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March Of Progress

( Originally Published Late 1800's )

The world was never so rich as it is to-day. The fabled treasures of the ancients were but as pennies to dollars in comparison with the immense wealth of these later days. Comforts of civilization have been increased, until the day laborer has more to enjoy in America than a prince in the days of the Roman empire. Culture, intelligence and charity have elevated society above the idleness of ancient times, the ignor ance and superstition of Medaevial times, and are fast bringing contentment and peace to even the poorest. The average condition of the people is far better than at any other period. Light is dawning round the globe. Africa discovered today, is invaded with commerce and trade to-morrow. India and the islands of the sea are yielding to the influences of a better civilization than they have ever known. In every land the people know more, enjoy more, possess more, read and think more than at any period of the world's history.

The material progress made during the last fifty years is indeed astonishing. In Europe and the United States wealth has increased, since 1850, three times faster than population. Labor-saving machinery has multiplied until its productive power in the United States and England alone is equal to the power of a thousand million men. In reference to this, Mr. Huxley has said that the seven millions of laborers in England can produce as much in six months as would have required, one hundred years ago, the entire working force of the world one year to equal. According to Mulhall, Great Britain has trebled her wealth since 1830 ; France has quadrupled hers, while the United States has multiplied in wealth at least six-fold, and we are at present nearly four millions richer at sunset than at sunrise each day. The accumulations of Europe and the United States make up daily eleven millions of dollars, and the increase in population is about eleven thousand each day. The domain of nature has been invaded by science, and her secret forces made subservient to the will of man, until they stand ready to serve as willing courtiers wait upon a king. It is estimated that it now requires less than one-half of the manual labor that was required in 1845 to produce an equal amount of subsistence. During this period great progress has been made in political and intellectual development. Schools, colleges, hospitals, asylums, benevolent institutions and churches are found everywhere. They are the monuments of increasing charity, and show that philanthropy, education and refinement are keeping pace with this marvelous increase of wealth. The Nineteenth Century will be set down in history as the century of material prosperity, just as the Sixteenth is called the era of reformation, and the Seventeenth the era of progress and discovery. Shall we not hope that these accumulated treasures of material wealth shall furnish the basis for a moral progress no less wonderful in the Twentieth Century ? Do we not already stand in the morning twilight of such a day, in which the moral forces will grow and be made strong ? Shall not man be made gentler, wiser, purer, so that in the onward march of the centuries the Twentieth will take its place as the century of moral progress? The signs, we think, point in this direction and encourage the belief.

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