Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/686

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There is no sign that the work of the inventor is near its end, and those who believe, as I do, that he has been the chief agent in the progress of the world, have no reason to doubt that the world will be still more deeply indebted to him as the centuries go by.

There are now in force in this country more than two hundred and fifty thousand patents for inventions, the fruits to a very large extent of the mental labor of those who are called the laboring-men of the country. Aside from the direct value of these inventions in promoting the comfort and increasing the wealth of the country, there is another factor to be considered, having the most vital relation to the industries of the country and its powers of production. This large number of inventions implies a high degree of intelligence and mental activity in the great body of the people. It indicates trained habits of observation and trained powers of applying the knowledge which has been acquired. It shows an ability to turn to account the forces of Nature and train them to the service of man, such as has been possessed by the laborers of no other country. It suggests as pertinent and most important, the inquiry whether any other country is so well equipped for competition in production as our own; whether in any other country the laboring-man is as efficient and his labor therefore as cheap as in our own; whether he does not exhibit the seeming paradox of receiving more for his labor than in any other country, and at the same time doing more for what he receives—giving more for what he receives, and receiving more for what he gives.


WITHIN the past year the civilized world has been shocked and saddened by the knowledge of the great devastation wrought by the cholera in Spain; and every precaution, in the way of sanitary measures and quarantine regulations, that modern science could suggest, was taken to prevent its spreading into other countries. The public scanned the columns of the daily press, eager for information with regard to the advance of this fearful disease, and read with bated breath as they learned that it numbered its victims by the tens of thousands.

If it was a matter of such deep and universal concern that in Spain 101,000 souls gave up their lives to this fell destroyer, should it not also be a matter of some interest to our own people that, within the borders of these United States, over 91,500 persons die each year of pulmonary consumption?[1]—that twelve out of every hundred deaths are caused by a disease which, though slow in its progress, is as sure in its results as cholera itself?

  1. Census, 1880.