but cutting!

If, for instance, Miss Kettell was to be married, one would ask if she
was a "_tin_" kettle, and another would "_go bail_" she was, and the
next would say that "the larger the kettle the more tin it would have."
"And the more _iron in (g)_, too!" some one would ejaculate. Then
another would say that "after she was married there would be none of
the _Kettle_ left," and the next wit would say, "And none of the
'_tin_' either," and so the badinage would pass about.

It made no difference what the subject was, it was always suggestive.
If it was a dog, they would ask, "What kind of a _bark_ he had on him?"
If it was a pump, "Is it _well_ with it?" If it was a shepherd, they
would like to inquire "if he was not a _baa_-keeper?" and the first
would reply that he would have to "ruminate" on it before he made his
answer; and the second would hope his reply would be "_spirited_; if
not he had better be _punched_ up."

"Have you seen my umbrella?" asked one. "What sort of an umbrella was
it?" was the inquiry. "It had a hooked end," said number one. "I have
not seen it," was the reply, "but _I_ had a nice one once, and the end
was _exactly_ like yours; it was _hooked!_"

Passing a rosy-cheeked, unkempt boy, Miss--remarked to her friend,
"Isn't he a little honey?" "Yes," she replied, struck by his traits,
"honey without a _comb!_"

"Do you not think Miss B. is beautiful? She bows to perfection." "Yes;
but she hasn't bowed to me. Has she to _you?_"

"Who are those girls out in the boat with the old man?" (The name of
the boat was "the Dart.") "Why, his _darters_, of course," was the

And how could any one do differently when the great Archon himself was
first and foremost in the fray, poking fun at all? "Don't do that," he
said one day to me when I put something unusual in the swine's mess,
"the hogs will all _die_ after it!" with a most serious look on his
pleasant face. In my seat at the table, looking down the hall to where
the Archon was, I saw him full of frolic, and oftentimes wondered what
he could joke so much about.

There was one occasion when he quoted Watts in a comical way to an
offending member which brought him to terms. It was at the Eyry. There
was a meeting of the Industrial Council. It was necessary to have a
quorum to pass certain important votes, and one of the members, being a
trifle weary of business, had stepped out to converse with a friend in
the vestibule. After a while, hearing some one coming, he slipped
behind the vestibule door. It was the "Archon," who came for the member
to make a quorum. Presently, discovering his retreat, he hailed him--as
he remembered it--thus:--

  "'And are you there, you sinner d--d,
  And do you fare so well!
  Were it not for redeeming grace
  You'd long since been in hell.'"

The unworthy member succumbed and returned to the meeting, wondering
whether the verse was an impromptu or whether it was part of one of the
inspiring Sunday hymns our grandfathers sang in their cheerless,
unwarmed meeting-houses. In a version of Watts' Hymns this verse is

  "And are we wretches still alive,
  And do we yet rebel?
  'Tis boundless, 'tis amazing love
  That bears us up from hell."

It might have been the one Mr. Ripley quoted.

I have heard it said that a prominent literary man "could not
understand the condition of mind it required to make a pun." It would
be out of place here to try to explain that condition to him or to any
one else. It is certainly not an unhappy frame of mind, and I am not
aware that it indicates any depraved condition. I don't know of any
very bad men who make puns, but I have known of many good men who make
bad puns. It is not an avaricious state of the mind, for who ever heard
of "puns for sale or manufactured to order," or of a man getting rich
in the wholesale or retail pun trade!

In fact, a pun is like an egg--the moment you crack it the meat is out.
Some men carry things to extremes; I wouldn't myself like to be a
punster _in toto_, but only now and then to have a finger in one. But
really, the condition of mind seems to be the same as that of some of
our criminals who profess they committed the deed because they
"couldn't help it," or the boy who was asked angrily "why he whistled?"
"He didn't," he replied, "it whistled itself." I imagine our literary
friend thinks that a punster draws the steel blade of his intellect,
discovers some close-mouthed, hard-fisted sort of a word or sentence
doubled up like an oyster and deliberately splits it apart, one shell
on one side, one on the other and the soft thing drops out between. I
could only despise the sort of brain that would do such a deed.

A pun is a part of the sunshine of words. It gives a sparkle and a glow
to language. It is a big pendulum that swings from torrid to frigid
zone quicker than a telegram goes. If you hold on to it, you will find
yourself in both places in a jiffy, and back again to the spot where
you start from without being hurt, and the jog to your intellect, if
you happen to have any, is only of an agreeable nature.

But it was not alone in puns and conundrums that the social life of
Brook Farm was rich. It was rich in cheerful buzz. The bumble-bees had
no more melodious hum than the Brook Farmers. They had thrown aside the
forms that bind outside humanity. They were sailing on a voyage of
discovery, seeking a modern El Dorado, but they did not carry with them
the lust for gold. They were seeking something which, had they found
the realization of, would have carried peace to troubled hearts,
contentment and joy to all conditions and classes. They were builders,
not destroyers. They proposed to begin again the social structure with
new foundations. They were at war with none personally; as high-toned,
large-souled men and women they were ready with their expressions of
hatred and contempt for the unchristian social life of our generation,
but they were never ranters.

In general little was said on the farm of these matters, except in
private discussions; all were too busy with the active work. We felt
that we had put our ears down to the earth and heard nature's
whisperings of harmony; that we had gone back from the uncertain and
flimsy foundations of present society, and placed our corner stone on
the eternal rock of science and justice; that the social laws God
ordained from the beginning had been discovered; there could be no
possibility of a mistake, and therefore, we felt that our feet were on
eternal foundations, and our souls growing more and more in harmony
with man and God.

Imagine, indifferent reader of my story, the state of mind you would be
in if you could feel that you were placed in a position of positive
harmony with all your race; that you carried with you a balm that could
heal every earthly wound; an earthly gospel, even as the church thinks
it has a heavenly gospel--a remedy for poverty, crime, outrage and
over-taxed hand, heart and brain. And every night as you laid your head
on your pillow, you could say: "I have this day wronged no man. I have
this day worked for my race, I have let all my little plans go and have
worked on the grand plan that the Eternal Father has intended shall
sometime be completed. I feel that I am in harmony with Him. Now I know
He _is_ truly our Father. With an unending list of crimes and social
wrongs staring me in the face I doubted, and my heart was cast down.
Now the light is given me by which I see the way through the labyrinth!
It is our Father's beautiful garden in which we are. I have learned
that all is intended for order and beauty, but as children we cannot
yet walk so as not to stumble. Natural science has explained a thousand
mysteries. Social science--understand the word; not schemes, plans or
guessing, but genuine science, as far from guess or scheme as astronomy
or chemistry is--will reveal to us as many truths and beauties as ever
any other science has done. I now see clearly! Blessed be God for the

And after sound sleep, waking in the rosy morning, with the fresh air
from balmy fields blowing into your window, penetrated still with the
afflatus of last night's thoughts and reveries, wouldn't you be
cheerful? Wouldn't the unity of all things come to you, and wouldn't
you chirrup like a bird, and buzz like a bee, and turn imaginary
somersaults and dance and sing, and feel like cutting up "didoes," and
talk a little high strung, and be chipper with the lowliest and level
with the highest? Wouldn't your heart flow over with ever so much love
and gratitude? Wouldn't it infuse so much spirit into your poor, weak
life that your words would sparkle with cheeriness, frolic and wit? I
believe so! I know so!

Such was to me the secret of the fun, wit and frolic of the Brook
Farmers. The jokes were, it is true, largely superficial, but they were
inseparable from the position. The bottom fact was, _the associates
there were leading a just life_, and could go to their labor, hard beds
and simple fare--down to plain bread and sometimes mythical
butter--with cheerfulness just in proportion as they were penetrated by
these great ideas. They could make merry with their friends over a cup
of coffee, and sought not the stimulants that college days and college
habits might have allowed.

It was with one of our little social groups of friends, that Mr. Dwight
gave the toast, "Here's to the coffeepot! If it is not _spiritual_,
it's not _material_!"

There was a gentleman who resided with us who had promised, on a
certain day, to assist a department of our industry with a loan of
cash, and had taken the light wagon to Boston for the purpose of
securing the funds and bringing them home for use. Somewhere about nine
o'clock in the evening the dwellers at the "Hive" were disturbed by the
approach of a team and the groans of a person. Going out, they
discovered that it was our team, and our member, who had apparently
fallen into the back part of the wagon in a helpless state. They
assisted him out and conveyed him to his chamber.

He did not seem to be much hurt; but he stated that in passing through
the little patch of woods on the "back road," some one came out and
knocked him off his seat and then robbed him. He had lain in the wagon,
unable to rise, and the horse had come home of his own accord. This is
the outline of the story. Parties went out on the road with lanterns,
but found no lost pocket-book. The news of the robbery spread. It was
the common talk the next day. There were suspicious circumstances. It
might have been a _ruse_ to cover a personal loss of the money, or to
deceive us in the pretended loan. Who could tell?

A few days later a stranger called at the Hive door. He had an
announcement to make; he had seen a mystery--doubtless it had something
to do with the robbery. He had been travelling that morning through
Muddy Pond woods, in a thick part of which he had seen--what? Why, a
shirt hanging on the bushes to dry; and had heard voices in the woods
near. He had no doubt marauders were encamped there. We might find
there the man who committed the assault and robbery. His manner was
excited, but he seemed to believe his own story.

It was Sunday. Work would not prevent us. We would hunt for the
robbers. We would go to Muddy Pond woods and investigate. We were not
over sanguine, but there was mystery in it, and we were bound to solve
it. I don't think anyone of us thought there was any danger in the
affair. A party of volunteers, consisting of some six or eight, was
formed, and the valuable Glover placed himself at our head. "By the
by," said he, as we were about to start, "I'll go and borrow Mr. Shaw's
pistols." What insane idea entered his head at that moment who can
tell. Did he have the thousandth part of an idea that he was going to
put a bullet into a man's body? I don't think he had! Returning soon
with the pistols, we started on our way.

It would be worth a thousand dollars now if we had a picture of that
party on their tramp. As I remember it, there were some four of us who
were of the "young group" and had not quite attained our legal majority.

"The Admiral" and "the Hero," with "Glover," made the older portion of
the party, and as we strayed along with our clear, sun-browned, young
faces, our classic locks and natural beards--those who had any--with
our unique tunics or blouses, with a certain regular quaintness running
through them, were picturesque enough. The idea of arming ourselves,
suggested by Glover's pistols, soon developed into the improvising of
canes and walking sticks from the wayside.

"Glover" paired off with the curly headed Hero, I with the curly headed
Admiral, for Glover loved the Hero, and I admired the Admiral's honest,
sincere, pleasant ways and heart. The city life we all had tasted, had
given new zest to country life. We straggled by the roadside; we sought
wild berries; we observed the varieties of foliage and flower, and
conversation never flagged. Glover and Hero were ever in earnest talk.
There was with them a never-ending story, and I am reminded of the
everlasting confidences of school girls when I recall their being
together, excepting only that they did not put their arms around each
other's waists.

The Admiral's heart was full of music. He could talk of music, poetry
and love, and there was a tender spot in him that I did not venture on,
although I knew it was there. He was also a deep admirer of nature.
Truly we could sing together, "A life in the woods for me!"

It was three miles to the robbers' rendezvous, but what cared we? We
dwelt in the bosom of nature, and three miles was but a pastime. We
only wanted an excuse of the most feeble kind to start on a tramp, day
or night. All along the way we breathed health and vitality; the air
was full of singing birds, and our hearts were crying out, "What is so
rare as a day in June?" In fact, our June days lasted longer than they
did elsewhere--they ran into September, October and November. It is the
harmony of our hearts that makes the force of poetry, and not the mere
words; and the June feeling may be present in December.

The entrance to Muddy Pond woods was on high ground, and as we
approached it we were a little cautious, for near by was the appointed
place to find the haunt of the robbers. Filing along singly, we peered
into the underbush. Lo, and behold, I see it! It is a white thing
hanging on a bush! Yes! And listen, I hear voices! It is the robbers!
Why, no, these are only children's voices! They are picking berries,
the dear things. Poor children! Don't you know that you may be robbed
and murdered by some of these infernal rascals who beat innocent men,
take their money and come out here into this wilderness and wash the
blood off their garments and hang them on these berry bushes to dry?

Slowly we approached the white garment. Why, this is only an old white
rag that has hung here for months, all mildewed and half rotten. Come,
boys, we are sold! What an old goose that fellow was to get us out here
for such a thing as this! I am going home! I am hungry! Feelings of
disgust and mirth took possession of us. Were these the robbers, and
was this the bloody raiment? Ha! ha!

There was no use of going further. The exciting problem was solved, and
we turned our feet homeward over the hills, across the fields and by
stone walls; shying a stone now and then into some gnarled apple tree,
just to knock down a wild apple or two, to try if they contained, as
Emerson has said of one of them, "a pint of cider and a barrel of
wind"; whipping off the heads of the wild daisies with our canes and
switches; pulling sprigs of sweet fern and bayberry; mocking the crows
and the cat-birds; finding choice flowers, and trying to fill the
aching void within us with blackberries and whortleberries, and
reaching the farm after the dinner was over.

All but one corner of the dining-room was deserted, and there a
solitary waiter was placing plates for the "Waiting Group," who had not
been served with dinner. The "Waiting Group" was one of the most
cheerful, lively, witty and jolly groups on the place. In fact it
contained some of the most eminent persons in our midst, and at dinner
the waiters were of the masculine gender solely.

We found there would be room for us to join their table, and that our
company was welcome. Alas! alas! How can I describe the dinner? I do
not mean the things we had to eat--fine eating was of little
consequence if we could satisfy hunger; but the merry cheer was
indescribable. It was the Professor (Dana) who sat at the head of the
board. It was the brilliant and witty "Timekeeper" (Cabot) who was at
one side, and when our party was added to them--"the Hero"
(Butterfield), with his full, hearty and musical laugh; Glover (Drew)
with his funny and apt quotations, and with the other four to six
clear-headed fellows, not a dull one among them--the gamut of merriment
ran to its highest notes.

Of course the Professor couldn't help making a few remarks about the
"object of our journey" and inquiries about the "success of the
enterprise," and of course our party didn't answer in parliamentary
language, but parried wit with wit, fun with fun, joke with joke. The
story had to be told and embellished. The shirt, it was nothing but a
rag, and the children were probably ragamuffins, and hot muffins at
that! The robber, where could he be! Probably dead, for there was
_berrying_ going on, and the children were continually _turning pail_.

But the borrowing of the pistols was the occasion of the most
absurdities. Was Glover _half cocked_ when he borrowed them? Did he
_bear-ill_ against any man? Was he going to _brace_ up his courage? He
wanted a little more _stock_ in hand, eh? It was the only way he had of
getting a little "_pop_"! And if he had "popped" the robber would there
have been any _pop-bier_ (beer) there? "If I had killed him," he said,
"there wouldn't have been any _sham pain_." Pooh, pooh, you could only
have _hocked_ him! "I would have made him _whine_ anyhow." You might
have made him whine but--"_Wine butt_," did you say? (Interrupting).
"Glover didn't intend to make any excitement, for where he took the
pistols he left the _wholestir_ behind." "But when he took them,"
another said, "he thought he was going to _Needham_ (need 'um)." "Ah,
no," said another, "when he took them he felt sure he was going to
_Dedham_" (dead 'um).

You will appreciate the difficulty I have in making any one realize the
snap, the vivacity and the quickness of the repartees. Things that seem
frivolous when written down----separate from all their connections,
with the personality dropped out of them----with the connection
unbroken; with youth, friendship and love to join them together, and
all the surroundings in keeping, were lively and bright, and added a
glow to the toil that made all the difficult surroundings easier to
bear. The affair acted over to-day in sober earnest would hardly
provoke a smile, but there most trivial incidents were worked up and
the result was an increase of happiness for all.



Things were looking up in the Phalanx at this time, for money was
coming from some sources to finish a portion of the "Phalanstery." Not
that it resembled one, but more out of deference to the idea of one did
it receive its name. This would admit of additional membership, as
well-to-do and able families were to embark in the enterprise, who
could not and would not join it in the crowded state of the houses. The
feeling among all was particularly hopeful and cheerful at the
prospect, as we knew it was the cramped condition of the finances that
had prevented the finishing of the building before this time.

Monday, March 2, 1846, was the day of recommencement of labor on it. On
the Saturday previous carpenters had put a stove into the building for
the purpose of drying it, as it had gathered dampness all through the
severe winter. It was now Tuesday, the day after our sweet singer left
us, and as we were all cheerful in our new hopes, it was proposed that
we should celebrate our good luck with a social dance at the Hive. I
shall call on my imagination to people the hall with those who were
Brook Farmers, though not all of them were there in person on that
occasion, in order to give the effective picture of such an assembly;
the realization of it to the mind, rather than the absolute facts.

The first usually to occupy the hall were the young folks living at the
Hive, whose labors ended early. The dance commenced without ceremony
when one or two sets were ready. The pupils of the school from the Eyry
soon arrived, with the young Spanish boys and the well-dressed maidens.
Then the "Pilgrims" came, and the few who resided at the Cottage
completed the assembly. It was later when the members of the Direction
were seen looking in the room. They had been to some of the
interminable meetings.

The cotillion was the ruling dance; the plain waltz and hop waltz came
in for their share of favor. The polka was new, and hardly yet danced.
What fun, what pleasure was there then in that old dining hall among
the blue tunics! There the General loomed above the rest, not in tunic,
however, but staggering about with his new acquirement, interested and
ungraceful; and the old gardener entertained us with a Danish waltz
with his fair-haired, plump, round-shouldered daughter. Now they cling
together, then swing apart, holding each other by the fingers' ends;
now they whirl and twirl in and out, and then come together and waltz
around the hall, as all gaze and wonder at the old man's suppleness.
Now the spirit of fun takes possession of all as we see Irish John
sitting quietly conversing with "Dora," and he must dance a jig! By
some chance there may be a girl of his nationality on the place to
dance with him; if not, he goes it alone--forward and back, shuffling
backward and around; then dancing up as to his partner, and having gone
through all the varied motions in grand heel-and-toe style, sits down
again or rushes out of the hall door with his giggling laugh, and a
loud round of applause for his reward.

I might go on painting various characters and personages, but could not
paint the enthusiasm that was catching--how one after another of the
older ones put on again the youthful habit long since laid off. There
was no selfishness either, in the dancing, because there was plenty of
it, and when one of the older persons essayed the graces of youth,
instead of its being looked on as an intrusion, it was applauded. I
have seen five men whose education was for the ministry enjoying
themselves on that small floor at one time.

It was the old courtliness over again. It was the spirit of chivalry
revived under a new form, and it was chivalry with interior pride
instead of exterior pride--pride of character instead of pride of
birth. Did any of these accomplished men and women deem that they
lowered themselves by dancing with those who did manual labor? If they
had, they would not have been there to do it. And did the "producers of
wealth" think that there were those who danced in their company as a
favor to them? If they had, it would have been a favor they would not
have accepted. The atmosphere was that of mutual respect and mutual

There was no dancing of clothes-pins from the pockets of the dancers,
as Emerson has said, or if it once happened it was probably the
intentional freak of a happy schoolboy--a bit of farcical fun, too
unworthy even to be mentioned by the "Sage of Concord" in his "Historic
Notes." It was poor history and undignified in its connection.

But the reader wishes to know if certain men whose names he has seen
and whose reputations he knows took part in these amusements! He may be
sure that the "Professor" (Dana) was there, for those charming black
eyes and raven hair, and the quick, nervous, volatile, lovely owner of
them, with her southern accent, was there to charm him. And he may be
sure that the "Poet" (Dwight) was there, for the man of music and song
could not despise the poetry of motion, neither could his social soul
neglect the opportunity of seeing so much enjoyment, and feasting his
eyes on those developing buds of womanhood, those fair-haired,
clear-eyed, joyous young girls who were present. And the curly-headed,
witty "Time-Keeper" (Cabot) was there because he enjoyed dancing and
fun. And the tall, manly, handsome-faced, clear-complexioned "Hero"
(Butterfield), whose curls more than rivalled the other, looking for a
dark-eyed girl who afterwards became his faithful and loving wife. And
the little, thin-faced shoemaker (Colson), with his amiable spouse was
there, as also that other one, with head and forehead large enough for
Daniel Webster (Hosmer), with his wife.

And that quiet man, whose near-sightedness obliged him to wear glasses,
and whose very soul was penetrated with a joke, if you could judge from
the internal convulsions and the mounting of the red blood to his face
at every good one--"Grandpa" (Treadwell) so different from his
light-complexioned wife, who smiled all over her face and indulged in a
merry laugh so easily. And John (Orvis) was there--surnamed "the
Almighty"--for certain eyes projected their glances on him, which was
not unpleasing to his senses. And Chiswell, the man who desired to be
chief of the Amusement Group, was there, of course; and Miss Ripley,
"her perpendicular Majesty," came to look on because she enjoyed doing
so; and the "Mistress of the Revels" (Miss Russell) was looking after
her young nieces, the Misses Foord, who, with all the other young
misses, were there. And stout "Old Solidarity" (Eaton) was there, and
"Monday (Munday) the tailor's wife"; Jean (Pallisse) with his "Madame,"
"Homer the Sweet" (Doucet), "Chrysalis" (Christopher List), "Chorles"
and Stella (Salisbury), John and Mary (Sawyer), and all the titled
nobility of the place; with Edgar and Martin, Harry and George, Dan and
Willard, John and Charles--all lads of an age to drink deep of the
fountain of life and pleasure.

But stop! On this occasion the dance was not fairly under way; it was
yet quite early in the evening, and though in the "full tide of
successful experiment," to quote an old expression, it had not worked
itself up to high pitch, when an unexpected interruption took place.
Ah, fatal hour! Why was it not delayed? Why did it ever come? It was
this: one of the older members came in and announced, "The Phalanstery
is on fire!" I remember the loud, derisive laugh that came from the
announcement, and was echoed through the room. I knew better than all
from the sober face and earnest look of the person who said it--for he
was one of my kin--that the statement must be correct, and I
immediately said, "This is no joke, it is true!"

A thing so easily verified needed not argument, and all rushed for the
doors. I hastily changed slippers for boots and ran out. The barn hid
the "Phalanstery" from sight. Passing to the other side of it I saw the
flames pouring out of the front, surmounted by a heavy cloud of black
smoke. Without definiteness of purpose we all started for the building,
and all saw that there was no chance of saving it. Ere long the flames
were chasing one another in mad riot over the structure; running across
the long corridors and up and down the supporting columns of wood,
until the huge edifice was a mass of firework, every part painted in
glowing, living color, yet retaining its distinctive form.

It was a grand and magnificent sight! The whole heaven was illuminated
with its rosy light, and the earth was as red as the sky, for the
fields, deep covered with white snow from the long storm, were
brilliant from the reflection of the fire. Miles and miles away was the
illumination seen. Men in Boston thought it was near by, it was so
bright, and one man came from the city across the fields, thinking at
every moment he would reach the object of his search, finding it and
himself at last nine miles in the country.

There was a pile of lumber near the building that we worked hard to
save, but the flames were so hot we had to desist, and some cried out
"Save the Eyry!" Turning on my heel I went to the greenhouse for water
buckets, and entering saw the flowers lighted up with a heavenly glow
of color, and so startlingly beautiful that in spite of my haste I
lingered a moment to look at them. Roses and camellias, heaths and
azaleas--whatever flowers there were in bloom looked superbly glorified
in the transcendent light, and I uttered an exclamation of surprise at
the lovely display.

A moment after, armed with buckets, I started for the Eyry, and at the
post of duty worked with a will to forward water to those above who
were wetting the front of the house and roof to preserve it from the
heat. It was not long before it was seen that danger to that building
was past, and I returned to watch the fire fiend eat up the remains of
our great edifice.

Engines with firemen slowly arrived, but the building was entirely
burned, for there was a difficulty in getting any water, as three feet
of snow covered the ground, and little was done but to extinguish some
of the embers of the burning, blackened main timbers that had fallen
into the cellar.

I pause here to give the account of the fire published in the
_Harbinger_ of March 14, 1846. There is little to add to the clear
statement there made:--


"Our readers have no doubt been informed before this of the severe
calamity with which the Brook Farm Association has been visited, by the
destruction of the large unitary edifice which it has been for some
time erecting on its domain. Just as our last paper was going through
the press, on Tuesday evening the 3d inst., the alarm of fire was given
at about a quarter before nine, and it was found to proceed from the
'Phalanstery.' In a few minutes the flames were bursting through the
doors and windows of the second story; the fire spread with almost
incredible rapidity throughout the building, and in about an hour and a
half the whole edifice was burned to the ground. The members of the
Association were on the spot in a few moments, and made some attempts
to save a quantity of lumber that was in the basement story; but so
rapid was the progress of the fire, that this was found to be
impossible and they succeeded only in rescuing a couple of tool chests
that had been in use by the carpenters.

