The great aim and ultimate end of the benevolent views of Mr Owen, are the employment, instruction and comfort of the labouring classes, and of the poor, the education of children, and the universal happiness of mankind.
These are the words of Henry Grey MacNab, author of an extensive contemporary commentary on Robert Owen's work and writings. Owen was the founder of New Lanark, a Scottish cotton mill in which he implemented a model utopian community.
MacNab had criticisms of Owen, particularly over the latter's sometimes abrasive treatment of the church. He was also aware that Owen did not always acknowledge the work of others. But for all that MacNab was won over by both the theory and practice of Owen's achievements.
These writings in general present considerations the most just, interesting and important on the economy of human life... Ambition plays no part in this great enterprise: but, on the contrary... the general sentiment of doing good is the noble principle which has given birth to 'the New Views' - these are circumstances so uncommon, that I conceive they give Mr Owen a strong legitimate claim, not merely on the attention, the public, but more immediately on that of a government where the social principle forms, or ought to form, the great basis of individual and national prosperity and happiness.