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Robert Ingersoll Progress

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Robert Green Ingersoll

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1860 & 1864

(This is the first lecture ever delivered by
Mr. Ingersoll. The stars on page one
indicate missing words in the manuscript.)

It is admitted by all that happiness is the only good,
happiness in its highest and grandest sense and the most * *
springs * * of * * refined * * generous * * .

Conscience * * tends * * indirectly * * truly we * *
physically * * to develop the wonderful powers of the mind is

It is impossible for men to become educated and refined
without leisure and there can be no leisure without wealth and all
wealth is produced by labor, nothing else. Nothing can * * the
hands * * and * * fabrics * * service of civil * * and crumbles *
* of all, and yet even in free America labor is not honored as it

We should remember that the prosperity of the world depends
upon the men who walk in the fresh furrows and through the rustling
corn, upon those whose faces are radiant with the glare of
furnaces, upon the delvers in dark mines, the workers in shops,
upon those who give to the wintry air the ringing music of the axe,
and upon those who wrestle with the wild waves of the raging sea.

And it is from the surplus produced by labor that schools are
built, that colleges and universities are founded and endowed. From
this surplus the painter is paid for the immortal productions of
the pencil. This pays the sculptor for chiseling the shapeless rock
into forms of beauty almost divine, and the poet for singing the
hopes, the loves and aspirations of the world.

This surplus has erected all the palaces and temples, all the
galleries of art, has given to us all the books in which we
converse, as it were, with the dead kings of the human race, and
has supplied us with all there is of elegance, of beauty and of
refined happiness in the world.

I am aware that the subject chosen by me is almost infinite
and that in its broadest sense it is absolutely beyond the present
comprehension of man.

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I am also aware that there are many opinions as to what
progress really is, that what one calls progress, another
denominates barbarism; that many share a wonderful veneration for
all that is ancient, merely because it is ancient, and they see no
beauty in anything from which they do not have to blow the dust of
ages with the breath of praise.

They say, no masters like the old, no governments like the
ancient, no orators, no poets, no statesmen like those who have
been dust for two thousand years. Others despise antiquity and
admire only the modern, merely because it is modern. They find so
much to condemn in the past, that they condemn all. I hope,
however, that I have gratitude enough to acknowledge the
obligations I am under to the great and heroic minds of antiquity,
and that I have manliness and independence enough not to believe
what they said merely because they said it, and that I have moral
courage enough to advocate ideas, however modern they may be, if I
believe that they are right. Truth is neither young nor old, is
neither ancient nor modern, but is the same for all times and
places and should be sought for with ceaseless activity, eagerly
acknowledged, loved more than life, and abandoned -- never. In
accordance with the idea that labor is the basis of all prosperity
and happiness, is another idea or truth, and that is, that labor in
order to make the laborer and the world at large happy, must be
free. That the laborer must be a free man, the thinker must be
free. I do not intend in what I may say upon this subject to carry
you back to the remotest antiquity, -- back to Asia, the cradle of
the world, where we could stand in the ashes and ruins of a
civilization so old that history has not recorded even its decay.
It will answer my present purpose to commence with the Middle Ages.
In those times there was no freedom of either mind or body in
Europe. Labor was despised, and a laborer was considered as
scarcely above the beasts. Ignorance like a mantle covered the
world, and superstition ran riot with the human imagination. The
air was filled with angels, demons and monsters. Everything assumed
the air of the miraculous. Credulity occupied the throne of reason
and faith put out the eyes of the soul. A man to be distinguished
had either to be a soldier or a monk. He could take his choice
between killing and lying. You must remember that in those days
nations carried on war as an end, not as a means. War and theology
were the business of mankind. No man could win more than a bare
existence by industry, much less fame and glory. Comparatively
speaking, there was no commerce. Nations instead of buying and
selling from and to each other, took what they wanted by brute
force. And every Christian country maintained that it was no
robbery to take the property of Mohammedans, and no murder to kill
the owners with or without just cause of quarrel. Lord Bacon was
the first man of note who maintained that a Christian country was
bound to keep its plighted faith with an Infidel one. In those days
reading and writing were considered very dangerous arts, and any
layman who had acquired the art of reading was suspected of being
a heretic or a wizard.

It is almost impossible for us to conceive of the ignorance,
the cruelty, the superstition and the mental blindness of that
period. In reading the history of those dark and bloody years, I am
amazed at the wickedness, the folly and presumption of mankind. And

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yet, the solution of the whole matter is, they despised liberty;
they hated freedom of mind and of body. They forged chains of
superstition for the one and of iron for the other. They were ruled
by that terrible trinity, the cowl, the sword and chain.

You cannot form a correct opinion of those ages without
reading the standard authors, so to speak, of that time, the laws
then in force, and by ascertaining the habits and customs of the
people, their mode of administering the laws, and the ideas that
were commonly received as correct. No one believed that honest
error could be innocent; no one dreamed of such a thing as
religious freedom. In the fifteenth century the following law was
in force in England: "That whatsoever they were that should read
the Scriptures in the mother tongue, they should forfeit land,
cattle, body, life, and goods from their heirs forever, and so be
condemned for heretics to God, enemies to the crown, and most
arrant traitors to the land." The next year after this law was in
force, in one day thirty-nine were hanged for its violation and
their bodies afterward burned.

Laws equally unjust, bloody and cruel were in force in all
parts of Europe. In the sixteenth century a man was burned in
France because he refused to kneel to a procession of dirty monks.
I could enumerate thousands of instances of the most horrid cruelty
perpetrated upon men, women and even little children, for no other
reason in the world than for a difference of opinion upon a subject
that neither party knew anything about. But you are all, no doubt,
perfectly familiar with the history of religious persecution.

There is one thing, however, that is strange indeed, and that
is that the reformers of those days, the men who rose against the
horrid tyranny of the times, the moment they attained power,
persecuted with a zeal and bitterness never excelled. Luther, one
of the grand men of the world, cast in the heroic mould, although
he gave utterance to the following sublime sentiment: "Every one
has the right to read for himself that he may prepare himself to
live and to die," still had no idea of what we call religious
freedom. He considered universal toleration an error, so did
Melancthon, and Erasmus, and yet, strange as it may appear, they
were exercising the very right they denied to others, and
maintaining their right with a courage and energy absolutely

John Knox was only in favor of religious freedom when he was
in the minority, and Baxter entertained the same sentiment.
Castalio, a professor at Geneva, in Switzerland, was the first
clergyman in Europe who declared the innocence of honest error, and
who proclaimed himself in favor of universal toleration. The name
of this man should never be forgotten. He had the goodness, the
courage, although surrounded with prisons and inquisitions, and in
the midst of millions of fierce bigots, to declare the innocence of
honest error, and that every man had a right to worship the good
God in his own way.

