« EelmineJätka »
THE great master who, through the whole maze of his creation, from the soft whispering to the mighty raging of the elements, makes us conscious of the unity of his conception.
DEFECTS OF OUR CENSUS
THE official statistics of all countries have been improved, and, in regard to the census, the recommendations of the Brussels meeting have been generally carried out in a majority of states. I am sorry to have to admit the existence of some striking exceptions in England in this respect; for instance, the census of Great Britain and Ireland was not taken on precisely the same plan in essential particulars, thereby diminishing its value for general purposes.
The judicial Defects of our Census.
statistics of England and Wales do not show a complete comparative view of the operation of our judicial establishments ; nor, while we are in all the departments of the State most actively engaged in the preparation of valuable statistics, can we deny certain defects in our returns, which must be traced to the want of such a central authority or commission as was recommended by the Congress at Brussels and Paris, to direct on a general plan all the great statistical operations to be prepared by the various departments. Such a commission would be most useful in preparing an annual digest of the statistics of the United Kingdom, of our widely scattered colonies, and of our vast Indian Empire. From such a digest the most important results could not fail to be elicited. One of the most useful results of the labours of the Congress has been the common agreement of all states to inquire into the causes of every death, and to return the deaths from the same causes under synonymous names, sanctioned by the Congress. It has in this instance set the example of establishing what is most desirable in all other branches of statistics, namely, the agreement upon well-defined terms. There ought to exist no greater difficulty in arriving at such an agreement in the case of the various crimes than in that of causes of death ;” and it must be remembered that it is one of the first tasks and duties of every science to start with a definition of terms. What is it that is meant by a house, a family, an adult, an educated or an uneducated person, by murder, manslaughter, and so on? It is evident that as long as a different sense is attached to these terms in different returns their use for comparison is nil, and for simple study very much deteriorated ; and still we have not yet arrived at such a simple and obvious desideratum ! The different weights, measures, and currencies, in which different statistics are expressed, cause further difficulties and impediments.
FROM amongst the political sciences it has been the custom in modern times to detach one which admits of being severed from individual opinions, and of being reduced to abstract laws, derived from well-authenticated facts. I mean Political Economy, based on general statistics. A new Association has recently been formed, striving to comprehend in its investigations and discussions even a still more extended range of subjects, in what is called “ Social Science." These efforts deserve warmest approbation and goodwill. May they succeed in obtaining a purely and strictly scientific character ! Our own Association has, since its meeting at Dublin, recognised the growing claims of political economy to scientific brotherhood, and admitted it into its statistical section. It could not have done so under abler guidance and happier auspices than the presidency of the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Whately, whose efforts in this direc
tion are so universally appreciated. But even in this section, and while statistics alone were treated in it, the Association, as far back as 1833, made it a rule that, in order to insure positive results, only those classes of facts should be admitted which were capable of being expressed by numbers, and which promised, when sufficiently multiplied, to indicate general laws.
If, then, the main object of inductive science is the discovery of the laws which govern natural phenomena, the primary condition for its success is-accurate observation and collection of facts in such comprehensiveness and completeness as to furnish the philosopher with the necessary material from which to draw safe conclusions.
“ CHARACTERS" TO SERVANTS.
Any one who is acquainted with the annoyances and inconveniences connected with the present system of “characters to servants," will at once see the importance of the introduction