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The Righteous

Posted by Bob on March 19th, 2006 under History, How Things Work


I was reading a book Mark Twain wrote about Christian Science. At that time, about 1903, Christian Science was the great new movement of the day. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of CS, was very much alive and in charge. So Twain’s predictions about how huge CS would become seem a bit strange.

But in the midst of the whole book, Twain had one sentence in passing that completely overwhelmed me that had nothing to do with what he was writing about.

Twain pointed out that Henry Lloyd Garrison, of the great abolitionist family, a man who one of the top preachers of his day, received a salary of TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR!

I happen to know that, as in the case of his abolitionist ancestors, Garrison’s salary came largely from “industrialists,” people who worked women and children fourteen hours a day for about thirty cents a day. Unlike a slave, when one of those children fell into the machinery from exhaustion, the “industrialist” had no responsibility for him when he was crippled for life.

This does not justify slavery. But it is noteworthy that the preaching they paid for concentrated on Southern slavery. Jesus said something about a mote in the eye of another.

But just how much WAS a twenty thousand dollar a year salary in 1903?

In pure buying power, it comes to about half a million dollars a year now. And there was no income tax. And I am sure the Reverend got other benefits.

But half a million dollars a year, tax-free, understates it.

As an economist, I think in terms of per capita incomes. In 1903 half a million dollars in buying power was more because the average buying power ofhte average person was a fraction of what it is today.

Let’s say the per capita income in 1903 was five hundred dollars. Garrison was receiving forty per capita incomes. Today that would amount to about 1.2 million or more a year.

Tax free.

Plus benefits.

Do you have any idea how the average worker for an “industrialist” in America was living at the time?

Share it now. Like it while you're at it.
  1. #1 by Shari on 03/19/2006 - 4:58 pm

    It seems that almost always those who agitate for war or social upheaval in the name of the poor or downtrodden are funded by those with other motives. Jesus also said that no man can serve two masters

  2. #2 by Mark on 03/19/2006 - 9:54 pm

    “Jesus also said that no man can serve two masters”

    Jesus also said, “anything you ask of me in my name I will do,” and Lord knows I’ve been asking him to make me totally 100% mouth-waterin knee knockin’ eye-poppin’ tongue-droolin’ irresistable to ALL good lookin’ women and so far — well it just aint happened yet. Think I’m gonna’ go back to my rabbit’s foot if this prayin’ thing don’t work out.

  3. #3 by Peter Gene Budarick on 03/20/2006 - 6:12 am

    Smiling.

    The mention of “Christian Science” made me think of some things and wanted to share them.

    Lateral thinking…..

    I am an atheist of sorts based on my love of science since childhood.
    [NOT as a reaction like most atheists]

    And also I suppose because the Christian religion failed to completely program me as a child.

    There are many reasons for that i know [as I tend to observe and analyse things including myself] but in the end it is pure luck and good genes [and I must say a good mother. Not a wise mother but a GOOD mother!]

    But by my own choice, here is an old man who can debate any one on Earth and make a case that God is a great delusion. Especially the Hebraic God of Christendoom, Jewishness [in all its forms] and Islamism [the current wipping boy]. But he has Faith!

    But now comes the shocker.

    I pray to Jesus Christ as my friend all the time!!!

    How is this possible?

    I know that the historic Jesus probably was nothing like the image [in both character and appearance] the various Christian denominations and sects have portrayed over the ages.

    But somehow I “know” that a GOOD man existed 2000 year ago, and he LIVES ON NOW hrough all those of us who have humility. Not the phony humility of those who put on robes! I wear none of the trappings of religiosity, not even a cross. I certainly never preach about it. I don’t go to Church except when in Russia. And unless you have been to Russia recently you won’t understand why I do this only there.

    How can this be?

    I can’t even give you a scientific explanation!

    I was recently asked by a friend in Queensland over the phone: “But you don’t believe in God?”

    I said: “that is true Dennis, and I can proove to my satisfaction – if not yours – that God is a delusion. AND this is as good a proof as the metaphor of the Earth being flat to serve our human need, but despite appearances, it is actually round. But having said that, I understand and i believe in Jesus Christ as you would understand and believe your best friend”.

    Now I suppose the Jewish psychiatrists could derive good income from my “case”, except that I don’t give money to useless witch doctors.

    But what I said really got Dennis thinking!

    the point is that I did NOT say it to make him think!!!

    It was just a spontanious response.

    Similarly I don’t think the Universe is trying to teach us anything.

    I was sharing with Dennis what I perceived at that moment. Actually he is a far better equipped intellectual than I can ever be!

    Sorry for being personal at my end, but it would please me if it brings a smile or two.

    Religion is sooooo heavy….

    Lets drop it! And it shall fall by the same laws of gravitation [Nucleonic field] that made the plastic planet Earth round.

    Best wishes to all.

    PeterGene

  4. #4 by Bob on 03/20/2006 - 3:46 pm

    Mark, as a wildly attractive man myself, I feel your pain.

  5. #5 by Elizabeth on 03/20/2006 - 11:44 pm

    I live in a mill village. The mill is still standing, but it’s basically used
    for storage. I go past it every so often and shudder, thinking of HAVING to
    spend a 12 hour(or longer) shift there.

    I live in a 1000 square foot house. I know that one mill employee family
    lived in it — and it was a small family (two parents and an only child).
    There aren’t many houses in this old mill village that are much bigger,
    and almost all of them had to house a lot more than three people.

    At least in South Carolina, you could literally live outdoors most of the day
    for a large chunk of the year, with some shade.

    Yesterday, I finished reading a book about a Massachusetts mill town in the early
    1900s….Indescribable….

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