For the utterance of this sublime sentiment his professorship
was taken from him, he was driven from Geneva by John Calvin and
his adherents, although he had belonged to their sect.

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He was denounced as a child of the Devil, a dog of Satan, as
a murderer of souls, as a corrupter of the faith, and as one who by
his doctrines crucified the Savior afresh. Not content with merely
driving him from his home, they pursued him absolutely to the
grave, with a malignity that increased rather than diminished. You
must not think that Calvin was alone in this; on the contrary he
was fully sustained by public opinion, and would have been
sustained even though he had procured the burning of the noble
Castalio at the stake. I cite this instance not merely for the
purpose of casting odium upon Calvin, but to show you what public
opinion was at that time, when such things were ordinary
transactions. Bodinus, a lawyer in France, about the same time
advocated something like religious liberty, but public opinion was
overwhelmingly against him and the people were at all times ready
with torch and brand, chain, and fagot to get the abominable heresy
out of the human mind, that a man had a right to think for himself.
And yet Luther, Calvin, Knox and Baxter, in spite, as it were, of
themselves, conferred a great and lasting benefit upon mankind; for
what they did was at least in favor of individual judgment and one
successful stand against the church produced others, all of which
tended to establish universal toleration. In those times you will
remember that failing to convert a man or woman by the ordinary
means, they resorted to every engine of torture that the ingenuity
of bigotry could devise; they crushed their feet in what they
called iron boots; they roasted them upon slow fires; they plucked
out their nails, and then into the bleeding quick thrust needles;
and all this to convince them of the truth. I suppose that we
should love our neighbor as ourselves.

Montaigne was the first man who raised his voice against
torture in France; a man blessed with so much common sense, that he
was the most uncommon man of the age in which he lived. But what
was one voice against the terrible cry of ignorant millions? -- a
drowning man in the wild roar of the infinite sea. It is impossible
to read the history of the long and seemingly hopeless war waged
for religious freedom, without being filled with horror and
disgust. Millions of men, women and children, at least one hundred
millions of human beings with hopes and loves and aspirations like
ourselves, have been sacrificed upon the altar of bigotry. They
have perished at the stake, in prisons, by famine and by sword;
they have died wandering, homeless, in deserts, groping in caves,
until their blood cried from the earth for vengeance. But the
principle, gathering strength from their weakness, nourished by
blood and flame, rendered holier still by their sufferings --
grander by their heroism, and immortal by their death, triumphed at
last, and is now acknowledged by the whole civilized world.
Enormous as the cost has been the principle is worth a thousand
times as much. There must he freedom in religion, for without
freedom there can be no real religion. And as for myself I glory in
the fact that upon American soil that principle was first firmly
established, and that the Constitution of the United States was the
first of any great nation in which religious toleration was made
one of the fundamental laws of the land. And it is not only the law
of our country but the law is sustained by an enlightened public
opinion. Without liberty there is no religion -- no worship. What
light is to the eyes -- what air is to the lungs -- what love is to
the heart, liberty is to the soul of man. Without liberty, the

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brain is a dungeon, where the chained thoughts die with their
pinions pressed against the hingeless doors.


The next fact to which I call your attention is, that during
the Middle Ages the people, the whole people, the learned and the
ignorant, the masters and the slaves, the clergy, the lawyers,
doctors and statesmen, all believed in witchcraft -- in the evil
eye, and that the devil entered into people, into animals and even
into insects to accomplish his dark designs. And all the people
believed it their solemn duty to thwart the devil by all means in
their power, and they accordingly set themselves at work hanging
and burning everybody suspected of being in league with the Enemy
of mankind. If you grant their premises, you justify their actions.
If these persons had actually entered into partnership with the
devil for the purpose of injuring their neighbors, the people would
have been justified in exterminating them all. And the crime of
witchcraft was proven over and over again in court after court in
every town of Europe. Thousands of people who were charged with
being in league with the devil confessed the crime, gave all the
particulars of the bargain, told just what the devil said and what
they replied, and exactly how the bargain was consummated, admitted
in the presence of death, on the very edge of the grave, when they
knew that the confession would confiscate all their property and
leave their children homeless wanderers, and render their own names
infamous after death.

We can account for a man suffering death for what he believes
to be right. He knows that he has the sympathy of all the truly
good, and he hopes that his name will be gratefully remembered in
the far future, and above all, he hopes to win the approval of a
just God. But the man who confessed himself guilty of being a
wizard, knew that his memory would be execrated and expected that
his soul would be eternally lost. What motive could then have
induced so many to confess? Strange as it is, I believe that they
actually believed themselves guilty. They considered their case
hopeless; they confessed and died without a prayer. These things
are enough to make one think that sometimes the world becomes
insane and that the earth is a vast asylum without a keeper. I
repeat that I am convinced that the people that confessed
themselves guilty believed that they were so. In the first place,
they believed in witchcraft and that people often were possessed of
Satan, and when they were accused the fright and consternation
produced by the accusation, in connection with their belief, often
produced insanity or something akin to it, and the poor creatures
charged with a crime that it was impossible to disprove, deserted
and abhorred by their friends, left alone with their superstitions
and fears, driven to despair, looked upon death as a blessed relief
from a torture that you and I cannot at this day understand. People
were charged with the most impossible crimes. In the time of James
the First, a man was burned in Scotland for having produced a storm
at sea for the purpose of drowning one of the royal family. A woman
was tried before Sir Matthew Hale, one of the most learned and
celebrated lawyers of England, for having caused children to vomit
crooked pins. She was also charged with nursing demons. Of course
she was found guilty, and the learned Judge charged the jury that

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there was no doubt as to the existence of witches, that all
history, sacred and profane, and that the experience of every
country proved it beyond any manner of doubt. And the woman was
either hanged or burned for a crime for which it was impossible for
her to be guilty. In those times they also believed in Lycanthropy
-- that is, that persons of whom the devil had taken possession
could assume the appearance of wolves.

