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RAIL ROAD, CANAL, AND STEAMBOAT STATISTICS.
The Iron Trade.-The Motion of a Cannon Ball.–Vapor.
STATISTICS OF POPULATION, & e.
Population of Java and Madura. – Enlargement of Paris.
Art. I.--REVIEW, HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL, OF THE DIFFERENT SYSTEMS
OF SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY :*
OR, INTRODUCTION TO A MORE COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEM.
A VISTORICAL GLANCE AT THE CARKER OF THE ARABIANS DURING THE PERIOD OF THEIR GREATEST ENLIGOTESNENT-THEIE CONTRIBUTIONS TO GENERAL SCIENCE BRIEFLY NOTICED - FIVE GENERAL OBSERTATIONS BUGGESTED BY THEIR DISTINGUISHED CAREER AS LEADERS OF CIVILIZATION -MOHANMEDANISM AND THE IDEAS IT EMBODIES, THAT ARE OF IMPORTANCE AS PRINCIPLES IN SOCIOLOGY INCIDENTALLY CONSIDERED-60ME GENERAL REMARKS OX THE CONDITION OF THE MONTAYMEDAN YATIOX8 INCIDENTALLY MADE.
The sun of civilization had not set on Europe quite three centuries, before it rose again with intense brilliancy upon the Asiatic portion of the Caucasian world. The Arabians, deriving, as it were, a new birth from the inspirations of their great prophet, for the first time appeared in the world as conquerors in arms and instructors in science.t
It has been customary, hitherto, with those who have undertaken to present, at least from an European stand point, a historical sketch of the progress of the human race, whether in relation to the general development of the race, or the particular development of any art or science, to ignore the part which has been played by the Arabians, or at least, to re
Entered according to an act of Congress, in the year 1859, by Geo. W. & JNO. A. Woon, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the southern district of New York.
+ The time here fixed upon as the hour of sunrise for the second day or well defined epoch of human civilization, is the year of Christ 749, when the first Caliph of the Abbasside dynasty ascended the throne. This, counting from the hour already fixed upon for the sunset of the first civilization, or A. D. 476, gives an intervening night of 273 years, just about 21 centuries, or, as we might desig? nate it, on the dial plate of history, 27 hours. Some might prefer to fix the time in the year 763, when Almanser, the second Caliph of the Abbasside dynasty, removed the seat of Saracen empire from Darnascus to Bagdad. But in fixing the time in A. D. 749, we have followed the example of the Arabians themselves, who dato the luster of their civilization from the first Caliph of tho Abe basside dynasty.
gard it as comparatively insignificant--to treat it as a mere episode in the great epic of history, as a subordinate piece, or by-play, rather than one of the prominent acts, in the grand drama of human development. Thus Bacon, in bis Advancement of Learning, when speaking of the three “ visitations” of learning which he recognizes, regards them as the Grecian, Roman, and present one, almost totally ignoring the Arabian contribution to general science.* Tennemann, too, that great comprehensive German scholar, in bis “Manual of the History of Philosophy," while dividing that history into three periods—the first extending from Thales to Charlemagne, or (as he perhaps less happily has it) to John of Damascus, which comprehends the interval between the year 600, before Christ, and 800 after bim, or fourteen centuries—the second period from the year A. D. 800 to 1500—or seven centuries—the third period from A. D. 1500 onward, embracing the present century,t-Tennemann, while thus partitioning the History of Philosophy, assigns to the Arabians an altogether subordinate place in that history, noticing them of course as appertaining to the second period.
