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Rise and Progress
GOVERNMENT, LAWS, RELIGION, AND SOCIAL LIFE;
SCIENCE, LITERATURE, AND THE ARTS.
From the Earliest Period to the peace of Paris.
BY JOHN WADE,
ATTROL OF THE “ HISTORY AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPTY OF THE PRODUCTIVE CLASSES ;'
OF THE * CABINET LAWYER;" ETC,
The science of Civilisation is varied and extensive. It may be viewed in relation either to a fixed and Eastern, or to a progressive and Western, type of development; - under its onward aspect, whether its range is limited or indefinite; or whether it has a climax and prescribed period of meridian effulgence, receding into primitive torpor, rudeness, and barbaric violence. Comparatively it may be considered in relation to the superiority of modern over ancient refinement; and next might be entertained the important problem on the more influential causes of national elevation. Are they most dependent on climate or race; on insular, continental, or other geographical position; or, in a · greater degree than on any of these material influences, is a high and enduring state of public felicity most closely associated with the excellence of political and civil institutions, or of moral and religious dispensations ?
History, science, and classical learning afford ample elucidations of these several inquiries. But,
tempting as this field of research undoubtedly is, I have considered it secondary to the more special and practical object I had in view; though it would perhaps have been impossible to fix upon a more diversified, interesting, and instructive example of national evolution, than that afforded by the growth of the British empire.
In tracing the progress of British civilisation, I have felt the expediency of deviating from a distinguished French model. M. Guizot's historical research and his power both of analysis and generalisation cannot be easily surpassed; but it appeared to me that the civilisation of any community, and especially that of England, is of a composite order, and that a history of its rise cannot with justice be restricted to an exposition of the progress of its political or civil institutions. The triumphs of the Three Estates of the realm, in maturing constitutional guarantees, offer a noble theme for exultation ; but they form only part of many constituents of existing acquisitions. King, Lords, and Commons may have laid the foundation of the national edifice, and wisely and vigorously aided the erection of the superstructure ; but the contribution of materials, and even of the ornamentation, is certainly in part traceable to other sources.
A neglect of these auxiliary appliances would have been infidelity to my mission, and the result not a faithful
portraiture of the concurring elements of science, genius, industrial enterprise, and perseverance, by which Great Britain has been raised to a foremost place among civilised states.
A wider spread of canvas was therefore indispensable to the due fulfilment of my undertaking. It became necessary that I should not only define the civil and ecclesiastical progress of the country, but its industrial, intellectual, and artistical career; to outline not only its successive advances in political and social distinctions, but in its agriculture, commerce and manufactures, science, literature, fine and useful arts. In all these England is preeminent; they make up the aggregate of her existing vivid life; and to solve the phenomena of our present organisation, it was essential to glance at our achievements in each line of pursuit, from commencement to completion.
It was a task for years and many volumes; but it admitted either of a detailed or general treatment; and I was not so presumptuous as to grapple with it in its widest compass. Yet my aim has been precise, clear, and definite. It has been to supply a deficiency in English Literature, and compendiously, but in sufficient breadth of facts and pbilosophy, to exemplify to the historical student or more elaborate inquirer the mystery of England's power, diversified interests, and resplendent name. With what success I have done this, I will not hazard an opinion; I