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ON THE

IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIETY

BY THE

DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE:

OR,

AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE ADVANTAGES WHICH WOULD RESULT

FROM A MORE GENERAL DISSEMINATION OF RATIONAL
AND SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION AMONG ALL RANKS.

BY THOMAS DICK, LL.D.
Author of “The Christian Philosopher," “ The Philosophy of Religion,” “ The Philosophy

of a Future State," &c.

Knowledge is Power.—Lord Bacon.

ILLUSTRATED

WITH

ENGRAVINGS.

NEW-YORK:

PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. & J. HARPER,

NO. 82 CLIFF-STREET,

AND SOLD BY THE BOOKSELLERS GENERALLY THROUGHOUT

THE UNITED STATES.

183 3.

PREFACE.

The plan and outlines of the following work were sketched, and a considerable portion of it composed, about eighteen years ago. It was advertised, as preparing for the press in 1823, when the author published the first edition of “ The Christian Philosopher ;" but various other engagements prevented its appearance at that period. The introduction and the first two Sections were published in a respectable Quarterly Journal, in the year 1816 ; but they are now considerably modified and enlarged. This circumstance will account for the date of some of the illustrative facts to which reference is made in the first part of the volume and in several portions of the Appendix.

Had the present work been published at any of the periods now referred to, the subject it discusses, and some of the illustrations, would have presented a more novel aspect than they can lay claim to at the present time, when the diffusion of knowledge has become an object of general attention. The author, however, is not aware that any work embracing so full an illustration of the same topics has

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