The honourable position, which, through your kindness, I am privileged to occupy to-day, associates the occupant of this chair with a long roll of distinguished predecessors, and unites him as it were to a confraternity of honour which oversteps time and unites generations. But whether the initial duty of having to deliver an inaugural address is a wise one, I will not venture to say; yet I do know that the consciousness of this time-honoured custom neither tends to produce peaceful repose, nor happy thoughts during the year of probation. My immediate predecessor, Dr. Robert Jones, having so diligently covered the field of evolution, from the time of King Saul to the latest conceptions of the London County Council, I have experienced no little difficulty in finding a resting-place in any of the ordinary fields of inquiry. Assuming that the members of this Association would not expect anything new in what I might say, I have speculated whether, perhaps in directions which are not new, I might say anything which would suggest useful thought to those interested in the aims and work of our Association. On the very threshold of my task I was, as if by chance, suddenly pulled up, and found written across my path these words: “I look into my glass.” Such is the title of the short address with which I purpose troubling you this afternoon. Would that this glass were the simple artificial mirror from off the reverse side of which you and I could re move the silver coating and look into the fathomless abyss beyond; but no, the glass is the human mental mirror of which all are possessed, some more, others less. If I propose to you to look with me into this glass at the question of the social aspect of insanity in a purely rural district, “far from the madding crowd,” and which has remained untouched from the influence of large communities, it is not as a mere theoretical exercise in race evolution, but because it contains within, a further inquiry, which even in this the early part of the twentieth century may be turned to profitable account in an Association like this.
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