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changed his opinion respecting the folly or the mischief of their schemes, but because he deems that every proposal purporting to be designed for the benefit of humanity should be heard with respectful attention, and answered in terms of kindness and courtesy.
The Author has gratefully to acknowledge his very extensive obligations to the Archbishop of Dublin, and to his distinguished Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Dickenson. Many other friends have supplied him with valuable hints and information for all to whom he communicated his design evinced a sincere interest in its completion. He feels deeply grateful for their kindness, and trusts that the work to which they have contributed will not prove unworthy their assistance.
He has made it a point of conscience to acknowledge so far as was in his power his obligations to the various authors of whose labours and researches he has availed himself, particularly American and Continental writers whose works are not known in this country. But in this respect he fears that he may have committed involuntary injustice; memory is often treacherous in an unsuspected way, it lays hold on some beautiful idea, sentiment or expression, and imprints it so indelibly, that the mind mistakes it for its own, and claims as its original invention the merits that should be ascribed to others. Conscious of such a failing, the author humbly apologizes to those whose thoughts he may appear to have stolen, and assures them that wherever and whenever the offence is pointed out, it shall be confessed, and the obligation acknowledged.
NATURAL HISTORY OF SOCIETY.
When we attempt to take a comprehensive survey of the actual condition of humanity, our attention is not less forcibly arrested by the moral than by the physical differences which offer themselves to our view. One race is in a state of continuous and progressive improvement: it has exchanged rude paths for smooth roads, it is again changing these for railroads ; every day of its existence produces some new discovery tending to increase the comforts and conveniences of life; intellectual advancement seems to keep pace with material improvements; problems which in a past generation were the pride of philosophers, are now familiar as household words in the mouth of schoolboys; to want an amount of knowledge, the possession of which would once be esteemed a glory, is now regarded as a disgrace. In fact, a progressive advance is manifest, to which imagination can scarcely assign limits.
A second race appears to have set bounds to itself; the evidences of former progress are abundant, but no traces of a tendency to further and future improvement can be discovered. Every thing in the physical and moral condition of society seems to have assumed a stereotype character,—from the model of the meanest domestic utensil to the highest social institution, there is a permanent uniformity. Such, for instance, is the great empire of China, where thought and action are equally forced to accommodate themselves to an unchanging system devised in remote ages.
Passing over many intervening varieties, we arrive at a race which appears little raised above the brute creation; it has few evidences of having ever made progress, and none either of the power or will to advance itself beyond its present condition. There is neither memory of the past, nor foresight of the future : such is the stationary aspect of barbarism, as it is presented to our notice by the aboriginal inhabitants of Australia.
We usually describe these differences as indicating a higher or lower degree in the scale of civilization, and sometimes as the result of different systems of civilization. In either case we speak of civilization as a fact which may not only be understood, but applied as a test, whilst we cannot at the same time fail to recognise that it is a fact exceedingly complex, diverse in its aspects, developing itself sometimes in one direction, sometimes in another, and thus hiding the central principle of its unity, which few can see though all can feel. Moral science does not admit of the same precise and rigorous definitions, as those which are connected with matter and its forms; the facts which its terms express, are not invariable existences; they have arisen from varying circumstances; by these circumstances they have been modified and enlarged; our ideas of them are constantly progressive, receiving fresh