I shall have no hope of conveying to the reader, within the narrow limits of a preface, any fuller idea of the purport of this work than its title expresses; and as the chapters are necessarily interdependent, I can indicate no short-cut in the perusal by which this information can be obtained.
I venture to think that those who are interested in the special matters referred to will find something in these pages which may attract on account of its novelty—and some other things, new at least in their application—e.g. the comparison of Boulanger’s theory with the narratives of Captain R. Burton and Catlin.
The frequent introduction and the length of the notes, must, I am aware, give to these pages a repellent aspect, but the necessity of bringing various points under comparison has compelled this arrangement; and I regret to say that the argument runs through the whole, and that almost as much matter requiring consideration will be found in the notes and appendices as in the text.
I trust that these imperfections may not be so great as to estrange the few, among whom only I can hope to find much sympathy, who wish to see the true foundations of peace and order re-established in the world, and who may therefore to some extent be indulgent towards efforts which have for their aim and motive the attempt to erect barriers which would render the recurrence of the evils which have lately deluged mankind difficult, if not impossible.