The wealthy and educated classes, whose lives seem to themselves as free from moral blame as they are from legal punishment, may at first hear with no pleasant surprise a theory which inculpates them as sharers in the crimes necessarily resulting from the state of society which they are influential in shaping. Yet this consideration is by no means one of mere hopeless regret, for coupled with it is the knowledge that it is in their power, by adopting certain educational and reformatory measures, so to alter the present moral status of society as to reduce the annual budget of crime to a fraction of its present amount. Thus the doctrine that the nation participates in and is responsible for the acts of its individual members is one which widens the range of duty to the utmost. The labors of M. Quetelet, in reducing to absolute calculation this doctrine of the solidarity of human society, entitle him to a place among those great thinkers whose efforts perceptibly raise that society to a higher intellectual and moral level. Here, as everywhere, the larger comprehension of the laws of Nature works for good and not for evil in the history of the world. Some slight account has now to be given of M. Quetelet's doctrine of typical forms, as displayed in the "homme moyen," or "mean man," of a particular nation or race. This is no new theory; but, since the publication of the "Physique Sociale" in 1835, the author has been at work extending and systematizing it, his last results being shown in the present works. First, it must be pointed out that the term "homme moyen" is not intended to indicate what would be popularly meant by an "average man." An average or arithmetical mean of a number of objects may be a mere imaginary entity, having no real representative. Thus, an average chessman, computed as to height from the different pieces on the board, might not correspond to any one of the actual pieces. But the "homme moyen" or central type of a population really exists; more than this, the class he belongs to exceeds in number any other class, and the less nearly any other class approaches to his standard the less numerous that class is, the decrease in the number of individuals as they depart from the central type conforming to a calculable numerical law.
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