One instance is related where a man was attacked by what
appeared to be a wolf. He defended himself and succeeded in cutting
off one of the wolf's paws, whereupon the wolf ran and the man
picked up the paw and putting it in his pocket went home. When he
took the paw out of his pocket it had changed to a human hand, and
his wife sat in the house with one of her hands gone and the stump
of her arm bleeding. He denounced his wife as a witch, she
confessed the crime and was burned at the stake. People were burned
for causing frosts in the summer, for destroying crops with hail,
for causing cows to become dry, and even for souring beer. The life
of no one was secure, malicious enemies had only to charge one with
witchcraft, prove a few odd sayings and queer actions to secure the
death of their victim. And this belief in witchcraft was so intense
that to express a doubt upon the subject was to be suspected and
probably executed. Believing that animals were also taken
possession of by evil spirits and also believing that if they
killed an animal containing one of the evil spirits that they
caused the death of the spirit, they absolutely tried animals,
convicted and executed them. At Basle, in 1474, a rooster was
tried, charged with having laid an egg, and as rooster eggs were
used only in making witch ointment it was a serious charge, and
everyone of course admitted that the devil must have been the
cause, as roosters could not very well lay eggs without some help.
And the egg having been produced in court, the rooster was duly
convicted and he together with his miraculous egg were publicly and
with all due solemnity burned in the public square. So a hog and
six pigs were tried for having killed, and partially eaten a child,
the hog was convicted and executed, but the pigs were acquitted on
the ground of their extreme youth. As late as 1740 a cow was
absolutely tried on a charge of being possessed of the devil. Our
forefathers used to rid themselves of rats, leeches, locusts and
vermin by pronouncing what they called a public exorcism.

On some occasions animals were received as witnesses in
judicial proceedings.

The law was in some of the countries of Europe, that if a
man's house was broken into between sunset and sunrise and the
owner killed the intruder, it should be considered justifiable

But it was also considered that it was just possible that a
man living alone might entice another to his house in the night-
time, kill him and then pretend that his victim was a robber. In
order to prevent this, it was enacted that when a person was killed
by a man living alone and under such circumstances the solitary
householder should not be held innocent unless he produced in court
some animal, a dog or a cat, that had been an inmate of the house
and had witnessed the death of the person killed. The prisoner was

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then compelled in the presence of such animal to make a solemn
declaration of his innocence, and if the animal failed to
contradict him, he was declared guiltless, -- the law taking it for
granted that the Deity would cause a miraculous manifestation by a
dumb animal, rather than allow a murderer to escape. It was the law
in England that any one convicted of a crime, could appeal to what
was called corsned or morsel of execration. This was a piece of
cheese or bread of about an ounce in weight, which was first
consecrated with a form of exorcism desiring that the Almighty, if
the man were guilty, would cause convulsions and paleness, and that
it might stick in his throat, but that it might if the man were
innocent, turn to health and nourishment. Godwin, the Earl of Kent,
during the reign of Edward the Confessor, appealed to the corsned,
which sticking in his throat, produced death. There were also
trials by water and by fire. Persons were made to handle red hot
iron, and if it burned them their guilt was established; so their
hands and feet were tied, and they were thrown into the water, and
if they sank they were pronounced guilty and allowed to drown. I
give these instances to show you what has happened, and what always
will happen, in countries where ignorance prevails, and people
abandon the great standard of reason. And also to show to you that
scarcely any man, however great, can free himself of the
superstitions of his time. Kepler, one of the greatest men of the
world, and an astronomer second to none, although he plucked from
the stars the secrets of the universe, was an astrologer and
thought he could predict the career of any man by finding what star
was in the ascendant at his birth. This infinitely foolish stuff
was religiously believed by him, merely because he had been raised
in an atmosphere of boundless credulity. Tycho Brahe, another
astronomer who has been, and is called the prince of astronomers --
not only believed in astrology, but actually kept an idiot in his
service, whose disconnected and meaningless words he carefully
wrote down and then put them together in such a manner as to make
prophecies, and then he patiently and confidently awaited their

Luther believed that he had actually seen the devil not only,
but that he had had discussions with him upon points of theology.
On one occasion getting excited, he threw an ink-stand at his
majesty's head, and the ink stain is still to be seen on the wall
where the stand was broken. The devil I believe, was untouched, he
probably having an inkling of Luther's intention, made a successful

In the time of Charles the Fifth, Emperor of Germany,
Stoeffler, a noted mathematician and astronomer, a man of great
learning, made an astronomical calculation according to the great
science of astrology and ascertained that the world was to be
visited by another deluge. This prediction was absolutely believed
by the leading men of the empire not only, but of all Europe. The
commissioner general of the army of Charles the Fifth recommended
that a survey be made of the country by competent men in order to
find out the highest land. But as it was uncertain how high the
water would rise this idea was abandoned.

Thousands of people left their homes in low lands, by the
rivers and near the sea and sought the more elevated ground.
Immense suffering was produced. People in some instances abandoned

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the aged, the sick and the infirm to the tender mercies of the
expected flood, so anxious were they to reach some place of

At Toulouse, in France, the people actually built an ark and
stocked it with provisions, and it was not till long after the day
upon which the flood was to have come, had passed, that the people
recovered from their fright and returned to their homes. About the
same time it was currently reported and believed that a child had
been born in Silesia with a golden tooth. The people were again
filled with wonder and consternation. They were satisfied that some
great evil was coming upon mankind. At last it was solved by some
chapter in Daniel wherein is predicted somebody with a golden head.
Such stories would never have gained credence only for the reason
that the supernatural was expected. Anything in the ordinary course
of nature was not worth telling. The human mind was in chains; it
had been deformed by slavery. Reason was a trembling coward, and
every production of the mind was deformed, every idea was a
monster. Almost every law was unjust. Their religion was nothing
more or less than monsters worshiping an imaginary monster. Science
could not, properly speaking, exist. Their histories were the
grossest and most palpable falsehoods, and they filled all Europe
with the most shocking absurdities. The histories were all written
by the monks and bishops, all of whom were intensely superstitious,
and equally dishonest. Everything they did was a pious fraud. They
wrote as if they had been eye-witnesses of every occurrence that
they related. They entertained, and consequently expressed, no
doubt as to any particular, and in case of any difficulty they
always had a few miracles ready just suited for the occasion, and
the people never for an instant doubted the absolute truth of every
statement that they made. They wrote the history of every country
of any importance. They related all the past and present, and
predicted nearly all the future, with an ignorant impudence
actually sublime. They traced the order of St. Michael in France
back to the Archangel himself, and alleged that he was the founder
of a chivalric order in heaven itself. They also said that the
Tartars originally came from hell, and that they were called
Tartars because Tartarus was one of the names of perdition. They
declared that Scotland was so called after Scota, a daughter of
Pharaoh, who landed in Ireland and afterward invaded Scotland and
took it by force of arms. This statement was made in a letter
addressed to the Pope in the 14th century and was alluded to as a
well-known fact. The letter was written by some of the highest
dignitaries of the church and by direction of the king himself.
Matthew, of Paris, an eminent historian of the 13th century, gave
the world the following piece of valuable information: "It is well
known that Mohammed originally was a Cardinal and became a heretic
because he failed in his design of being elected Pope."

