Gentlemen,—My first and most pleasing duty in taking this chair is to thank you very warmly for the honour you have done me in placing me here. Recalling the names of those who have occupied this position before me, I am abashed by my sense of my own unworthiness to fill it. When the question of my nomination as President of this Association was mooted, I would fain have stood aside, but the kindly representations of those members who said that it was Ireland's turn for an Annual Meeting made me feel that I could not evade the honourable task which was put upon me, even though I feel that I am very far from being the fittest of my contemporaries to undertake it. I have also been moved to accept your kindness and the distinguished honour you have conferred upon me in the hope that a meeting might be arranged in Dublin in such a way as to further the objects of the Association and to be of advantage to the members, particularly to those who live in Ireland. How far this hope may be fulfilled remains to be seen. I trust, in any case, that our present meeting may be so far successful that all our future Annual Meetings may be working meetings, and that under successors, I hope more competent than myself, the Association may be thereby materially aided in its forward path. For this meeting we have, I am happy to say, a very large and comprehensive programme, the members having heartily seconded the efforts of the General Secretary and myself to bring in good material. I desire no credit for this. I may say, with Montaigne, “I have brought you here a nosegay of sweet flowers; nothing is mine but the string that ties them together.” It is, perhaps, the function of the Chairman of such a meeting as this rather to aid and to suggest discussion than himself to take a very prominent part therein; rather to offer opportunities for others than to make them for himself; rather to be the whetstone than the chisel—
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