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The object of the writer of the present volume has been to give a correct, and, as far as the limits would permit, a comprehensive epitome of the history of the world, which accuracy of narration and chronology would render valuable as a book of reference, and in which general views and reflections would remove the dryness inseparable from a mere enumeration of facts. As a portion of a Cyclopædia, it is to the historical volumes what in an atlas the map of the world is to those which follow it, representing in connection what they exhibit isolated, and displaying the relative proportions and importance of the several parts. Its chief utility will be, doubtless, as a book of reference for those who are already versed in history ; yet it is hoped that even the tyro who studies it with attention will find himself, at the termination of his labour, ignorant of few of the great characters and events which occur in the history of the world.

Where brevity was a matter of such paramount importance, few will expect the graces of style; and it will, perhaps, be conceded, that the repetition of the same figures and modes of speech was almost unavoidable where like events so frequently occurred.

For the plan of dividing the last two parts into periods, the author is indebted to the celebrated Müller, and has adopted several of the divisions employed by him in his Universal History. That work (the inaccuracies of which are to be regretted), with those of Schlosser, Gibbon, Hallam, and others, has been used in addition to contemporary and national histories in the composition of these Outlines.

The Oriental portion has been chiefly derived from the works of Gibbon, Malcolm, and Hammer.

To prevent any misconception, the reader is requested to bear in mind that the present is a volume of political history, mankind being regarded in it only as divided into great societies; and that, consequently, when true or false religions are spoken of, it is only in their political relations that they are viewed. In a work of this kind, theological discussion would have been altogether irrelevant and out of place.

The history of any country or people may be read consecutively by consulting the index, where, under its name, will be found reference to the pages where it is mentioned. The wars and political relations of two countries will be best known by reading the corresponda ing parts of the history of each.


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