From 'The American Journal of Education' (1856), on the 'Instruction of Idiots':
What is the proportion of idiots to the population? The data we yet possess do not seem to be sufficient to answer this question accurately, in regard to our own country, though approximations have been made towards a census of this class, in several States. In the mountainous districts of Europe the number of cretins, as already stated, is very great. In the Alpine districts they constitute from 5 to 10 per cent of the population; in Great Britain, according to recent returns, there are over 50,000, a little more than one-half of one per cent ...How comforting. And on the causes of idiocy:
It has often occurred that when one or both parents were so fully possessed with the greed of gain, that intellectual and moral culture were wholly neglected, and in their furious pursuit of wealth they paused not for the rest of the Sabbath, thought not of the future, and heeded not the appeals of the poor, the sick, or the dying for sympathy or succour, their offspring have been idiots of the lowest class.I'm confident our current thinking will also provide much to be laughed at 150 years from now. If only I could filter the wheat from the chaff.