Ladies and Gentlemen,—I rise, as your President, with a feeling of what the older physicians called præcordial anxiety, chiefly because I am not a teacher of psychiatry, but merely a clinical physician, and therefore possibly may have no real mandate from the gods to address you, except that which I owe to the kindly hearts of my fellow members of our great Association. Whatever work I have done in Ireland in helping to keep alive our interests in psychiatry you have bounteously rewarded, and I heartily thank you, on my own behalf, and also on behalf of the Irish Division, for the great honour you have conferred upon me. The old Shakespearian tag says: “Some are born great, and some achieve greatness,” but I assuredly have had this “greatness thrust upon me.” It is difficult, all must admit, to leave “footprints in the sands of Time,” and, to one who succeeds such men as Conolly Norman, Dawson and Nolan—all Irish Presidents—the task is not easy. The older members will easily remember Sir Thomas Clouston, Dr. Urquhart, of Perth, Sir George Savage, and many others who have kept alive the knowledge of psychiatry and amply added to it, and we, who speak to you in, possibly, “childhood's treble tones,” and look at you through the oncoming “silvery fringes of the ‘arcus senilis,’” can only feel that the good work of clinical psychiatry will be carried on, in the curative interests of God's mentally afflicted, as it has been done in the past; and it will, I feel sure, be effectually perfected in the future by the younger members of to-day, graced with the present-day knowledge of biochemistry and the more modern methods of psycho-therapy.
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