"The neighboring dwelling house, called the 'Eyry,' was in imminent
danger while the fire was at its height, and nothing but the stillness
of the night and the vigilance and activity of those who were stationed
on its roof, preserved it from destruction. The vigorous efforts of our
nearest neighbors, Mr. T. J. Orange and Messrs. Thomas and George
Palmer, were of great service in protecting this building, as a part of
our force were engaged in another direction, watching the workshops,
barn and principal dwelling house.

"In a short time our neighbors from the village of West Roxbury, a mile
and a half distant, arrived in great numbers with their engine, which
together with the engines from Jamaica Plain, Newton and Brookline,
rendered valuable assistance in subduing the flaming ruins, although it
was impossible to check the progress of the fire until the building was
completely destroyed. We are under the deepest obligations to the fire
companies which came, some of them five or six miles, through deep
snow, on cross roads, and did everything in the power of skill or
energy to preserve our other buildings from ruin. Many of the engines
from Boston came four or five miles from the city, but finding the fire
going down, returned without reaching the spot. The engines from
Dedham, we understood, made an unsuccessful attempt to come to our aid,
but were obliged to turn back on account of the condition of the roads.
No efforts, however, would have probably been successful in arresting
the progress of the flames. The building was divided into nearly a
hundred rooms in the upper stories, most of which had been lathed for
several months without plaster, and being almost as dry as tinder, the
fire flashed through them with terrific rapidity.

"There had been no work performed on the building during the winter
months, and arrangements had just been made to complete four out of the
fourteen distinct suites of apartments into which it was divided, by
the first of May. It was hoped that the remainder would be finished
during the summer, and that by the first of October the edifice would
be prepared for the reception of a hundred and fifty persons, with
ample accommodations for families, and spacious and convenient public
halls and saloons. A portion of the second story had been set apart for
a church or chapel, which was to be finished in a style of simplicity
and elegance, by private subscription, and in which it was expected
that religious services would be performed by our friend William H.
Channing, whose presence with us, until obliged to retire on account of
ill health, had been a source of unmingled satisfaction and benefit.

"On the Saturday previous to the fire, a stove was put up in the
basement story, for the accommodation of the carpenters, who were to
work on the outside; a fire was kindled in it on Tuesday morning, which
burned till four o'clock in the afternoon; at half past eight in the
evening the building was visited by the night watch, who found
everything apparently safe, and at about a quarter before nine a faint
light was discovered in the second story, which was supposed at first
to have proceeded from a lamp, but on entering, to ascertain the fact,
the smoke at once showed that the interior was on fire. The alarm was
immediately given, but almost before the people had time to assemble,
the whole edifice was wrapped in flames. From a defect in the
construction of the chimney, a spark from the stovepipe had probably
communicated with the surrounding wood work, and from the combustible
nature of the materials, the flames spread with a celerity that made
every effort to arrest their violence without effect.

"This edifice was commenced in the summer of 1844, and has been in
progress from that time until November last, when the work was
suspended for the winter, and resumed, as before stated, on the day in
which it was consumed. It was built of wood; one hundred and
seventy-five feet long, three stories high, with spacious attics,
divided into pleasant and convenient roams for single persons. The
second and third stories were divided into fourteen houses, independent
of each other, with a parlor and three sleeping rooms in each,
connected by piazzas which ran the whole length of the building on both
stories. The basement contained a large and commodious kitchen, a
dining hall capable of seating from three to four hundred persons, two
public saloons, and a spacious hall and lecture room. Although by no
means a model for the Phalanstery, or unitary edifice of a Phalanx, it
was well adapted for our purposes at present, situated on a delightful
eminence which commanded a most extensive and picturesque view, and
affording accommodations and conveniences in the combined order, which
in many respects would gratify even a fastidious taste. The actual
expenditures upon the building, including the labor performed by the
Associates, amounted to about seven thousand dollars, and three
thousand dollars more, it was estimated, would be sufficient for its
completion. As it was not yet in use by the Association, and, until the
day of its destruction, not exposed to fire, no insurance had been
effected. It was built by investments in our loan stock, and the loss
falls upon the holders of partnership stock and the members of the

"It is some alleviation of the great calamity which we have sustained
that it came upon us at this time, rather than at a later period. The
house was not endeared to us by any grateful recollections; the tender
and hallowed associations of home had not yet begun to cluster around
it, and although we looked upon it with joy and hope as destined to
occupy an important sphere in the social movement to which it was
consecrated, its destruction does not rend asunder those sacred ties
which bind us to the dwellings that have thus far been the scene of our
toils and of our satisfactions. We could not part with either of the
houses in which we have lived at Brook Farm, without a sadness like
that which we should feel at the departure of a bosom friend. The
destruction of our edifice makes no essential change in our pursuits.
It leaves no family destitute of a home; it disturbs no domestic
arrangements; it puts us to no immediate inconvenience. The morning
after the disaster, if a stranger had not seen the smoking pile of
ruins, he would not have suspected that anything extraordinary had
taken place. Our schools were attended as usual, our industry in full
operation, and not a look or expression of despondency could have been
perceived. The calamity is felt to be great; we do not attempt to
conceal from ourselves its consequences, but it has been met with a
calmness and high trust, which gives us a new proof of the power of
associated life to quicken the best elements of character, and to
prepare men for every emergency.

"We shall be pardoned for entering into these almost personal details,
for we know that the numerous friends of Association, in every part of
our land, will feel our misfortune as if it were a private grief of
their own. We have received nothing but expressions of the most
generous sympathy from every quarter, even from those who might be
supposed to take the least interest in our purposes; and we are sure
that our friends in the cause of social unity will share with us the
affliction that has visited a branch of their own fraternity.

"We have no wish to keep out of sight the magnitude of our loss. In our
present infant state it is a severe trial of our strength. We cannot
now calculate its ultimate effect. It may prove more than we are able
to bear; or like other previous calamities, it may serve to bind us
more closely to each other, and to the holy cause to which we are
devoted. We await the result with calm hope, sustained by our faith in
the Universal Providence, whose social laws we have endeavored to
ascertain and embody in our daily lives.

"It may not be improper to state, as we are speaking of our own affairs
more fully than we have felt at liberty to do before in the columns of
our paper, that, whatever be our trials of an external character, we
have every reason to rejoice in the internal condition of our
Association. For the few last months it has more nearly than ever
approached the idea of a true social order. The greatest harmony
prevails among us; not a discordant note is heard; a spirit of
friendship, of brotherly kindness, of charity, dwells with us and
blesses us; our social resources have been greatly multiplied, and our
devotion to the cause which has brought us together receives new
strength every day. Whatever may be in reserve for us, we have an
infinite satisfaction in the true relations which have united us, and
the assurance that our enterprise has sprung from a desire to obey the
divine law. We feel assured that no outward disappointment or calamity
can chill our zeal for the realization of a divine order of society, or
abate our efforts in the sphere which may be pointed out by our best
judgment as most favorable to the cause which we have at heart."

There was no wind. The building was entirely consumed; and the hungry
firemen, on their homeward way, were invited to lunch at the Hive.
Peter, the baker, had just turned out from the oven a fine batch of
bread. We made coffee for them. The bread was for our morrow's
breakfast; they ate it all, and Peter worked all night to supply the
deficiency. In the midst of the lunch Mr. Ripley mounted a bench and
spoke a few pleasant words of thanks to them, and you would not have
guessed that a great misfortune had fallen on our scheme from the
serene, cheerful look on his fine face. He thanked the firemen kindly
for coming to our aid. Their visit, he said, "was _very unexpected_ to
us," but he was glad to give them the poor hospitality we had. "But had
we _known_," he said, in that bright, pleasant way of his, "or even
_suspected_ you were coming, we would have been better prepared to
receive you, and given you worthier, if not a _warmer_ reception."
"Good enough, good enough!" shouted the firemen.

This calamity did not affect any belief that the Brook Farmers had in
social science, and it did not break up the Association. Certainly no
one departed from the place at once in fear of disorganization. It
called forth kindly letters from all parts of the country, and our
immediate friends gathered around us as if to shield us from further
harm. The sweet singer returned to pass a few days with us, and our
noble friend Channing spoke earnest words to all.

It was Sunday; the Direction broke its rule and decided to call the
Association together in the evening to talk over everything connected
with its prospects. There was one reason for doing so, and that was,
one of our prominent members was going next day to New York to deliver
a course of lectures on music, and they desired he should be present at
the consultation. I do not remember that the meeting talked facts and
figures, but that it was a meeting of goodwill and resolution, where
all expressed their sympathies or convictions regarding the life then
and there led; their desire for its continuance, and their hopes and
wishes for the future prosperity of the little band.

I make an extract from an article written by our president, as showing
the state of feeling among the leaders at this time. After speaking of
the various letters received, he says he has selected one for
publication for its practical suggestions, and continues:--

"We do not altogether agree with the writer in the importance which he
attaches to the special movement at Brook Farm. We have never professed
to be able to represent the idea of Association with the scanty
resources at our command; nor would the discontinuance of our
establishment, or of any of the partial attempts now in progress, in
the slightest degree weaken our faith in the associative system or our
conviction that it will sooner or later be adopted as the only form of
society suited to the nature of man, and in accordance with the divine
will. We have never attempted anything more than to prepare the way for
Association by demonstrating some of the leading ideas on which the
theory is founded. In this we have had the most gratifying success; but
we have regarded ourselves only as the humble pioneers in a work which
would be carried on by others to its magnificent consummation, and have
been content to wait and toil for the development of the cause and the
completion of our hope.

"Still we have established a centre of influence here for the
associative movement which we shall spare no effort to sustain; we are
fully aware of the importance of this; and nothing but the most
inexorable necessity will withdraw the congenial spirits that are
gathered in social union here, from the work which has always called
forth their most earnest devotedness and enthusiasm. Since our disaster
occurred there has not been an expression or symptom of despondency
among our number. All are resolute and calm; determined to stand by
each other and the cause; ready to encounter still greater sacrifices
than have yet been demanded of them, and desirous only to adopt the
course which may be presented by the clearest dictates of duty. The
loss we have sustained occasions us no immediate inconvenience; does
not interfere with any of our present operations, although it is a
total destruction of resources on which we had confidently relied, and
must inevitably derange our plans for the enlargement of the
Association and the extension of our industry. We have a firm and
cheerful hope, however, of being able to do much for the illustration
of the cause, with the materials that remain. They are far too valuable
to be dispersed or applied to any other object, and with favorable
circumstances will be able to accomplish much for the realization of
social unity.

"We are not so blind as to lose sight of the fact that this enterprise,
as well as all others that leave the beaten path of custom and
tradition, must experience more or less misrepresentation and
consequent hostility. But we rejoice to say that in Boston and its
vicinity, where our institution and its members are the best known, we
have met with nothing since the occurrence of our disaster but the most
cordial and almost enthusiastic sympathy. Our labors for five year's
have not been in vain in disarming reproach and winning esteem. A
universal desire is expressed for the continuance of our establishment,
and the success of our experiment; the most friendly hands have been
extended to us from all quarters; and if the expression of respect for
ourselves and wishes for our prosperity could be of any avail, we might
regard our future welfare as certain. If there has been any exception
to these remarks it has not come to our knowledge. The truth is, our
wisest and best men are deeply sensible, under the pressure of existing
evils, of the need of social reform, and they cannot but welcome those
whose perseverance and devotion in this work prove them to be in

These words of our leader expressed clearly the general feeling and
hope of the Association, and are worthy of close attention. I will not
copy the letter referred to, but put in its place the following shorter
one, the writer of whom was an entire stranger to our people:--

"NEW YORK, March 17, 1846.

"GENTLEMEN:--With the greatest sorrow I heard of the destruction of a
building of the Brook Farm Association by fire. As an expression of my
sympathy please accept the trifle enclosed towards its reconstruction.
I am rejoiced at the spirit with which you met this calamity, and think
it augurs most favorably for the successful result of your great

"The light which some knowledge of the science of Association has
poured upon my mind has changed despondency into hope, gloom into
cheerfulness. My religious feelings I trust have been purified. I can
more intelligently and confidently trust in God, and the reflection
that we are all 'members of one another' excites benevolent feelings in
my heart. I trust I may live to do something towards spreading the
knowledge of this divine science, and that when I die the condition and
prospects of the human race may be greatly improved.  E."

This great disaster stirred the little commonwealth to its centre. In
the hearts of the dwellers were sad spots, were serious thoughts. They
felt a deep disappointment, and when the fun and the _bon-mot_ were
off, that ever sparkled at Brook Farm on the surface of its life of
toil and devotion, they met each other in frank, plain talk. I have a
great admiration for the simple, straightforward, honest way in which
the people, male and female, spoke to each other. There was no beating
of the bush; there was no need of it; there was a common interest that
united them--a unity, as far as it went--not perfect, it is true, but
much higher than I have ever seen it elsewhere.

As we met the morning after the fire at breakfast, which was later than
usual, and all through the following days, the talk was about the
catastrophe. Each one had his story to tell. Some had been watching the
other houses, fearing chance sparks might reach them, but the night was
so quiet they did not scatter much. Our Englishman with a spicy name
(Peppercorn), cheerful, lively fellow as he was, is said to have
observed that "many hanxious heyes were fixed hon that 'ole in the barn
when hour 'ouse was hon fire." (It was a square place left open in the
gable for ventilation.) Little knots of people gathered together to
talk over and over again the same important subject, and foremost among
them, tallest among them, was the General, with his disputatious tongue
and his occasional unfortunate stammer.



Brook Farm was in an exceptionally good position when the associative
movement broke out, like a fever, all over the country. It was no new
organization. It had started two or three years before the rest. It had
fixed itself in the minds of the thinking part of the community as a
gathering of able, upright, conscientious men and women. There were no
slurs on their moral characters. There were no vices at which to point
the finger of scorn. They were not driven or urged forward by poverty
to take the position they did, and the "Community" or Association, had
sprung up so silently and in such a natural manner, that it seemed a
vital outgrowth from the tree of society. Notices appeared in various
prints pleasantly alluding to it.

It was a curious and unique life. It deserved to be kindly noticed, and
not until after the "Fourierite" doctrines were preached and accepted
did there appear anything in the journals of a defamatory character
relating to it. Truth compels me to say that Brook Farm and its
Associates were singularly free from the rude comments and public
assaults that reformers of all kinds are apt to receive. But while
Brook Farm was thus free, it had to bear its share in the general
assaults upon the doctrines of associative life and "Fourierism" that
were made elsewhere.

Mr. Greeley, in the _Tribune_, had gone into the work manfully,
striking heavy blows for the organization of labor; announcing himself
as an advocate of the doctrines of Associated Industry, with the
freedom of manner and boldness of pen and purpose for which he was
noted. The _Tribune_ was the leading journal of the country as well as
of the Whig party, and the associative idea came into immediate
prominence. Mr. Greeley was a man who was not ruled by any party. He
had too much of genuine independence to allow himself to follow strict
party lines. He was ambitious. He had political enemies ready to strike
him in any way that they could to reduce his political power, who did
not dare to attack him or his party openly, and they went about seeking
flaws in his honest coat of mail, into which they could thrust their
lances, caring not how envenomed they were if they could but wound him,
thinking by this means to reduce his hold on his party and the public.

I am satisfied that this was the reason of the commencement of the
principal attacks on the associative doctrines; but having commenced
them, many may finally have believed they were doing justice to society
by continuing in their unjust course. The principal ground of attack
was that the "Fourierites" were "disorganizers," that they were
unsettling the foundations of society and that they wished to make
their Associations entering wedges to disrupt the marriage relation and
produce promiscuity and general anarchy. Their opponents even went so
far as to call the leaders infidels, and made other outrageous and
absurd charges against them. The New York _Express_ was early in the
field. The _Courier and Enquirer_ and the Buffalo _Advertiser_ soon
made themselves conspicuous, and finally the New York _Observer_, "a
religious newspaper of the Calvinistic school, of large circulation and
great influence, actuated in the present case, as must be hoped, by
other motives than those that envenomed its associates," says a writer
in the _Harbinger_, "added its ability and its power to crush the
social reformers."

These attacks, long continued, created great distrust and produced
strong suspicions in the public mind derogatory to the morality of the

The Associationists on their part denied that they were Fourierists, or
that they had advocated or proposed any change in the marriage
relation; they were united for the organization of industry, and had
nothing to do or propose in relation to the marriage system. This
denial was not enough for their opponents. They declared that the
doctrines of Association led to certain results, and in proof of it
cited Fourier's speculations on the subject, which had about as much to
do with the social objects of the Associationists as his cosmogony, his
speculations about the Arabian deserts, or his ocean of "lemonade" that
had amused so many. In the study of human nature, Fourier believed he
discovered inherently inconstant natures, exceptional men and women,
who cannot be constant to one idea, one hope or one love; and believing
that this inconstancy was a normal trait of character with some
persons, who are the exceptions to the general rule, simply and
honestly acknowledged the fact, and speculated on the result and the
position such persons would have in the future ideal societies.

Fourier said, "The man has no claim as discoverer, or to the confidence
of the world, who advocates such absurdities as community of property,
absence of divine worship and rash abolition of marriage."

The Associationists of America made no proposal of any change in the
marriage relation. They had no occasion to do so. They considered it
one of the best and purest arrangements of present society, and that if
there were in that relation oftentimes grave mistakes and errors, there
were other greater and more glaring evils and universal wrongs to set

"Accordingly our position is that the existing institution is to be
maintained in its greatest possible dignity and purity. We believe that
with the establishment of _truth_ and _justice_ in the practical
affairs of society; with the guarantee of pecuniary independence to all
persons, the most fatal temptations to debase and profane this relation
will be removed.... But to purer and nobler generations more upright,
honorable and generous, we leave all legislation on this subject. It is
for us to maintain the institution inviolable."

The above quoted words are taken from a statement made by all the
officers of the "American Union of Associationists," for at this time
an outside movement of that name had commenced, whose object was to
propagate doctrines, and stimulate the various organizations that were
forming, to actualize the new social order in various parts of the

At a convention in Boston, held May 27,1846, where the American Union
of Associationists was formed, this resolution was passed:--"Resolved,
That we hold it our duty, as seekers of the practical unity of the
race, to accept every light afforded by the providential men whom God
has raised up, without committing ourselves blindly to the guidance of
any _one_, or speaking or acting in the name of any man; that we
recognize the invaluable worth of the discoveries of Charles Fourier in
the science of society, the harmony of that science with all the vital
truths of Christianity, and the promise it holds out of a material
condition of life wherein alone the spirit of Christ can dwell in all
its fulness; but _Fourierists_ we are not and cannot consent to be
called, because Fourier is only _one_ among the great teachers of
mankind; because many of his assertions are concerning spheres of
thought which exceed our present ability to test, and of which it would
be presumption for us to affirm with confidence; and because we regard
this as a holy and providential movement, independent of every merely
_individual_ influence or guidance, the sure and gradual evolving of
man's great unitary destiny in the ages."

After the excitement of the fire and after the enthusiastic meeting for
the holy cause, the voice of reason, pure and cold, went forth in
whispers over the face of Brook Farm. Inquiries began to be made about
prospects. It was considered a great piece of good fortune to have been
enabled to commence the first "Phalanstery." Would any one invest in a
second one, and was there prospect enough for the success of the
industry on the place to secure a livelihood? If not, what must be
done? These were important questions. Retrenchment had gone far. The
table was too poor to attract visitors; too poor, some thought, for
health, but I observed that all kept well.

I am not sure in my details of all the industry on the place just at
this time, but I believe that Britannia ware was made by one or two
workmen, principally oil hand lamps and teapots; but sales were
limited, the market being dull or glutted, and the Brook Farmers had
not the capital to manufacture and keep on hand a supply of goods for
better times.

Some six to ten were engaged in making shoes and pots. There goods were
sold at fair profit, though it was not a particularly remunerative
business, and sometimes the group was not full of orders.

There was also the "sash and blind" business, which included the making
of doors. I believe that this business could have been made profitable,
but here again the inevitable want was capital. In order to make these
articles of good quality, it is of the first importance that all stock
in them shall be well seasoned, for if it is not, changes of
temperature will produce shrinkage and warping. The wood should be
either kiln-dried--a novelty then--or dried by long keeping in sheds,
and it was important to buy largely when there was a good source, and
store for future use. These things the Brook Farmers could not do, and
consequently some of the doors and sashes shrank, much to the disgust
of everybody.

The _Harbinger_ was the principal work done in the printing line as no
outside business, such as job or book work, was secured. I have not
found out whether the _Harbinger_ paid its expenses or not, but it was
considered that it aided Brook Farm by advertising the work in its
columns. Certainly there was not much profit in it, for it is well
known that the expense of issuing a few copies of a publication is
nearly as large as when the number is doubled.

And the farming! Was it paying? A little, of course. Great labor and
devotion are needed on a farm at special seasons: I am of the opinion
it was a mistaken idea that no day's labor should consist of more than
ten hours. Our kind-hearted leader, who had not known the necessity for
great personal, physical toil, long-continued, in order to produce
special results, frowned on long hours, and did not lend his magnetism
to induce persons to toil out of regular time, except possibly in the
haying field; and therefore the days were clipped to stated hours, when
it would have been better to have extended them occasionally beyond the
regular time.

A large crop was hay. Near the main farm was a lot of some fifteen
acres of grass land that was a part of the original purchase, but
entirely independent of contact, and at some distance towards West
Roxbury village. It was called the "Keith Lot" and was the best hay
field. All the meadows grew heavy crops of grass; it was not all
"herd's grass," but consisted of a variety of species, and went under
the name of "meadow hay," which was considered second in quality.

There were the mistakes of beginners made. Some crops were lost that
might have been saved and made profitable. Of apples there were not
many. The farm could not supply the Association's wants, and we had at
times to buy both fruits and vegetables. Besides the cows a few swine
were kept. Occasionally a "beef critter" would be killed for home use,
either by our stout neighbor with a fruitful name (Orange), or by our
little Englishman.

Our practical neighbor's advice and assistance were of use to us. His
occupation was especially farming, but he had a "slant" towards killing
animals, really liking the business. He could do the butchering of a
hog with the best of grace, and had killed, first and last, so many,
that I imagine he could tell the number of squeals, or wrigglings of
the porcine tail it took to terminate the life of the animal, after he
had given it the _coup de grace_. Once, when remonstrated with by a
lady for his cruel position towards the race of swine, the
"professional" love of his occupation arose above all other

"Where do you expect to go when you die," said she to him, "if you are
so cruel to animals?"

"Well, I don't know," he replied, "but I hope I shall go where there
are _plenty of hogs!_"

In the progress of the institution much work was done to increase the
amount of grass land and tillage, and where the meadows bordered on the
bush and stubble, the bush scythe was freely used. Muck was dug and
spread in quantities. Mr. Ripley rather prided himself on the knowledge
of the composition and improvement of soils, and when the experiment
ceased, the farm had improved in amount of tillable surface and
capacity of production. This progress was, much of it, to the
Association's cost, and added but little to the immediate income.

I have alluded to the tree-nursery. There were thousands of young trees
bought and transplanted for a nursery, and seedlings raised that had to
be budded or grafted, and this was faithfully and carefully done by an
experienced man, assisted by the Professor and other native talent, and
the grounds kept continually in order. There was no immediate return
for this outlay, which needed a year or two more of growth and
investment, to bring back the first cost and make a profit from the

Let me here call attention to the nature of the various occupations
started. They contained in general, I am satisfied, as good chances for
profitable return as most occupations, and with time, and a market not
overstocked, would finally have paid well. Once only were we caught
with the _ignis fatuus_ of genius, a washing machine--patented, of
course--that came to an untimely end with a few gasps.

The greenhouse business was an outgo from first to last. It was a
business in prospective. It took two persons from other and more
productive labor, and quantities of fuel were consumed through the long
winter days and nights with a very meagre return. It had its bright
side--it was attractive--and if persevered in would have paid in the
end. The garden was still more of an outgo than the greenhouse. The
soil was very poor, and the manure for high culture was not
forthcoming, for it was all needed on the farm.

The large number of visitors did at times return more than the cash
outlay, but in reckoning the incomes of the Association this must be
left out, or set down as uncertain. Some boarders were almost always on
the place; either interested parties, or members' friends, but this
income also was slight, as the table was meagre and the price in
proportion. What, then, was there beside these occupations to support
and increase the organization? Three things: Income from new members
who came with property; income from regular investors, who took stock
in the Association, and income from the school.

