On waves of passion: London 1860
in States and statistics in the nineteenth century

London was the fountainhead of international statistics. When the fourth international statistical congress was held in London in 1860, there was no one better suited to opening the proceedings than Prince Albert. In 1859, on behalf of the statistics community Adolphe Quetelet invited the Prince to attend the forthcoming congress. Albert began by focusing on the congress's public and national character, which was entirely consistent with the high intensity of political life in Britain where every important issue was debated in the public arena. Quetelet was the first to address the congress after all the national and colonial reports had been presented in the plenary sessions. In addition to Quetelet's sixth section on the nature and methods of statistics, there were five other sections on civil and criminal statistics; health; agriculture, mining, textiles and railways; economic statistics; and the census and related population statistics.

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