The retiring President then delivered an address.
After alluding to the life and services of the late Sir Julius von Haast, he referred to the Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen, and reviewed the growth of the Colonial Empire of Britain during her reign. He further pointed out the contrast between the condition of affairs in the reign of George III., and that of Queen Victoria, in all parts of the British Empire. When Queen Victoria came to the throne there was no settlement in New Zealand in the ordinary sense. In the North Island there were whaling stations, and a considerable trading settlement had sprung up at the Bay of Islands; but with the exception of the missionaries, and some of the whalers and traders of the better class, the population was a very vicious one. Lawless sailors and still more lawless expired convicts formed the bulk of the people, and, without law or restraint, their morality was of the loosest order. In this island there were only a few scattered whaling stations. Two years after the commencement of the reign the first settlers sailed for New Zealand; and six months after this, law was established and the Colony became in a feeble way a settled State. He (the speaker) did not propose to trace all its vicissitudes. It had, and still has, many advantages over its neighbours; but it had in early times a drawback to which none of the others were subject, in the shape of frequent and long wars. He then touched upon the causes of the present commercial depression, and discussed the questions of Protection and Free Trade, and absentee land-owners.
At the conclusion of the address he introduced his successor, Mr. A. Wilson, M.A., who took the chair.