La Rdunion, a French Settlement in Texas. By William J. Ham-
mond and Margaret F. Hammond. Dallas (Royal Publishing
Company), 1958. Pp. 152. Illustrations, bibliography. $3.00.
About the middle of the nineteenth century many Utopian
schemes were spawned in Europe, spread to America, and shriv-
elled away under the withering heat of Know-Nothingism and
slavery agitation. Robert Owen was the promoter and sponsor of
a mild form of socialism in Britain, and his counterpart in France
was Charles Francois Fourier. Fourierism in America-especially
west of the Mississippi-is the subject of this well-written and
thoroughly documented volume.
Victor Prosper Consid6rant was one of Fourier's most ardent
disciples. Albert Brisbane, an American steeped in Fourier's doc-
trines and philosophy, attracted the interest and sympathies of
American intellectuals such as Charles A. Dana, Horace Greely,
James Russell Lowell, John G. Whittier, and others. The Fourier
concept was one of mass production and systematic production
which was to be accomplished by minute organization, the unit
of which was to be the phalange or phalanx. People were to be
impelled into this system rather than compelled. The work was
to be nothing more than organized sport.
In 1852 Considerant came to America and joined Brisbane in
search of a location for a phalange and colony other than those in
New England and New Jersey. An overland journey was under-
taken to the Ohio, down the Mississippi, up the Arkansas to Fort
Smith, and from there overland to Texas-Santa Fe having been
ruled out as being too far inland from ocean transportation. Cooke
County, the first choice, was not available, having been pre-empted
by settlers, speculators, and railroads. The ultimate site was on
the Trinity River along the chalk hills about two miles west of
present downtown Dallas, where still can be found some traces
of La Reunion. The scenery was beautiful but the soil was shallow
and unsuited for the purposes intended.
Considerant failed to prepare adequately for his colonists and
his settlers jumped the gun by straggling in early and in small
numbers. In training, talents, and skills, they surpassed those of
the established pioneer frontiersmen. Belgians and Swiss as well
as a preponderance of French made up the personnel of the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/. Accessed July 13, 2014.