There was a prospective income from persons who were expected to come
and try the new mode of life. There were those who had been promised an
opportunity to join us. They were selected from a mass of applicants,
and one object in the selection was to secure persons of good standing
and means. Such persons represented a desirable class. But now the
"Phalanstery" was burned that hope was destroyed, for all the available
rooms were occupied with those living on the domain; and if there was
to be no progress in material things, who would wish to invest in stock
that had not paid a cent and in which there was but a slight chance of
profitable return--nay, more, which stood ten chances to one of being
entirely lost? Of course no one unless he had money to give away. The
persuasive eloquence of the gifted leaders could not secure investors
for the reasons I have given, and for other reasons of which I shall

The "Associationists" were not united. The centre of the movement was
at New York, and from there great stories of the advancement of the
North American Phalanx at Red Bank, New Jersey, went forth. It was
Greeley's pet. It was the favorite at the centre and mostly with the
_doctrinaires_. It was an excellent domain, with water power, splendid
fruit-growing land, sufficiently near New York market for an undoubted
sale of all its products. Greeley admired the talent and the social
life at Brook Farm, but he thought that the leaders engaged at the
North American Phalanx had a more practical turn, and their soil was
wonderfully better fitted for farming, which always seems to be the
hobby of reformers. It was near to him; he could visit it often, and he
invested money in it.

It was intimated that the Brook Farm experiment had better stop, and
that all the material that was good should be transferred to the North
American. But it is easily seen that this was impossible, and that the
experiment must go on. The leaders and members had pledged themselves
too faithfully to carry out the Association's ideas, and none among
them would be bold enough to announce such a project. It would seem
like selling out to another organization. Who would dare to propose to
break into the charmed circle by such discordant words? And so it went

Much talent was used in the school. As the Association took to itself a
variety of industries; as it added shoemakers, carpenters and farmers
to its original stock of intellectual workers, a change took place in
the selectness of its society. Although the members were chosen by the
organization, yet "practical" farmers, and "practical" shoemakers, with
their wives and children, are not supposed to have the easy grace of
manners, the elegant language and the fluency and charm of cultivated
and scholarly men and women. The little, scarcely organized Community
had increased into a goodly number, so that its dining room was like a
small hotel; and it was no longer held by the "Transcendentalists," but
had become a portion of a large and increasing body of men who followed
the wild ideas of a Frenchman named Fourier, and called itself the
Brook Farm Phalanx.

And who was this Fourier? It was just at this time; it was just as this
question was asked by anxious mothers, that the slanders of the New
York Press, copied into other papers, far and wide, worked mischief to
the Brook Farm School. I never knew a pupil who was not pleased and
delighted with the school; but the mother who sends a child away from
home to an educational institution, especially if the child is a girl,
will send it where there are no intimations connected with it of the
character of those brought so prominently forward by the New York
newspapers. It matters not so much to her that she believes the stories
are slanders; her duty seems plain to take no risks.

The "Association" or "Phalanx" now overlapped the school, and it could
no longer have the prominence as an industry that it did at first. The
school, from being so intimately connected with the Association, began
to lose caste. Although conducted with as much talent as ever, and with
as much devotion on the part of its teachers, from the fact of the
unfortunate odium cast on it, and its peculiar surroundings, was
declining, and the high talent, the culture and the knowledge of its
teachers, could not retain it in its proud position.

Thus I have gathered together, as in a bouquet, the sources of all the
income of the once famous "Brook Farm." How slight they were!

It has often been stated that Brook Farm was a well chosen location for
the experiment made there. It was nine miles from Boston. There were no
surrounding industries. There was no water power at hand, the little
brook being too small for any purpose but ornament. There was no
available railroad station--the nearest was four miles away. This
necessitated the teaming of lumber, fertilizers, coal, family stores
and all stock for manufacturing purposes, from Boston, as it was not
practical to send part way by rail and transfer it to teams. A portion
of the time we were obliged to go to the city by the way of West
Roxbury Village, as the nearest way--over the hills--was blocked by
snow during our long New England winters, and this increased the
distance. One or two teams, with men, were ever on the road. This was
expensive and tedious.

After the manufacturing stock had been teamed thus far into the
country, it was carted back in the shape of goods over the same road. I
must praise the men who were engaged in this business, for they were
not only teamsters, but errand boys--expressmen we would call them
now--as well as purchasers of provender and general commercial agents
of the Association; and their combined tasks were hard and difficult.
Busy, driving Glover Drew and Buckley Hastings filled this office
faithfully and long.

For the original purpose of an industrial school the farm was
attractive, but for an experiment such as was foreshadowed by the name
Phalanx, the place was not at all fitted, and the good sense of Mr.
Greeley saw that the domain of the North American Phalanx was vastly

In this connection I am reminded that there was but little machinery
invented and employed on farms at the date of my narrative; and
although our agriculturists, in spite of the stale jokes that have been
fathered on them, were in the advance in this department as in others,
it was only in the third or fourth year of their occupancy of the farm
that they deemed it wise or prudent to purchase a horse rake, and I
recall no other modern implement used, unless it was a seed drill,
taken on trial. It was the same in the domestic department; there was
not even a dish washer or a clothes wringer, and the most extensive and
valuable aid in the laundry was a pounding barrel in which the soiled
clothes were placed and put under discipline.

There was enough reason and brave common sense among the people to
ponder on the condition of things as I have presented them to you. The
outlook was not encouraging. I cannot remember the order in which some
of the events came to pass which I am to narrate, but the order is
unimportant. Certainly there were Association meetings in which
prospects were talked over and counsel was demanded and taken from one
and another. Unfortunately for this story I was not at them. Doubtless
I was in the quiet of the Eyry, dreaming daylight dreams, musing and
listening to Fanny Dwight's deft piano playing, while she was filling
me with the mysteries of Schubert and Mendelssohn and Beethoven, or
else wandering about the farm, with no special aim but to find rest and
enjoyment in my leisure hours. These meetings were serious, grave and
often protracted. There were some who thought matters could be better
managed. This is not strange, for it is always so. There were those who
thought that some, particularly among the earlier members, though not
absolutely non-producers, should be turned off or made more productive;
but this was difficult to do. Expansion was the only true policy, and
the fates seemed to be against it. Outside of the meetings and in daily
life all seemed to be in harmony.

I had now lived more than two years at the farm. I, the pale city lad,
had grown brown under the sun's warm kisses. I fancy I was not rosy,
but the bright eyes and the clear complexion, free from speck or
blemish, gave the certain indications of health. I had tasted of the
actual farm work. I had planted beans, potatoes and melons. I had hoed
corn, and on my knees weeded, in the broiling sun, the young onions. I
had driven horse to plough, and side by side with others, trying to hoe
my row with them, disputed, discussed social questions and ideas, and
chaffed one another on our personal gifts and peculiarities while
working together in the different groups. I had not hewed wood, but I
had chopped brush. I had yoked and driven the oxen, and the first time
had a difficulty with them because I tried to yoke the off ox on the
nigh side; and when I graduated into the greenhouse group I learned all
the mysteries of the care of plants, potting, transplanting, making
leaf-mould and doing spade and rake work to perfection; and in the
laying out of beds and walks did a full share of shovel-work on the
sandy and gravelly soil, and drove the dump-cart.

Oh, the independence of it! To be able to do everything, and with love
of it, knowing no high or low of work--all of it honor, and no shame in
any of it! It is the surroundings that develop the manhood. Was I
working for myself? Was I working for any other man or person? No, it
was for all of us that I did it. Did I and we not have the example of
great minds and greater hearts? We did. One day whilst the shop was
erecting, our mason, who was on the roof building the chimney, was
waiting for his helper, who had not returned from his dinner or had
been called away; and as he wanted bricks very much, I carried some
hodsful up the ladder to him in the genuine Emeraldic fashion.

(Arise not from shades profound, to frown on me, Abraham, thou honest
"_Rail Splitter_!" Arise not, warlike, Ulysses, thou "_Tanner_." Hide
thyself away! Shake not thy cottony locks at me, thou pale-faced
"_Bobbin Boy_!" Be not too jealous of your unique titles. I shall never
aspire to so glorious a one as "_Hod Carrier_." I have not earned it. I
did it but once, and shall never do it again! Rest easy!)

And now, at eventide, whilst the Solons of the little commonwealth were
making laws, solving problems and building defences against the common
enemy--the wolf of penury and hunger--I was sitting on the steps or on
the low window-sills at the Eyry, meditating and thinking ever of the
beautiful things with which I was surrounded; thinking of the glowworms
I found in the path to Cow Island, their wonderful beauty, and how like
illuminated pearls were their tiny lamps, and when I touched them how
they rolled themselves into a coil that resembled the pin of pearls my
mother wore on her bosom, only they were more beautiful; thinking that
their lights translated into words were even more beautiful than their
phosphorescent hues, for they said, "Come to me, my love!"

I was thinking of the bobolinks that twittered and sung, and seemed to
tumble upward as well as downward in the air over the waving grass on
the meadow; or I heard behind in the dim oak woods the whip-lash sound
of the notes of the whippoorwill, repeated a hundred times on the air,
while the round face of the moon looked down and made the shadows of
the trees and the forest grow deeper and darker. Now and then I heard,
when all was still, from his nesting-place, the brave yet delicate
notes of the song sparrow, singing in his dreams from out a happy,
overflowing heart. Dear little fluff of feathers!

I was thinking of the brood of young partridges I scared in the woods,
and how like a flash, mysteriously and totally, they disappeared in the
underbrush. I was thinking of the tiny newts and wonderful creatures I
found in the shallow water in the meadow ditch. I was thinking that if
the saracenas were in bloom I would go to find some of them on the
morrow; or if the brilliant cardinals were, I would hunt for them at
the brookside; or if there were any yellow violets to be had I wanted
to find them, as I had found many varieties.

Then I turned my head and listened more earnestly to the music or to
the conversation in the parlor, of inspired men and women, talking in
low, conversational tones, with now and then a spice of wit, on art,
religion, science or the lives of great painters, musicians, artists
and reformers. Or I was looking to see if the "Northern Cross" had
appeared among the constellations above the horizon. Or maybe I heard
George W. Curtis, who had come to visit his old teachers, singing the
"Erl King" or "Good-night to Julia" or plaintive "Kathleen Mavourneen"
in his inimitable way. Perhaps I was deep in social science or
restudyiug some of Fourier's pleasant fancies, such as the rivalries of
groups of nice children with his little hordes of brats and
"rushers"--to use a modern word--and how in nature's scheme their
different talents so balanced one another as to make complete harmony.

I was thinking of the big boulders that join and make a hole we called
"the cave," over which Hawthorne's fancy made the apostle Eliot preach
to the Indians, giving it the name of "Eliot's Pulpit," and describing
it afterward so prettily in his "Blithedale Romance"; a book of which
Emerson speaks, and truly, as "that disagreeable story," and of some of
the sketches in it as "quite unworthy of his genius." And I was
thinking of the retired little dell in the far "Wisconsin Lot," where
doubtless he and others have taken their volumes and note-books,
writing and reading to the music of the hum of the bees, the sighing
pines and the redbreasts.

I was thinking of the unfortunate humanity who lived outside of our
charmed circle, and how little they knew of the magnificent future the
infinite Father has prepared for them and their descendants, and how
from the beginning the plan has been coördinate with man's help to his
brother man and his sister woman; and my whole soul was penetrated,
even as it is now, with pity for the blindness, mental and physical,
that cannot see how to use the gifts the Infinite holds out, patiently
waiting for us to take from his indulgent hands. I was thinking how
much, how very much, of all our suffering comes from human ignorance

I heard all the songs of nature beside the birds. In the spring I heard
the toads and frogs and turtles making merriment in their little
sitting-rooms in the pools of water in low places. In the summer I
heard the locusts sing and the lazy croak of bullfrog, bearing the
relation of trombone in the orchestra of nature to the other musicians,
whilst the fireflies were dancing in mid-air all around him--he winking
at them with those wondrous projecting eyes. In the autumn the cricket
was my favorite, and he was kind enough at times to come into our
musical parlor to rival Mary and Jennie and Helen. But in the winter it
was only the kindly birds that came to us--sweet chickadee and the
talkative crows. None of us injured the birds. I do not remember ever
seeing a gun on the place. Thus went the seasons--spring, summer,
autumn, winter.

I loved the daily round of life. All were kind to me. I was well
mentally and physically. I was in the bud of youth. I was like the pink
rhodoras in spring, callow of leaf or fruit but brightly covered with
promising blossoms. There remained one thing for me--to know I was
happy. Did I know it? Yes, I did. I realized it then as now. I was not
a victim of unconscious joy, to awaken to it at some future period. It
was not to me a dream. The cup was full! I was truly happy!



I do not know when or where it was first announced, but the
announcement came like a clap of thunder from a clear sky. Some one was
going to leave us! Who? Was it the "Archon" or the "Professor"?
Certainly this was not expected; but would it be strange if some of the
leaders, feeling too much the pressure and the burden of the financial
and executive business of the society, should grow weary, depart, and
leave their places unfilled forever? Was it any one of the grumblers or
the known discontented or disconcerted ones? No, it was no less than
Peter, the "General"! Why, if the elm tree in the yard of the Hive had
walked off in the night it would not have caused more talk or greater
consternation. Could it be possible?

From that day to this I have wondered how that man could have had such
a hold on our hearts. There was not a handsome feature in him. He had a
large but uneven forehead. His eyes were small, grayish-blue and
deepset. His nose was homely, his teeth were discolored, and he was
ungainly and awkward. His best feature was his height, but he stooped
in his shoulders, and his dress when about his work was of the plainest
description. His baize jacket and slipshod shoes did not become him.

Ever since then I have believed in the effect of virtue and kindness.
He was a living sermon--nay, a hundred sermons to me. He was "patient,
long-suffering and kind."

A spontaneous regret came from all. Some of the women, who certainly
could not be accused of any amatory love for him, shed tears to think
that he should go, for he was full of kindness to them. Constantly in
contact with their department, he was as gentle as a child, never
complaining and yet full of work. Industrious as the day was long, he
seemed so like a portion of the very atmosphere of the house, and of
the life, that it did not seem that he could be away and the
Association be as it was.

The _morale_ to the fact of the General's departure also disturbed our
people. He was discouraged at the attempt at realization of the new
order at Brook Farm. As long as all clung together there seemed to be
hope; but the first break was dangerous to our well-being, dangerous to
our existence.

Mr. Dwight had gone to New York to deliver lectures on music. When he
went away all was enthusiasm, all was harmony. The great loss by fire
had shaken no one's faith in the principles or the organization, and as
yet the balance of probabilities had not been made or adjusted in men's
minds. The word was then to go on at all cost. When he returned he
found discussion of means, doubts and fears, uppermost everywhere. As a
truth the Association had not prospered financially. Beginning with no
real capital, and mortgaged to the debts of the former "Community," it
had come to a point where without more means or more money in ready
cash it was very difficult to see how it could go on.

The change of social atmosphere in so short a time grated on the
sensitive soul of the man of music, and it was my fortune to be present
at a general meeting of all the Association where I heard his remarks.
He began by stating, as I have done, that when he went away all was
harmony and peace. All seemed united by bonds deep and strong; by a
common purpose and for a common end. We were all striving for a worthy
object, a higher, nobler life than that which surrounded us.

He had been away from this quiet, cheerful, peaceful and just life,
among the noise, dust and discord of a great, unwieldy city, and when
there he had looked forward to his coming home to this devoted little
band with the greatest possible pleasure. He had expected to find them
as harmonious and as united as when he left. He trod the precious soil
and found all external things glowing in beauty. He mounted the hill,
and there came two beautiful white doves flying close to him as he
walked on, circling around and around his head and seeming to rejoice
in his coming. He regarded it as a symbol of the unity and peace that
were with us, as well as a token of welcome.

But when he came to talk with the members, all was doubt, all was
distrust. What could it mean? It filled his heart with sad forebodings!
Why could we not be as before? Why doubt? why distrust? why not push
on? Certainly there would be a way opened for us! It could not be that
the years of devotion to one another and to this just cause and just
life could end thus! And in pleading tones born out of the depths of
his heart, and living sentences to which I can do no manner of justice,
he waxed eloquent, and all could not but be touched and moved with his

How beautiful it is in looking back to this time, when coming events
were casting their sad shadows before them, to think that no one took
the opposite side, and that none among all the number argued before us
that we had met with a miserable failure; that no one was ready with a
rude word to break the bonds of friendship and to use his eloquence to
destroy our habit of life, our trust in one another, our faith in God
and the eternal justice of His providence, or to hasten in any way the
disruption of the institution; and that in those trying hours the
strong ties of friendship, love and daily communion were uppermost. All
felt that we wished to keep on with our labor, and that Mr. Dwight only
spoke the wishes of all hearts. But the inevitable mathematics of
finance were against us.

The "Poet," as the young folks called Mr. Dwight, wished that we could
manage it somehow, in some manner. He himself would go away. He would
go where his services could command higher fees. He would give them to
the Association for the privilege only of being sometimes on the
domain, and finding there others whom he loved, working still for their
sublime purposes.

These well-expressed desires, though availing nothing in the way of
adding money to the treasury, stimulated the hearts anew to good
fellowship, and helped to keep up the activity of the place to the
last. It seems a wonder to me that, in spite of all the changes that
took place after this time, as one and another departed, the industry
of the place was still kept in decent working order.

It was on the third of March that the fire took place, and the spring
and summer were fast passing away; the beautiful summer--beautiful ever
with its fields of waving grass and its wild flowers, its sunlight and
moonlight glow, its varied charms of growth and verdure; especially
beautiful to us, the young, who watched one another's countenances
glowing with health, innocence and pleasure; who clasped hands together
and danced with nimble feet; and saw the lithe young forms grow fairer
and more womanly and more manly. With the frank outpourings of
friendship and confidence; with the lavishness of mutual praise in
youth, we enjoyed and joined in merry badinage, in miffs and flattery.
The starry nights echoed our young voices singing in the clear air.
There was a burden of care taken from us, for was not the Association
our god-father? Had it not also taken from our parents the dread
anxieties that fall to most of common lot? And while we were there we
would be happy, and when the Association broke up, if it ever did,
would we not unite somewhere again?

Certainly I never heard any one of us doubt, whether young or old, gray
of beard or smooth of face, that associated life and doctrines would
succeed: of this I am sure. We reasoned that if Brook Farm Association
failed, some other would not. Some new ones would be formed. The
partings were all temporary; and when we parted, it was with cheerful
hearts. It was like the going forth of a family in the morning to meet
again in the evening; no sad farewells, no heart-breakings.

In a few years all of those engaged in this most interesting experiment
will be gathered to their fathers. No one may ever write as consecutive
a story of the farm life as I have done; and, with the much that is
superficial in my narrative, let me add my convictions of the leading
men and women in this movement. They were, in the highest sense,
Christians--not technically bound to creeds, but their hearts and
intellects were filled to overflowing with the good precepts that are
proclaimed as the foundation, aside from technical beliefs, of the
Christian doctrine; to love their neighbors as themselves; to do good
to all; to seek first righteousness in life; to uphold honesty and
honest dealing in _all_ earthly relations; to do unto others as we
would they should do unto us; to teach honor to parents; to make all
men love one another; to inspire a trust in God as a provident Father
who stands ready to reconcile all conflicts, with the way open and
plain for us, thus doing away with infidelity, unbelief, narrowness of
mind and spirit.

The doctrine they taught above all others was the _solidarity of the
race_. This was ever repeated. It was their religion that the human
race was one creation, bound together by indissoluble ties, links
stronger than iron and unbreakable. It was one body. It should be of
one heart, one brain, one purpose. Whenever one of its members suffered
all suffered. When there was a criminal all had part in his crime; when
there was a debauchee, all partook in his debasement; when there was
one diseased all were affected by it; when one was poor, all bore some
of the sting of his poverty. If any one took shelter behind his
possessions, wretchedness, poverty and disease found him out.

Ever is Lazarus at the king's gate haunting him, and he cannot avoid
it. At his banquets the ghosts of the wronged appear to him.
Hollow-eyed women and children point the finger of scorn at him, and
phantoms in his dreams shriek out at him, "Where is thy brother?" And
he has no excuse but the cowardly question, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
His children inherit the emanations from his cowardly soul and will not
rise up to call him blessed. His mind is not at ease, because the
atmosphere of envy is all around him; he knows _he_ is the cause of
evil thoughts, and that he holds his position by keeping comfort away
from many around him, and his fine surroundings become to him as tinsel
and dross. Dyspepsia, _ennui_ and weariness of spirit claim him. He is
a poverty-haunted coward, ashamed that he is so; and, saddest of all,
he is not a Christian. He does not believe that if he seeks the kingdom
of God, which means only to do aright, all things of material beauty
will be added to him, purifying, comforting, sustaining him,
strengthening him, glorifying him beyond his present power to dream of.

But the Brook Farmers did. They believed that the Infinite Power
ordained social laws so universal and equitable that the fulfilment of
them would make all unqualifiedly happy, and that it is the mission of
this race of beings to be attached to this earth, to this universe,
until their happy human destiny is accomplished, which destiny must be
for _all_, otherwise the Infinite would be partially and not wholly
good and just.

I do not say that all men are conscious of this as I have pictured it;
but the burdens are lying heavily on their souls and bodies, and they
can be truly happy only when they are taken off from them. Human nature
is too buoyant, too elastic, to be conscious of their pressure all of
the time; but often, in every soul, is the keen perception that there
must be an accounting somewhere, sometime, for all the injustice and
wrong done to any one and to every one, and it brings the "dread
hereafter" uncomfortably close to their daily lives.

It is too early yet to judge of the result of the work of the Brook
Farm socialists. They were progressively ahead of their race. They
lived before their time. They existed in the future as well as in the
present and the future will be their judge; but these are my
conclusions justified by actual contact, seeing these men and women
under every variety of circumstances of daily life, for the full two
and a half years of my actual sojourn at the Farm. The high ideal they
carried as their standard lifted them over many of the littlenesses and
annoyances of daily life without a disturbing thought.

I find in the _Harbinger_ of December 20, 1845, one of the very few
special allusions to Brook Farm life, and it is so much to the point
that I copy it entire:--

"We speak no less for the whole associative movement in this country
than for ourselves when we beseech our friends who are looking upon our
operations not to judge of our principles or our purposes by any
immediate results which they may have witnessed. The question is often
asked of us whether our present mode of life answers our
expectations--whether Association is found to be valuable in practice
as it seems to be correct in theory, and the like. But all such
inquiries betray an ignorance of the actual condition of the
enterprise. They suppose the organizations which have gone into effect
in different parts of the country are true specimens of the plans of
Association. This is far from being the case. We do not profess to be
able to present a true picture of associative life. We cannot give the
remotest idea of the advantages which the combined order possesses over
the ordinary arrangements of society.

"The benefits we now actually enjoy are of another character. The life
we now lead, though, to a hasty and superficial observer surrounded
with so great imperfections and embarrassments, is far superior to what
we have been able to attain under the most favorable circumstances in
civilization. There is a freedom from the frivolities of fashion, from
arbitrary restrictions, and from the frenzy of competition: we meet our
fellow-men in more hearty, sincere and genial relations; kindred
spirits are not separated by artificial conventional barriers; there is
more personal independence and a wider sphere for its exercise; the
soul is warmed in the sunshine of a true social equality; we are not
brought into the rough and disgusting contact with uncongenial persons
which is such a genuine source of misery in the common intercourse of
society; there is a greater variety, of employment, a more constant
demand for the exertion of all the faculties, and a more exquisite
pleasure in effort, from the consciousness that we are not working for
personal ends, but for a holy principle.

"And even the external sacrifices, which the pioneers in every
enterprise are obliged to make, are not without a sort of romantic
charm, which effectually prevents us from enjoying the luxuries of
Egypt, though we should be blessed with neither the manna nor the
quails which once cheered a table in the desert So that for ourselves
we have reason to be content. We are conscious of a happiness we never
knew until we embarked in this career. A new strength is given to our
arms, a new fire enkindles our souls.

"But great as may be our satisfactions of this nature, they do not
proceed from the actual application of associative principles to
outward arrangements. The time has not yet come for that. The means
have not been brought together to attempt the realization of the
associative theory, even on the humblest scale. At present, then, we
are only preparing the way for a better order; we are gathering
materials that we hope one day we may use with effect; if otherwise,
they will not be lost; they will help those who come after us, and
accomplish what they were intended for in the designs of Providence. No
association as yet has the number of persons, or the amount of capital,
to make a fair experiment of the principles of attractive industry.
They are all deficient in material resources, in edifices, in
machinery, and, above all, in floating capital; and although in their
present state they may prove a blessing to the individuals concerned in
them, such as the whole earth has not to give, they are not prepared to
exhibit that demonstration of the superior benefits of associative life
which will at once introduce a new era and install humanity in the
position for which it was created.

