/Robert Owe's 'eras Project
WILBERT H. TIMMONS
ROBERT OWEN (1771-1858), philanthropist, humanitarian,
utopian, has sometimes been called "the Father of Eng-
lish Socialism." His social experiment at New Lanark,
Scotland, begun in 18oo, was his most successful enterprise 'and
attracted wide attention. Considering the United States a fruitful
field for further experimentation, he transferred his activities to
this country and became associated with numerous projects, the
best known being that at New Harmony, Indiana. Not so well
known is the plan Owen formulated in 1828 for Coahuila and
Texas, a province of the Republic of Mexico.
The origin of Owen's Texas plan is difficult to determine, but
evidently he had become interested in Texas because of a contact
he had established with Benjamin R. Milam and Arthur G.
Wavell, who had obtained a grant in 1826 to settle a colony of
Europeans in the border reserve between the Red River and the
Sulphur Fork. Soon after Owen returned to England in 1828,
he received a letter written by Milam from London, dated Au-
gust 30,2 stating that he and Wavell were prepared to offer valu-
able allotments on suitable terms, if Owen would care to consider
Owen's plan, published in Philadelphia in 1828, was called
Memorial to the Mexican Republic and to the Government of
Coahuila and Texas.4 Only a few copies of the Memorial were
published, and as a result, an interesting side light of Texas his-
tory has passed almost unnoticed. A copy of the Memorial was
found, however, in the Archives of The University of Texas, Wil-
liam R. Manning Transcripts from the Archivo General de la
1Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin (Nashville, 1925), 292n.
2Milam, who had been in Mexico on business matters, left there for Europe in
May, 1828. The exact dcate on which he arrived in England cannot be determined.
See Lois Garver, "Benjamin Rush Milam," Southwestern Historical Quarterly,
XXXVIII (October-December, 1934), lo9, Iion.
8Frank Podmore, Robert Owen: A Biography (2 vols.; London, 1906), I, 387.
4lbid., II, 658. The date of publication is given incorrectly as 1827 in National
Library of,Wales, A Bibliography of Robert Owen, the Socialist (London, 1925), 5.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/. Accessed May 5, 2015.