The most advanced peoples in China, in Assyria, in Egypt, invented something new which had the most tremendous consequences, the art of transferring human thought to stone, brick, parchment, wood, wax, or that substance at once so fragile and so lasting, papyrus. Many other nations made essays in the same direction, but none of these had any future. In Mexico, as among the Scandinavians and perhaps among the menhir-builders,1 graven signs have been found of which we do not always recognize the meaning, and the most part of which will remain for ever dead letters. But in China, in the Middle East, and in Egypt, the essays developed into systems the success of which has lasted till our day. We cannot go into detail on these essays here. It must suffice to indicate the progress made by the human mind in this invention of writing.