agent, having but little control or responsibility in all those Important matters.
If the theory here advanced is the true law of human increase, it is not a mere theory or an abstract general principle, but is capable of almost endless application, far more than can be enumerated. It will enable us to understand far better the nature of man, his duties and responsibilities in relation to himself, to the family, to society at large, and particularly to his Maker. It will furnish us a guide or great principle by which certain practices and fashions in society, certain modes of education, systems of morals, acts of legislation, etc., can be tested. It will throw new light upon what constitutes the true grounds of human progress and the real sources of an advancing civilization.
In closing this paper, it may be proper to state briefly what are the elements, or what is understood to constitute this law of population. It is based upon a perfect development of all the organs of the human body, so that there shall be a perfect harmony in the performance of all their respective functions. It presupposes that other conditions are favorable, such as the age, the union, and the adaptation of the married parties—provided no natural laws are violated or interfered with—there will uniformly be found with such an organization, not only the greatest number of children, but they will be endowed with the highest amount of physical vigor, strength, and health. We should also expect the best development of all parts of the brain, giving balance and symmetry to all mental qualities, whether social, intellectual, or moral. It should be further added that, inasmuch as perfect standards are not found, the nearer this normal standard of physiology is approached by all parties concerned, the more complete will be found the fulfillment of this law.
IN venturing to address the British Association from this chair, I feel that I have taken upon myself a task involving very serious responsibility. The Association has for half a century fulfilled the important mission of drawing together, once every year, scientists from all parts of the country for the purpose of discussing questions of mutual interest, and of cultivating those personal relations which aid so powerfully in harmonizing views, and in stimulating concerted action for the advancement of science.
A sad event casts a shadow over our gathering. While still mourning the irreparable loss science had sustained in the person of Charles
- Presidential Address, delivered at the Fifty-ninth Annual Meeting of the British Association, held at Southampton, August 23, 1882.