« EelmineJätka »
“ Characters ” to Servants.
of a system by which the servant will be protected from that ruin which the caprice of a single master (with whom he may even have lived for a short time only) may inflict upon him, and the master from the risk to which a character wrung from a former weak master by the importunities of an undeserving servant, may expose him.* Nor is it a small benefit to be conferred upon a servant, to enable him, by appealing to a long record of former services, to redeem the disqualification which a single fault might bring upon him.
Should we only succeed in inducing the public at large to consider all these points, we shall have the satisfaction of having furthered the interests of a class which we find recorded, in the Report of the last Census, as the most numerous in the British population.
* Referring to a registry for servants.
FEELINGS ON PRESIDING AT A GREAT
The high position which science occupies, the vast number of distinguished men who labour in her sacred cause, and whose achievements, while spreading innumerable benefits, justly attract the admiration of mankind, contrasted strongly in my mind with the consciousness of my own insignificance in this respect. I, a simple ad mirer and would-be student of science, to take the place of the chief and spokesman of the scientific men of the day, assembled in furtherance of their important objects !—the thing appeared to me impossible. Yet, on reflection, I came to the conclusion that, if not as a contributor to, or director of your labours, I might still be useful to you, useful to science, by accepting your offer. Remembering that this Association is a popular Association, not a secret confraternity of men On Presiding at a Great Scientific Assembly. 53
* The meeting of the British Association at Aberdeer. September, 1859.
jealously guarding the mysteries of their profession, but inviting the uninitiated, the public at large, to join them, having as one of its objects to break down those imaginary and hurtful barriers which exist between men of science and so-called men of practice—I felt that I could, from the peculiar position in which Providence has placed me in this country, appear as the representative of that large public, which profits by and admires your exertions, but is unable actively to join in them ; that my election was an act of humility on your part, which to reject would have looked like false humility—that is, like pride, on mine. But I reflected further, and saw in my acceptance the means, of which necessarily so few are offered to Her Majesty, of testifying to you, through the instrumentality of her husband, that your labours are not unappreciated by your Sovereign, and that she wishes her people to know this as well as yourselves. Guided by these reflections, my choice speedily made, for the path of duty lay straight before me.
THE CRADLE OF POLITICAL ARITHMETIC.
It is here that the idea of an International Statistical Congress took its origin, when delegates and visitors from all nations had assembled to exhibit in noble rivalry the products of their science, skill, and industry in the Great Exhibition of 1851; it is here that statistical science was earliest developed. Dr. Farr has well reminded us that England has been called, by no less an authority than Bernouilli, "the cradle of political arithmetic,” and that we may even appeal to our Domesday Book as one of the most ancient and complete monuments of the science in existence. It is this country also which will and must derive the greatest benefits from the achievements of this science.
Old as your science is, and undeniable as are the benefits which it has rendered to mankind, it is yet little understood by the multitude ; it is pew in its acknowledged position among the other The Cradle of Political Arithmetic.
sciences, and still subject to many vulgar prejudices. It is little understood, for it is dry and unpalatable to the general public in its simple arithmetical expressions, representing living facts (which as such are capable of arousing the liveliest sympathy) in dry figures and tables for comparison, Much labour is required to wade through endless columns of figures, much patience to master them, and some skill to draw any definite and safe conclusions from the mass of material which they present to the student; while the value of the information offered depends exactly upon its bulk, increasing in proportion with its quantity and comprehensiveness. It has been little understood, also, from the peculiar and often unjustifiable use which has been made of it ; for the very fact of its difficulty, and the patience required in reading up and verifying the statistical figures which may be referred to by an author in
support of his theories and opinions, protect him, to a certain extent, from scrutiny, and tempt him to draw largely upon so convenient and available a capital.