Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

AMERICAN
JOURNAL OF INSANITY

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS.*

BY JAMES V. ANGLIN, M.D.,
Medical Superintendent, The Provincial Hospital, St. John, New

Brunswick. To this, the seventy-fourth annual meeting of our Association, opened so auspiciously, it is my privilege to welcome you officially.

It was with trepidation that preparations for it were proceeded with in this year of stress, but its carrying on will be justified if our coming together enlarges the common store of useful knowledge; increases our mutual understanding; helps to sweep away obstacles to the advance of the healing art, and quickens us to do our bit in freedom's cause, whose battle-line reaches to our homes, our gardens, and our pockets.

Last year at the closing of the meeting, I took opportunity to thank the members there for selecting me for the presidency of this venerable body, and I now repeat how sincere is my appreciation of this distinction. It is most gratifying to have bestowed on one your best gift, as it expresses what all men covet earnestlythe good-will of one's associates. And yet there wells up in mind the thought, that when in the sunny south I was placed in line for the chair I may now occupy, it was, in part at least, because I was a citizen of no mean country, and the majority of you, holding allegiance to another, sought in some measure to show your younger brother of the north that your heart was with him when he rushed into the fray to fight for the liberty championed by Great Britain, and thrilled that fond mother who had thrown her protecting arms about him from his tenderest years, without other return than his loyalty and love.

Fifty years ago, Canada had her first Dominion Day, when from the position of a group of provinces lying on the banks of a mag

* Delivered at the Seventy-fourth Annual Meeting of the American Medico-Psychological Association, Chicago, I11., June 4-7, 1918.

war.

nificent waterway, she stepped into self-conscious nationhood, embracing a territory which now stretches from sea to sea, and from the river, St. Lawrence, to the end of the earth. Britain's tenure of Canada depends neither on the strength of her battalions nor on the might of her fleets. Within her borders there has not been stationed since my earliest recollection a single soldier, nor a single cannon over which Britain claimed control. Yet her influence in her great colony has grown more and more powerful. The Canadian people are animated by the same sentiments of loyalty as are found in the isles of their fathers, and British interests are as secure in their keeping as in the very core of the empire.

I need not recount Canada's contribution to the present conflict. Everywhere in this country you have been generous in the extreme in expressing admiration of the spirit of the Dominion.

Germany did not believe that the lion would be able to obtain effective assistance from its whelps in the event of a European

This opinion must have been derived from the Victorian era, when knowledge of the colonies was vague.

It is only within recent years that British statesmen have shown any real understanding of their dominions beyond the seas. There was a day when one can imagine their welcoming the news that every colony of the Empire had issued a declaration of independence, fashioned on the model of that with which Washington confounded the politicians who surrounded the King.

Canada got on the British map during the Boer war, appealingly and permanently. Over in England they sat up and took notice then, though many who are fighting with us now were not quite sure we were doing the right or chivalrous thing. But most people outside of Germany and Britain did not realize that the Kaiser's cable to Kruger was the formal shying of his helmet into the ring, and the existence of the British Empire was at stake in South Africa. In the darkest period of the Boer war, Canada had sprung to arms, which should have been an augury to Germany of what the colonies would do when their mother was in trouble.

It is a part of our national creed that what the 19th century was to this great neighboring republic, the 20th will be to my country. Canada's soil is destined to support teeming millions. With boundless acres, enriched by wastefulness while the lone Indian

scoured the plains, capable of providing the world with the finest of the wheat, with mineral stores of wonders untold, with unrivalled natural forces and virgin forests, with a stern yet invigorating climate, one would indeed be bold who would picture the meridian splendor of the nation which possesses such an heritage.

The most important purpose of such an association as ours is the mutual improvement of its members by advancement in knowledge. No class stands in greater need of getting together frequently than do men of our profession. We are called on to decide complicated problems involving the well-being, yea, the very lives of our fellows. The experience of the greatest is limited. It is easy to stray from the narrow path. There is no corrective equal to discussions with others. In this matter our Association has accomplished much. We have a journal to link us together through the year. It gives an account of our meetings which is a boon for those who cannot attend. Experimenters through this medium can convey information as to their hopes, aims and accomplishments directly, without filtering through foreign pub

That man deceives himself, however, who fancies he can derive the same benefit from a perusal of the Journal as he would from coming to our meetings. He misses the second object to be attained in a society like this—the binding together of its members by means of social intercourse.

Ample time should be allowed for interchange of opinion over the tea cups, or any place as congenial. While there is room for reminiscences not purely scientific, mental stimulus is to be derived from contact one with another, quietly discussing problems about

lications.

our life-work.

friends

“Our discords, quenched by meeting harmonies,

Die in the large and charitable air.” The present time is for all of us one of deepest anxiety, with a great sense of unrest. The angry clouds of war have hung heavily over us for nearly four years, and show no signs of lifting. Many

are overseas, to mitigate suffering, liable and ready to give their lives, if need be, in behalf of country, liberty, and our ideals of honor, truth and justice. Some dearer to us than tongue can tell are in the fighting ranks, in jeopardy every hour. With such distraction it was impossible to focus the mind on such an address as you have usually had from the long line of my

forerunners, even were such timely, and I capable of keeping to the beaten path. The constitution says your president shall prepare an inaugural. He is not to come here, open his mouth and expect the Lord to fill it. In an effort to obey, I shall occupy further time while you become acclimated to this lake-region with an endeavor to discover some silver lining to the leaden clouds on which Mars is riding so recklessly. For myself, I was born beside these waters after they had laved Chicago, and so am quite at home. The horrors of war are so constantly present that there may be some consolation in looking for another side.

I remember how in the first days of the war we stood aghast and said it could not endure more than a few weeks ; how David Starr Jordan proved conclusively, we thought, that the bankers would never permit a world war to begin; how Samuel Gompers said that labor would prevent the rupture of international peace; and how that brilliant wielder of the pen, Goldwin Smith, had declared that Canadians would never face a bayonet for England's sake. We have lived to see how far astray were such surmises. The greatest conflict in history not only began but has extended over weary years. Laboring men who had pledged their word to protect their alien brothers flew to the colors of the greatest autocrat of all time, and the best of Canadian youth are over there where they have proved themselves of such stuff that no troops have put greater fear into the hearts of the foe. They have shown invaluable initiative, innate to the new world, and your boys will do the same.

So, though the future may not bear one out in taking the optimist's view-point, no harm can follow “reaching a hand through time to catch the far-off interest of tears."

Every evil thing is followed by some good, and every achievement of good only uncovers some further ill for men to combat. Early in the war, in nearly all the belligerent countries, there was a sudden decrease of crime due to the absorption of many lawbreakers into the armies, and fewer idle hands for Satan to get busy with. A few months later, however, juvenile crime increased from lack of parental control, the fathers having gone to war, the mothers to work.

Likewise war found work for everybody. Thousands of families who were never far from the starvation line, now earn

« PoprzedniaDalej »