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The interest which at ail times attaches to the memo rials of mighty empires has been greatly strengthened and extended in its influence, of late years, by the researches of intelligent and enterprising travellers. This century has witnessed the re-discovery of Petra; the exploration of Babylon; the restoration from oblivion of the ruined cities and temples of central America; the recovery of the secret by which the records of Egyptian learning have been dumb for nearly two thousand years; and the exhumation of the buried evidences of Assyrian arts and historic annals, leading back to the birth-time of earth's youngest empire. On such themes it is impossible to dwell without exciting the liveliest emotions of sympathy in every intelligent and inquiring mind. This volume is accordingly devoted to a sketch of the whole circle of explorations and discoveries extending throughout the known world. It includes both a review of the earliest notices, and of the most recent disclosures, relating to the traces of former arts, civilization, magnificence, and dominion, of the various kingdoms which have successively played their part on the world's stage. Embracing, as it does, so wide and varied a field, it cannot fail to interest; and it has been no less the aim of the author, that it should also instruct the reader of its pages. The indications of prophetic warning, and the evidences of remarkable fulfilment, have been carefully traced out, and applied to these demonstrations of their solemn import; nor will the thoughtful reader fail to trace, in the unwritten records which the ruins of empires disclose, a consecutive history of our race, more ample and instructive than the ethnologist has to offer him, and far more calculated to elevate the mind, and impress it with the sense of how fleeting and transitory are earth's most stable possessions.

June, 1850.

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