"But, brothers, patience and hope! We know what we are working for, we
know that the truth of God is on our side, that he has no attributes
that can favor the existing order of fraud, oppression, carnage and
consequent wretchedness. We may be sure of the triumph of our cause.
The grass may grow over our graves before it will be accomplished; but
as certain as God reigns, will the dominion of justice and truth be
established in the order of society. Every plant which the Heavenly
Father has not planted will be plucked up, and the earth will yet
rejoice in the greenness and beauty of the garden of God."

These are George Ripley's words. Could any one add a word to improve
these splendid paragraphs!



I am now to chronicle the last scene in our history, and I know not how
to do it, for of all the events of the life it is to me the most dreamy
and unreal. The figures of our drama flit before me like shadows. It
was like a knotted skein slowly unravelling. It was as the ice becomes
water, and runs silently away. It was as the gorgeous, roseate cloud
lifts itself up, and then changes in color and hides beyond the
horizon. It was as a carriage and traveller fade from sight on the
distant road. It was like the coming of sundown and twilight in a clear
day. It was like the apple blossoms dropping from the trees. It was as
the herds wind out to pasture. It was like a thousand and one changing
and fading things in nature.

"It was not discord, it was music stopped."

Who was next to break away from the charm of the life I know not; but
when the autumnal season came I was summoned to a family council and
advised that I should begin a new occupation where I could at least
earn my subsistence. As in duty bound, I acquiesced, and in a few days
bade farewell to the Brook Farm life.

I saw no tears shed when I left, but I was sorry to leave my blue tunic
behind, it was so comfortable. I left, but it was only my outward self
that was gone, not my sympathies or hopes. Behind were family and
devoted friends. It was still my home to return to, as it would be for
an indefinite period.

For two years and a half I had worn the tunic of the community, and the
"swallow tail" and "civilized rig" I put on for my departure transposed
my appearance so much that some of the society did not at first know
me. With my parents' blessing, I entered on the rudiments of the
professional life I have ever since followed, and took the West Roxbury
omnibus for Boston, the same I had taken two years and a half before to
go to the farm.

The succeeding Saturday night found me at home again. How pleasant the
greeting from Willard, Katie and Louise; from Charlie, Abby and Edgar;
from Anna and Dolly--from all, old and young! The "Archon" almost
screamed when he saw me, I was so "stunning" in his eyes, and poked
some of his fun at me. No marked change had taken place. The
_Harbinger_ was printed as usual, and only one or two persons had gone.

Every Saturday night I returned to the "Phalanx," but soon the
shoemakers found occupation elsewhere and their seats were empty. Then
the printers went, as the _Harbinger_ was transferred to New York. At
last the shop was closed, the cattle were sold, and all the industry
ceased. I came and went but did not see the actors go, and am glad I
did not see the "Archon"'. take his leave, or the many bright faces I
had loved so well.

The Poet lingered near. In Boston he started the _Journal of Music_,
and at the Eyry lingered for a while a sweet enchantress, and the
spirits of song and music held their revels there. So, also, lingered
at "the Hive" some sweet faces and loving hearts besides those of my
kin. The greenhouse, where I had spent so much of my time, was
closed--the plants all gone. Up the rafters ran the vines I helped to
plant, but when the winter came, drear and cold, only a few persons
remained on the domain. The dining hall echoed to my voice in its
emptiness, and the little reading room at the Hive was where we now
assembled at meals.

I wandered around and looked into the empty rooms. I cannot say I felt
as sad as I would to-day. Every spot was connected with some little
event, but the events were usually of such a cheerful and pleasant
nature that I could not be depressed, and a large portion of my
intimates were still near me in the city or neighborhood. We could
muster a goodly number at call and we tried to keep alive the good work
for the "cause" with meetings, social and theoretical. But no longer
the stage brought its loads of visitors to the Hive door. Over the
hills and the meadows no more resounded the morning horn echoing far
and far away, or Miss Ripley's high voice calling "Alfred! Alfred!" who
acted as major-domo in the absent General's place.

No more came down from the distant houses school lads and lasses, and
the long, tridaily procession of young and old had ceased forever. The
din of the kitchen was stopped, and the merry brogue of Irish John was
silenced. No more rushed the blue tunics for the mail when the coach
came in--alas, it came no more! The fields remained as when last
cropped, and if we went to the Cottage no merry sound of music came
from the school room. We mounted the stairs without meeting the classic
face or the elastic step and figure of the Professor or his fair
sister, and in vain did we look for the concourse of books where once
he wielded his modest pen and translated his German "_lieder_"

No more mounted in air the beautiful doves that circled and tumbled in
their flight--_my_ doves, that would come at my call and alight on my
hands, head and shoulders, and scramble for the corn I held out to them
in my palms. Sunday after Sunday, week after week, I spent in the Hive.
I looked out of the window but ventured not to go to the Eyry, for
there the music had finally ceased; or if the spirits sang their dirges
in those classic walls, my dim ears did not hear them.

Mr. Ripley's books had gone to swell Rev. Theodore Parker's library.
Were they surrendered without a pang? I will tell you. "Fanny," said
Mr. Ripley, seeing his valued books departing, "I can now understand
how a man would feel if he could attend his own funeral." They have
been placed in the Boston City Library by the death and last testament
of the later proprietor. The flowers I had watered and tended passed
into the hands and greenhouse of the translator of "Consuelo." Those
who owned any private effects or furniture took them away.

The Pilgrim House, never beautiful, and barren in its immediate
surroundings, was entirely deserted. The Hive was my home; and when the
warm sun, looking through the barren grape vine into the dining room
window, melted the light snow of early spring, and awoke the tender
grass into new growth and verdancy, and the remaining poultry warmed
themselves by its rays, nestling together by the doorways, as the
melting snow dripped drop by drop from the house top--the farm looked
beautiful still.

In some of our young hearts, with the coming of early summer, awoke a
yearning for one more meeting at the old place; and so we gathered the
young people from far and near for one more good time, for one more
communion. With what pleasure I recall those few hours. How happy we
were! How social and loving and dear we were to one another! In the
many years passed since then, there is no red-letter day like that one.
We were about twenty in number. There were fourteen of us between the
ages of fifteen and twenty-one years. The remainder were older. We
filled a table in the reading room. Little we cared if we sat crowded
close together, for we chose our mates. Some were pupils of the school,
the rest were youths of the Association.

In the afternoon we wandered once more in the beautiful pine woods. We
sang once more the "Silver Moon" together as we roved about, or sat on
the big boulder on the knoll at the foot of the lightning-struck tree.
We recounted old times and seasons; we cracked our merry jokes and ate
our simple treat, and then parted. In a few days the wide world was
between us, and forever. Some went East, and some West, one to
Port-au-Prince, and others to different villages and towns in New
England. Of the number, four remained in Boston; I was one of them.

Reader, my reminiscences are told, but not all told! They are like the
sultan's story that was to last a thousand years. To all but the one
interested there was an unending sameness in it, but to that one, it
was his life.

It is natural to wish to know of the writer what became of the persons
who formed this little band of devotees. I can but give a meagre sketch
in reply, for want of room.

When Mr. Ripley left Brook Farm he was poor. The experiment had cost
him money, years of toil and made debts for which he felt responsible.
He determined to pay them. As yet the way was not open. The _Harbinger_
was changed in form and lived less than two years in its new location,
and during a temporary illness of the editor its publication was
suspended. Mr. Ripley and wife taught school at Flatbush, L.I.

At the termination of the _Harbinger_ he immediately commenced writing
for the New York _Tribune_. Its pay roll indicates what he received May
5, 1849; it was $5 for the previous week's work. In July, same year, he
was paid $10 per week; April 6, 1850, $15; Sept. 21, 1851, $25 per
week. He wrote articles on all the living topics of the day, from the
arrival of the last new singer to the death of the last criminal.
Things trivial and non-important, grave and gay, of lasting import and
the most ephemeral, all came under his pen.

He also wrote, either occasionally or regularly, for a dozen other
periodicals. He was an early contributor to _Putnam's_ and from its
commencement wrote for _Harper's New Monthly_. As editor associated
with Mr. C.A. Dana he gave his time and best thought to the New
American Cyclopedia, and the first two or three volumes of the series
were edited solely by them. In 1871 his salary was raised to $75 per
week. When the Cyclopedia was revised he was paid $250 per month for
extra work on it. More than a million four hundred and sixty thousand
volumes of the two editions have been sold, and a small royalty secured
to the editors on each volume.

With prosperity Mr. Ripley never forgot his obligations. The old score
of debt was wiped out and paid. He was free, and as a man of letters
revelled in that which had been his youthful ideal.

When a student at Harvard College he wrote to his father, "I know that
my peculiar habits of mind, imperfect as they are, strongly impel me to
the path of intellectual effort; and if I am to be at any time of use
to society or a satisfaction to myself or my friends, it will be in the
way of some retired literary situation where a fondness for books will
be more requisite than the busy, calculating mind of a man in the
business part of the community." Thus was one of his youthful dreams
fulfilled. His capacity for work seemed unbounded. "He gave all his
time and all his energy to literary criticism, and spending on it, too,
the full resources of a richly furnished mind and infusing into it the
spirit of a broad and noble training."

He passed away July 4, 1880. A great concourse of people attended the
obsequies. Distinguished men, divines, critics, scholars, editors,
architects, scientists, journalists, publicists, artists and men of
affairs were in the assembly. The pall-bearers were the president of
Columbia College, the editor of _Harper's Weekly_, an Italian
professor, the editor of the _Popular Science Monthly_, the editor of
the New York _Observer_, an eminent German lawyer, a distinguished
college professor, a popular poet and the editor of the _Tribune_.

His wife Sophia passed from this life nineteen years before him. The
story of his romantic after marriage, and many details of his career
from birth to death, will be found in Mr. O. B. Frothingham's "Life of
George Ripley," told by his kindly biographer.

Deeply interested in his daily toil, thoroughly immersed in it body and
brain, yet cheerfully responding to all calls on his unbounded stock of
information and good nature, no one knows how often his mind wandered
over the intervening distance and saw the old farm with its mingled
incidents of pathos, philosophy and heroism, or what regrets were
covered up; but the joking allusions he sometimes made to it when
speaking of it to those who came to quiz him, were more than repaid to
his few intimate friends when he opened his heart to them, and the
earnestness of his spirit and the solemnity of his faith in the
brotherhood of humanity shone forth. He unveiled to them that he did
with undying faith still see in its ideas the elements of the true and
heavenly society; that he carried deep down in his bosom intense love
for those who were associated with him, and that if it had been founded
at this later period, so much has the interest in, social problems
increased, all the financial support needed would have been freely

His friend William Henry Channing urged him to write the story of Brook
Farm, saying, "When _will_ you tell it?"

His joking reply was, "When I reach my years of indiscretion!" He knew
that the life wrote its own story.

Of the many dear ones I have known whose lives have added to my life
faith and trust in the Divine Father and his plans for the good future
of the human race; after years of thought and years of life, I give to
Mr. Ripley--the leader, the daring man, the brave Christian heart, the
torch bearer, himself the harbinger of the bright future of social
justice--the first place, the highest seat, the noblest position among
them all.

Mr. Ripley paid off the debts of the Community. I do not know all of
them. There was an amount due to Hawthorne at one time, probably his
original investment, which he growled about, and there was another due
to one of the Brothers Morton, who built the Pilgrim House. I am
indebted to his daughter, Miss Morton, for the statement that her
father received from Mr. Ripley a check in payment of the Community
debt to him. Calling her to his side and showing it to her, he said,
"There, Hannah, there is an honest man!"

After the institution was incorporated the debts and responsibilities
were shared by the incorporators and stock holders.

It has often been stated that it was the influence of Rev. William
Ellery Channing that started the West Roxbury Community. His nephew,
William Henry Channing, alluding to this in a letter to Rev. J. H..
Noyes, author of the "History of American Socialisms," contradicts the
statement as follows:--

"Of course my uncle deeply sympathized with his younger friend's heroic
effort, and wished all success to the movement, but he did not
encourage it, so far as I can understand, for in his judgment he
distrusted the prudence of the enterprise," etc. "But it was George
Ripley, aided by his noble wife Sophia--it was George Ripley, and
Ripley alone, who truly originated Brook Farm; and his should be the
honor through all time. And a very high honor it will be sooner or

The head farmer, with his wife and family, who were so early in the
experiment, spent many years in the quiet town of Concord,
Massachusetts. It was he who gave Mr. Ripley courage in his work. He
was practical, honest, brave, and had enough of poetry in his
composition to take the dry edge off of his daily routine of toil. When
ploughing the fields it was with regret he turned under the lovely wild
flowers and the wild-rose bushes, and it often struck his fancy to
transplant them from the fields to the roadside where they blessed the
eyes of the wayfarer. Finally the heavenly voice called him and he went
thitherward, deeply loved, honored and respected by all. Minot Pratt's
name was a synonym of all that was pure, good and lovely. His wife
survived him many years, but in May, 1891, she passed away at an
advanced age, the last of the signers to the original agreement.

The ambitious "Professor" lives. The trenchant blade of his intellect
is still keen. Sometimes it seems that to overcome obstacles is all
with him. His wife was one of the "dear girls" of the Association.
Method in business and masterly activity have wrung from fate a
fortune, and the editorial and governmental offices he has held have
been more than ably filled. Blessed with a charming family, deeply
immersed in political as well as other writing, it would almost seem as
if the olden days were forgotten by him, were it not that now and then
he writes as he did shortly after Mr. Ripley's decease, as follows:--

"It is not too much to say that every person who was at Brook Farm for
any length of time has ever since looked back to it with a feeling of
satisfaction. The healthy mixture of manual and intellectual labor, the
kindly and unaffected social relations, the absence of everything like
assumptions or servility, the amusements, the discussions, the
friendships, the ideal and poetical atmosphere which gave a charm to
life--all these continue to create a picture toward which the mind
turns back with pleasure as to something distant and beautiful not
elsewhere met with amid the routine of this world."

Whatever may be said of the tone of the articles that come from his
pen, their ability is unquestioned, and it is not a secret that in Mr.
Ripley's judgment Charles A. Dana, of the New York _Sun_, was the
ablest editor in the world.

The "Poet," as we called him, as editor of Dwight's _Journal of Music_,
and also as critic, was deserving of especial credit for his services
in musical culture. Earnest, refined, always endeavoring to do right,
but strict in his pleasant criticisms, he pointed upward to higher
ideals. Living alone in his latter years like a bachelor, he sought
solace in his refined tastes with cultivated people. Married to Mary
Bullard, the sweet singer of my story, kindred sympathies united them
more firmly than marriage vows, but her early death deprived the world
of one of the noblest and choicest of womanhood, and his life of its
sweetest charm. He went abroad for a short trip, leaving her in full
health and beauty; he returned--she had passed from mortal sight.

A number of the members, male and female, joined the Association in New
Jersey near Red Bank--the North American Phalanx. There they renewed
the social life and experiment, with such result as some other pen can

It was about the time of the closing of the Brook Farm experiment that
the "California fever" broke out, or the rush for the gold mines. Some
of our theorists argued that the country was too poor for the
establishment of the social organizations proposed, and that more
wealth was needed. A number of the Brook Farmers went to the new
country for gold. The gardener, Peter Klienstrup, was one. I am sorry
to say that disappointment awaited him. A foreigner, and sensitive,
partly deaf and past middle life, he was not the man for the country or
the life. He died there poor. His charming, tuneful daughter, with the
beautiful complexion and lovely rounded shoulders, did not long survive
him. His wife survived, but one day I stood with only a few who knew
her, at the door of an open tomb, and a strange thrill passed over me
when one by my side said, as her body was placed within, "This is the
last of her race--the family is extinct!"

The good, kind-hearted "General" sleeps within sound of the Pacific
waves, for he, too, was one of the early Californians. And the Admiral,
the pure-hearted, high-minded and keen-eyed Admiral, has long since
laid down his burdens and his aspirations. And so also with many, too
many for me here to recount. The two sisters that I have described with
flowing hair, grew in loveliness to full womanly beauty and then passed
to the angelic world.

Mr. Ryckman, surnamed the "Omniarch," reigns no more in this sphere.
Peace to his memory.

The downfall of the Association was the wrecking of Irish John. He
seemed homeless and aimless. The constant smiles on that remarkable
face gave way to soberness profound. Old habits crept back upon him. He
had a friend, one of our number, who took a kindly interest in him, but
could not follow all his waywardness. He departed for New York,
ostensibly for business. Not long after this his friend received a note
from there in John's handwriting, saying that if he would send to a
certain number and street he would find something for him. It was a
trunk, and appeared to contain all of John's effects except the suit of
clothes he had on. What end he made no one knows.

How grand it would be if the social fabric could keep and guard all its
weak ones, surround them by influences that could prevent them from
falling into evil ways, and bear them up until the end comes peacefully
and naturally!

Marianne Ripley, Mr. Ripley's sister, the devoted soul who reigned over
the Kitchen Group and cultivated the flowers on the terraces, spent her
later hours in the West, and passed away at Madison, Wisconsin. John
Allen, the firm preacher, has gone also. His little boy, who conveyed
the small-pox to the farm, grew to manhood, and at an early age fought
with Grant at Vicksburg, where he received the wound that caused his

The dear girl with the loud laugh is still here, but tears and sorrow
have been in her cup. Her kind husband, one of our number, and some
children are with the shadows; and the dimpled face of the black-haired
girl with the Irish name, whose beauty took my young fancy, long ago
joined the larger realm of beauty.

The house dog, Carlo, whom everybody knew, grew rapidly old when the
Association broke up. I never saw such a change. It seemed as though
regretful remembrances of former times clung to him. There was no more
the _music_ of "the sounding horn" to awaken him from his drowse, and
he passed much of his time under the woodshed. But he was not the sleek
and canny dog of yore. He grew thin and weak. Long locks of indifferent
colored brown hair grew out of his sides, and hung loosely down. His
gait was slow and feeble, and it was not pleasant to look at him.
Finally, one cold day, at least a year after the general departure, he
was missing, and I could find nothing of him. Inquiries were in vain.
It was in the following spring that his bones were found where either
he himself had dug a burrow, or the hand of charity had laid him. Good

Some very happy marriages sprang from the acquaintance at Brook Farm.
There, in a few weeks or months, a better knowledge could be formed, a
truer and more absolute and certain estimate of character, than by
years of fashionable flirtation. And here let me add, that the women
were always well dressed: there were no party dresses, all shine, lace
and glitter, and household wrappers all slouched, torn and drabbled.
The situation of woman was such as to stimulate her ever to neatness in
personal appearance, even if the material was but a "ninepenny" calico;
and the same may be said to a marked extent of the men.

And many others who stood shoulder to shoulder in the ranks have shared
the common lot. Scattered through the country, in city, town and
hamlet, those who survive are doing their humble duties, and filling
their stations honorably. There are those among them who have gained
wealth, and none whom I know that are in poverty. In the circles they
occupy, their influence has been felt towards a liberal judgment in all
matters pertaining to government, religion and society.

Our friend Rev. William Henry Channing spent the major portion of his
after life abroad. The war brought him back to America. He was at one
time chaplain of the House of Representatives of the United States, and
served the country at the front; but he returned to Liverpool, England,
where he preached and educated his family, passing away beloved by
members of all the prominent churches both conservative and radical.

There were some four and possibly more, who joined the Catholic Church.
This created at the time many remarks, but it is only an episode for a
class of minds to find themselves at the other end, at the opposite
side, at the bottom instead of the top when they have swung themselves,
pendulum-like, far away from ordinary moorings. The "Community" people
were at the extreme of society, unorganized, without creeds, without
science, and only morality and faith to guide them, and having given
the lie to ordinary social forms; having lost their faith and trust in
society as it was, is it strange that some should swing to the extreme
of conservatism, that they should try a new departure when met by
seeming failure in their radical moves?

But why continue the list? The very boys have become gray-haired men,
but proud to say, each one of them, "I was one of the Brook Farmers."

In closing this picturesque drama, it would not be strange if someone
should ask if this is all that is left of the life. Has it been only a
failure and a dream that I have chronicled, or has it resulted in
something worthy of the aspiration that preceded it? Has it added
strength to the lives of individuals, and has it done something for
society? As chronicler, I stand in the shade and let my readers judge;
but the few words of comment that follow, from well-known individuals,
bear strong testimony to an effect that must have been duplicated in a
great many other instances: and, indeed, if its influence had gone no
farther than to a few persons, that alone would justify the laudable
attempt of this "venture in philanthropy." My conviction is that it
reached farther than to single individuals, and that it still reaches
into and influences more or less all the deep undercurrents of society.

I am confirmed in this opinion by the following statement made by Mr.
George P. Bradford in the _Century Magazine_ for May, 1892:--

"I cannot but think that the brief and imperfect experiment, with the
theory and discussion that grew out of it, had no small influence in
teaching more impressively the relation of universal brotherhood and
the ties that bind us to all; a deeper feeling of the rights and claims
of others, and so in diffusing, enlarging, deepening and giving
emphasis to the growing spirit of true democracy."

But if I were to leave my position as narrator, and speak from my
individual standpoint, I would say Brook Farm and what it stood for was
to world-benighted travellers, seeking for sustenance, like a city set
on a hill. It was a small, glimmering light of social truth, shining
amid universal darkness. It was a dim foregleam of the great sun of
social life and science, that will yet rise and shine gloriously on our
earth. It was a spark of that divine justice that, like electricity,
has been stored for humanity from the beginning of things--abundant in
quantity and power to bless all men--stowed away by the hand of God for
us, awaiting only our awakening from the sleep of ignorance and
childishness, to use and cherish it. It was an example of trust, a
tribute to faith. It was a realization of poetry. It was in touch with
the wishes, hopes and prayers of millions of humanity; of untold
numbers of saints and martyrs of all nations and climes, and its
mission was the highest on earth--universal justice to all mankind.

Albert Brisbane, the _doctrinaire_, has departed also. Although
allusion has been made to him in the former pages of this book somewhat
in contrast with Mr. Ripley's spiritual gifts, let no person think that
I underestimate the mission he undertook or the work he accomplished in
his devotion to the master, Fourier. Certainly he deserves very great
credit, and there are those who, deep in their hearts, cherish most
profound gratitude to him and his memory.

Whatever any one may believe of the feasibility of the carrying out of
Fourier's doctrines of united industry or the practicality of any of
his theories, they must stand amazed at the bold and often extremely
beautiful conceptions of his brain; such as the actual forecasting of
the development theory before Darwin, Spencer and Huxley were
born--though not exactly in detail with them; his bolder conception
still of the destiny of man, and his Cosmogony; of the progress of
present civilization towards an oligarchy of capital, foretold so
exactly,--as is now seen by thinking minds, three quarters of a century
ago; his profound analysis of the human springs of action; his
discovery of the divine laws applicable to the future as well as to the
present wants of the human race. For the presentation of all this to
the American people; for all these things and more, we are first
indebted to Albert Brisbane, and it is a great debt which the future
will certainly appreciate and pay.

My work would not be finished without alluding more fully to the
wonderful genius whose works and life made such an impression on the
Brook Farmers as to induce them to brave all the misconception, sarcasm
and obloquy that they must have felt would be heaped on them when they
concluded to follow his formulas, and bowed their intellects to him in
acknowledgment of his leadership in the field of social science.

The reader will decide, if I have portrayed truly the men and the
principles actuating them, that whoever they thus acknowledged as
worthy of that sublime place must have been endowed with intellectual,
moral and spiritual capacities, and intuitions of the highest order.
Should it have been the fortune of any one to come across an occasional
allusion to Fourier, it will be apt to be of such a forbidding nature
that there will be no strong temptation to follow the subject further;
and all through the literature of our country, in the writings of men
whose reading, if not their knowledge, should have taught them better,
will be found intimations that "Fourierism" was a system of life based
on a plane hardly worthy of being rated higher than mere sensualism.

Against this accusation I place the record of the man whom especially
spiritual minded and liberally educated men like George Ripley, John S.
Dwight, William Henry Channing and many others delighted to know and to

Charles Fourier was born at Bezancon, France, April 7, 1772. The son of
a merchant, he had a collegiate education, and took prizes for French
and Latin themes and verses. He was found of geography but more fond of
cultivating flowers, and of music. At eighteen years he entered into
commercial pursuits. By the siege of Lyons he lost the fortune his
father left him, and was forced into the army, where he served two
years. This portion of his life was involved in the romance of war and
revolution, during which he was doomed to death, but made a fortunate
escape from it.

