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Professor of Chemistry and Physiology in the University of New York; Author of a
" Treatise on Human Physiology,"

"" Civil Policy of America," &c.

Fourth Edition.




18 6 6.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight

hundred and sixty-two, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of

New York.

Shortly will be published, by the same Author,


Three Volumes, 8vo.

ی امیر - / - /




Ar the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held at Oxford in 1860, I read an abstract of the physiological argument contained in this work respecting the mental progress of Europe, reserving the historical evidence for subsequent publication.

This volume contains that evidence. It is intended as the completion of my work on Human Physiology, in which man was treated of as an individual. In this he is considered in his social relation.

But the reader will also find, I think, that it is a history of the prog. ress of ideas and opinions from a point of view heretofore almost entirely neglected. There are two methods of dealing with philosophical questions—the literary and the scientific. Many things which in a purely, literary treatment of the subject remain in the background, spontaneously assume a more striking position when their scientific relations are considered. It is the latter method that I have used.

Social advancement is as completely under the control of natural law as is bodily growth. The life of an individual is a miniature of the life of a nation. These propositions it is the special object of this book to demonstrate.

No one, I believe, has hitherto undertaken the labor of arranging the evidence offered by the intellectual history of Europe in accordance with physiological principles, so as to illustrate the orderly progress of civilization, or collected the facts furnished by other branches of science with a view of enabling us to recognize clearly the conditions under which that progress takes place. This philosophical deficiency I have endeavored in the following pages to supply.

Seen thus through the medium of physiology, history presents a new aspect to us. We gain a more just and thorough appreciation of the thoughts and motives of men in successive ages of the world.

In the Preface to the second edition of my Physiology, published in 1858, it was mentioned that this work was at that time written. The


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changes that have been since made in it have been chiefly with a view of condensing it. The discussion of several scientific questions, such as that of the origin of species, which have recently attracted public attention so strongly, has, however, remained untouched, the principles offered being the same as presented in the former work in 1856.

NEW YORK, 1861.

POSTSCRIPT TO THE FIRST EDITION. OWING to the Civil War, the publication of this work has been postponed for nearly two years. I do not regret the delay. The American reader, for whom it is chiefly intended, will find on many of its pages suggestions arising from the history of other people and other institutions, which may be profitably considered in connection with the great events now transpiring. When a nation has reached one of the epochs of its life, and is preparing itself for another period of progress under new conditions, it is well for every thoughtful man interested in its prosperity to turn his eyes from the contentions of the present to the accomplished facts of the past, and to seek for a solution of existing difficulties in the record of what other people in former times have done.

New York, 1863.

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