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Robert Green Ingersoll
20 page printout. Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. **** **** This file, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL **** **** PROGRESS. 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 progress. 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 deserves. 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. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 PROGRESS. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 PROGRESS. 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 sublime. 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. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 3 PROGRESS. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 4 PROGRESS. brain is a dungeon, where the chained thoughts die with their pinions pressed against the hingeless doors. WITCHCRAFT. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 5 PROGRESS. 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 homicide. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 6 PROGRESS. 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 fulfillment. 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 dodge. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 7 PROGRESS. the aged, the sick and the infirm to the tender mercies of the expected flood, so anxious were they to reach some place of security. 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, Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 8 PROGRESS. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 PROGRESS. 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- Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 PROGRESS. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11 PROGRESS. 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. LANGUAGE. 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 ones. 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 thousand. GEOGRAPHY. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 12 PROGRESS. 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. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 13 PROGRESS. 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 14 PROGRESS. SLAVERY. 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 15 PROGRESS. 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 last. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 16 PROGRESS. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 17 PROGRESS. 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 TRIUMPHED. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 18 PROGRESS. 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. CONCLUSION. 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 Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 19 PROGRESS. 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 20
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.
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,
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