He was always noted for the avidity with which he sought knowledge, and
his honesty was outraged at an early age, being punished by his father
for telling the truth of goods on sale, thereby losing a purchaser.
Again his soul revolted when at Marseilles in 1799, where he was
employed, for he was selected to superintend a body of men who secretly
cast an immense quantity of rice into the sea, which monopolists had
allowed to spoil in a time of famine rather than to sell at a
reasonable profit. This last action was to him a crime of so deep a
nature that he entered with more enthusiasm on his studies for
preventing the like.

In capacity of agent he travelled in France, Belgium, Germany, Holland
and Switzerland. He had a prodigious memory, and in his journeys when a
building struck his attention, he took the measurement of it with his
walking stick, which was notched off in feet and inches; and, one of
his biographers says:--

"He was profoundly acquainted with every branch of science,
particularly the exact sciences. For forty years he labored with
patience and perseverance at the Herculean task of discovering and
developing the theory and practical details of the system which he has
given to the world."

Says a writer in the London _Phalanx_:--

"The principal features of Fourier's private character were morality
and the love of truth. He had a character both grave and dignified,
religious and poetic, friendly and polite, indulgent and sincere, which
never allowed truth to be profaned by libertine frivolity, nor faith to
be confounded with austere duplicity. He was a man of dignified
simplicity, a child of Heaven, loving God with all his heart, all his
soul, and all his mind, also loving as himself his neighbor--the whole
human family."

Fourier's own words translated read:--

"God sees in the human race only one family, all the members of which
have a right to his favors. He designs that they shall all be happy
together, or else no one people shall enjoy happiness. . . . The love
of God will become in this new order the most ardent love among men."

The closing words of an exhaustive review of Fourier's writings, by Mr.
John S. Dwight, in the _Harbinger_, are these:--"There is a Titanic
strength in all the workings of that wonderful intellect. He walks as
one who knows his ground. His step is firm, his eye is clear and
unflinching, and he is acknowledged where he passes, for there is no
littleness or weakness, no halting or duplicity, in his movement. He is
in earnest; he has taken up his cross to fulfil a mighty mission. He
doubts not, desponds not; he speaks always with certainty, and though
he suffers from impatience of postponement, yet he ceases not to insist
upon the truth. He expostulates, perhaps, with deceived and degraded
humanity in too much bitterness of sarcasm; but how profound his
reverence for Christ and for humanity, how pure his love for man, and
how sublime his contemplation of the destiny of man in the scale of
higher and higher beings up to God!"

Fourier passed from earth in 1837. His body was buried at Pere la
Chaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

The idea of living in combined families is no new thing. From the
earliest times to the present, it has cropped out under various
circumstances and with various changes. Ever with dawning of new light
and the increase of universal education comes the desire--sometimes in
great waves--for more united interests, and a truer, more Christian
brotherhood; for closer unity in life and for the enlargement of home
with all the joy, comfort and peace that word contains.

In this country various outgrowths from the social body have taken
positions on this plane. The masses of our people are not now in
sympathy with them. They believe that these little social homes or
"communities" are dull and monotonous, and are bound so tightly by
creeds as to be obnoxious to freedom of life and ideas. My belief is
that the creeds adopted and thrown around them, though often adding to
their financial protection, and possibly often being their only
safeguards from fraud and knavery, have covered from the public the
great dignity, worthiness and beauty of this mode of life; when,
therefore, Mr. Ripley formed his society free from any pledges or
creeds, it touched a deeper bottom in men's hearts than any like
organization had ever sounded.

Whatever of failure there was in their actualization, Brook Farm ideas
remain. They charm philosophers, poets and statesmen. They work
quietly, leavening the social mass. One must be in sympathy with them
to know how potent is their action and how with a touch of the old
enthusiasm they will be found breaking out again in larger and larger
circles of humanity, for in view of the progress of mechanism, science
and art in the last fifty years, to form the phalanstery in its
material shape would be an easy task.

Rev. William Henry Channing expressed himself in this wise to his
mother, years after the breaking up of the Association:--

"My dearest mother, I assure you that did I see my way clear to an
honorable independence for my family, so as to be just, while kind to
them, I should joyfully die in attesting my fixed faith in Association,
and I predict that when, years hence, we meet in the spiritual world,
you will smilingly bless me and say, 'My son, your personal limitations
excepted, you were right.' You will feel proud of my seeming earthly
failures then; at least I humbly hope so. If this is all romance it is
of that earnest, living strain which I trust ever more and more to be
quickened by."

At a final visit to Brook Farm he said: "Most beautiful was that last
day and all its memories; and never did I feel so calmly, humbly,
devoutly thankful that it had been my privilege to fail in this
grandest, sublimest, surest of all human movements. Were Thermopylae
and Bunker Hill considered successes in their day and generation?"

Lying before me is a letter not intended for publication, showing how
one member of the Association affectionately regarded his old home. It
is as follows:--

PROVIDENCE, R. I., 1871.

"My Dear Friend:--I herewith return the letters you so kindly sent me.
I have derived much pleasure in their perusal, and have looked on them
with affectionate regard as a mode of greeting from old friends from
whom I have been separated for more than a quarter of a century. I do
not think any one who was at Brook Farm has that deep and sincere
affection for it and its memory that I have. It was my mother by
adoption, and what little I have of education, refinement, or culture
and taste for matters above things material, I owe to her and the
heroic and self-sacrificing men and women who composed its body, social
and scholastic. I was but a cipher there, among them by accident, and I
was much the gainer even if they were not the losers. What I saw there,
and what I learned there, have been of great value to me, and if I have
made any progress in material matters or have attained any social
position, I am frank enough to confess that I owe it all to dear old
Brook Farm. God bless its memory. What I have, and what I am, is the
outgrowth of a two years' life at my first real home. . . .

"When I commenced this I intended to write but a half dozen lines,
simply making my acknowledgment of your kindness, but my purpose soon
changed, and I now find that I have not enough room on this sheet to
say one tithe of what comes rushing in my mind 'as a river' about Brook
Farm, and I can now only say that I wish you to convey my kindest
regards to all of our dear old acquaintances whenever you see them or
write to them. All Brook Farmers are to me as brothers and sisters, and
I so esteem them.


I am tempted also to add the following extract from a letter written
years ago by a friend of the movement in his eightieth year to his

"To many, Brook Farm may have been a dream that ended with the
scattering of that little band of workers. That special form of the
dream vanished, but the seed was planted, and my confidence in the
dream is vivid still. In the past these ideas have been the crude
visions of the few, but now they are the absorbing subjects of
speculation of the many, and all our best literature is full of them.
The highest problems of man and society are the common subjects of
discussion. So will it continue to be, by the tiller of the soil, the
workman at the bench, as well as the poet and philosopher, until order
and harmony are evolved out of this chaos. The good time is surely
coming. 'The world,' as Whittier wrote, 'is gray with its dawning

  "J. A. SAXTON.

  "Deerfield, Mass."

Well, the Brook Farm experiment died! There can be only one reason why
its friends should rejoice, and it is the same that touched the great
mind of Saint Paul, nearly two thousand years ago, when he said, "Thou
fool! that which thou sowest is not _quickened_ except it _die!_"



  I. Students' and Inquirers' Letters
  II. Applicants' Letters and Mr. Ripley's Replies
  III. An Outside View of Brook Farm Associative Articles


_Student Life_.

BROOK FARM, MASS., Oct. 27, 1842.

My Dear Friend:--Pardon my delay in writing you in reply to yours of
the 15th ult., but there have been matters of interest that have
occupied my leisure, and so much so that only now do I find myself free
to exchange good wishes with you and to answer the important questions
you put to me as to what I think of, and how I like, the Brook Farm

To reply to these questions I might write a long dissertation
explaining what I like and what I do not like, or I could answer them
by a few brief words; but my inclination is to do neither, and to give
you in place of both a little sketch of the proceedings here and make
you the judge of what my feelings would be likely to be under the
circumstances that I shall narrate.

I am still a student, and most of my time has been spent in studies of
various sorts; the languages--ancient and modern--attracting me a great
deal, but the German and the French the most. I do not "burn the
midnight oil," and yet I think I am progressing well. Our teachers are
all very approachable men and really seem in dead earnest. You might
suppose from rumors that reach you that they would be very notional
people, but they are not so, or, to say the least, if they are they
keep their notions to themselves. Mr. Dana, Mr. Bradford and Mr. Dwight
are particularly kind to me, and all the teachers go out of the way to
explain points that come up in the lessons.

After hours, we have had many interesting conversations, class
readings, dramatic readings, etc., and visitors come who entertain us
in various ways. Miss Frances Ostenelli, for one, who has a wonderful
soprano voice, and Miss S. Margaret Fuller from Concord--there is no
end to her talk--and also Mr. Emerson from Concord, to whom a good many
pay deference.

Whilst he was here there was a masquerading wood party. It was quite a
bright idea. Miss Amelia Russell was one of the persons who planned it.
Her father has been minister to Sweden and was one of the commissioners
who signed the Treaty of Ghent. It was an open-air masquerade in the
pine woods, and the affair was worked up splendidly. Masquerades have
been, in New England, of a private nature and held indoors. To hold one
out "in the garish light of day" was a new sensation, and attracted
some of the friends of the Community. The day was lovely and in the
woods the privacy was complete. Barring one or two friendly neighbors
of farmer stock who looked on, it was truly a select party. One of the
ladies personated Diana, and any one entering her wooded precincts was
liable to be shot with one of her arrows. Further in the woods a gipsy,
personated by Miss 'Ora Gannett, niece to Rev. Ezra Gannett, was ready
to tell your fortune. Miss "Georgie" Bruce was an Indian squaw, and
"George William" Curtis, a young man, carried off the palm as "Fanny
Elssler" the dancer. There was a mixed variety of characters that made
up the _tout ensemble_--a Tyrolean songster, sailors, Africans,
lackeys, backwoodsmen and the like. The children enjoyed the day much.
A large portion of the dresses were home-made. Dances and conversation
by the elders filled the day and evening.

Sometimes we have the serious business. Some of the singular persons
here affect vagaries and discuss pruderies or church matters, ethics
and the like. Or we have some of the Concord people who give us parlor
talks. Once in a while they arouse the gifted brothers, and then we
have a genuine treat; Mr. Dwight and Mr. Bradford, Mr. Ripley, Mr.
Capen, Burton and all hands get dragged in, and in the earnest
discussion that follows one cannot but be edified and often very much
instructed. Subjects relating to a more rational life and education for
the poor and unlearned interest me and arouse my enthusiasm. There are
some fine lady as well as gentlemen readers, who show their ability in
poetry and prose, and, for the amusement of the young people, some
devote their talents on occasions to tableaux, which are delightful and
display fine historic scenes and characters.

I rise in the morning at six to half-past; breakfast at seven; chat
with the people; get to my studies at eight; work an hour in the
garden; recite; dine at noon; take an hour in the afternoon on the
farm; drive team; cut hay in the barn; study or recite; walk; dress up
for tea at six. In long days the sunsets and twilights are delightful
and pass pleasantly with a set of us who chum together. I am so near
Boston that I go to concerts and lectures with others, or to the
theatres, or to the conventions, the antislavery ones being most
exciting. In summer I join the hay-makers. In winter we coast, boys and
girls, down the steep though not high hills, in the afternoons, or by
moonlight, or by the light of the clear sky and the bright stars; or we
drive one of the horses for a ride, or we skate on the frozen meadow or
brook to the Charles River where its broad surface gives plenty of room.

One thing I like here--everything but in my lessons I have perfect
freedom to come or go and to join in and be one with the good people or
not. I am not hampered. I go to church or not, as I desire, and I can
do anything that does not violate the rules of good breeding; but I am
expected to be in my room at a seasonable hour at night--ten o'clock,

Thus have I given you my programme. Can you think I would do better
elsewhere? I might have more style, a better table, and more room to
see my friends in, though the parlors here are good enough, but where
could I have more genuine comfort? I expect to go home by New Year's,
returning, if I can, by March, and am so in love with the life I may
try to attach myself to it permanently. In the meantime I will see you,
and hope to enjoy with you many hours of conversation after the oldtime
way at our house. As ever,

Your student brother,


_Explanations and Answers to Objections._

BROOK FARM, MASS., Dec. 11, 1845.

FRIEND HARRIS:--As you are a stranger to the associative ideas, and
have but little knowledge of our life here, no doubt many questions
arise in your mind that you wish answered, and might be answered by me
if I knew what they were; but knowing what questions usually appear
most prominent to the average mind, I will try my hand at a few of them
as they present themselves to me. Number one is, What were my first
impressions of the idea of associative life; that is, did the idea
strike me pleasantly or not? I frankly reply to this that the idea was
decidedly unpleasant. It so connected itself in my mind with some sort
of an "institution," as a great hospital or infirmary or "Dotheboys"
school, where Smikes or incipient Smikes went daily to a restricted
routine, and thrice daily, with the rest of imprisoned souls, to the
special amount of grub and rations provided by some personal or
impersonal Squeers, that I could not but at once reply to the person
speaking of it that I should not like any such institution.

The next question is, How did my mind change on this subject? I answer,
by reflection and continued conversation with those who were intimate
with the ideas. Mark this: _There is nothing so absurd as the first
presentation of great facts to the mind;_ the greater the fact, the
greater its apparent absurdity, and the greater will be our hate or
want of welcome to it if it runs contrary to our preconceived ideas.

Every visible thing is presented to the retina of the eye, the
looking-glass of the brain, upside down, and it is by study that begins
at birth, and is finished ere remembrance commences, that the child of
God and man is able to detect the true relation of material things to
himself. We have not yet learned the importance or significance of this
arrangement, but why may not we find in future investigations that the
mental vision is governed by the same law, and that thoughts strike the
brain or mental sensorium in the same inverted way? So universally do
law and life differ from their semblances, that it appears to me to be
one of our _supreme duties_ to learn to _reverse primitive ideas._

A question also comes to you in this wise: How could one make up his
mind to associate with all sorts of people that they might meet in one
of these "Communities"? A man in the ordinary chances of life has to
meet all sorts of persons, does he not? Ignorant dependents are in your
house, sleeping under your roof. Your tradesmen may be rude, unkind and
unlettered. Passing from your door you jostle, it may be, the murderer
and highwayman on the street; you enter a car, and the driver's breath
is perhaps reeking from his last night's debauch; you sit, possibly,
between the pickpocket on one side and the patient yet uncured from
some epidemic on the other. You pass to your business through a street
full of roughs, and in your own store are men wishing you to die that
they may take your place, seeking every opportunity to overreach you;
and then wonder if I smile when you ask me how _I_ could "mix up."

In reply to me, you may say that the relation is different; that you do
not take these persons to your table and associate with them as one is
obliged to in one of your "Associations." It is true that you may not
sit at meat with these especial persons; but how many live at hotels
where the next neighbor at table, to whom, if you are a gentleman, you
show politeness, is entirely unknown to you, and may be a swindler,
cheat or knave. But you associate with him only as much as it is
_necessary_ for you to do; and that is just as much as you are obliged
to do in an Association, and no more. It does not follow because I sit
at meat here at Brook Farm with a hundred, I have intimate social
relations with all of them. On the contrary, there are those to whom I
seldom speak unless to give them a passing salutation, and some who are
civilly disposed, who do no more, or as much, to me.

In a society of which you might be a member, with a full privilege to
assist in its organization, you will be better able to choose those of
congenial qualities for associates than you ever can in your present
position, so that your life, after a while, may be select in its chosen
companions, and a great deal more so in its general social features
than now.

Since I came here I find my ideas all changed in relation to this
subject. Instead of the yoke that I felt would be on me, I find
freedom--freedom to speak, to act, and a truly self-imposed government.
The yoke I expected to find _is_ very easy and the burden is light. I
enjoy my life and home. We have not much of worldly goods, but we are
united and we look high up--some say to cloud-land; but I assure you
that on the average there is nowhere a clearer-headed set of persons on
social questions than here, and association is now to me the most
beautiful thing on earth. The life and ideas are all one with harmony.
Surely is it not better for me to begin life this way than with doubt
and distrust of my fellows? Doubt begets doubt; faith begets faith;
action begets action. If we can get enough persons to follow us, we can
prove whether our ideas are true or not. Surely the dull, monotonous
life of "religious communities" like the Moravians, Shakers, Rappites
and others find followers; why not this bright, happy, cheering, frank
life of ours?

We are expecting a visit from Horace Greeley soon; I have never seen
him, but we have heaps of strangers coming every day, some quite
distinguished and some plain folks, but the average are wide-awake

Truly your friend,


_Letter on Social Equality._

BROOK FARM, MASS., Sept. 9, 1845.

MY DEAR SISTER: Do not think that the great minds here teach _social
equality_, as many seem to think they do. To hear outsiders talk one
would imagine that the leaders want that all should be of the same
pattern; that the tall geniuses should be cut down to an average, and
the dwarfs set up on stilts to make them of the same height as the
others. How far from it!

Added to this indignity, outsiders appear to think that rations are
served as in the army, and that it is an absolute necessity in order to
fulfil some absurd law, that every man, woman and child should sit down
together at the same exact time, and eat the aforesaid rations
together; and also, there being some good and able men here, that they
court connection with weak people of any complexion so as to make a
fair average: and they feel that such conditions, to say the least, are
unnatural; and so would I, if there was truth in the position, but
there is not a particle. It oftentimes seems to me that people take a
sort of pleasure in misrepresenting facts, or seem to have a
satisfaction in thinking that they know about as much as the average
person, and that it would be a sin to know a little more. They are
pardoned for their ignorance because nearly, if not all, the social
organizations that have departed from the common customs of society and
have formed "communities" have striven for equality of property rights
and society rights, and often for sameness in dress and religious
ceremonies. This is the nut that all persons who look superficially at
us and at the community system, find hard to crack. They feel that if a
person has an ambition to be more than another, to desire more, to
desire to wear a different garment and pray differently or worship
differently, they should have the inherent right to do so.

And this is the feeling that these common-sense people, these
intelligent people of Brook Farm who organized this society, have and
believe in, and they have tried to arrange all their laws and customs
to conform to these evident truths. And also, they never would have
adopted any of the formulas or ideas of Fourier, had they not believed
his Industrial Phalanxes allowed all the variety of social conditions
that make a true society or social order. No attempts ever undertaken
had the sanction of Fourier, because they had not the proper number of
persons to make a start with. "By no means," said Fourier, "attempt to
organize a phalanx with less than four hundred persons; that is the
very least number you can have and have a sufficient number of
characters to produce anything like harmony." His idea was, that from
fifteen to eighteen hundred persons would be the true number.

The Brook Farmers have never preached social _equality_, but social
_rights_. Social _equality_ is a thing that comes from individual
ability, and is never positively fixed, but relative, because there are
talents superior and inferior mingled in each human being, and the king
may wonder how the cook put the apples in the dumplings. With the
larger number of individuals stated, a greater chance is given to find
"mates" and "chums," and the less likelihood there would be in the
imperfectly organized societies of rude contact--for who could doubt
that all such societies, even the very best, would be imperfect for
generations to come?

I take it that this is the gist of the reason why the so-called social
equality is so repulsive to theorists who have not comprehended the
great difference between social _equality_ and social _rights_. Once
and for all, I do not believe, we do not believe, in social equality;
but we do believe that societies can be established in such a manner as
to secure in a large degree the rights of all, and be perfectly
practicable, and that in time they will develop into true harmony.

As ever your sincere


_Religious Views._

BROOK FARM, MASS., June 9, 1845.

MY DEAR FRIEND:--In reply to your question as to what the religious
views of the Brook Farmers are, I might, if I wished to be curt, say
that they are such as you see by their lives. I am aware, however, that
such a reply will not exactly suit you, and that you really mean what
are their creeds, as, are they all Baptists, Trinitarians, Unitarians,
or what not? And I answer you that I find here those who were brought
up in every kind of belief; some who are from the Roman Catholic
Church; some from the Jewish; some Trinitarians; some Unitarians; some
from the Swedenborgian Church; some who are Liberals; some who are
called "Come-Outers," and Mr. P., who professes to be, and is more like
an infidel than any other man I ever saw.

They call some of the residents here "Transcendentalists." You may
judge from the name that they must be either very good or very bad
people, but they represent people of education who are a little "high
stilted" in their religious views, and do not take in all the wonderful
Mosaic traditions. At least, this is as near as I can explain it to
you. It is the fashion to call every one who has any independent
notions a Transcendentalist, but I do not know who invented the name or
first applied it.

The people here do not dispute on religious creeds; they are too busy.
They work together, dine and sup together year in and year out in
intimate social relation, and do not either have angry disputes, or
quarrels about creeds or anything else. On the contrary, I am much
surprised at the earnest inquiry that is often made into the beliefs of
others, or rather into the groundwork or foundation from which the
churches sprung which have different tenets from their own.

But the majority are Unitarian in their belief. Mr. Ripley, Mr. Dwight,
Mr. Dana and Mr. Cabot, with a majority of the ladies, lean that way.
Dr. Lazarus and his handsome sister are of or from the Jewish faith,
whilst Mr. Hastings leans towards Romanism and Jean Pallisse is
Catholic; and by the way, I never until I came here had any sympathy
with the symbols of that church, but the intelligent persons by whom I
have been surrounded have explained the great beauty of them to
me--persons who are not and never can be Romanists any more than
myself. Dr. Lazarus has posted me on the Jewish symbols, and Fanny M.
and her mother have brought forward the great beauty of the
Swedenborgian doctrines.

All Mr. Ripleys's writings on social subjects breathe a religious air.
It is true they are not creedal, but his idea is that every act of life
should be from a true and earnest spirit, and that this is the
substance of all creeds; and strange to say to you, who believe that
Associations like ours have a levelling effect, those who have their
faiths fixed, say, "I think more of the symbols of my church than ever,
since I came here."

"I am a Jew, but a liberal, understanding Jew," says one.

"I am a Catholic, but I am a liberalized Catholic," says another.

"I am a Swedenborgian, but my belief liberates me from the crudities of
Swedenborg," say others.

"I look from the centre outward as never before. We all see how the
forms of our churches were intended for good, and we all see how many
of them have been prostituted. When I go from here I shall respect your
forms and ceremonies because you have taught me the meanings of them."

Is this definite enough for a hasty answer? The lesson I have most
taken to heart is that by examining with respect the many different
faiths, we gain a higher idea of a Being who has an exhaustless variety
in his attributes.

As ever yours,





[Copies of some of these letters and other documents from the originals
were used by permission, in preparing the "Life of George Ripley."]

_From a Theological Student._.

LONGMEADOW, Feb. 25, 1845.

_Rev. George Ripley,_

DEAR SIR: Probably you have forgotten the Andover student who spent
Thanksgiving with you a year ago, and who made you a short call last
September. But he has not forgotten Brook Farm. I write now for the
purpose of asking a single question. Are you so full that it will be
impossible for you to take one more in the course of a few weeks?

I recollect you asked me last fall if I intended to go to preaching
against sin in the church. I agree with you, sir, that there is
emphatically sin in the church that ought to be preached against, if
anywhere. But the truth is I do not see as much sin either in the
church or out of it as my theological teachers have endeavored to
persuade me there is. Besides, I think that preaching against it has
been proved to be a very ineffectual way of rooting out what sin there
is. Indeed, from the very nature of the case, it seems to me that
telling men once a week, at arm's length, that they are doing very
wrong and will be eternally punished unless they do differently, is not
quite what is needed for improving their character and condition. For
this reason, and because my faith in other respects also is not
sufficiently orthodox, I have braced myself as well as I could against
the urgent importunities of my friends, and refused to take a license.

My strongest sympathies are with the cause in which you are laboring,
and I am not wholly without hope that I shall yet find something to do
in it. I am utterly alone here. I think often of what Carlyle says,
"Invisible yet impenetrable walls as of enchantment divided me from all

Will you do me the kindness, sir, to answer the inquiry I have made of
you as soon as convenient?

Yours most respectfully,


_Letter from a Young Man._

COLCHESTER, CT., Nov. 1, 1843.

_Rev. George Ripley,_

SIR: My ideas of the principles of Industrial Association have been
obtained by reading the New York _Tribune_. I am convinced that these
principles are the elements out of which may be constructed that true
social order which shall develop man's physical well-being, and call
forth the mental and moral faculties of the soul.

My intention is to join some association of the kind now forming or
already in operation. Your Community has been spoken of as one of the
first and best in the country. My object in writing to you is to
ascertain the peculiar nature of this organization and management, the
terms of membership--the amount of capital required, or whether one
without capital would be received--and whether a young man of the
following description would find opportunity to _work_ and receive a
_fair_ remuneration for his labor.

What I can _do_ you can judge. I am twenty-five years of age, have
lived eight years in New York, six years in one of the best wholesale
dry goods houses there. Brought up at this place a mechanic and farmer,
and am now engaged in wagon making and blacksmithing, for which I don't
get a red cent beyond a good living.

The capital that I intended to invest in Association gone to Davy
Jones' locker in the wreck of the commercial world.