The same gentleman informs us that Mohammed having drank to
excess fell drunk by the roadside, and in that condition was killed
by pigs. And this is the reason, says he, that his followers abhor
pork even unto this day. Another historian of about the same
period, tells us that one of the popes cut off his hand because it
had been kissed by an improper person, and that the hand was still
in the Lateran at Rome, where it had been miraculously preserved
from corruption for over five hundred years. After that occurrence,

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says he, the Pope's toe was substituted, which accounts for this
practice. He also has the goodness to inform his readers that Nero
was in the habit of vomiting frogs. Some of the croakers of the
present day against progress would, I think, be the better of such
a vomit. The history of Charlemagne was written by Turpin the
Archbishop of Rheims, and received the formal approbation of the
Pope. In this it is asserted that the walls of a city fell down in
answer to prayer; that Charlemagne was opposed by a giant called
Fenacute who was a descendant of the ancient Goliath; that forty
men were sent to attack this giant, and that he took them under his
arms and quietly carried them away. At last Orlando engaged him
singly; not meeting with the success that he anticipated, he
changed his tactics and commenced a theological discussion; warming
with his subject he pressed forward and suddenly stabbed his
opponent, inflicting a mortal wound. After the death of the giant,
Charlemagne easily conquered the whole country and divided it among
his sons.

The history of the Britons, written by the Archdeacons of
Monmouth and Oxford, was immensely popular. According to their
account, Brutus, a Roman, conquered England, built London, called
the country Britain after himself. During his time it rained blood
for three days. At another time a monster came from the sea, and
after having devoured a great many common people, finally swallowed
the king himself. They say that King Arthur was not born like
ordinary mortals, but was formed by a magical contrivance made by
a wizard. That he was particularly lucky in killing giants, that he
killed one in France who used to eat several people every day, and
that this giant was clothed with garments made entirely of the
beards of kings that he had killed and eaten. To cap the climax,
one of the authors of this book was promoted for having written an
authentic history of his country. Another writer of the 15th
century says that after Ignatius was dead they found impressed upon
his heart the Greek word Theos. In all historical compositions
there was an incredible want of common honesty. The great historian
Eusebius ingenuously remarks that in his history he omitted
whatever tended to discredit the church and magnified whatever
conduced to her glory. The same glorious principle was adhered to
by most, if not all, of the writers of those days. They wrote and
the people believed that the tracks of Pharaoh's chariot wheels,
were still impressed upon the sands of the Red Sea and could not be
obliterated either by the winds or waves.

The next subject to which I call your attention is the
wonderful progress in the mechanical arts. Animals use the weapons
nature has furnished, and those only -- the beak, the claw, the
tusk, the teeth. The barbarian uses a club, a stone. As man
advances he makes tools with which to fashion his weapons; he
discovers the best material to be used in their construction. The
next thing was to find some power to assist him -- that is to say,
the weight of falling water, or the force of the wind. He then
creates a force, so to speak, by changing water to steam, and with
that he impels machines that can do almost everything but think.
You will observe that the ingenuity of man is first exercised in
the construction of weapons. There were splendid Damascus blades
when plowing was done with a crooked stick. There were complete
suits of armor on backs that had never felt a shirt. The world was

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full of inventions to destroy life before there were any to prolong
it or make it endurable. Murder was always a science -- medicine is
not one yet. Scalping was known and practiced long before Barret
discovered the Hair Regenerator. The destroyers have always been
honored. The useful have always been despised. In ancient times
agriculture was known only to slaves. The low, the ignorant, the
contemptible, cultivated the soil. To work was to be nobody.
Mechanics were only one degree above the farmer. In short, labor
was disgraceful. Idleness was the badge of gentle blood. The fields
being poorly cultivated produced but little at the best. Only a few
kinds of crops were raised. The result was frequent famine and
constant suffering. One country could not be supplied from another
as now; the roads were always horrible, and besides all this, every
country was at war with nearly every other. This state of things
lasted until a few years ago.

Let me show you the condition of England at the beginning of
the eighteenth century. At that time London was the most populous
capital in Europe, yet it was dirty, ill built, without any
sanitary provisions whatever. The deaths were one in 23 each year.
Now in a much more crowded population they are not one in forty.
Much of the country was then heath and swamp. Almost within sight
of London there was a tract, twenty-five miles round, almost in a
state of nature; there were but three houses upon it. In the rainy
season the roads were almost impassable. Through gullies filled
with mud, carriages were dragged by oxen. Between places of great
importance the roads were little known, and a principal mode of
transport was by pack horses, of which passengers took advantage by
stowing themselves away between the packs. The usual charge for
freight was 30 cents per ton a mile. After a while, what they were
pleased to call flying coaches were established. They could move
from thirty to fifty miles a day. Many persons thought the risk so
great that it was tempting Providence to get into one of them. The
mail bag was carried on horseback at five miles an hour. A penny
post had been established in the city, but many long-headed men,
who knew what they were saying, denounced it as a popish
contrivance. Only a few years before, parliament had resolved that
all pictures in the royal collection which contained
representations of Jesus or the Virgin Mary should be burned. Greek
statues were handed over to Puritan stone masons to be made decent.
Lewis Meggleton had given himself out as the last and the greatest
of the prophets, having power to save or damn. He had also
discovered that God was only six feet high and the sun four miles
off. There were people in England as savage as our Indians. The
women, half naked, would chant some wild measure, while the men
would brandish their dirks and dance. There were thirty-four
counties without a printer. Social discipline was wretched. The
master flogged his apprentice, the pedagogue his scholar, the
husband his wife; and I am ashamed to say that whipping has not
been abolished in our schools. It is a relic of barbarism and
should not be tolerated one moment. It is brutal, low and
contemptible. The teacher that administers such punishment is no
more to blame than the parents that allow it. Every gentleman and
lady should use his or her influence to do away with this vile and
infamous practice. In those days public punishments were all
brutal. Men and women were put in the pillory and then pelted with
brick-bats, rotten eggs and dead cats, by the rabble. The whipping-

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Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


post was then an institution in England as it is now in the
enlightened State of Delaware. Criminals were drawn and quartered;
others, were disemboweled and hung and their bodies suspended in
chains to rot in the air. The houses of the people in the country
were huts, thatched with straw. Anybody who could get fresh meat
once a week was considered rich. Children six years old had to
labor. In London the houses were of wood or plaster, the streets
filthy beyond expression, even muddier than Bloomington is now.
After nightfall a passenger went about at his peril, for chamber
windows were opened and slop pails unceremoniously emptied. There
were no lamps in the streets, but plenty of highwaymen and robbers.

