The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29
I think, ladies and gentlemen, that I have now arrived at the conclusion of the task which I set before myself when I undertook to deliver these lectures before you. My purpose and object has been, not to enable those of you who have not paid attention to these subjects before to leave this room in a condition qualified to decide upon the validity or the invalidity of the hypothesis of Evolution, but to put before you the principles by which all such hypotheses must be judged; and furthermore, to make apparent to you the nature of the evidence and the sort of cogency which is to be expected and may be obtained from it. To this end I have not hesitated in regarding you as genuine students and persons desirous of knowing the truth. I have not hesitated to take you through arguments, and long chains of arguments, that I fear may have sometimes tried your patience, or to have inflicted upon you details which could not possibly be escaped, but which may well have been wearisome. But I shall rejoice—I shall consider I have done you the greatest service which it was in my power in such a way to do—if I have thus convinced you that this great question which we are discussing is not one to be discussed, dealt with—by rhetorical flourishes or by loose and superficial talk, but that it requires the keenest attention of the trained intellect and the patience of the most accurate observer. (Applause).
I did not, when I commenced this series of lectures, think it necessary to preface them with a prologue, such as might be expected from a stranger and a foreigner; for during my brief stay in your country I have found it very hard to believe that a stranger could be possessed of so many friends, and almost harder to imagine that the foreigner could express himself in your language in such a way as to be so readily intelligible to all appearance; for, so far as I can judge, that most intelligent and per-haps I may add most singularly active and enterprising body of the press, your press reporters, do not seem to have been deterred by my accent from giving the fullest account of everything that I happen to have said. (Great applause.) But the vessel in which I take my departure to-morrow morning is even now ready to slip her moorings; I awake from my delusion that I another than a stranger and a foreigner. I am ready to go back to my place and country, but before doing so, let me, by way of epilogue, tender to you my most hearty thanks for your most kind and cordial reception which you have accorded to me; and let me thank you still more for that which is the greatest compliment which can be afforded to any person in my position—the continuous and undisturbed attention which you have continued to bestow upon the long argument which I have had the honor to lay before you. (Cheers and applause.)