An answer to these few inquiries would much oblige

Your obedient servant,


_Reply to Preceding Letter._

[The preceding letter has the following draft of a reply to it on a
letter sheet in the handwriting of Mr. Ripley.]

MY DEAR SIR: Yours of the 1st inst. is this day received. I dare say
that you have received a correct impression of our establishment from
the article in the _Tribune_. We are laboring with cheerfulness and
hope, in the midst of great obstacles, for the organization of society
and the benefit of man. Whoever wishes to join us must be willing to
make great sacrifices; to endure severe toil patiently; to live in
comparative poverty; to suffer many deprivations for the sake of
realizing justice and charity in the social state.

We are at present on a small scale, but we are making arrangements to
enlarge our number and our branches of industry. We should like to
establish your branch of business, and could do so to advantage with an
efficient and skilful workman and a small increase of capital. An
answer to the following questions will decide whether we can have any
further negotiations with you:----

1. Are you ready from an interest in the cause of Association to endure
the sacrifices which all persons must suffer?

2. Could you by yourself, or your friends, command a few hundred
dollars sufficient to start your business?

3. Could you, without help, make and iron off ox carts, horse carts,
one horse wagons, etc., in a style that would ensure their sale in the
neighborhood of Boston? Can you shoe horses and oxen?

4. Are you single or married?

5. In fine, have you confidence that by your manual labor in the
branches you have mentioned, you could do more than earn your living in

I shall be happy to hear from you as soon as convenient. I am

Yours truly,


_A Model Questioner--a Woman._

UTICA, Jan. 18, 1844. SIR: I have the happiness of being acquainted
with a lady who has some knowledge of you; from whose representations I
am encouraged to hope that you will not only excuse the liberty I
(being a stranger) thus take in addressing you, but will also kindly
answer a number of questions I am desirous of being informed upon
relative to the society for social reform to which you belong.

I have a daughter (having five children) who, with her husband, much
wishes to join a society of this kind. They have had thoughts of
engaging with a society now forming in Rochester, but their friends
advise them to go to one that has been some time in operation, because
those connected with it will be able to speak with certainty as to
whether the working of the system in any way realizes the theory. The
first question I would put is,----

1. Have you room in your association to admit the above family?

2. And if so, upon what terms would they be received?

3. Would a piano-forte, which two years ago cost three hundred and
fifty dollars, be taken at its present value in payment for shares?

4. Would any household furniture be taken in the same way?

5. Do you carry out Mr. Fourier's idea of diversity of employment?

6. How many members have you at this time?

7. Do the people (generally speaking) appear happy?

8. Does the system work well with the children?

9. Would a young man (mechanic of unexceptionable character) be
received having no capital?

10. Have you more than one church, and if so what are its tenets?

11. Have parties opportunities of enjoying any other religion?

12. What number of hours generally employed in labor?

13. What chance for study?

14. Do you meet with society suitable to _your taste?_

Although my questions are so numerous that I fear tiring you, yet I
still feel that I may have omitted some inquiry of importance. If so
will you do me the favor to _supply the deficiency?_

Please to answer my questions by number, as they are put.

Hoping you will write as soon as possible, and do me the kindness I ask,

I remain,

Yours respectfully,


_From a Minister._

NORTH BRAMFORD, CONN., June 1, 1843.

_Mr. G. Ripley,_

DEAR SIR:--I have an earnest and well matured desire to join your
community, with my family, if I can do it under satisfactory
circumstances--I mean satisfactory to all parties.

I am pastor of the First Congregational Church in this town. My
congregation is quiet, and in many respects very pleasant; but I have
felt that my views of late are not sufficiently in accordance with the
forms under which I have undertaken to conduct the ministry of
Christian truth. This want of accordance increases, and I feel that a
crisis is at hand. I must follow the light that guides me, or renounce
it to become false and dead. The latter I cannot do.

I have thought of joining your association ever since its commencement.
Is it possible for me to do so under satisfactory circumstances? I have
deep and, I believe, an intelligent sympathy with your idea. I have a
wife and four children--the oldest ten, the youngest seven years old.
Our habits of life are very simple, very independent of slavery to the
common forms of "gig-manity," and our bodies have not been made to
waste and pine by the fashionable follies of this generation. It is our
creed that life is greater than all forms, and that the soul's life is
diviner than _convenances_ of fashion.

As to property, we can bring you little more than ourselves. But we can
bring a hearty good-will to work, and in work we have some skill. I
have unimpaired health, and an amount of muscular strength beyond what
ordinarily falls to the lot of mortals. In the early part of my life I
labored on a farm, filling up my leisure time with study, until I
entered my present profession. My hands have some skill for many
things, and if I join you I wish to live a true life.

My selfish aims are two: first, I wish to be under circumstances where
I may live truly; and second, and chiefly, I wish to do the best thing
I can for my children.

Be so good as to reply to this at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,


_From an Ohioan._


_Mr. Ripley_,

MY DEAR SIR:--I have been looking somewhat into your plan of
Association, and have read carefully Godwin's "Popular View of the
Doctrines of Charles Fourier." I see much that I admire and some things
that I disapprove in Fourier's views. His views on marriage and his
ideas of a future state may do harm to his system of Association:
first, in exciting prejudice against it, and so preventing a fair
experiment; and secondly, in being adopted by friends of Association in
their admiration of their great master.

His views in respect to love are, to my mind, exceedingly
exceptionable, and the idea of making provision in Association for
those whose love is inconstant, _appears to me contrary to all sound
philosophy._ A vicious constitution ought never to be fostered by
indulgence. But I really hope that your Association, which I presume
will be the model one for this country, will be careful to reject the
exceptionable morality of the French teacher, and while you adopt his
practical scheme in its worthy features, will also make it manifest
that you esteem Jesus Christ as the true Master.

I may say that the more I compare the principles of Association adopted
by you, with the general state of society, the more I admire the former
and become dissatisfied with the latter. I feel great anxiety for your
success. I feel deeply anxious that the friends of Association should
be students of the gospel of Christ, that care might be taken to carry
out the glorious doctrines of the Son of God. I do not mean
sectarianism. I mean that religion, that pure morality, that
spirituality which Jesus Christ exhibited in his own life; not the
religion of the _ascetic_, but the social, the benevolent, the
philanthropic, the Godward aspirations of the spiritual man.

My wife and myself often converse about the propriety of uniting with
you. We become disgusted with the social arrangements with which we are
connected. In worldly society we mourn over the outbreaking vices not
only of the low, but of those who are highest in rank; and when we seek
satisfaction of mind and heart in the church, lo! even there
selfishness rules supreme, and a profession of religion covers up the
meanest propensities of the sanctimonious worshipper. I cry out, "Help,
Lord! for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the
children of men."

We desire to know through your own candid view of your prospects, as
well as present condition, whether we may be justified in so disposing
our affairs as to ultimately join your Association. At present I am
laboring on my farm, near Cincinnati, having no definite plan of future

Please write me definitely upon what terms we may join you, how much I
must put into the Association to secure the support of my family and
myself--it being understood that we take hold as the rest of you do.
Besides my wife I have a son sixteen years of age, another eleven, a
third seven and a daughter four. We are all healthy, and I believe are
about as well disposed as most families to live by our own personal

Yours very respectfully,


_Verbatim Letter._

BOSTON MASS. Feb. 23 1844.

_Mr. Ripley_ DIR SIR I was requsted to pit the following on paper for
the consideration of your society. R. H. wife and four children the
oldest ten the youngest thre the two eldest boys, the two youngest
girles. Furniture wile consist of thre beds and bedding one bedstead
one tabel and workstand six or eight chairs crockery ware &c. Tooles
and machinery as follows 1 planing machine 1 upright boaring machine 1
circular saw, irons for an upright saw morticing machine 1 turning
lathe and belting 1 doz of hand screws 1 copper pot to make varnish in,
two dimejons 3-5 gls. each for varnish and oil tooles for cutting bench
screws &c likewise 1 cow 3 cosset sheep 1 yew & 2 wethers the cow 11
years old and little lame in one foot otherways a veryry good cow, also
a verry light handcart. There are other articles not mentioned perhaps
that might be usful to the Association that would be thrown in for the
benefit of all.

The Association can consider the above articles and select wat articles
would be usful or beneficial and let me know their action thereon at
the next meeting of the Association If I should be called to visit my
family before the next meeting you will pleas direct a line to me.



The Brook Farm wits would say that the writer of the above letter
should go to college "for a _spell_."

_Seeking Success in Life._

LOCKPORT, Oct. 28, 1842.

DEAR FRIENDS, if I may so call you: I read in the New York _Tribune_ a
piece taken from the _Dial_, headed "The West Roxbury Community." Now
what I want to know is, can I and my children be admitted into your
society, _and be better off than we are here?_ I have enough of the
plainest kind to eat and wear. I have no _home_ but what we hire from
year to year. I have _no property_ but movables, and not a cent to
spare when the year comes round. I have _three children_, two boys and
one girl: the oldest fourteen, the youngest nine. Now I want to educate
them. How shall I do it in the country? There is no chance but ordinary
schools. To move into the village I could not bring the year round, and
the danger they would be exposed to without a father to restrain their
wanderings, would be an undertaking more than I dare attempt.

Now if you should presume to let me come, where can I live? Can our
industry and economy clothe us for the year? Can I keep a cow? How can
I be supplied with fire in that _dear place?_ How can I _pay my school
bills?_ How can I find all the necessary requisites for my children to
advance in learning? If I should wish to leave in two or three or five
years, could I and mine, if I paid my way whilst there? If you should
let me come, and I _think best to go, how shall I get there?_ What
would be my _best and cheapest route?_

How should I proceed with what I have here, sell all off or bring a
part? I have three beds and bedding, one cow and ordinary things enough
to keep house. My children are all called tolerable scholars. My
daughter is the youngest; _the neighbors call her an interesting
child._ I have no pretensions to make; my only object is to _enjoy the
good of the society_ and have my children _educated and accomplished._

Am I to send my boys off to work alone, or will they have a _kind
person_ to say, "_Come boys_," and _relieve me from the heavy task of
bringing up my boys_ with nothing to _do it with?_

If your religion has a name I should like well enough to know it; if
not, and the substance is love to God and good-will to men, my mind is
well enough satisfied. I have reflected on this subject ever since I
read the article alluded to, and now I want you to write me _every
particular;_ then if you and I think best, in the spring I will come to
you. We are none of us what may be called weakly. I am forty-six years
old; able to do as much every day as to spin what is called a day's
work--not that I expect you spin much there, only that is the amount of
my strength as it now holds out.

I should wish to seek _intelligence_, as you must know 1 lack greatly,
and I _cannot endure the thought_ my children must lack as greatly,
whilst multitudes are going so far in advance, no better qualified by
nature than they. I want you to _send me quite a number of names of
your leading characters_. If it should seem strange to you that I make
the demand, I will explain it to you when I get there. I want you to
answer _every item_ of this letter and as much more as _can have any
bearing on my mind_, either way, whether you accept this letter _kindly
or not_. I want you to write an answer without delay! Are there
meetings for _us to attend?_ Do you have singing schools?

I do thus far feel friendly to your society.

Direct your letter to, etc.


_A Southern Applicant._

ALEXANDRIA, BENTON CO., ALA., July 13, 1845.

_Mr. G. Ripley,_

DEAR SIR: Will you step aside for a moment from the many duties, the
interesting cares and soul-stirring pleasures of your enviable
situation, and read a few lines from a stranger? They come to you, not
from the cold and sterile regions of the North, nor from the luxuriant
yet untamed wilds of the West, but from the bright and sunny land where
cotton flowers bloom, where nature has placed her signet of beauty and
fertility. Yes, sir; the science that the immortal Fourier brought to
light has reached the far South, and I trust has warmed many hearts,
and interested many minds; but of ours alone will I write.

It is to me the dawn of a brighter day than has ever yet risen upon the
world--a day when man shall be redeemed from his more than "Egyptian
bondage" and stand erect in moral, intellectual and physical beauty.

I have lived forty years in the world, and divided that time between
the eastern, middle and southern states--have seen life as exhibited,
in city and country, have mingled with the most intelligent and with
the unlettered rustic--have marked society in a variety of phases, and
find, amid all, that selfishness has warped the judgment, chilled the
affections and blunted all the finer feelings of the soul. I am weary
and worn with the heartless folly, the wicked vanity and shameless
iniquity which the civilized world everywhere presents. Long have I
sighed for something higher, nobler, holier than aught found in this
world, and have sometimes longed to lay my body down where the weary
rest, that my spirit might dwell in perfect harmony. But since the
beautiful science of unity has dawned upon my mind, my heart has loved
to cherish the bright anticipations of hope, and I see in the dim
distance the realization of all my wishes. I see a generation coming on
the arena of action bearing on their brows the impress of their noble
origin, and cultivating in their hearts the pure and exalted feelings
that should ever distinguish those who bear the image of their Maker.
Association is destined to do much for poor, suffering humanity--to
elevate, refine, redeem the race and restore the purity and love that
made the bowers of Eden so surpassingly beautiful. You, sir, and your
associates are pioneers in a noble reform. May the blessing of God
attend you.

I am anxious to be with you for various reasons. The first is: I have
two little daughters whom I wish to bring up amid healthful influences,
with healthful and untrammelled bodies, pure minds and all their young
affections and sympathies clustering around their hearts. I never wish
their minds to be under the influence of the god of this
generation--fashion--nor their hearts to become callous to the
sufferings of their fellows. I never wish them to regard labor as
degrading, nor poverty as a crime. Situated as I am I cannot rear them
in health and purity, and, therefore, I am anxious to remove them from
the baneful influences that surround them. Again: I look upon labor as
a blessing, and feel that every man and woman should spend some portion
of each day in healthful employment. It is absolutely necessary to
health, and is also a source of enjoyment, even in isolation; how much
would that pleasure be increased could I have several kindred spirits
around me with whom I could interchange thought, and whose feelings and
desires flow in the same channel as my own! O, sir! I must live, labor
and _die_ in Association.

Again: my heart is pained with the woes of my fellows--with the
distressing poverty and excessive labor which are bearing to the grave
a portion of the human family. Gladly would I bear my part in raising
them to a higher and happier condition; and how can I better do this
than by uniting myself with the noble reformers of Brook Farm, where
caste is thrown aside, and rich and poor constitute one family. I have
not a large fortune, but sufficient to live comfortable anywhere. A
large part of it is now invested in houses and lands in Georgia. Such
is the low price of cotton that real estate cannot be sold at this time
without a serious sacrifice. Most of my Georgia property rents for more
than the interest of its cost at 8 per cent. I have also houses and
land in this state, but cannot for the above named reason find a
purchaser. Therefore, if I go into Association I shall be obliged to
leave some of my possessions unsold, and be content to receive the rent
until I can effect a sale.

I have no negroes--thank God. Now if you are not full at Brook Farm,
and do not object to myself, wife and two daughters, one four years and
the other six months old, presenting ourselves as candidates for
admission, and $2500 or $3000 will be sufficient for an initiation fee,
I shall, as soon as I can arrange my affairs, be with you.

I will thank you to write to me, informing me with how much ready cash,
with an income of $500 or $600 per year, I can be received. Mrs. Clarke
and myself will wish to engage daily in labor. We both labored in our
youth--we wish to resume it again.

Very respectfully,

John Clarke.

The following letter is in manuscript without date and is

_One of Mr. Ripley's Replies_.

Dear Sir:--It gives me the most sincere pleasure to reply to the
inquiries proposed in your favor of the 3d inst. I welcome the extended
and increasing interest which is manifested in our apparently humble
enterprise, as a proof that it is founded in nature and truth, and as a
cheering omen of its ultimate success. Like yourself, we are seekers of
universal truth. We worship only reality. We are striving to establish
a mode of life which shall combine the enchantments of poetry with the
facts of daily experience. This we believe can be done by a rigid
adherence to justice, by fidelity to human rights, by loving and
honoring man as man, and rejecting all arbitrary, factitious

We are not in the interest of any sect, party or coterie; we have faith
in the soul of man, in the universal soul of things, and trusting to
the might of a benignant Providence which is over all, we are here
sowing in weakness a seed which will be raised in power. But I need not
dwell on these general considerations with which you are doubtless

In regard to the connection of a family with us, our arrangements are
liberal and comprehensive. We are not bound by fixed rules which apply
to all cases. The general principle we are obliged to adhere to rigidly
is not to receive any persons who would increase the expenses more than
the revenue of the establishment. Within the limits of this principle
we can make any arrangement which shall suit particular cases.

A family with resources sufficient for self-support, independent of the
exertion of its members, would find a favorable situation with us for
the education of its children, and for social enjoyment. An annual
payment of $1000 would probably cover the expenses of board and
instruction, supposing that no services were rendered to diminish the
expense. An investment of $5000 would more than meet the original
outlay required for a family of eight persons; but in that case an
additional appropriation would be needed, either of productive labor or
cash, to meet the current expenditures. I forward you herewith a copy
of our Prospectus, from which you will perceive that the whole expense
of a pupil, without including board in vacations, is $250 per annum;
but in case of one or more pupils remaining with us for a term of
years, and assisting in the labor of the establishment, a deduction of
$1 or $2 per week would be made, according to the services rendered,
until such time as their education being so far completed, they might
defray all their expenses by their labor.

In the case of your son fifteen years of age, it would be necessary for
him to reside with us for three months at least, and if at the end of
that time his services should be found useful, he might continue by
paying $150 or $200 per annum, according to the value of his labor, and
if he should prove to have a gift for active industry, in process of
time, he might defray his whole expenses, complete his education and be
fitted for practical life.

With the intelligent zeal which you manifest in our enterprise, I need
not say that we highly value your sympathy. I should rejoice in any
arrangement which might bring us into closer relations. It is only from
the faith and love of those whose hearts are filled with the hopes of a
better future for humanity, that we look for the building up of our
"City of God." So far we have been prospered in our highest
expectations. We are more and more convinced of the beauty and justice
of our mode of life. We love to breathe this pure, healthy atmosphere;
we feel that we are living in the bosom of nature, and all things seem
to expand under the freedom and truth which we worship in our hearts.

I should regret to think that this was to be our last communication
with each other. May I not hope to hear from you again--and with the
sincere wish that your views of the philosophy of life may bring you
still nearer to us, I am, with great respect,

Sincerely your friend,

Geo. Ripley.

_From a Lady Teacher_.

New York, March 18, 1843.

Dear Sir: For the last ten years I have been employed as a teacher in a
boarding school in this city. A year ago the lady with whom I was
associated died, and though I do not love business as such, there were
many and weighty reasons why it seemed right for me to commence a
school of my own. I have had during the winter past a school of
twenty-three pupils consisting of children and youth. My success
hitherto in teaching, in my own judgment, has been dependent on an
earnestness of manner, a sincere love of knowledge and a deep interest
in the welfare of the young. I know how to work and would not fear to
undertake any kind of household occupation which devolves upon woman.

Early in life I embraced a religious faith, and, seeking to obey God
according to my light, connected myself with a church. Years have
passed away; experience, reflection and light from other minds have
produced a radical change in my views. I stand in the eye of the world
as one of a sect, but my spirit does not recognize the union. I am,
from my position, subject to painful restraints. I cannot be just to
the truth which is in me. The alternative, I need not say, with me is
to hold fast to the popular faith or give up my bread.

I am much interested in those ideas which your Association is
attempting to find a realization of. The state of things resulting from
a full expansion of the principles upon which your society is based
would seem to meet many spiritual wants. I can understand that so high
an aim can be reached only through lowliness of life. The prospect of
becoming one day a co-worker in your cause is very agreeable to me. I
should like to know that I may be permitted to cherish the idea.

With much respect,

R. Prentiss.

_Application for an Unfortunate_.

[The person who indited the following was a friend of the organization,
and probably saw as well as anyone the absurdity of making a
reformatory institution of the great experiment, but from kindly and
personal considerations put the question and the best face on the
matter that he could.]

New York, Sept. 14, 1845.

My Dear Friend: I have been applied to by a very respectable widow lady
of this city, at the instance of Dr. ---- (who it seems is fast getting
over his want of sympathy for Fourier and his disciples), to see
whether you will not convert Brook Farm into a sort of hospital for the
cure of young men who won't mind their mothers. But, as the case is a
serious one, I must treat it seriously as it deserves.

The lady is a Mrs. ----, who is connected with one or two of our
wealthiest families, and who has a son about twenty-five years of age
whom she desires to get a place with you.

He is said to be a person of the most kind and amiable disposition, and
willing to do the hardest kind of work, but unfortunately he is
surrounded by evil companions in this city, who draw him into bad
habits. His mother is exceedingly distressed by his weakness, and has
been counselled to send him to sea, but Dr. ---- has advised her to
come to me and ask whether he could not be taken on trial at Brook
Farm, in order to ascertain what might be the effect of good
influences. The young man is well educated, a good accountant, has
worked considerably on a farm, and is exceedingly anxious to escape
from his present position, where his _infirmity of will_ betrays him
under temptation. His general disposition and deportment are excellent,
and under proper circumstances would make an estimable member of

If you have room for him, and are willing to undertake his case, his
mother can contribute a few dollars a week toward paying his board,
until it shall have been determined whether his longer stay would be
mutually satisfactory. Should he be able to stay, no doubt his friends
here would raise an amount of capital for him which might be an object
worth considering.

Very sincerely yours,

P. Godwin.

_Wanted to Speak against Slavery_.

Collinsville, CT., March 22, 1844.

Friends: I call all people friends who have for their object the
elevation of the human race and are opposed to all oppression in any
form, who do not wish to build up one class at the expense of the other.

I have been reading on the subject of Association for the last six
months all the publications I could find, which has pleased me much. I
think it is just such a system that is wanted. Massachusetts being my
native state, and also being acquainted with the vicinity of Roxbury,
which I think is a delightful place, especially in the summer, I
thought that I would write you to inquire if you have an opening for
any more this spring providing I can bring recommendations to your

I was brought up a farmer; the last twelve years I have been to work in
a scythe shop. I have a wife--no children. My wife is a tailoress,
makes all kinds of men's clothing and is acquainted with all kinds of
housework. We are both forty-two years of age. I shall want to buy four
hundred dollars' worth of stock and pay for it when I join. If I am
rightly informed of your system, it does not interfere with anyone's
religion or his politics. Being an abolitionist, I shall want the
privilege of voting and speaking against slavery in every respect.
Please write me as soon as you receive this and inform me what
recommendations will be required and all other particulars.

Respectfully yours, James C. Smith.

_From a Wesleyan_.

Trinity, Newfoundland, June 30, 1845.

Sir: Having been informed by Mr. Brisbane that an establishment on the
united interest principle has been commenced near Boston, I hasten to
address you to inform you that for some years I have felt impressed
with its superiority to the individual system; and have been, and still
am, anxious to engage heart and soul in so good a cause. I have been in
this country between four and five years, and have a comfortable
situation; but feeling confident of the ultimate advantage of an
Association, and feeling assured that I could render myself valuable in
such an establishment, I prefer casting my lot with those who feel
desirous of acting for the restoration of man.

I have to inform you that from my youth I have chiefly engaged in the
dry goods business, ironmongery, grocery, etc., and have a general
knowledge of trade. I am of industrious habits and with an active turn
of mind, and together with my wife, I may justly say, few will be found
more useful and desirous of acting for the general good. I am about
forty-two years of age, and my wife is a little older; my son is
fourteen, and we are fully prepared for active life. I have no
knowledge of any mechanical trade, but am fond of it as well as
agriculture and gardening; I possess a fair share of health; am fond of
writing and bookkeeping; only occasionally disposed to gaiety, but
rather for scientific relaxation; not fanatical in religion, but a
regarder of the great commandments and charitable for the feelings and
the convictions of others.

I have, sir, given you an unvarnished statement with regard to myself,
and I should feel obliged by your informing me at your earliest
convenience if myself, wife and son can be admitted by my investing two
hundred dollars for the furnishing of the apartment assigned to us. Are
there any Wesleyans with you, and what is the distance to the Wesleyan
chapel?--as my wife is a member of that body. From what I have learned
from Mr. Brisbane's letter and newspaper he was kind enough to send me,
I should judge your establishment to be such as we could safely and
comfortably join, and I trust you will give me in your answer
additional reason to think so.

I remain, sir,

Your obedient servant,

H. Gawler.

_From a Printer_.

Bangor, ME., Jan. 1, 1845.

_Mr. George Ripley_,

Dear Sir: While on a visit to Brook Farm Association last August, it
was intimated to me that it was probable, on the completion of the
arrangements then in progress for the accommodation of an additional
number of members, that a printing press might be introduced, a weekly
paper published and something done at the printing business generally;
further, that though there were two or three practical printers in the
Association, yet others in all likelihood would also be required; in
which case, a selection from the number of candidates would be made.
Should it be the intention to adopt the plan, which was then in doubt,
I beg most respectfully to present myself as a candidate for the
acceptance of the Association.

