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Triumphs and Wonders of the 19th Century: The True Mirror of a Phenomenal Era

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
Measuring epochs, or eras, by spaces of a hundred years each, that which embraces the nineteenth century stands out in sublime and encouraging contrast with any that has preceded it. As the legatee of all prior centuries, it has enlarged and ennobled its bequest to an extent unparalleled in history; while it has at the same time, through a genius and energy peculiar to itself, created an original endowment for its own enjoyment and for the future richer by far than any heretofore recorded. Indeed, without permitting existing and pardonable pride to endanger rigid truth, it may be said that along many of the lines of invention and progress which have most intimately affected the life and civilization of the world, the nineteenth century has achieved triumphs and accomplished wonders equal, if not superior, to all other centuries combined. Therefore, what more fitting time than at its close to pass in pleasing and instructive review the numerous material and intellectual achievements that have so distinguished it, and have contributed in so many and such marvelous ways to the great advance and genuine comfort of the human race! Or, what could prove a greater source of pride and profit than to compare its glorious works with those of the past, the better to understand and measure the actual steps and real extent of the progress of mankind! Or, what more delightful and inspiring than to realize that the sum of those wonderful activities, of which each reader is, or has been, a part, has gone to increase the grandeur of a world era whose rays will penetrate and brighten the coming centuries! Amid so many and such strong reasons this volume finds excellent cause for its being. Its aims are to mirror a wonderful century from the vantage ground of its closing year; to faithfully trace the lines which mark its almost magical advance; to give it that high and true historic place whence its contrasts with the past can be best noted, and its light upon the future most directly thrown. This task would be clearly beyond the power of a single mind. So rapid has progress been during some parts of the century, so amazing have been results along the lines of discovery and invention, so various have been the fields of action, that only those of special knowledge and training could be expected to do full justice to the many subjects to be treated. Hence, the work has been planned so as to give it a value far beyond what could be imparted by a single mind. Each of the themes chosen to type the century’s grand march has been treated by an author of specialfitness, and high up in his or her profession or calling, with a view to securing for readers the best thoughts and facts relating to the remarkable events of an hundred years. In this respect the volume is unique and original. Its authorship is not of one mind, but of a corps of minds, whose union assures what the occasion demands. The scope, character, and value of the volume further appear in its very large number and practical feature of subjects selected to show the active forces, the upward and onward movements, and the grand results that have operated within, and triumphantly crowned, an era without parallel. These subjects embrace the sciences of the century in their numerous divisions and conquests; its arts and literature; industrial, commercial, and financial progress; land and sea prowess; educational, social, moral, and religious growth; in fact, every field of enterprise and achievement within the space of time covered by the work.