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This book has been written for myself, and for a few friends with whom I have been travelling for many years on the same road. We have exchanged our thoughts from time to time. We agree on some points, we differ, or we imagine we differ, on others; and as we shall soon have come to the end of our journey, I wished to leave on record what is the outcome of many years of common work and thought and friendly discourse. Beyond my friends and acquaintances, scattered in England, Germany, France, Italy, America, and India, whose ranks have of late been sadly thinned, there will be few, I am afraid, to whom this book is likely to be of much interest. The subjects of which it treats do not at present excite public sympathy, whether in England or on the Continent. There is a fulness of time for philosophical as there is for political and social questions. As the successful statesman must keep his eye on the sphere of practical politics, as the efficient reformer must set his sail to catch the wind blowing from the right quarter, a writer who wishes to produce a telling and popular book ought not to choose a subject which has had its day, and is not likely soon to rise again above the horizon.
And not only are the subjects treated in this