I am at present situated as foreman of a daily paper in Bangor, and
previous to this time, have had a somewhat varied experience in other
branches of the business. Though now rather favorably located, in the
ordinary acceptation of the term, yet I would prefer a thousand times
mingling even in the struggles of an infant Association, founded upon
what I deem to be substantial principles, than the most desirable
possession in an overgrown and distorted civilization.

Touching the requisite of character, I believe I can make out a case in
my favor; but with respect to capital--when I say I am a _printer_, I
say also that I am in the predicament of the most of my profession,
with nothing to recommend us but a willing heart and a ready hand;
albeit, if the taking of one share of a hundred dollars will entitle me
to membership, the amount may be forthcoming.

With sentiment of great respect, I have the honor to be, sir, Yours
most obediently, etc.,

George Bayne, Jr.

_A Wife's Eloquent Appeal._

Kingston, Sept. 5, 1845.

_Mr. George Ripley_,

Sir: After taking the _Phalanx_ and the _Harbinger_ and visiting Brook
Farm, our attachment and love for associated life has become so strong,
and the idea of our present life so cold and to a benevolent mind so
difficult, that I very much doubt of remaining any longer happy in our
present state. For these reasons I write to inform you that we wish to
make an application to be received as members of--so it looks to
us--your happy Association; and, "delays being dangerous," we would ask
an answer soon to it, as, living on a farm, it is necessary to know
whether we shall dispose of our crops, cattle, etc., in the market, or
store them in barn and cellar for another _lonely_ winter--so my
husband expresses it; though I assure you it is not lonely for lack of
numbers, but he is doubtless expressing the feeling many of us have
experienced of solitude in the midst of a crowd of uncongenial spirits.

As it is a busy time--we have to work from 5 A.M. until late at night,
with scarce a moment to rest our weary limbs--it is not convenient to
visit you personally; we wish you to return us a written letter stating
whether we can have any encouragement and what are the requirements.
Being strangers to you we would probably need recommendation.

Thus far I have acted as amanuensis for my husband. Hoping that it may
not offend, I now address you of and from myself.

Elizabeth Brewster, _for Elisha Brewster._

_Mr. Ripley,_

Dear Sir: In the cause my husband urges I would plead. Had I skill I
would do so with all the eloquence ascribed to woman's tongue; nay,
more, had I an angel's tongue tipped with burning eloquence, I would
exert its utmost efforts to urge my husband's suit. I feel deeply that
his present and future earthly happiness depends on what answer may be
received from you. That is saying much, but I believe it is strictly
true. And if his happiness depends on it, surely that of the rest must,
for what happiness does a woman desire but that of those connected with
her? Husband has been for three years a devoted associationist; his
whole heart and mind have been with them and he has ardently desired
the associative life.

Not so myself. I was willing, it is true, to go anywhere he desired and
would be happy where he was happy, but I dreaded to leave such a
beautiful home, for the place we would leave is no ordinary one. The
prospect from it is considered as almost without a parallel. We have
plenty of fruit, flowers, fine grove and shade trees, in fact
everything to make rural life agreeable and we know how to appreciate a
beautiful location and prospect. Then I have had a fear of being a
pioneer, lest there should be too heavy work or duties imposed or
required of me. Such ideas combined, prevented me from seeing unitary
life as one ought who knows that it is in the form of a heavenly
society, and that as we desire perfection here on earth we must imitate
the heavenly model.

Since visiting you my fears have given place to an ardent desire to
become one of your Community, not to come as an alien and a stranger
but as a sister in full communion, with a heart full of love and
affection and with a strong desire to act my part fully and to do all
required of me.

You will find I have great skill and ingenuity in work, understanding
almost all kinds, and have, I am told, a good faculty to plan and
perform it, so I hope that I shall be of real use to you. You will not
think I am trying to flatter you or myself. Husband's idea is this: he
says when people trade they place their commodities in the best light
and speak of their desirable qualities, and this is so much like
trading ourselves off that we have a right to give some idea of
ourselves as an offset for what we expect to receive.

Mr. Brewster has sound, unbroken health, untiring strength and great
skill and ability to work. He often says he would not go where he could
not work--but he would like more time to read than he gets here. He has
great power and skill in doing heavy work and great patience and
industry in doing small and light work; talents not often combined in
one individual. He is just as handy and skilful in planting and weeding
and planning a flower garden, or in potting plants and tending them, as
in doing the heaviest work. He loves birds and flowers, but _bees_ are
his _hobby_; he loves them as a mother loves her children. If he comes
among you, you must let him have a hive of bees or I fear he would tire
of Association. Ah! a new thought just strikes me. Bees are
_associationists_ and that accounts for his great love of them.

I cannot believe that you will ever regret the possession of such a
working man. Furthermore, you will rarely find two united with more
willing hearts and hands and more cheerful tempers. We have never been,
so far, either of us unhappy in any situation. Our family is not large;
it consists of three daughters, one of eleven, one eight and the last
three years of age, twenty-fifth of May last--they all have one
birthday. We shall probably bring with us, if you make no objection, a
girl who is bound to us, and there remains three years of unexpired
service--a very stout, strong girl, who loves coarse work and who is
Mr. Brewster's mesmeric subject.

Mr. Brewster is a lineal descendant of old Elder Brewster, of the fifth
generation on the paternal side and a lateral descendant on the
maternal side. He thinks that accounts for his being so ardent an
associationist, as Elder Brewster started his colony on that plan and
failed--and perhaps this E. Brewster will do the same thing. But
seriously, because the first failed it is no reason that the second
should, for the world was not as well prepared for unitary life then as
now. Mr. Brewster thinks he would rather help you provide for winter
than to be doing the same here.

May the blessing of Heaven attend you all at Brook Farm.





_From the Dial of January, 1844._

Wherever we recognize the principle of progress our sympathies and
affections are engaged. However small may be the innovation, however
limited the effort towards the attainment of pure good, that effort is
worthy of our best encouragement and succor. The institution at Brook
Farm, West Roxbury, though sufficiently extensive in respect to number
of persons, perhaps is not to be considered an experiment of large
intent. Its aims are moderate; too humble, indeed, to satisfy the
extreme demands of the age; yet for that reason, probably, the effort
is more valuable, as likely to exhibit a larger share of actual success.

Though familiarly designated a "Community," it is only so in the
process of eating in commons; a practice at least as antiquated as the
collegiate halls of old England, where it still continues without
producing, as far as we can learn, any of the Spartan virtues. A
residence at Brook Farm does not involve either a community of money,
of opinions or of sympathy. The motives which bring individuals there,
may be as various as their numbers. In fact, the present residents are
divisible into three distinct classes; and if the majority in numbers
were considered, it is possible that a vote in favor of self-sacrifice
for the common good would not be very strongly carried.

The leading portion of the adult inmates, they whose presence imparts
the greatest peculiarity and the fraternal tone to the household,
believe that an improved state of existence would be developed in
Association, and are therefore anxious to promote it. Another class
consists of those who join with the view of bettering their condition,
by being exempt from some portion of worldly strife. The third portion
comprises those who have their own development or education for their
principal object.

Practically, too, the institution manifests a threefold improvement
over the world at large, corresponding to these three motives. In
consequence of the first, the companionship, the personal intercourse,
the social bearing, are of a marked and very superior character. There
may possibly to some minds, long accustomed to other modes, appear a
want of homeness and of the private fireside; but all observers must
acknowledge a brotherly and softening condition, highly conducive to
the permanent and pleasant growth of all the better human qualities. If
the life is not of a deeply religious cast, it is at least not inferior
to that which is exemplified elsewhere, and there is the advantage of
an entire absence of assumption and pretence. The moral atmosphere, so
far, is pure; and there is found a strong desire to walk ever on the
mountain tops of life; though taste, rather than piety, is the aspect
presented to the eye.

In the second class of motives we have enumerated there is a strong
tendency to an important improvement in meeting the terrestrial
necessities of humanity. The banishment of servitude, the renouncement
of hireling labor and the elevation of all unavoidable work to its true
station, are problems whose solution seems to be charged upon
Association; for the dissociate systems have in vain sought remedies
for this unfavorable portion of human condition. It is impossible to
introduce into separate families even one half of the economies which
the present state of science furnishes to man. In that particular, it
is probable that even the feudal system is superior to the civic; for
its combinations permit many domestic arrangements of an economic
character, which are impracticable in small households. In order to
economize labor, and dignify the laborer, it is absolutely necessary
that men should cease to work in the present isolated, competitive
mode, and adopt that of coöperative union or Association. It is as
false and as ruinous to call any man "master," in secular business, as
it is in theological opinion. Those persons, therefore, who congregate
for the purpose, as it is called, of bettering their outward relations,
on principles so high and universal as we have endeavored to describe,
are not engaged in a petty design, bounded by their own selfish or
temporary improvement. Everyone who is here found giving up the usual
chances of individual aggrandizement, may not be thus influenced; but
whether it be so or not, the outward demonstration will probably be
equally certain.

In education Brook Farm appears to present greater mental freedom than
most other institutions. The tuition being more heart-rendered, is in
its effects more heart-stirring. The younger pupils, as well as the
more advanced students, are held mostly, if not wholly, by the power of
love. In this particular, Brook Farm is a much improved model for the
oft-praised schools of New England. It is time that the imitative and
book-learned systems of the latter should be superseded or liberalized,
by some plan better calculated to excite originality of thought and the
native energies of the mind. The deeper, kindly sympathies of the
heart, too, should not be forgotten; but the germination of these must
be despaired of under a rigid hireling system. Hence Brook Farm, with
its spontaneous teachers, presents the unusual and cheering condition
of a really "free school."

By watchful and diligent economy, there can be no doubt that a
community would attain greater pecuniary success than is within the
hope of honest individuals working separately. But Brook Farm is not a
community, and in the variety of motives with which persons associate
there, a double diligence and a watchfulness perhaps, too costly will
be needful to preserve financial prosperity. While, however, this
security is an essential element in success, riches would, on the other
hand, be as fatal as poverty, to the true progress of such an
institution. Even in the case of those foundations which have assumed a
religious character, all history proves the fatality of wealth. The
just and happy mean between riches and poverty is, indeed, more likely
to be attained when, as in this instance, all thought of acquiring
great wealth in a brief time is necessarily abandoned, as a condition
of membership. On the other hand, the presence of many persons, who
congregate merely for the attainment of some individual end, must weigh
heavily and unfairly upon those whose hearts are really expanded to
universal results.

As a whole, even the initiative powers of Brook Farm have, as is found
almost everywhere, the design of a life much too objective, too much
derived from objects in the exterior world. The subjective life, that
in which the soul finds the living source and the true communion within
itself, is not sufficiently prevalent to impart to the establishment
the permanent and sedate character it should enjoy. Undeniably, many
devoted individuals are there; several who have, as generously as
wisely, relinquished what are considered great social and pecuniary
advantages, and, by throwing their skill and energies into a course of
the most ordinary labors, at once prove their disinterestedness, and
lay the foundation for industrial nobility.

An assemblage of persons, not brought together by the principles of
community, will necessarily be subject to many of the inconveniences of
ordinary life, as well as to burdens peculiar to such a condition. Now
Brook Farm is at present such an institution. It is not a community; it
is not truly an association; it is merely an aggregation of persons,
and lacks that oneness of spirit, which is probably needful to make it
of deep and lasting value to mankind. It seems, after three years'
continuance, uncertain whether it is to be resolved more into an
educational or an industrial institution, or into one combined of both.

Placed so near a large city, and in a populous neighborhood, the
original liability for land, etc., was so large as still to leave a
considerable burden of debt. This state of things seems fairly to
entitle the establishment to re-draw from the old world in fees for
education, or in the sale of produce, sufficient to pay the annual
interest of such liabilities. Hence the necessity for a more intimate
intercourse with the trading world, and a deeper involvement in money
affairs than would have attended a more retired effort of the like
kind. To enter into the corrupting modes of the world, with the view of
diminishing or destroying them, is a delusive hope. It will,
notwithstanding, be a labor of no little worth, to induce improvements
in the two grand departments of industry and education. We say
_improvement_ as distinct from _progress_; for with any association
short of community, we do not see how it is possible for an institution
to stand so high above the present world as to conduct its affairs on
principles entirely different from those which now influence men in

There are other considerations also suggested by a glance at Brook
Farm, which are worthy the attention of the many minds now attracted by
the deeply interesting subject of human association. We are gratified
by observing several external improvements during the past year; such
as a larger and more convenient dining room, a labor saving cooking
apparatus, a purer diet, a more orderly and quiet attendance at the
refections, superior arrangements for industry, and generally an
increased seriousness in respect to the value of the example which
those who are there assembled may constitute to their fellow beings.

Of about seventy persons now assembled there, about thirty are
children, sent thither for education; some adult persons also place
themselves there chiefly for mental assistance; and in the society
there are only four married couples. With such materials it is almost
certain that the sensitive and vital points of communication cannot
well be tested. A joint-stock company, working with some of its own
members and with others as agents, cannot bring to issue the great
question whether the existence of the individual family is compatible
with the universal family, which the term "Community" signifies. This
is now the grand problem. By mothers it has ever been felt to be so.
The maternal instinct, as hitherto educated, has declared itself so
strongly in favor of the separate fireside, that the association, which
appears so beautiful to the young and unattached soul, has yet
accomplished little progress in the affections of that important
section of the human race--the mothers. With fathers, the feeling in
favor of the separate family is certainly less strong; but there is an
undefinable tie, a sort of magnetic _rapport_, an invisible,
inseverable umbilical cord between the mother and child, which in most
cases circumscribes her desires and ambition to her own immediate

All the accepted adages and wise saws of society, all the precepts of
morality, all the sanctions of theology, have for ages been employed to
confirm this feeling. This is the chief corner stone of present
society; and to this maternal instinct have, till very lately, our most
heartfelt appeals been made for the progress of the human race, by
means of a deeper and more vital education. Pestalozzi and his most
enlightened disciples are distinguished by this sentiment. And are we
all at once to abandon, to deny, to destroy this supposed stronghold of
virtue? Is it questioned whether the family arrangement of mankind is
to be preserved? Is it discovered that the sanctuary, till now deemed
the holiest on earth, is to be invaded by intermeddling scepticism, and
its altars sacrilegiously destroyed by the rude hands of innovating

Here "social science" must be brought to issue. The question of
Association and marriage are one. If, as we have been popularly led to
believe, the individual or separate family is the true order of
Providence, then the associate life is a false effort. If the associate
life is true, then is the separate family a false arrangement. By the
maternal feeling it appears to be decided that the coëxistence of both
is incompatible--is impossible. So also say some religious sects.
Social science ventures to assert their harmony. This is the grand
problem now remaining to be solved, for at least the enlightening, if
not for the vital elevation, of humanity. That the affections can be
divided, or bent with equal ardor on two objects so opposed as
universal and individual love, may at least be rationally doubted.
History has not yet exhibited such phenomena in an associate body, and
scarcely, perhaps, in any individual.

The monasteries and convents, which have existed in all ages, have been
maintained solely by the annihilation of that peculiar affection on
which the separate family is based. The Shaker families, in which the
two sexes are not entirely dissociated, can yet only maintain their
union by forbidding and preventing the growth of personal affection
other than that of a spiritual character. And this, in fact, is not
personal in the sense of individual, but ever a manifestation of
universal affection. Spite of the speculations of hopeful bachelors and
aesthetic spinsters, there is somewhat in the marriage bond which is
found to counteract the universal nature of the affections to a degree
tending at least to make considerable pause, before they can be blended
into one harmony.

The general condition of married persons at this time is some evidence
of the existence of such doubt in their minds. Were they as convinced
as the unmarried of the beauty and truth of associate life, the
demonstration would be now presented. But might it not be enforced that
the two family ideas really neutralize one another? It is not quite
certain that the human heart cannot be set in two places; that man
cannot worship at two altars? It is only the determination to do what
parents consider the best for themselves and their families, which
renders the o'er populous world such a wilderness of selfhood as it is.
Destroy this feeling, they say, and you prohibit every motive for
exertion. Much truth is there in this affirmation. For to them no other
motive remains, nor indeed to any one else, save that of the universal
good, which does not permit the building up of supposed self-good, and,
therefore, forecloses all possibility of an individual family.

These observations, of course, equally apply to all the associative
attempts, now attracting so much public attention; and perhaps most
especially to such as have more of Fourier's designs than are
observable at Brook Farm. The slight allusion in all the writers of the
"Phalansterian" class, to the subject of marriage, is rather
remarkable. They are acute and eloquent in deploring woman's oppressed
and degraded position in past and present times, but are almost silent
as to the future. In the meanwhile, it is gratifying to observe the
success which in some departments attend every effort, and that Brook
Farm is likely to become comparatively eminent in the highly important
and praiseworthy attempts to render labor of the hands more dignified
and noble, and mental education more free and loveful. C. L.


_"Association the Body of Christianity" by John S. Dwight._

The world has been divided between infidels and bigots. In Association
there will be neither, for it will remove their causes. The framework
of society is false which drives to such extremities. For most
assuredly these opposites proceeded from one common centre, and will
most gladly gravitate back again to that, so soon as the general order
becomes just and genial to the real character and purpose of each
individual soul.

Unbelief is torment, as much as any obstinate refusing of food, and no
one courts it because he will, but only accepts it because he must. On
the other hand, exclusive religionism has too much consciousness of
secret sympathy with its avowed antipodes, to enjoy itself much better.
They are only opposite forms of the same denial; opposite feelings from
the same great central wrong. They seem to hate each other; it is only
because they are not permitted to embrace: let them transfer their hate
to that which separates them. And what is that?

It is the want of unity and of all recognition of unity in the material
interests of men. If the material interest of each harmonized with the
material interest of all, as fully as their spiritual interests do, the
immediate result would be that the material and spiritual would
harmonize with one another. Then religion would not have to renounce
the world to save its very life; nor would the believer in natural
reason and the lover of justice cry, "Away with all religion, since it
leaves the world so bad!"

There are certain instincts and convictions in every human soul which
call for love and truth and justice. There is a revelation from God
which confirms them all. One noble life was all made up of these high
qualities, a present incarnation of these seemingly almost unattainable
ideals, and freely gave itself for man. Some say it was very God; all
acknowledge that such virtue is the divinest thing known, that such
love stands for the Most High, and that to reverence and obey it, is to
obey the very saving principle of human nature; that such obedience, in
fact, is perfect freedom. So that, leaving intellectual dogmas and
theories out of the question, the essence of what is called
Christianity is the natural faith of the human heart, and all men do in
their heart of hearts long to have a Christian spirit and to have that
prevail throughout the world.

But while the spirit of Christ is unity, the material interests of men
are without unity. In the whole body politic of life, the unity of the
human race is not at all implied. On the contrary, everything
contradicts the idea. Every man in seeking his material interests
becomes the rival and antagonist of every other man. To gain his bread
he must sacrifice friendship, generosity and even honor. He must keep
his convictions of nobleness and justice for a beautiful and holiday
idea; he must consign them to the keeping of religion; and she, like
the gentle wife at home, has careful instructions not to show her
beautiful face in the market place. It is hard; since in the market
place mankind are doomed to spend the most part of their life; and very
many men and women and children _all_ their life, except what nature
claims for sleep.

If there be no way, then, of realizing the unity of man with man, of
growing into the beauty of Christian love and fellowship, by the very
act which earns us bread; if there be no reconciling of religion with
this worldliness; if there be no possibility of raising in the very
market place the song, "The Lord is in his temple"; if religion calls
us one way and necessity another; if business is to be based on
principles which render ineffectual every prayer for the spirit of love
and charity; if work is the dissevering of all the bonds which thought
and speech and sentiment and blessed dreams and holy influences, with
all the help, too, of God's Holy Spirit, strive to weave;--then is
Christianity impotent, a heavenly voice that mocks mankind.

But no! As surely as Christ taught the love of God and of the neighbor,
so surely did his prediction imply a change in the material
organization of society which should fit it to be the container of this
heavenly spirit. Did he think to "put new wine into old bottles"? Must
not the spirit of Christianity create unto itself a _body_? It is a
fruitless abstraction until it does. And this, if we read the signs
aright, is the demand of this age. This is the tendency of all social
movements. The material basis of our life, our social and industrial
system, is entirely incompatible with the moral conviction and duties
of this age. Our social economy all represents and preaches
selfishness; but the idea of Christian love, the vision of unity and
brotherhood, is born in the mind, and makes terrible and unendurable
contrast with this state of things. The world is nearly ripe for the
kingdom of heaven--the organization of society precludes it.

ASSOCIATION is the word that solves the problem. The earnest and
believing hearts of this day everywhere have certain hopeful lookings
towards that; and at this providential moment science comes and offers
us the key which shall unlock the whole sphere of material interests to
its true lord, the spirit of religious love and unity. The organization
of attractive industry will be the reconciliation of spirit and matter,
of religion and the world; it will be the admission of Christ into all
our spheres; it will make all nature holy, and clothe religion in the
garb of nature.

_Extract from a lecture on Association in its Connection with Religion,
by Charles A. Dana._

It is now more than eighteen hundred years since that annunciation of
the coming of peace on earth and good-will to men, at which the world
might well have trembled with a new and mighty hope. The Divine Infant,
whose birth the celestial choirs thus celebrated, grew up to man's
estate, still bearing within him that blessed promise; he went about on
earth, imparting new life to the broken-hearted and forlorn, and
uttering words of such heavenly significance, that to this day there is
nothing that thrills the hearts of men with so true a power. At last he
gave his life a testimony to those eternal truths, and died in great
bodily agony, still publishing the prophecy that welcomed his birth,
still announcing the kingdom of peace and love, the kingdom of God on

His followers have since grown to cover great continents; whole nations
acknowledge those few words of his as their most sacred possession;
great temples are built in which his life and death are solemnly
commemorated, and men gladly yield their hard-won treasure to carry his
history to distant regions that his name has never reached. And yet, my
friends, where is that kingdom of peace and love; where, where in the
whole wide world is the will of God done as it is in heaven? Is it even
thought of as anything but a dream, an impossibility? Does not a
sceptical smile steal over the faces of men, when an earnest and
enthusiastic person speaks of it as a thing yet actually to be?

And yet it is only what Christ taught us to hope for and pray for. We
are not deceived; no one of us is mistaken in the vision that in
innocent and blessed moments visits us all. No man who utters that
sacred petition prays in vain. For the kingdom of God, the reign of
peace and good-will among men, shall surely come. Not in mystical
raptures, not in feverish trances, not in imagination, but in
reality--in actual outward peace and beauty, and in the abiding spirit
of love, filling humanity and sanctifying the earth to be the worthy
temple of so divine a presence.

And yet, who that beholds only the present condition of the Christian
church, to which these sacred ideas have been especially entrusted; who
that sees the body of Christ thus torn and discordant, would imagine
that a consummation of this imperishable hope was any longer possible?
Might we not despair, seeing these centuries of terror, of revolution,
of injustice and of perpetual hatred, and seeing that the very
disciples of the spirit of love have lost the memory of their
Master--might we not despair, and cry out with them, that the earth was
given over to evil, and that the kingdom of God would never come?

No, my friends, we may not so despair, we cannot if we would. That old
prophecy, however long delayed, still finds an involuntary echo in our
souls. And now, in this hope of a true and brotherly society, its
fulfilment seems at hand. Say it is enthusiasm, say it is a mistake,
say it is irreligion, if you will, and still I reply that the time is
not distant. It is in the combined order, where men are held together
by inward laws only, and not by outward constraint and outward
necessities, that the kingdom of God is to come down and possess the

It is in Association, then, that the promise of Christianity is to be
fulfilled--fulfilled by making the incarnation of the great law of love
an actual and universal fact. Hitherto Christianity has been in the
world a spirit pining and dying for want of a body. She has wandered up
and down on the earth, possessing here and there an individual, but
never obtaining her birthright, which is the whole of humanity, never
able to exercise her prerogative, which is to bathe the earth in the
aroma of harmony and peace. The forms of selfish and egoistical
society, the forms of society here in Boston, and throughout the
civilized world, are not of Christianity, but of the primeval curse,
which they perpetuate. Into them Christianity cannot fully enter, any
more than light can dwell in the midst of darkness.

The relations which Christianity seeks to establish between man and
man, are indicated in these words, "Love one another." But how is this
possible in a competitive society, where the interests of all are
hostile? How can vital and true love operate between me and my
neighbor, when his misfortune is my advantage, and my loss is his gain?
What does it avail that on Sundays the better spirit is feebly
awakened; what does it avail that then I aspire and long to love all
men, if on the other six days in the week my hand is of necessity set
against them all?