The morals of the people corresponded, as they generally do,
to their physical condition. It is said that the clergy did what
they could to make the people pious, but they could not accomplish
much. You cannot convert a man when he is hungry. He will not
accept better doctrines until he gets better clothes, and he won't
have more faith till he gets more food. Besides this, the clergy
were a little below par, so much so that Queen Elizabeth issued an
order that no clergyman should presume to marry a servant girl
without the consent of her master or mistress. During the same time
the condition of France and indeed of all Europe was even worse
than England. What has changed the condition of Great Britain? More
than any and everything else, the inventions of her mechanics. The
old moral method was and always will be a failure. If you wish to
better the condition of a people morally, better them physically.
About the close of the 18th Century, Watt, Arkwright, Hargreave,
Crompton, Cartwright, invented the steam engine, the spring frame,
the jenny, the mule, the power loom, the carding machine and a
hundred other minor inventions, and put it in the power of England
to monopolize the markets of the world. Her machinery soon became
equal to 30,000,000 of men. In a few years the population was
doubled and the wealth quadrupled; and England became the first
nation of the world through her inventors. her merchants, her
mechanics, and in spite of her statesmen, her priests and her
nobles. England began to spin for the world, cotton began to be
universally worn, clean shirts began to be seen. The most cunning
spinners of India could make a thread over 100 miles long from one
pound of cotton. The machines of England have produced one over
1000 miles in length from the same quantity. In a short time
Stephenson invented the locomotive. Railroads began to be built.
Fulton gave to the world the steamboat, and commerce became
independent of the winds. There are already railroads enough in the
United States to make a double track around the world. Man has
lengthened his arms. He reaches to every country and takes what he
wants; the world is before him; he helps himself. There can be no
more famine. If there is no food in this country, the boat and the
car will bring it from another.

We can have the luxuries of every climate. A majority of the
people now live better than the king used to do. Poor Solomon with
his thousand wives, and no carpets, his great temple, and no gas
light! A thousand women, and not a pin in the house; no stoves, no
cooking range, no baking powder, no potatoes -- think of it!
Breakfast without potatoes! Plenty of wisdom and old saws -- but no
green corn; never heard of succotash in his whole life. No clean
clothes, no music, if you except a jew's-harp, no ice water, no

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Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


skates, no carriages, because there was not a decent road in all
his dominions. Plenty of theology but no tobacco, no books, no
pictures, not a picture in all Palestine, not a piece of statuary,
not a plough that would scour. No tea, no coffee; he never heard of
any place of amusement, never was at a theater, or a circus. "Seven
up" was then unknown to the world. He couldn't even play billiards,
with all his knowledge, never had an idea of woman's rights, or
universal suffrage; never went to school a day in his life, and
cared no more about the will of the people than Andy Johnson.

The inventors have helped more than any other class to make
the world what it is; the workers and the thinkers, the poor and
the grand; labor and learning, industry and intelligence; Watt and
Descartes, Fulton and Montaigne, Stephenson and Kepler, Crompton
and Comte, Franklin and Voltaire, Morse and Buckle, Draper and
Spencer, and hundreds more that I could mention. The inventors, the
workers, the thinkers, the mechanics, the surgeons, the
philosophers -- these are the Atlases upon whose shoulders rests
the great fabric of modern civilization.


In order to show you that the most abject superstition
pervaded every department of human knowledge, or of ignorance
rather, allow me to give you a few of their ideas upon language. It
was universally believed that all languages could he traced hack to
the Hebrew; that the Hebrew was the original language, and every
fact inconsistent with that idea was discarded. In consequence of
this belief all efforts to investigate the science of language were
utterly fruitless. After a time, the Hebrew idea falling into
disrepute, other languages claimed the honor of being the original

Andre Kempe published a work in 1569, on the language of
Paradise, in which he maintained that God spoke to Adam in Swedish;
that Adam answered in Danish and that the serpent (which appears
quite probable) spoke to Eve in French. Erro, in a book published
at Madrid, took the ground that Basque was the language spoken in
the Garden of Eden. But in 1580, Goropius published his celebrated
work at Antwerp, in which he put the whole matter at rest by
proving that the language spoken in Paradise was nothing more or
less than plain Holland Dutch. The real founder of the present
science of language was a German, Leibnitz -- a contemporary of Sir
Isaac Newton. He discarded the idea that all language could be
traced to an original one. That language was, so to speak, a
natural growth. Actual experience teaches us that this must be
true. The ancient sages of Egypt had a vocabulary, according to
Bunsen, of only about six hundred and eighty-five words, exclusive
of proper names. The English language has at least one hundred


In the 6th century a monk by the name of Cosmos wrote a kind
of orthodox geography and astronomy combined. He pretended that it
was all in accordance with the Bible. According to him, the world
was composed, first, of a flat piece of land and circular; this

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Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


piece of land was entirely surrounded by water which was the ocean,
and beyond the strip of water was another circle of land; this
outside circular was the land inhabited by the old world before the
flood; Noah crossed the strip of water and landed on the central
piece where we now are; on the outside land was a high mountain
around which the sun and moon revolved; when the sun was behind the
mountain it was night, and when on the side next us it was day. He
also taught that on the outer edge of the outside circle of land
the firmament or sky was fastened, that it was made of some solid
material and turned over the world like an immense kettle. And it
was declared at that time that anyone who believed either more or
less on that subject than that book contained was a heretic and
deserved to be exterminated from the face of the earth. This was
authority until the discovery of America by Columbus. Cosmos said
the earth was flat; if it was round how could men on the other side
at the day of judgment see the coming of the Lord? At the risk of
being tiresome, I have said what I have, to show you the
productions of the mind when enslaved -- the consequences of
abandoning judgement and reason -- the effects of wide spread
ignorance and universal bigotry.