It would ill become an inquirer, who, like the author of the present undertaking, is disposed to regard all the various developments in human history as inseparable parts of one connected and consistent development, the proper
relations of which are undiscoverable to buman intelligence, and to consider all the several sciences as but the different parts of one inseparably connected, all-adhering system, and who believes that all sciences, and more especially, that most complex of them all, the science of Sociology, the science of human society, into which they all converge, and which, more particularly than any other science, is dependent on and derives its nourishment from all the rest, are languishing under the isolated attempts which have been hitherto made to master them separately, and without a due consideration of their vital connections with all other sciences-nay, an inquirer whose leading idea, in undertaking the vast design in which he is vow engaged, is to bring to bear upon the science of Sociology, and its many and long-vexed problems, observations taken from the stand points of all the sciences, and more especially from the whole past of human history—it would ill become such an inquirer, while taking a historical glance at the prominent developments in human history, with a view to extracting valuable suggestions relating to the philosophy of society, to fall into the bitherto prevalent babit of ignoring, or even of lightly regarding, the great Arabian development.
According to the plan upon which ihe historical skeich hiere presented, therefore, is predicated, the whole course of human development, or that of the vanguard of humanity and its great central column, the Caucasian race, is divided into three main periods, (as by Bacon and Tennemann) the first period or day embracing the Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman civilizations, which are respectively regarded as only ditlerent periods of the same day, and ending with the downfall of Roman civilization in Italy in the fifth century--the second period embracing the epoch of Arabian or Saracen civilization, beginning with the latter part of the eighth century, and ending with the overthrow of the Arabian dominion in Asia,
* See Advancement of Learning, edition of 1806, passim.
+ See Tennemann's Manual of the History of Philosophy, as translated by Rev. Arthur Johnson, snd revised by J. R. Morell, passim.
about the middle of the thirteenth century--the third period beginning with the sixteenth century, or thereabout, and extending onward through the present times. These three periods may be respectively termed the first, second, and third periods of human civilization, or the ancient, medieval, and modern; and they are separated from each other by broad and well defined lines or belts of darkness, extending through nearly three centuries, which may aptly be compared, as they usually are, to hours of night, hours indeed which are not to be regarded, by any means, as valueless, in the lifetime of the race, but only as of comparatively far less value than the hours of light.
This plan ignores rather the middle age of European civilization than the Saracenic civilization, and follows, in its course, the greater rather than the lesser light. Indeed, why should we direct our attention so fixedly upon the so called "scholastic philosophy” of Europe, in the middle age, with its profitless disquisitions upon those most unprofitable of all the unprofitable problems of Metaphysics, those relating to the doctrine of essence, a philosophy of which Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Roger Bacon, Roscellin, and Abelard were almost the only distinguished lights, and bestow only casual notice upon the corresponding period of Arabian philosophy, concerning which, it has been said, “the names alone of the Saracen philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers, physicians, botanists, chemists, and architects, who illustrated this period of Arab history, would fill a volume."*
What though we know too little of the Arabian science and learning of this period to be able to speak of them with reliable particularity! It is at least desirable that we should recognize their value, and that attention should be turned in this, the right direction, for discovering the most valuable contributions of the human mind, during this period, to the stores of general knowledge. Enough is known to assure us that the contributions of the Arabian mind, during this period, were of a distinguished character, and have exerted an important influence on the art and science of the present day.
The Arabians were distinguished proficients in medicine, the inventors of chemistry, the perfectors, if not inventors, of Algebra, and either the inventors, or the medium for transmission, from India to Europe, of those arithmetical characters, commonly known as the Arabic numerals, now universally employed among Europeans, and which serve almost as important a purpose in arithinetical science, as the alphabet serves in the science of language. It was only in mathematical, physical, and metaphysical science, however, that the Arabians appear to have made any noteworthy attainments. In Ethics and Sociology they do not appear to have contributed anything valuable, at least in a scientific form, or of a speculative nature. Their genius was indeed, and doubtless still is, like that of the French, peculiarly adapted to the exact sciences. Carlyle has styled them, “Oriental Italians, "4 and probably with very great propriety. But this they have, in cominon with the French and Italians, but more especially the former, of whom it is more especially the characteristic, that their turn is for the ex ict, rather than the non-exact, sciences,
McCullogh's Geographical Dictionary-title Arabia. + The language of Carlyle is, “ The Persians are called the French of the Enst; we will call the Arabs Oriental Italianz." See Carlyle on Heroes, p. 43, in the lecture entitled “The Ilero as Prophet."