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“ Liberty hath a sharp and double edge, fit only to be handled
The favourable manner in which two editions of the work on Public Opinion were received by the public, induced me to direct my attention to a more extensive view of the progress of Civilisation, and of the sentiment already mentioned. After a consideration of the subject for some years, I could arrive at no other conclusions than those laid down in the following pages. To establish my theory, it was necessary to refer to former times, and to compare them with the present. For this purpose an investigation into the customs and social relations of past ages was necessary
Historic narratives, it has been observed, may be divided into three kinds or stages. *
First, that of the annalist or chronicler, who deals merely in facts and events arranged in order of time, having no principle of selection and no plan of arrangement.
* See Coleridge.