I want to convince you that every wrong is a viper that will
sooner or later strike with poisoned fangs the bosom that nourishes
it. You will ask what has produced this wonderful change in only
three hundred years. You will remember that in those days it was
said that all ghosts vanished at the dawn of day; that the sprites,
the spooks, the hobgoblins and all the monsters of the imagination
fled from the approaching sun. In 1441, printing was invented. in
the next century it became a power, and it has been flooding the
world with light from that time to this. The Press has been the
true Prometheus.

It has been, so to speak, the trumpet blown by the Gabriel of
Progress, until, from the graves of ignorance and superstition, the
people have leaped to grand and glorious life, spurning with swift
feet the dust of an infamous past.

When people read, they reason, when they reason they progress.
You must not think that the enemies of progress allowed books to be
published or read when they had the power to prevent it. The whole
power of the church, of the government, was arrayed upon the side
of ignorance. People found in the possession of books were often
executed. Printing, reading and writing were crimes. Anathemas were
hurled from tho Vatican against all who dared to publish a word in
favor of liberty or the sacred rights of man. The Inquisition was
founded on purpose to crush out every noble aspiration of the
heart. It was a war of darkness against light, of slavery against
liberty, of superstition against reason. I shall not attempt to
recount the horrors and tortures of the Inquisition. Suffice it to
say that they were equal to the most terrible and vivid pictures
even of Hell, and the Inquisitors were even more horrid fiends than
even real Perdition could boast. But in spite of priests, in spite
of kings, in spite of mitres, in spite of crowns, in spite of
Cardinals and Popes, books were published and books were read. Beam
after beam of light penetrated the darkness. Star after star arose
in the firmament of ignorance. The morning of Freedom began to
dawn. Driven to madness by the prospect of ultimate defeat, the
enemies of light persecuted with redoubled fury.

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Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


People were burned for saying that the earth was round, for
saying that the sun was the center of a system. A woman was
executed because she endeavored to allay the pains of a fever by
singing. The very name of Philosopher became a title of
proscription, and the slightest offenses were punished by death.
About the beginning of the sixteenth century Luther and Jerome, of
Prague, inaugurated the great Reformation in Germany, Ziska was at
work in Hungary, Zwinglius in Switzerland. The grand work went
forward in Denmark, in Sweden and in England. All this was
accomplished as early as 1534. They unmasked the corruption and
withstood the tyranny of the church.

With a zeal amounting to enthusiasm, with a courage that was
heroic, with an energy that never flagged, a determination that
brooked no opposition, with a firmness that defied torture and
death, this sublime band of reformers sprang to the attack.
Stronghold after stronghold was carried, and in a few short but
terrible years, the banner of the Reformation waved in triumph over
the bloody ensign of Saint Peter. The soul roused from the slumbers
of a thousand years began to think. When slaves begin to reason,
slavery begins to die. The invention of powder had released
millions from the army, and left them to prosecute the arts of
peace. Industry began to be remunerative and respectable. Science
began to unfold the wings that will finally fill the heavens.
Descartes announced to the world the sublime truth that the
Universe is governed by law.

Commerce began to unfold her wings. People of different
countries began to get acquainted. Christians found that Mohammedan
gold was not the less valuable on account of the doctrines of its
owners. Telescopes began to be pointed toward the stars. The
Universe was getting immense. The Earth was growing small. It was
discovered that a man could be healthy without being a Catholic.
Innumerable agencies were at work dispelling darkness and creating
light. The supernatural began to be abandoned, and mankind
endeavored to account for all physical phenomena by physical laws.
The light of reason was irradiating the world, and from that light,
as from the approach of the sun, the ghosts and specters of
superstition wrapped their sheets around their attenuated bodies
and vanished into thin air. Other inventions rapidly followed. The
wonderful power of steam was made known to the world by Watts and
by Fulton. Neptune was frightened from the sea. The locomotive was
given to mankind by Stephenson; the telegraph by Franklin and
Morse. The rush of the ship, the scream of the locomotive, and the
electric flash have frightened the monsters of ignorance from the
world, and have left nothing above us but the heaven's eternal
blue, filled with glittering planets wheeling through immensity in
accordance with LAW. True religion is a subordination of the
passions and interests to the perceptions of the intellect. But
when religion was considered the end of life instead of a means of
happiness, it overshadowed all other interests and became the
destroyer of mankind. It became a hydra-headed monster -- a serpent
reaching in terrible coils from the heavens and thrusting its
thousand fangs into the bleeding, quivering hearts of men.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201



I have endeavored thus far to show you some of the results
produced by enslaving the human mind. I now call your attention to
another terrible phase of this subject; the enslavement of the
body. Slavery is a very ancient institution, yes, about as ancient
as robbery, theft and murder, and is based upon them all.

Springing from the same fountain, that a man is not the owner
of his soul, is the doctrine that he is not the owner of his body.
The two are always found together, supported by precisely the same
arguments, and attended by the same infamous acts of cruelty. From
the earliest time, slavery has existed in all countries, and among
all people until recently. Pufendorf said that slavery was
originally established by contract. Voltaire replied, "Show me the
original contract, and if it is signed by the party that was to be
a slave I will believe you." You will bear in mind that the slavery
of which I am now speaking is white slavery.

Greeks enslaved one another as well as those captured in war.
Coriolanus scrupled not to make slaves of his own countrymen
captured in civil war.

Julius Caesar sold to the highest bidder at one time fifty-
three thousand prisoners of war all of whom were white. Hannibal
exposed to sale thirty thousand captives at one time, all of whom
were Roman citizens. In Rome, men were sold into bondage in order
to pay their debts. In Germany, men often hazarded their freedom on
the throwing of dice. The Barbary States held white Christians in
slavery in this, the 19th century. There were white slaves in
England as late as 1574. There were white slaves in Scotland until
the end of the 18th century.

These Scotch slaves were colliers and salters. They were
treated as real estate and passed with deed to the mines in which
they worked.

It was also the law that no collier could work in any mine
except the one to which he belonged. It was also the law that their
children could follow no other occupation than that of their
fathers. This slavery absolutely existed in Scotland until the
beginning of the glorious 19th century.

