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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 82


In consequence of the prolonged illness of the Treasurer, Mr. A. C. Swinton, who till lately also discharged the duties of Hon. Sec., and the serious shortcomings and recent dismissal of the salaried officer who should have continued the work of the Society, the accession of new members during the year has not been so large as we could have wished, while the same unfortunate circumstances have rendered it impossible for us to prepare a formal balance-sheet in time for this meeting. But, notwithstanding the loss of time necessarily involved in these untoward events, we have reason to be satisfied with the result of what has been done, and with the marked progress which the Society's principles are steadily making in the public mind.

While we cordially acknowledge the influence of Mr. Henry George in giving a most important impetus to the question of Land Nationalisation throughout these islands, we do not lose sight of the fact that his remedial method has in some measure distracted attention from the distinctive features of this Society's programme. The mass of the people who have suffered, and are suffering, such severe ills through the existence of landlordism are at present, perhaps, too much incensed to carefully consider the question of the equitable treatment of those who—unconsciously in the main—have done them such grievous wrong. Nevertheless, we have such unbounded faith in the inherent fairness of the English people as to feel confident that, when the time comes to settle this momentous question, they will cordially assent to temper justice with mercy. Then, we venture to think, the ethical and practical value of this Society's principles will be manifest.