Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/697

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the association." In order to popularize the conditions of membership the annual dues have been kept very low, being at present only two dollars per annum. The conditions for non-resident membership are similar to those for active membership, the dues being the same, and non-resident members being entitled to receive without further expense "publications of the association of a value not exceeding the annual membership fee." Corresponding membership, which does not involve any pecuniary obligation to the association, is bestowed on such persons in sympathy with its aims as the Board of Trustees may nominate and the association elect.

On the 5th day of February, 1891, the Brooklyn Ethical Association was duly incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, its objects being stated as follows:

"a. The scientific study of ethics, politics, economics, sociology, religion, and philosophy, and also of physics and biology as related thereto.

"b. The application of the results of such studies to the problems of practical philanthropy and statesmanship.

"c. The procurement, preparation, and delivery of popular lectures, expositions, and discussions, and the circulation of the same, together with other printed matter related to such subjects.

"d. The promotion of unity and harmony among the friends of progress by correspondence, friendly intercourse, and the application of the scientific method to social, religious, and political reforms.

"e. The maintenance of a library for the purpose of more effectually carrying out the objects of the association."

The association long since outgrew whatever theological limitation may have been presumably implied by its connection with a Unitarian society. Its membership now includes a minority of avowed Unitarians, together with orthodox Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Catholics, Friends, and people of other diverse religious connections, as well as agnostics and liberals of various stripes and degrees of belief or unbelief.

The success of the association in recent years and the extension of its work into new fields of practical investigation have been due in no small degree to the faith, wisdom, energy, and enthusiasm of Mr. James Avery Skilton, for three years its corresponding secretary and an untiring worker in its behalf. Mr. Skilton is a member of Plymouth Church, a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N. Y., and the Wesleyan University of Middletown, Conn., and with a thorough scientific education combines a large experience in practical affairs and long acquaintance and thorough sympathy with the doctrine of evolution as expounded by Mr. Spencer, Mr. Fiske, and its ablest advocates in