Some of the Roman nobles were the owners of as many as twenty
thousand slaves.

The common people of France were in slavery for fourteen
hundred years. They were transferred with land, and women were
often seen assisting cattle to pull the plough, and yet people have
the impudence to say that black slavery is right, because the
blacks have always been slaves in their own country. I answer so
have the whites until very recently. In the good old days when
might was right and when kings and popes stood by the people, and
protected the people, and talked about "holy oil and divine right,"
the world was filled with slaves. The traveler standing amid the
ruins of ancient cities and empires, seeing on every side the
fallen pillar and the prostrate wall, asks why did these cities

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


fall, why did these empires crumble? And the Ghost of the Past, the
wisdom of ages, answers: These temples, these palaces, these
cities, the ruins of which you stand upon were built by tyranny and
injustice. The hands that built them were unpaid. The backs that
bore the burdens also bore the marks of the lash. They were built
by slaves to satisfy the vanity and ambition of thieves and
robbers. For these reasons they are dust.

Their civilization was a lie. Their laws merely regulated
robbery and established theft. They bought and sold the bodies and
souls of men, and the mournful winds of desolation, sighing amid
their crumbling ruins, is a voice of prophetic warning to those who
would repeat the infamous experiment. From the ruins of Babylon, of
Carthage, of Athens, of Palmyra, of Thebes, of Rome, and across the
great desert, over that sad and solemn sea of sand, from the land
of the pyramids, over the fallen Sphinx and from the lips of Memnon
the same voice, the same warning and uttering the great truth, that
no nation founded upon slavery, either of body or mind, can stand.

And yet, to-day, there are thousands upon thousands
endeavoring to build the temples and cities and to administer our
Government upon the old plan. They are makers of brick without
straw. They are bowing themselves beneath hods of untempered
mortar. They are the babbling builders of another Babel, a Babel of
mud upon a foundation of sand.

Notwithstanding the experience of antiquity as to the terrible
effects of slavery, bondage was the rule, and liberty the
exception, during the Middle Ages not only, but for ages afterward.

The same causes that led to the liberation of mind also
liberated the body. Free the mind allow men to write and publish
and read, and one by one the shackles will drop, broken, in the
dust. This truth was always known, and for that reason slaves have
never been allowed to read. It has always been a crime to teach a
slave. The intelligent prefer death to slavery. Education is the
most radical abolitionist in the world. To teach the alphabet is to
inaugurate revolution. To build a schoolhouse is to construct a
fort. Every library is an arsenal, and every truth is a monitor,
iron-clad and steel-plated.

Do not think that white slavery was abolished without a
struggle. The men who opposed white slavery were ridiculed, were
persecuted, driven from their homes, mobbed, hanged, tortured and
burned. They were denounced as having only one idea, by men who had
none. They were called fanatics by men who were so insane as to
suppose that the laws of a petty prince were greater than those of
the Universe. Crime made faces at virtue, and honesty was an
outcast beggar. In short, I cannot better describe to you the
manner in which the friends of slavery acted at that time, than by
saying that they acted precisely as they used to do in the United
States. White slavery, established by kidnapping and piracy,
sustained by torture and infinite cruelty, was defended to the very

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Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Let me now call your attention to one of the most: immediate
causes of the abolition of white slavery in Europe. There were
during the Middle Ages three great classes of people: the common
people, the clergy and the nobility. All these people could,
however, be divided into two classes, namely, the robbed and the
robbers. The feudal lords were jealous of the king, the king afraid
of the lords, the clergy always siding with the stronger party. The
common people had only to do the work, the fighting, and to pay the
taxes, as by the law the property of the nobles was exempt from
taxation. The consequence was, in every war between the nobles and
the king, each party endeavored by conciliation to get the peasants
upon their side. When the clergy were on the side of the king they
created dissension between the people and the nobles by telling
them that the nobles were tyrants. When they were on the side of
the nobles they told the people that the king was a tyrant. At last
the people believed both, and the old adage was verified, that when
thieves fall out honest men get their dues.

By virtue of the civil and religious wars of Europe slavery
was abolished, and the French Revolution, one of the grandest pages
in all history, was, so to speak, the exterminator of white
slavery. In that terrible period the people who had borne the yoke
for fourteen hundred years, rising from the dust, casting their
shackles from them, fiercely avenged their wrongs. A mob of twenty
millions driven to desperation, in the sublimity of despair, in the
sacred name of Liberty cried for vengeance. They reddened the earth
with the blood of their masters. They trampled beneath their feet
the great army of human vermin that had lived upon their labor.
They filled the air with the ruins of temples and thrones, and with
bloody hands tore in pieces the altar upon which their rights had
been offered by an impious church. They scorned the superstitions
of the past not only, but they scorned the past; for the past to
them was only wrong, imposition and outrage. The French Revolution
was the inauguration of a new era. The lava of freedom long buried
beneath a mountain of wrong and injustice at last burst forth,
overwhelming the Pompeii and Herculaneum of priestcraft and
tyranny. As soon as white slavery began to decay in Europe, and
while the condition of the white slaves was improving about the
middle of the 16th century in 1541, Alonzo Gonzales, of Portugal,
pointed out to his countrymen a new field of operations, a new
market for human flesh, and in a short time the African slave-trade
with all its unspeakable honors was inaugurated.

This trade has been the great crime of modern times. It is
almost impossible to conceive that nations who professed to be
Christian, or even in any degree civilized, should have engaged in
this infamous traffic. Yet nearly all of the nations of Europe
engaged in the slave-trade, legalized it, protected it, fostered
the practice, and vied with each other in acts, the bare recital of
which is enough to make the heart stand still.

It has been calculated that for years, at least 400,000
Africans were either killed or enslaved annually. They crammed
their ships so full of these unfortunate wretches, that, as a
general thing, about ten per cent. died of suffocation on the
voyage. They were treated like wild beasts. In times of danger they
were thrown into the sea. Remember that this horrible traffic

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Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


commenced in the middle of the 16th century, was carried on by
nations pretending to Christian civilization, and when do you think
it was abolished by some of the principal countries? In England,
Wilberforce and Clarkson dedicated their lives to the abolition of
the slave-trade. They were hated and despised. They persevered for
twenty years, and it was not until the 25th of March, 1808, that
England pronounced the infamous traffic in human flesh illegal, and
the rejoicing in England was redoubled on receiving the news that
the United States had done the same thing. After a time, those
engaged in the slave-trade were declared pirates.

