A reference to the programmo of the "System of Synthetic Philosophy," will show that the chapters herewith issued, constitute the first division of the work on the Principles of Morality, with which the System ends. As the second and third volumes of the Principles of Sociology are as yet unpublished, this instalment of the succeeding work appears out of its place.
I have been led thus to deviate from the order originally set down, by the fear that persistence in conforming to it might result in leaving tho final work of the series unexecuted. Hints, repeated of late years with increasing frequency and distinctness, have shown mo that health may permanently fail, even if life docs not end, before I reach the last part of the task I have marked out for myself. This last part of the task it is, to which I regard all the preceding parts as subsidiary. Written as far back as 1812, my first essay, consisting of letters on The Proper Sphere of Government, vaguely indicated what I conceived to be certain general principles of right and wrong in political conduct; and from that time onwards my ultimate purpose, lying behind all proximate purposes, has been that of finding for the principles of right and wrong in conduct at large, a scientific basis. To leave this purpose unfulfilled after making so extensive a preparation for fulfilling it, would be a failure the probability of which I do not like to contemplate; and I am anxious to preclude it, if not wholly, still partially. Hence the step I now take.