In the reign of Henry VIII., artificers and la,borers were compelled to eat liorse-corn, beans, peas, oats, tares, and lentils. They slept on coarse straw covered with canvas, and lived in straw-thatched hovels of mud and wood, with the bare earth for a fioor. They ate their food from wooden trenchers, and their clothing was of the coarsest po ssible materials. The laborer of to-day lives in what would haveheen considered a palace at the time of which we speak. He eats food which would have been deemed fit for a lord of Henry VIII.'s court, and commands furniture, clothing, books, and other mental and physical wealth which that monarch's king dom could not have purchased. In the three centuries which have since elapsed, labor bas been constantly progressing more rapidly than capital, until at the present time the supremacy of the latter has become extremely doubtful, ami many of the most careful thinkers of the age prophesy the speedy arrival of the. day, when the present wages system must be abandoned for a co- -operative system, in which labor shall enter into partnership with capital, and share profits according to its productive value.
This article was originally published with the title "Progress of Labor" in Scientific American 21, 24, 378 (December 1869)