In human chemistry, Max Leclerc (1864-1932) was a French education reformer noted for his commentary on Hippolyte Taine’s view of people as human molecules, wherein Leclerc comments that in France the middle classes act as an aggregate of human molecules working to turn the huge wheel of commerce under the operation of the Minister’s pedal.
In commentary on Taine’s 1875 text Growing Disagreement of School and Life (La Disconvenance Croissante de l’ecole et de la Vie), according to one review, Leclerc argues that “in our Lycees there is the same military discipline (as under Napoleon), the same aggregation of numbered human molecules, which the huge wheel, turned throughout France by the Minister’s pedal, grinds and reduces to human powder.”  This view comes from Leclere’s 1894 book Education in the Middle Classes in England, where in he discusses the views of Taine, and comments that: 
“France has repeatedly changed its political constitution in this century but, through all vicissitudes, under many different governments, the regime founded by Napoleon Bonaparte persisted as the mode of education has remained the same. Twenty years ago, France sought to establish freedom with the Republic, she believes she has succeeded, and freedom, she says possesses ". How does it prepare new generations to use and Others How those born since in 1870 they are learning about freedom? If the parliamentary monarchy of July had not had the courage, if the Republic of 1848 has not had time, if the Second Empire could not have the will repudiate the dangerous legacy of Napoleon, the Third Republic, who has time and should have the courage and determination, she undertook what no one has been able, willing or dared to do before it? Did she understand how risk it runs, raising his free citizens by whatever means were combined to perpetuate the reign of the despotic one? Prefects and principals of the Republic today have no other conception of their role than once under the sword of Napoleon. In our schools, even military discipline, even numbered piles of human molecules that huge wheel turning in all of France under the pedal stroke of the Minister, crushed and pulped to humanity.”
1. Anon. (1894). “As Others See Us” (human molecules, pg. 217), Journal of Education, Apr 01.
2. Leclere, Max. (1894). L’Education des Classes Moyennes et Dirigeantes en Angleterre (Education in the Middle Classes in England and Politics) (molécules humaines, pg. 65). Paris: Armand Colin et Cie.
● Leclerc, Max (b. 1864) – WorldCat Identities.