To you I beg leave
to dedicate the following Essay on Human Progression, with those sentiments
of esteem and admiration which I share in common with so many of my
The truth I endeavor
to inculcate is—That credence rules the world—that credence determines
the condition and fixes the destiny of nations—that true credence must
ever entail with it a correct and beneficial system of society, while false
credence must ever be accompanied by despotism, anarchy, and wrong—that
before a nation can change its condition it must change its credence; that
change of credence will of necessity be accompanied sooner or later by
change of condition: and consequently, that true credence, or in other words
knowledge, is the only means by which man can work out his wellbeing and
ameliorate his condition on the globe.
The question is
often asked, What is the use of philosophy?—nor is the answer difficult.
Next to religion, philosophy is, of all known causes, the element that
most powerfully tends to determine the condition of a country. It is a
power—a power so vast that we are scarcely likely to overestimate its effects;
and, though it must ever be unable to solve the great questions in which
our race is involved, it may, by uprooting political superstitions and false
religions, exercise an influence that no calculation can compute. The
theories of one generation become the habitual credence of the next; and
that habitual credence, transformed into a rule of action, is erelong
realized as a palpable fact in the outward condition of society. And thus
it may be truly said—As the philosophy of a country is, so its condition
To no one could
I dedicate a work intended to elucidate these principles, so appropriately
as to yourself—to you, Sir, who have labored so earnestly and so well
to give to your countrymen a correct system of Ethical Philosophy, and,
through them, to communicate to Europe a scheme of natural morals which
must erelong bear a rich and most beneficial harvest.
Accept Sir, the
dedication of this work as a tribute of respect from your sincere admirer.