Do you tell me that if my love is deep and pure enough, it will modify
my whole life, and of itself, without hindrance from circumstances,
appear perfectly in all my actions and relations? This is the old
heresy, this is the error of the individualism and egoism which has
hindered us so long. Let us meet it fully and fairly.

In all results there are two elements, namely, that which acts and that
which is acted upon. The character of the individual never does and
never can form his circumstances, but can only modify them. No man is
an artist or a poet by virtue of inward genius alone. No matter how
great his gifts, unless he find a congenial atmosphere and favorable
conditions, his high office is not fulfilled. Precisely so is it with
that sacred energy which we call love. It can act entirely and
sincerely only in circumstances that harmonize and correspond with
itself. In order to carry Christianity into my daily life, the forms of
my daily life, all my relations to others, my household and my
business, must be in harmony with it.

If these forms are contrary to Christianity, the first thing for me, as
a Christian, to do, is to change them, to put them off, to be free from
them at whatever cost. If I am indeed filled and impelled by that
divine injunction, "Love one another," I cannot rest, I shall give
myself no peace, until it be possible for me to do so, not in my inward
spirit only, but in all my outward actions also. But how is this to be
done? How are the ultimate forms of my life to be brought into
correspondence with its central impulse? Plainly not by any spontaneous
and unconscious power, but by intellectual inquiry and voluntary
action. _Inspiration can discharge its whole mission only by the aid of

Besides, the end of Christianity is not the salvation of individuals,
but the transfiguration of humanity; it cannot be accomplished in you
and me, but only in the whole race. It promises the kingdom of peace
and love, not to a few solitary souls, but to man. He is indeed a
servant of Christianity, who has learned its universal purpose and
labors therefor; who does not so much seek to be saved himself, as to
bring salvation to all the world, who sees that his own private life
and development are forever involved in the universal progress. He is
ignorant of the true idea of Christianity, who has not understood that
it demands not so much that one should be careful about his own
spiritual perfection, that he should watch himself, and by private
remorse and tears seek a far-off heaven, as by a generous
self-forgetfulness and self-devotion, seek to build up the kingdom of
peace and love among men, and make heaven a reality here, and not the
hope only of a distant future and a different sphere of existence.

It is time, my friends, that this long divorce between the natural and
spiritual worlds should be broken off, and that we should know that
even now we may breathe the celestial ether, and have our common life
transformed and illumined by infinite spiritual glories.

We have said that the end of Christianity is not the salvation of
individuals; but do not let it be thought that we overlook the worth of
individual character. For heroism and holiness we have an unspeakable
reverence. The saints and poets and sages of all time are the choicest
gifts of God. The virtue, the beauty and the devotion that now shine in
the lives of private men and women, still assure us that all is not and
cannot be a failure. The ultimate result of the life of humanity will
doubtless be found in symmetrical and harmonious individuals; and in a
perfect Christianity we shall look to see an angelic love radiant from
every face. But while there is disease and imperfection in any part of
the human body, there cannot be perfect health in any other part; just
so while there is disease and imperfection in humanity, of which the
human body is an image, there cannot be perfect health in any
individual. Perfect men and women are possible only in a perfect

Finally, the sum of our remarks on the relation of Association to
Christianity, is briefly this: Association fulfils the promise of
Christianity; it shows the means whereby peace on earth and goodwill
among men are to be realized. It harmonizes the forms and relations of
society with the spirit of Christianity; in a word, it makes them forms
and relations of brotherly love, and not of selfishness and discord,
and thereby renders possible the accomplishment of the final aim of
Christianity, which is the salvation and spiritual life of universal


A prophecy in the spirit of this age announces that a new era in
humanity is opening, and sounds forth more fully than ever before the
venerable yet new gospel, that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Doubtless, in all generations, the seers and the seekers--who are
usually one and the same--have felt that their times were the
culminating points of history, the mountain of vision, the border
overlooking the promised land. Doubtless, the great of all nations and
ages have felt that they were a peculiar people, called to a peculiar
work, inspired and led by divine guidance to sublime ends. No age, no
people, have wholly wanted such signs of providential commission.

And doubtless, too, the works, bravely attempted from such high
promptings, have always in actual results seemed fruitless. Yes!
compared with his vision, the gains of the martyr's labors seem
tantalizing--a dropping shower upon the droughty earth. Always the
ideal entering the soul of man, like a god descending to the embrace of
a mortal, seems to engender a son but half divine. Yet this
disappointment is a delusion of the moment.

Quite opposite are the facts. No man yet upon earth ever boldly
aspired, and faithfully obeyed his clear convictions of good without
transmitting through his race an all but omnipotent energy. Winds waft,
streams scatter, birds of the air carry in their beaks, each seed that
drops in ripeness from the tree of life. The failures of man have been
from infidelity to his faith. Infinitely grander consequences than the
doer could estimate, have followed every executed purpose of heroism
and humanity and holy hope. Each age has been right in feeling that its
mission was all-important. Each prophet has chanted, as if for very
life, his warning and cheering, for God spoke through him in the
language of his land and era.

The Infinite Being, who through generation upon generation,
progressively incarnates himself in the human race, and so manifests
his glory upon earth, calls this age to its heavenly mission, and
speaks through it with an eloquent longing, that cannot be uttered, his
welcome and promise. The word whispers through the nations: "Man made
One; a World at Peace; Humanity, the Earth round." At the nativity of
this great hope, of this present Immanuel, the angels of our highest
aspirations bend from their cloudy thrones,--

"Harping in loud and solemn choir, With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's
newborn heir."

And the burden of the song that interprets their symphony is this:--

  "Justice and Truth again Shall down return to men.
  Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
  Mercy will sit between,
  Throned in celestial sheen,
  With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering,
  And Heaven, as at some festival,
  Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall."

The hope of universal unity has been born, cradled in the rude manger
of labor; nurtured by charity, ever virgin; worshipped by shepherds,
guarding humble, humane thoughts, like flocks in the fold of their
hearts; it has sat with the doctors in the temple, unsullied by
timidity and prudence, and has astonished them at its profound doctrine
of unbounded love; it has grown in favor with God and man, and answered
to its half doubting, half hoping parents of the church and state,
"Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" and now is it
driven away into the wilderness of poverty and hard toil, of loneliness
and mortification, to be tempted of the devil.

Let us first consider awhile these temptations; then review the forty
days' meditation upon the divine mission of this principle of perfect
love; and so be ready to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is
at hand."

To the scattered band who, few and weak, are here and there withdrawn
from the thoroughfares of life, to commune together and to cöoperate in
the grand movement of the age, the world comes in with scarce
dissembled sneer, and ironically says, "_If_ Association is really this
Messiah to the ages, this pledge of universal prosperity, of
overflowing wealth, then let it make these barren fields into gardens,
these thick growing woods into palaces, these stones into bread."

And all the while the shrewd, the rosy, sleek and full-fed world, with
title deeds in pocket and scrip and stock in hand, thinks of its
factories on rapid streams; its warehouses of three thousand dollars'
rent; its dividends at seven per cent half yearly; its iron-limbed and
tireless steeds, hurrying with the spoils of myriads of acres; its
carpeted, curtained, glowing, shining, pictured, sculptured, perfumed
homes. The victorious world, so confident and easy and jocular, so
beautiful in its own right, so wrapped about in kingly purple--how
strangely is it metamorphosed to the eyes of the child of God! Its
factories change into brothels; its rents to distress warrants; its
railroads to mighty fetters, binding industry in an inextricable net of
feudalism; from under the showy robes of its success, flutter the
unseemly rags of an ever-growing beggary; from garret and cellar of its
luxurious habitations, stare out the gaunt forms of haggard want; the
lash of the jailer, the gleam of swords, the glitter of bayonets, are
its garters and stars of nobility.

If Association has been elated by the thought of its miraculous power,
or meditated to use it for selfish ends, it deserves the taunt of the
yet more selfish world. And it is reason for great rejoicing, that the
difficulties of transition from the isolated to the harmonic mode of
life are so great. God thus _sifts_ his people. None are worthy to
enter upon this work who are not _dusted_. We need to hunger. We need
to feel dependence, in order that we may judge competition in contrast.
We need to know actually how pinching is necessity; how deep it ploughs
its furrows into brow and brain; how tight it knots up the muscles and
cramps back and limbs, by exhausting toil.

Association must be in its very essence disinterested; holding power as
something given from above, to be used not for self alone, or chiefly,
but for universal good; consecrating itself as a servant. And its
answer to the boasting world is, "Man liveth not by bread alone, but by
every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." We are learning,
in these trial times, the beauty of reciprocation, the wealth of
sharing all; we are studying experimentally the law of cooperation; we
are estimating the value of justice by its practical application; above
all, are we opening our hearts to the glad conviction that it is
possible, ay, easy, for men to grow more kindly by adversity, and to
love each other better for each other's wants.

The word which is proceeding out of the mouth of God to Associationists
now, to all the true-hearted and brave and devoted and hopeful of them
is, "Union with fellow beings by usefulness is the very life of life."
Let patience have its perfect work. Let no man be so mean as to
emphasize the "If thou be," etc. Let no doubt enter from present
humiliation. Association is the divine form of humanity. So ends in
piety the first temptation.

Then the Satan of selfishness takes counsel of his cunning, and subtly
states a new suggestion. If Association is this glorious truth to
renovate the nations, then glorious should be its announcement; loud,
wide, startling, should be its call; sudden, as from the skies, its
appearing. Here on the pinnacle of the temple of peace (or of Salem),
shalt thou stand, and cast thyself down among the multitudes like an
angel. Some splendid boldness should introduce thy reign. Take no heed
of care and caution; count not the cost; risk all in a providential
career. Surely thou shalt be guided safe. God's angels will bear thee
up, that thou dash not thy foot against a stone.

O bragging, advertising, placarding, circular-scattering,
auctioneering, humbuging world! And you would thus prove Association to
be also a windbag and a lie! Just in so far as Association has been
rash and precipitate, and swollen with promises and dizzy in its
towering pretensions, it has been truly carried to the pinnacle.

The child of God waits for opportunities. There will be occasions soon
enough for manifestation. According to the hour is the duty; and the
duty now is performance. Calm, wise, large and balanced plans,
discriminate selection of persons, discreet preparations of industry, a
sober estimate of the greatness of the undertaking, and a summoning of
all energies to its fulfilment, is the vocation just now of
Association. Enough for the day it is, honestly, honorably, humanely,
to lay the foundation in the earth unseen for the glorious fabric which
the future shall rear in light.

In so far as the inculcation of principles, the instruction of the
national mind, the calling out of enthusiasm and courage, of hope and
heroism, demand publicity, of course Association must not be backward.
It must no more be behind than before the time. But the special call
to-day is, in practical endeavor to prepare the way for a future gospel
preaching. We need complete science, clear understanding, solid
judgment. We need to solve innumerable problems, to comprehend
principles exactly by their detailed development in practice. We need
inward concentration, to gain singleness and unity of purpose.

"Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God," either by anticipation or by
tardiness. If Association is the salvation of mankind, there will be
time enough to let mankind know it. Meanwhile, let us give ourselves
wholly up to God, to be filled with his love, inspired with his wisdom,
strengthened with his might, and so made ready for the sublime work of
manifesting man made one in a perfect society. We will humbly wait the
opening of opportunities by Providence. And so ends the second
temptation in patience.

Thus baffled twice, the Prince of this world gathers up his routed
forces for the final charge:--

"Surely the power of united effect is irresistible. What has it not
already accomplished?--tunnelling mountains, bridging oceans with
boats, wringing from the gnomes of the mines their wealth long buried
in sparry palaces of salt and diamond, of gold and silver,--preparing
to sever the bond that unites twin continents, summoning storms and
staying them, making the desert yield an hundred fold, using the
lightning for post boy, giving iron weavers coal for bread and fire for
drink, that they may spin garments for the nations,--prodigious power
of combined effort, what may it not do!

"We will appeal to the rich and mighty. We will show them how they can
multiply their means seventy times seven. We will unite the race in one
grand effort of prolific production and unlimited voluptuousness. We
will be kings upon earth. All these things that thou seest from this
high mountain of exceeding enterprise, all these kingdoms and their
glory shall be thine, if thou wilt but give thyself up, O Association!
body, soul, spirit, to the worship of worldly power and splendor and

Ah, Satan! that was thy wiliest web. What! no poor, all nobles, all
fat, all glittering in court raiment, all surfeited with sweets, all
bathing in Johannisberg and champagne, all tended by houries, all
pillowed on orange-scented beds, and covered with gauze or eider down,
according to the season? Charming Satan! Selfishness made universal
will be selfishness no more. Thou art an angel of light!

Just in so far as Association, using the tact of worldly training, has
in its plannings and pleadings, lowered itself to exaltation of the
outward, by merging the inward, it has permitted the magic of sin to
dazzle its vision.

It is indeed a splendid prospect, this of a world reclaimed, of
overflowing plenty. And it shall be realized. Perfect beauty shall one
day enwreath this earth with its clustering vines. The long folded
petals of this little planet flower on the tree of the sun, shall open
and distil sweetness; its gorgeous fruit of consummate joy shall swell
and ripen. Far more than all the voluptuaries of all ages have dreamed
of shall exist, heightened by a purity they could not conceive of.

Yes! O devil, the kingdoms and the glory of them are there before us.
But know this--they do not belong unto thee to give. Thou poor devil,
always mocked and always mocking. Have not six thousand years taught
thee yet, that self-love is always a suicide? Thou wilt give the
kingdoms of the world as thou always hast, first by stealing them for
thy slaves, and then stealing them from thy slaves? No! thou forlorn
devil, thy rule is ended, thy sceptre snapped into shivers; henceforth
thou art so wholly accursed, that God and man will heartily forgive
thee, whenever thou canst forgive thyself.

"_Duty of Associationists to the Cause," by Horace Greeley. From the
Harbinger of Oct. 25, 1845._

Through the last four or five years, the doctrine of Association has
been widely disseminated through the country. The labors of its ardent
advocates, few but faithful, have been ably seconded by some portion of
the press, and both have been immensely aided by the course of events.
The great themes of political discussion in our day--the tariff and the
currency--lead directly to a consideration of the conditions of labor,
of the relations between producers and products, of mutual rights and
respective interests of employers and employed. The existence of
extreme destitution and consequent misery in the midst of general
prosperity and plenty, of willing hands vainly seeking employment amid
unsurpassed industrial activity and thrift, cannot have escaped
attention. The disasters resulting from industrial anarchy, from
"strikes" of operatives for higher wages or fewer hours of labor, the
stoppage of work by combinations if not by outright violence, arrest
general attention.

Truly the remedy for these errors and evils has yet been perceived and
embraced by comparatively few, but the conviction that the present
organization of industry cannot be advantageously maintained, and some
radical change is at hand, must have already forced itself upon very
many intelligent and candid minds. The readjustment of the relations of
capital and labor on a basis of harmony and mutual advantage, is
manifestly the great problem of the age. But that a change is at hand
is evident: the practical question regards not its probability or
certainty, but its character.

The more intelligent and wealthy class have it in their power so to
mould this change as to render it peaceful, gradual and universally
beneficent; or they can turn a deaf ear to the calls of humanity, and
let the demagogue, the envious, the selfishly discontented, pervert it
into an engine of convulsion, destruction and desolation. As in the
days of King John, the barons laid the foundations of English political
liberty, so in our day the intellectual and philanthropic may guide the
car of progress, and in establishing industrial harmony may secure to
all but the stubbornly vicious or incurably afflicted, true
independence and ample means of subsistence and development; or they
can indolently leave all to the benighted and malignant, and see
reproduced a war of classes, different indeed in its weapons and its
physical aspects, but not different in its essential character from the
ravages of France by the _Jacquerie_ or the butcheries of the reign of

In this crisis of events, with an industrial war plainly threatened and
partially commenced, the doctrine of Association appears as a mediator
and reconciler. Its bow of promise shines broadly in the lurid sky; it
irradiates the murky visage of the gathering, muttering tempest. It
awakens a hope, and the only well grounded hope, of averting the
miseries of an insane struggle between those who ought to be the
closest allies, to see which can the more injure the other. Need I urge
that in this crisis the friends of Association ought to be most earnest
and untiring in the promulgation and advocacy of their faith; that they
ought to improve the opportunities which are daily presented of
commending the truth to others whose minds are but newly prepared to
receive it? What Associationist so dull that he cannot improve every
"strike," every collision respecting the hours or the wages of labor,
to the advancement of the good cause?

To do this with effect, we must be, in the true sense of an abused
term, catholic. We must not suffer Association to be merged in mere
partisanship for any class or calling, or blind hostility to any abuse
or oppression. We are not the champions of the slave or the hired
servant, the factory girl or the housemaid, the seamstress or the
washerwoman. We are not the advocates merely of labor against capital,
of the employers as opposed to the employed. Ours is the cause of all
classes and vocations, and our success is the triumph of all. We are in
danger of becoming partial and one-sided; let us take special care to
overcome it.

But it is not enough that we give our testimony in behalf of this
benign truth; it behooves us to be doers of the work as well as hearers
and commenders. Friends of Association! scattered over the face of our
wide country! do you realize this? Do you feel that your works ought to
justify and fortify your words? We are surrounded by a world full of
want, vice and misery, which Association realized would greatly modify
and ultimately cure. But those who know nothing of this truth will
never cause it to be realized; it would be absurd to expect anything of
the kind. The work must be accomplished by us, and by those whom our
acts rather than words shall win over to a knowledge of the truth. Is
not the work of sufficient importance to incite you to embark heartily
in its furtherance?

But, says one, how can I engage practically in realizing Association?
My family and friends are vehemently adverse to it; I am engrossed by
responsibilities and duties of various kinds which I cannot uprightly
escape, and which confine me where I am. I am not yet prepared, if I
ever should be, to embark in Association.

Very well, you are not required to embark in it in the way your
objection contemplates. You are urged only to contribute to the great
work according to your ability and in a mode not inconsistent with the
proper discharge of all your duties. But many who cannot personally
enlist in the pioneer groups who for the next ten years will be engaged
in preparing the ground on which Associations are ultimately to arise,
are yet able to contribute something of their time and means to the
cause of humanity's emancipation from brutal drudgery.

And this something is eminently needed by that cause. The great work of
disseminating and defending the principles of social science needs
pecuniary aid; who will offer it? The secondary work of founding and
sustaining pioneer Associations also languishes for want of means.
Ought it to do so? I say founding, not that I would encourage the
commencement of any new undertaking, but because I consider no
Association founded as yet. We have a few beginning to clear the ground
for the work, and that is all.

But in this work noble men and women are engaged; to it they have
consecrated their energies; for it they suffer hardship and privations,
and are willing to suffer. But they cannot make their labor truly
effective without a large increase of capital, in every instance within
my knowledge. They commenced with little means, in no case sufficient
to pay for their land and buildings, and generally not half enough.
They were in need of everything, even of experience and skill to render
their labor effective, and for a long time two out of every three blows
they strike are ill-directed or render no immediate return. Thus they
toil on, needing machinery, power, buildings, everything, to give them
a chance for rapid progress; and even Associationists stand ready to
wonder at their snail-paced advance, or reproach their occasional

As one Associationist who has given his efforts and means freely to the
cause, I feel that I have a right to speak frankly. I know that the
great number of our believers are far from wealthy; yet I know that
there is wealth enough in our ranks, if it were but devoted to it, to
give an instant and resistless influence to the cause. A few thousand
dollars subscribed to the stock of each existing Association would in
most cases extinguish the mortgages on its property, provide it with
machinery and materials, and render its industry immediately productive
and profitable. Then manufacturing invention and skill would fearlessly
take up their abode with our infant colonies; labor and thrift would
flow thither, and a new and brighter era would dawn upon them.

Fellow Associationists! I shall do whatever I can for the promotion of
our common cause; to it whatever I have or may hereafter acquire of
pecuniary ability is devoted; may I not hope for a like devotion from

  _A Prophecy. From the Introduction to Fourier's
  "Theory of Social Organization" translated
  by Albert Brisbane._

"Among the influences tending to restrict man's industrial rights, I
will mention the formation of privileged corporations which,
monopolizing a given branch of industry, arbitrarily close the doors of
labor against whomsoever they please. These corporations will become
dangerous, and lead to new convulsions on being extended to the whole
industrial and commercial system. This event is not far distant and it
will be brought about all the more easily as it is not apprehended. The
greatest evils have often sprung from imperceptible germs, as for
instance, Jacobism, and if our civilization has engendered this and so
many other calamities, may it not engender others which we do not now
foresee? The most imminent of these is the birth of a commercial
feudalism or the monopoly of commerce and industry by joint-stock
companies, leagued together for the purpose of usurping and controlling
all branches of industrial organizations. Extremes meet, and the
greater the extent to which anarchical competition is carried, the
nearer is the approach to _universal monopoly_, which is the opposite
excess. Circumstances are tending towards the organization of the
commercial and industrial classes into federal companies or affiliated
monopolies, which, operating in conjunction with the great landed
interest, will reduce the middle and laboring classes to a state of
commercial vassalage, and by the influence of combined action become
the masters of the productive industry of entire nations. The small
operators will be reduced to the position of mere agents working for
the mercantile coalition. We shall then see the reappearance of
feudalism in an inverse order, founded on mercantile leagues and
answering to the baronial leagues of the middle ages.

"Everything is concurring to produce this result. The spirit of
commercial speculation and financial monopoly has extended to all
classes. Public opinion prostrates itself before the bankers and
financiers who share authority with the governments and devise every
day new means for the monopoly and control of industry.

"We are marching with rapid strides towards a commercial feudalism and
to the fourth phase of our civilization. The economists accustomed to
reverence everything which comes in the name and under the sanction of
commerce, will see this new order spring up without alarm, and will
consecrate their servile pens to the celebration of its praises. Its
_debut_ will be one of brilliant promise, but the result will be an
industrial inquisition, subordinating the whole people to the interests
of the affiliated monopolists."

Albert Brisbane prefaces this wonderful prophecy by these remarks: "In
1805 or 6, amid the preoccupation of war and military politics, he
[Fourier] foresaw and described with accuracy the future formation of
vast joint-stock companies destined to monopolize and control all
branches of industry, commerce and finance, and establish what he
called 'An industrial or commercial feudalism'--a feudalism that would
control society by the power of capital, as did the old baronial or
military feudalism by the power of the sword, and as despotically.
Under the dominion of the great barons who leagued together to control
the social world there was a monopoly of the then existing wealth,
namely, the land and the laboring classes. Now, society having passed
out of the military _regime_, and entered the industrial and
commercial, it is threatened with another vast system of monopoly."

He concludes as follows: "This was written seventy years ago [it is now
almost ninety years] when public attention was absorbed in military
conquests and glory. To-day advanced thinkers on social questions are
beginning to see the conquest of the industrial and commercial worlds
by the power of associated capital. To-day the new feudalism has more
than half entangled society in its meshes, and its complete
establishment stares us in the face. What perspicuity to have foreseen
so clearly what is now being realized! If prescience is a test of
science--if the foretelling of future events is a test of the laws that
govern them and from which they are deducible, then Fourier must have
discovered at least some of the laws which govern social evolution.

"A vague opinion prevails among men that society is moving onward to
its appointed state by what is variously termed the 'force of
circumstances,' 'the instinct of the race,' 'the general law of
progress,' 'Divine guidance.' These loose opinions are speculative
fancies adopted in the absence of real knowledge; whereas the fact is,
that society can only reach its true state by the conscious and
calculated efforts of human reason under the direction of an exact
social science. Men act on this principle when they try to organize any
part of the social system. When, from necessity, they are forced to
frame political institutions and organize governments, as they often
are after revolutions, they do so by conscious calculation and
reasoning. True, being without a scientific guide, their institutions
are imperfect and arbitrary; yet these efforts show that man recognizes
the necessity of calculation and thought in one branch, at least, of
the social organism. He knows that to have a government, he must think,
plan and devise; but he does not know that the other branches of the
social organism are subject to the same conditions, and can only be
normally constituted by the exercise of conscious reason guided by
scientific principles. Construction and organization--the same in
principle in all departments of creation--can only be the work of mind,
conscious of its operations, planning with forethought; analyzing,
comparing and combining; adapting means to ends and calculating the
relations of cause and effect. Instinct cannot organize; Divine
Providence does not interfere to do the work of reason; no science is
revealed to man; no constructions or other means are furnished him by

"When the human mind shall rise to the conception of the possibility of
a scientific organization of society, it will at once undertake, as the
work of paramount importance, the elaboration of a system of exact
social science. First, however, the laws on which the science is to be
based must be discovered and combined into a system that will enable
the mind clearly to comprehend and apply them."

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