and eventual retreat; his various negotiations, alliances, treaties of peace and breaches of them; and so on with details of his various campaigns in Germany, Spain, Russia, etc., including accounts of his strategy, tactics, victories, defeats, slaughters, etc., etc.; for how, in the absence of such information, is it possible to judge what institutions should be advocated and what legislative changes should be opposed?
Still, after due attention has been paid to these indispensable matters, a little time might, perhaps, with advantage be devoted to the natural history of societies. Some guidance for political conduct would possibly be reached by asking, What is the normal course of social evolution, and how it will be affected by this or that policy? It may turn out that legislative action of no kind can be taken that is not either in harmony with, or at variance with, the processes of national growth and development as naturally going on; and that its desirableness is to be judged by this ultimate standard rather than by proximate standards. Without claiming too much, we may at any rate expect that, if there does exist an order among those structural and functional changes which societies pass through, knowledge of that order can scarcely fail to affect our judgments as to what is progressive, and what retrograde—what is desirable, what is practicable, what is Utopian.
To those who think such an inquiry worthy to be pursued, will be addressed the chapters that are to follow. There are sundry considerations important to be dwelt upon, before commencing Sociology. To a clear idea of the nature of the science have to be added clear ideas of the conditions to successful study of it. These will henceforth occupy us.
WHETHER we owe many of the matters we are about to glance at to fishes or no, it is certain that the fishes possessed them long before we did, and though man may be said to have invented them, yet in his savage state he must have taken more or less of hints from Nature, and have adopted the methods which Nature pointed out to him as the most effective in hunting or war (which were his principal occupations) whenever they could be adapted to his needs and appliances. However this may be, it is certainly singular that we should find so many existing similarities of a peculiar kind between the habits and attributes of men and fishes. For example, there is scarcely a sport we practise or a weapon of offence that we use which has not a