Closing of the Volume

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Notwithstanding the urgent requests of friends, for whose sympathy an expression of my gratitude is due, I find myself under the necessity of postponing the publication of another volume of the Present. The winter's experience has taught me, that the time and thought needed for any adequate discussion of the great subjects now beginning to interest the public conscience, encroach too much upon a near and sacred duty. It has fallen upon me, in connection with his son, to prepare a memoir of William Ellery Channing. And until such justice is done, as is in my power to render to one, who was the spiritual father of so many, and to whom, under God, I owe what of humanity and hope is in me, I have no energies to spare for constant editorial labors. When that work is accomplished, if sufficient encouragement is given for resuming the Present, and should no more suitable mode of addressing the public he open, ed, another volume may appear. Meanwhile, in closing this series of monthly interviews with my readers, will they allow me a word of explanation in relation to the past.

This periodical was called the Present, as a means of suggesting, that this age, as all ages have been, is hallowed by the inspiration and providence of God. The first hope of its editor was to aid in awakenings more joyful confidence in the designs of Heaven and the destinies of Humanity. The series of essays from my pen have been written with this intent. It seemed necessary to take as a position, from which to contemplate our duties, the Great " Principle Of Love," that is working will a power hitherto unexampled in the heart of this generation. A religious and philosophical justification of this position was timely. And this mar account for the abstract and "transcendental" cast of these speculations, of which some critics have complained. One other essay, upon "Jesus, as the type of the Universal Man, and Christianity, as the Universal Union," would have completed this series. It was my purpose then to have passed to the practical application of this Principle of Love ; first taking up the "Problems of the Present;" next, considering critically the "Solutions of these Problems," offered in our day by the Church, the State and various Reforms; and concluding with a positive exhibition of "Social Organization in accordance with Divine Order." In relation to this last point, I will only say here, that my faith in the wisdom and practicability of Association, has steadily increased. It is an experiment which deserves the most systematic and energetic trial. Without adopting all ere» of his practical views, certainly without admitting or pretending to comprehend all of his theories and conjectures, I yet feel under obligations to Charles Fourier, which it would not be easy to state without seeming exaggeration. Doubtless he had Giults, and committed errors. But his was a noble heart, and a grand intellect. He has been the means, I do sincerely believe, of giving this generation a clue, which with the blessing of God, may lead us out of our actual scientific and social labyrinth. Surely we need to practise, as we do not now, our professed principles of Brotherhood, and to make our whole lives, as they are not now, Worship. May Heaven on Earth come, may God's will be done. March 24th, 1844.


As it is sometimes asked, why I have not sent the Present to subscribers of the Health Journal, and Independent Magazine, I answer, that I have never received funds from either the editors of that work or its subscribers. Certainly there was no obligation, and certainly I could not afford to supply persons with this periodical gratuitously. W. H. C.

  • William Henry Channing, “Closing of the Volume,” The Present 1, no. 11-12 (April 1, 1844): 431-432.