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The substance of this Paper was delivered in the form of a Lecture, to the Members of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire and their friends; at the Royal Institution, Liverpool ; on the 14th of November, 1867. Various objects,-including both British Antiquities and modern South American Implements, were exhibited in illustration of it.
Several causes have contributed to delay its completion and issue. First, the skeleton notes were mislaid ; and when they were discovered, it was difficult to find leisure for writing them out in detail. Then it was thought that without illustrations the paper would lose half its value; and after these were ready, it was necessary to consult the convenience of the printer, who had kept much of the matter standing in type for months.
An edition of two hundred and fifty copies is privately printed, for distribution to literary and scientific persons at home, and to friends on the West Coast. This one is presented with great respect and kind wishes, to
ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH ANTIQUITIES, &c.
I. INTRODUCTION. I HAVE somewhere read, -perhaps in Boswell's Life of Johnson, though I cannot at this moment find the passage, that a person who should journey from London to St. Petersburg, across the intervening countries of Europe, would witness every grade of civilization through which England had passed in the previous two hundred years. The statement, if not strictly accurate, is approximately true : I allude tp it, however, not as announcing an isolated fact, but as one illustration of a very wide general principle. A person might say, for example, with equal reason, that in a forest, the history of an aged oak might be read in a hundred other oaks, from the acorn, through every stage of successive development:- or that in human life, the progress and decay of the most aged of our species might be shewn, by seven or ten other persons who illustrate what are called the “ ages”* of man. Even in the inanimate products of human handiwork, the same class of facts is observable. The history of a completed locomotive may be virtually read at the extensive factory of a railway company, in the succes
-One man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.-Shakspeare. See Mr. Winter Jones's Remarks on the Division of Man's Life into Stages. Archæologia xxxv, 167, and plates 5, 6, 7, 9.
sive degrees of advancement of sister engines : and the progressive gradations in the building of one of our largest ships, may be traced in a dockyard, from the laying of the keel.
The principle referred to, expressed in words, is somewhat like the following. The various steps in the progress of any people, from barbarism to civilization, cannot be witnessed by any one man; for as he appears at only one point of time, he can see merely the condition which exists in his own day. The previous stages must be learned from history and philosophic research. But as the progress of all nations,-like the growth of plants or animals, or like the production of objects in art and manufacture,—is in a great degree uniform, Geography serves us in the place of History: and the various stages in the life of any advanced nation, may be seen in the present condition of certain other nations which have made less progress towards maturity.
It is necessary to observe that the principle is most applicable to civilized communities of small or moderate extent, the members of which have advanced together, in nearly the same grade, and with mutual knowledge of each other, more or less. In spite of minute divisions, such was in a great degree the case with England, Denmark, Switzerland, Holland, and several of the countries of central Europe. On the other hand, the principle is least applicable to very large communities, like those of the United States and of Russia. Neither of these is a single community, for one might say of either country, though in a sense somewhat different, as Metternich said of Germany, it is "a Geographical expression.” In both cases, the national family consists of an agglomeration of races, aliens to each other in blood in language and religion ; and existing under ethnological conditions widely different. Almost as a matter of course, then, we find in each of these countries nearly every grade of social development :—from
barbarians roaming in small groups, without fixed home or certain sustenance, to intelligent communities and still more intelligent individuals, possessing and diffusing the various blessings, material and moral, which give a charm to human existence.
A few sentences more, may suffice to place the leading thought with sufficient clearness before the reader.
The principle of national development, laid down by the late Mr. Thomsen of Copenhagen, is partly right and partly wrong. He named the various stages of it according to the materials commonly in use as implements;-e.g. the Bone period, the Stone period, the Bronze period, and the Iron period. Some have declared that this is an important discovery, the revelation of a truth universally applicable, and that his analysis admits of further division; while others affirm that it is an insupportable fallacy, the propagation of which tends to lead Archäologists astray. As in many other cases, a few words of explanation serve to reconcile the apparent difference.
If it be meant that any large community employed bone or stone or bronze instruments exclusively, it is morally certain that the theory is incorrect; for even at the present hour, there is a wide difference between the people of the city and of the country, of the plain and of the mountain, of the retired hamlet and the busy thoroughfare. Some are a century and more behind others; and even in the small primitive communities which have become gradually concentrated into great nations, such rigid uniformity was at all times impossible. In like manner, it is absurd to suppose that implements of one kind were suddenly abandoned and those of another kind assumed; like the disappearance among ourselves of coins which are withdrawn from circulation, or like the introduction of a new implement of war among soldiers. But it is only fair
to say, that in stating the principle nothing so absurd as this was meant. These are some of the extremes to which a valuable theory has been unwarrantably pressed ; and the persons who view it in this light, are naturally and necessarily its opponents.
If, on the contrary, the author meant nothing more than that these are the stages generally* passed through, that they neither exist uniformly in any country nor are changed simultaneously,—and we have reason to believe that this is all that was meant or that can be maintained,-it is undeniable that the theory is at once true and important. We can contemplate the condition of infancy, or youth, or manhood, or old age, without the necessity of supposing that there was a community of infants or of mere youths, and especially that they passed from one stage to another abreast, or like a class in one of our great schools progressing to a higher form.
Let us regard, for a moment, the whole of the known world as one country, and its diversified population as one great nation. Then, it must be clear to the most superficial observer, that the provinces and departments are not all in the same state of forwardness. Some are one two or three centuries in advance of others; some are in the condition of infancy, others of youth, others again of ripe manhood or of green and healthy age. We can therefore direct our attention to any one specified condition ; or by noticing several we can show what the experience of the most advanced countries has necessarily been.
* In like manner we speak of the “ Christian era,” though there are many heathens in the world, and some even in our own country.- Argument of Sir John Lubbock, Burt. “By the side of Antiquities of gold and bronze, are “nevertheless found arms and implements of stone ; especially axes and hammers, “ which proves that even after the introduction of metal into the country, its “ dearness caused large articles still to be manufactured from stone. The bronze “ period in Denmark comes down considerably lower than the time of the “ Romans."— Worsaae Afbildninger fra Det Kongelige Museum for Nordiske Oldsager Kjöbnhavn, 1854, p. 19.