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THE favourable reception which the History of Modern Europe has met with, and the public wish, expressed through the author's friends, encouraged him to undertake the History of Ancient Europe, on a similar plan. In the composition of this work, he has been peculiarly studious to found his facts on original authorities, and to clear his narration from unimportant events. By comprehending the Revolutions in Asia and Africa, it becomes, in some measure, a concise history of the WORLD, from the most early ages.
For these two introductory volumes, which contain the establishment of religion and government in all the three divisions of the ancient globe, and carry down the History of Greece to the beginning of the PELOPONNESIAN WAR, the author must beg the indulgence of the learned. And he doubts not to obtain it, from those he has most to fear -the truly learned. They will see the difficulty of accurately investigating so many intricate subjects; and of combining, within a moderate compass, so much historical
FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE GRECIAN STATES, TO
CONTAINING A VIEW OF THE NATURAL PROGRESS OF HU-
I EMBRACE, my lord, the most early oppor- LETTER tunity of fulfilling that pleasing command, which you imposed upon me at your departure from England ;-"to recal to your mind occasionally, by letters, the "more important events in the history of ancient nations; "but
PART I. "but especially of such nations as formerly inhabited "this section of the globe." Those events will acquire new interest, while you travel through the countries in which many of them happened, and compare their ancient with their modern state. And the remains of ancient statuary and architecture, in conjunction with your knowledge of the ancient classics, will illustrate the history of ancient arts, and also of ancient man
Unless we have recourse to that divine revelation communicated to the Hebrews, emphatically styled the people of God, we shall forever remain ignorant of the creation of the world, and of the primitive state of man; subjects which, among all other nations, are lost in the chaos of fable. Yet have we, setting aside reverence for such revelation, a strong desire to trace as high as historical records reach, or as heathen tradition furnishes a chain of probable facts, the rude story of the human race. To gratify, without abusing, this curiosity, is the business of the historian.
One circumstance strongly strikes the inquisitive and discerning mind, in entering on the History of Ancient Europe. We find all its various nations and tribes, before the introduction of foreign improvements, in a similar state of barbarism'. The course of civilization seems, therefore, to point out to us the line we ought to pursue, in studying their history.
1. The Greeks bear testimony to their own barbarity, and also to that of the Romans; (see Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, and Dionisius Halicarnassensis, passim). And the Romans, while they own their obligations to Greece, attest the barbarity of all the other European nations, when they first became acquainted with them, in the course of their conquests. Sec Tit. Livy, Cæsar, and Tacitus, passim,
Let antiquarians bewilder themselves in attempting LETTER to discover the origin of the first European nations: for our purpose it will be sufficient, having found them barbarous, to follow them in their progress toward civility, military prowess, and political power; and to investigate the causes which retarded or accelerated that progress, together with those that afterward produced a relaxation of manners, a decline of the martial spirit, and the downfal of empire.
In making this grand historical tour, which will bring within our view the growth and decay of the wisest and bravest nations that ever appeared upon the face of the earth, we shall have occasion to contemplate MAN in all the different conditions of his being, and under every form of government. Consequently we shall be enabled to collect, in our range, all the instruction that history (which has been defined philosophy teaching by examples) can furnish for the conduct of human affairs.
With Greece, whence science and civility were conveyed, through various channels, over the western world, we are naturally led to begin our survey. It will, however, be necessary, my lord, for the better understanding of the Grecian history, and the whole run of European transactions, at the same time that it is truly liberal, to take an introductory view of the most ancient state of the nations to whom the Greeks were indebted for their knowledge of arts and of letters. For history may be compared to a river: we must ascend to the fountain, to be able distinctly to trace its
Independent of the testimony of the sacred books, all things conspire to prove, that the human race must have had a beginning; nor has scepticism dared to