Retrospection; or, Old and New Times
A B C
Progress, Superstition, Reading, Education, Genius, Class, Liberalism
The author reflects on progress in various aspects of life in England. He notes the reduction of superstition, since, by the 'introduction of publications, accessible by the working community, most men now read and think for themselves'. The progress of science in the last 'twenty-five to thirty-one years' has been 'so great that, did we not know such existed, we should not believe it'. The writer considers that the arts and sciences have 'created a great "social pyramid," and consecrated it to the general intellectual improvement of mankind, which stupendous pile gives fruitful encouragement and opportunities for the genius of more Franklins and Watts'. (405) He quotes the recent comments of Henry P Brougham on the close connection between the cultivation of science and enlightened toleration.
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