The New International Encyclopædia/Owen, Robert Dale
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Owen, Robert Dale
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OWEN, Robert Dale (1801-77). A social reformer, son of Robert Owen (q.v.); born at Glasgow, Scotland, November 9, 1801. He was educated at home and in Switzerland. He came to the United States in 1825, aided his father to found New Harmony in Indiana, went back, on the failure of that scheme, to England, but presently returned and became a citizen of the United States. From 1828 to 1832 he published with Francis Wright in New York The Free Inquirer, a socialistic and anti-Christian weekly. He then went to New Harmony, and in 1835 was elected to the Indiana Legislature, where he distinguished himself by securing appropriations for the public school system. He was a member of Congress in 1843-47 and took a leading part in the settlement of the Northwestern boundary, in the Oregon question, and in founding the Smithsonian Institution. Failing reëlection in 1847, he took an active part in State politics, especially in furthering the legal rights of married women to property. From 1853 to 1858 he was chargé d'affaires and Minister at Naples. During the Civil War he served in the Ordnance Commission and the Freedmen's Bureau, and published an important open letter to Lincoln on emancipation. Owen was also a zealous advocate of Spiritualism. His chief publications, besides those mentioned above, are: Outlines of the System of Education at New Lanark (1824); Moral Physiology (1831); Discussion with Origen Bachelor on the Personality of God and the Authority of the Bible (1832); Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World (1859), perhaps his best-known work; The Wrong of Slavery (1864); Beyond the Breakers (1870); Debatable Land Between This World and the Next (1872); and the autobiographical Threading My Way (1874), which deals with the first twenty-seven years of his life. He died at his summer residence on Lake George, N. Y., June 17, 1877.