- "Our hopes as to the condition of the human species may be reduced to three points: The destruction of inequality between nations, the progress of equality in one and the same nation and lastly, the real improvement of man."
- ―Excerpt of the manuscript.[src]
Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (French: Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progrès de l'esprit humain) is a manuscript by the French philosopher Nicolas de Condorcet.
While in hiding in 1793 to 1794 during the French Revolution, Condorcet wrote the manuscript, strongly influenced by Enlightenment thought, arguing that humanity could better itself through the use of knowledge. After being caught and imprisoned in 1794, Condorcet was soon found dead in his cell. It is likely that the Templars, opposed to Enlightenment thought, murdered him in the hopes of stealing the manuscript.
In any case, Condorcet had hidden the manuscript in the tomb of King Louis IX in Saint-Denis before his imprisonment, leaving behind a drawing of a royal crest as a clue. The young thief Léon soon stole the manuscript, and was eventually forced to give it to the Assassin Arno Dorian. Arno handed it over to the Marquis de Sade, who had taken an interest in it. The manuscript was posthumously published in 1795.