On the 28th day of August, 1833, England abolished slavery
throughout the British Colonies, thus giving liberty to nearly one
million slaves.

The United States was then the greatest slave-holding power in
the civilized world.

We are all acquainted with the history of slavery in this
country. We know that it corrupted our people, that it has drenched
our land in fraternal blood. that it has clad our country in
mourning for the loss of 300,000 of her bravest sons; that it
carried us back to the darkest ages of the world, that it led us to
the very brink of destruction, forced us to the shattered gates of
eternal ruin, death and annihilation. But Liberty rising above
party prejudice, Freedom lifting itself above all other
considerations, "As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,

Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm, --

Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,

Eternal sunshine settles on its head."

And on the 1st day of January, 1863, the grandest New year
that ever dawned upon this continent, in accordance with the will
of the heroic North, by the sublime act of one whose name will be
sacred through all the coming years, the justice so long delayed
was accomplished, and four millions of slaves became chainless.


Liberty, that most sacred word, without which all other words
are vain, without which, life is worse than death, and men are
beasts! I never see the word Liberty without seeing a halo of glory
around it. It is a word worthy of the lips of a God. Can you
realize the fact that only a few years ago, the most shocking
system of slavery -- the most barbarous -- existed in our country,
and that you and I were bound by the laws of the United States to
stand between a human being and his liberty? That we were
absolutely compelled by law to hand back that human being to the
lash and chain? That by our laws children were sold from the arms
of mothers, wives sold from their husbands? That we executed our
laws with the assistance of bloodhounds, owned and trained by human
bloodhounds fiercer still, and that all this was not only upheld by
politicians, but by the pretended ministers of Christ? That the
pulpit was in partnership with the auction block -- that the

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Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


bloodhound's bark was only an echo from many of the churches? And
that this was all done under the sacred name of Liberty, by a
republican government that was founded upon the sublime declaration
that all men are equal? This all seems to me like a horrible dream,
a nightmare of terror, a hellish impossibility. And yet, with
cheeks glowing and burning with shame, before the bar of history,
we are forced to plead guilty to this terrible charge. We made a
whipping-post of the cross of Christ. It is true that in a great
degree we have atoned for this national crime. Our bravest and our
best have been sacrificed. We have borne the bloody burden of war.
The good and the true have been with us, and the women of the North
have won glory imperishable. They robbed war of half its terrors.
Not content with binding the wreath of victory upon the leader's
brow, they bandaged the soldiers' wounds, they nerved the living,
comforted the dying, and smiled upon the great victory through
their tears.

They have consoled the hero's widow and are educating his
orphans. They have erected a monument to enlightened charity to
which time can add only grandeur. There is much, however, to be
accomplished still. Slavery has been abolished, but Progress
requires more. We are called upon to make this a free government in
the broadest sense, to give liberty to all. Standing in the
presence of all history, knowing the experience of mankind, knowing
that the earth is covered with countless wrecks of cruel failures;
appealed to by the great army of martyrs and heroes who have gone
before; by the sacred dust filling innumerable graves; by the
memory of our own noble dead; by all the suffering of the past; by
all the hopes for the future; by all the glorious dead and the
countless millions yet to be. I pray, I beseech, I implore the
American people to lay the foundation of the Government upon the
principles of eternal justice. I pray, I beseech, I implore them to
take for the corner-stone, Universal Human Liberty -- the stone
which has been heretofore rejected by all the builders of nations.
The Government will then stand, and the swelling dome of the temple
will touch the stars.


I have thus endeavored to show you some of the effects of
slavery, and to prove to you that a step in order to be in the
direction of progress must be in the direction of freedom; that
slavery either of body or mind is barbarism and is practiced and
defended only by infamous tyrants or their dupes. I have endeavored
to point out some of the causes of the abolition of slavery, both
of body and mind. There is one truth, however, that you must not
forget, and that is, that every evil tends to correct and abolish
itself. I believe, however, that the diffusion of knowledge, more
than everything else combined, has ameliorated the condition of
mankind. When there was no freedom of speech and no press, then
every idea perished in the brain that gave it birth. One man could
not profit by the thought of another. The experience of the past
was in a great degree unknown. And this state of things produced
the same effect in the mental world, that confining all the water
to the springs would in the physical. Confine the water to the
springs, the rivulets would cease to murmur, the rivers to flow,
and the ocean itself would become a desert of sand. But with the

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Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


invention of printing, ideas began to circulate, born of the busy
brain of the million -- little rivulets of facts running into
rivers of information, and they all flowing into the great ocean of
human knowledge.

This exchange of ideas, this comparison of thought, has given
to each generation the advantage of all the past. This, more than
all else, has enabled man to improve his condition. It is by this
that from the log or piece of bark on which a naked savage floated,
we have by successive improvements created a man-of-war carrying a
hundred guns and miles of canvas. By these means we have changed a
handful of sand into a telescope. In the hands of science a drop of
water has become a giant, turning with swift and tireless arm the
countless wheels. The sun has become an artist painting with
shining beams the very thoughts within our eyes. The elements have
been taught to do our bidding, and the electric spark, freighted
with human thought and love, defies distance, and devours time as
it sweeps under all the waves of the sea.

These are some of the results of free thought and free labor.
I have barely alluded to a few -- where is improvement to stop?
Science is only in its infancy. It has accomplished all this and is
in its cradle still.

We are standing on the shore of an infinite ocean whose
countless waves, freighted with blessings, are welcoming our
adventurous feet. Progress has been written on every soul. The
human race is advancing.

Forward, oh sublime army of progress, forward until law is
justice, forward until ignorance is unknown, forward while there is
a spiritual or temporal throne, forward until superstition is a
forgotten dream, forward until the world is free, forward until
human reason, clothed in the purple of authority, is king of kings.

****     ****

Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful,
scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of
suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the
Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our
nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and
religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to
the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so
that America can again become what its Founders intended --

The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old,
hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts
and information for today. If you have such books please contact
us, we need to give them back to America.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201

Bank of Wisdom

The Bank of Wisdom is run by Emmett Fields out of his home in Kentucky. He painstakingly scanned in these works and put them on disks for others to have available. Mr. Fields makes these disks available for only the cost of the media.

Files made available from the Bank of Wisdom may be freely reproduced and given away, but may not be sold.

Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

Bank of WisdomThe Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --

The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926
Louisville, KY 40201