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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/108

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

As for the last and most inclusive of all sciences, that which considers the interrelations which alone make civilization, science and progress possible; some of whose laws even the lowly ant and bee have unconsciously learned and applied; I must leave our guest of the evening to speak as one having authority. That man is a unit in a certain sense; that every individual carries with him determining atoms of his entire hereditary line, the unbroken continuity of which is the first condition of his existence; is a truism. That in another sense mankind is also a unit and that no member of the entire congregation can suffer or enjoy without effect upon the mass, is equally true if hard to realize. Once realized by the generality of mankind it seems conceivable that the flame of a genuine fraternity would illuminate the darker mysteries of life and labor, of good and evil, among us, as if from the refulgence of that shining city, not built with hands, of which the prophets tell.

 

STATISTICS.

By the Hon CARROLL D. WRIGHT,

DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR

GOTTFKIED ACHENWALL, who was born in 1719 and died in 1772, and was a professor of philosophy at Gottingen in 1750, is reported to have originated the modern statistical method. Undoubtedly others used it before Professor Achenwall, but it is as well to attribute the first specific use of the method in the modern sense to him as to any other.

The word 'statistics' is from the French 'statistique,' from the Greek 'statos,' meaning fixed or settled, from the stem 'sta,' to stand. Hence statistics means, a method by which fixed or settled conditions can be determined. According to definition, statistics is first a collection of facts relating to a part or the whole of a country or people, or of facts relating to a class of individuals or interests and different countries, especially those facts which illustrate physical, social, moral, intellectual, political, industrial and economic condition or changes of condition, and which admit of numerical statement and arrangement in tabular or graphic form. Second, it is that department of political science which classifies, arranges and discusses statistical data.

As we understand it, one of the most essential primary objects of statistics is to secure a simple, concrete statement of a mass of facts the essence of which could not otherwise be expressed except by means of long and tedious descriptive language, and even by the use of such language no concrete and clearly-defined conclusion could be reached. There is no method of expressing certain things except through the statistical method. This is true when we understand that statistics