Civilisation in England. H T Buckle. Volumes I, II & III.

By Henry Thomas Buckle

Printed: 1904

Publisher: Grant Richards. London

Dimensions 11 × 16 × 4 cm
Language

Language: English

Size (cminches): 11 x 16 x 4

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Description

Dark grey cloth binding. Gilt title and floral decoration on the spine. Dimensions are for one volume.

It is the intent of F.B.A. to provide an in-depth photographic presentation of this book offered so to almost stimulate your feel and touch on the book. If requested, more traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

 The description of History of Civilization in England is taken from The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences and General Literature, Volume 4 (1890).

Buckle’s fame rests mainly on his History of Civilization in England. It is a gigantic unfinished introduction, of which the plan was, first to state the general principles of the author’s method and the general laws that govern the course of human progress—and secondly, to exemplify these principles and laws through the histories of certain nations characterized by prominent and peculiar features—Spain and Scotland, the United States and Germany. The completed work was to have extended to 14 volumes; its chief ideas are:

  1. That, owing partly to the want of ability in historians, and partly to the complexity of social phenomena, extremely little had as yet been done towards discovering the principles that govern the character and destiny of nations, or, in other words, towards establishing a science of history;
  1. That, while the theological dogma of predestination is a barren hypothesis beyond the province of knowledge, and the metaphysical dogma of free will rests on an erroneous belief in the infallibility of consciousness, it is proved by science, and especially by statistics, that human actions are governed by laws as fixed and regular as those that rule in the physical world;
  2. That climate, soil, food, and the aspects of nature are the primary causes of intellectual progress: the first three indirectly, through determining the accumulation and distribution of wealth, and the last by directly influencing the accumulation and distribution of thought, the imagination being stimulated and the understanding subdued when the phenomena of the external world are sublime and terrible, the understanding being emboldened and the imagination curbed when they are small and feeble;
  3. That the great division between European and non-European civilization turns on the fact that in Europe man is stronger than nature, and that elsewhere nature is stronger than man, the consequence of which is that in Europe alone has man subdued nature to his service;
  4. That the advance of European civilization is characterized by a continually diminishing influence of physical laws, and a continually increasing influence of mental laws;
  5. That the mental laws that regulate the progress of society cannot be discovered by the metaphysical method, that is, by the introspective study of the individual mind, but only by such a comprehensive survey of facts as enable us to eliminate disturbances, that is, by the method of averages;
  6. That human progress has been due, not to moral agencies, which are stationary, and which balance one another in such a manner that their influence is unfelt over any long period, but to intellectual activity, which has been constantly varying and advancing: “The actions of individuals are greatly affected by their moral feelings and passions; but these being antagonistic to the passions and feelings of other individuals, are balanced by them, so that their effect is, in the great average of human affairs, nowhere to be seen, and the total actions of mankind, considered as a whole, are left to be regulated by the total knowledge of which mankind is possessed”;
  7. That individual efforts are insignificant in the great mass of human affairs, and that great men, although they exist, and must “at present” be looked upon as disturbing forces, are merely the creatures of the age to which they belong;
  8. That religion, literature and government are, at the best, the products and not the causes of civilization;
  9. That the progress of civilization varies directly as “scepticism”, the disposition to doubt and to investigate, and inversely as “credulity” or “the protective spirit”, a disposition to maintain, without examination, established beliefs and practices.

 Henry Thomas Buckle (24 November 1821 – 29 May 1862) was an English historian, the author of an unfinished History of Civilization, and a strong amateur chess player. He is sometimes called “the Father of Scientific History”. By 1840, Buckle had decided “to direct all his reading and to devote all his energies to the preparation of some great historical work”. During the next seventeen years he worked ten hours a day toward that purpose. By 1851 Buckle had decided that his “great historical work” would be “a history of civilization”. During the next six years, he was engaged “in writing and rewriting, altering and revising the first volume”. It was titled the History of Civilization in England and was published in June 1857.

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