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Next, that of the writer who takes his stand on some moral point, and selects a series of events for the purpose of illustrating, if not proving, his position; such as Thucydides, who recounts the evils of democratic or aristocratic partisanship, or Polybius, when he describes the tactics and military discipline of the Romans.

The last stage, the highest and most grand, founded on philosophy, is not composed for any particular cause, but attempts to describe human nature itself on a great scale; to hold a mirror up to mankind, such as the Herodotean history.

In my humble attempt to trace out the progress of civilisation from the earliest time to the present day, I have endeavoured to follow the second of these kinds of historic narrations, and to delineate, from the most authentic sources, and the best records of foregone days, the gradual progress of civilisation, and its results on the social relations of mankind.

In examining the state of information in Egypt, Greece, and Rome, I fear that I may militate against some generally received opinions. If I have done so, all I can plead in

justification is, that, from ancient writers of history no other conclusions could be arrived at, than those which I have made, even after consulting the volumes of several modern authorities, and conversing with two intelligent travellers who have lately written, one on Egypt, and the other on Greece, with much ability.t

After considering those nations of the ancients, whence information is supposed to have spread over the Western world, I take a survey of the prominent events of our history from the Conquest (inclusive) to the present time. I then proceed briefly to examine the situation and state of civilisation of other countries in Europe, and the several quarters of the globe. In this research I have deemed it advisable to allude, at the close of the second volume, to the frequency of wars that have desolated the human race; to the condition of women in barbarous or semibarbarous times; and also to the prevalence, even till the eighteenth century, of a fearful sacrifice of human life, on the charge of sorcery and witchcraft.

* Sir Gardner Wilkinson.

+ Mr. St. John.

When a hope is expressed that warfare between nations may not in these days be so prevalent as formerly, it is not intended to convey the impression that such events will not occur, but only that they may be of more rare occurrence than in bygone days.

In the Introduction to this work, I have deemed it advisable to give a definition of the elements necessary to form civilisation, without which my meaning could not be clearly understood.

I have endeavoured not only to avoid, but to divest myself, as far as the weakness of our nature will admit, of all party bias or political feeling in the following pages. has also been my anxious desire to manifest that respect which I sincerely entertain for all sects and denominations of Christians.


After making these necessary statements, I will only beg for that indulgence which is required in a work on a subject which may be termed novel, and which as yet, to the best of my belief, has scarcely been noticed by any writer in our nation.

January 1st, 1846.

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