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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69


Ladies and Gentlemen,

That I distinctly recognise the high honor conferred upon me by the "Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science" when they appointed me President of Section F, is testified by my travelling the distance of nearly 2,000 miles from Adelaide to this city to take part in the proceedings of the Association. That the subject chosen by me would be of interest in New Zealand, I was informed by Professor Hutton when he courteously acknowledged my acceptance of the proffered Presidentship in March last. I have done my best to make the study of the subject simple, so that the general public who are most affected by the want of a State Bank of Issue should to some extent understand the practical bearing of this most important economic question.

The very able and conscientious gentleman who last year filled the chair that I am called upon to occupy to-day closed his presidential address with the following deeply significant words:—"Popular favor is a terrible task-mistress for she refuses bread to those who fail to work her pleasure—but the evil time draws too near for delusive teaching. It is now necessary that those who see the rocks ahead should speak out faithfully." Most of us have heard of the "rocks ahead" referred to by the late Mr. W. R. Gregg, but Mr. Johnston was more farseeing in his treatment of his subject page 2 than Mr. Gregg. In dealing with the very difficult but eminently practical subject that I have chosen I do not pro-pose to defend "pleasant delusions," upheld, as the well-known Mr. Matthew Macfie alleges, by reason of the "credulity and ignorance" of the public mind on the little studied subject of finance. It was announced the other day that on the 20th of November a meeting would be held at the London University, presided over by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with a view to the foundation of a British Economic Association. The notice alleged that "it was rather an anomaly that no organised scientific body exists in Great Britain to promote that most important branch of knowledge in which we have made more advance than all the rest of the world—Economics." That newly-to-be-formed association will scarcely say of the antipodean institution sequamur sed non æquis passibus. We hope when the great British foundation has advanced beyond our more humble achievements that we shall keep it well in sight.