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Science and the making of VictoriaRoyal Society of Victoria
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Inaugural and Anniversary Addresses of the Royal Society

Inaugural Address, delivered by Mr. Justice Barry, President of the Institute, at the Opening Converzazione, 22nd Sept., 1854

Inaugural Address of the President, Captain Clarke, R. E., Surveyor-General, &c., &c.

Anniversary Address of the President, the Honourable Andrew Clarke, Captain R. E., M.P., Surveyor-General of Victoria, &c., &c., &c.

Anniversary Address of the President, His Honor Sir William Foster Stawell, Knight, Chief Justice of Victoria, &c., &c. [Delivered to the Members of the Institute, 12th April, 1858]

Anniversary Address of the President, Ferdinand Mueller, Esq., Ph.D., M.D. F.R.G. and L.S., &c., &c. [Delivered to the Members of the Institute, 28th March, 1859]

Address of the President, Ferdinand Mueller, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.G. & L.S., &c., &c. [Delivered to the Members of the Institute at the Inauguration of the Hall, January 23rd, 1860.]

Inaugural Address of the President, His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, K.C.B., &c., &c. [Delivered to the Members of the Royal Society, at the Anniversary Meeting held on the 10th April, 1860.]



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Inaugural Address, delivered by Mr. Justice Barry, President of the Institute, at the Opening Converzazione, 22nd Sept., 1854 (continued)

Moreover, this is an acre of which the tendency is not, as formerly, to meet a novel proposition with a contemptuous denial, or its author with an accusation of atheism, intimacy with the Father of Evil, or the yet more heinous offence of heresy, and expose him to the hemlock,[3] the dungeon, or the stake. The custom of denouncing and decrying innovations as such no longer reigns despotic. We axe no longer oppressed by a bigotted veneration for "the wisdom of our ancestors." It is received with a deferential respect, and regarded in relation to the lights by which they were illuminated. New doctrines and inventions axe submitted to dispassionate investigation before they are wholly condemned; if found to bear the tests applied, they are readily approved and adopted,—if not in the land in which they originate, in some more congenial spot, among some more liberal spirits; and are made fulcra on which a thousand anxious minds rest their levers to propel into a fuller growth the germ from which they have sprung. The dianified modesty of true learning is conscious that it is only by slow and painful steps that man has been able to evolve and eliminate those portions of knowledge with which he has been allowed to make himself acquainted; and while it will not suffer the self-sufficiency of ignorance to dictate that which reason must repel, it will not allow the arrogance of sciolism to assert that nothing has been left for the present generation to acquire.

Not only on such abstract grounds, but for reasons of a more particular nature is the occasion favourable.

One of the humblest races in the gradation of the human family has yielded to us the possession of the vast territory over which our people are now dispersed, and, by an inscrutable regulation of Providence, is waning before the access of civilization. By exertions unassisted from without, cities and towns have sprung up of a class and with a rapidity which challenge a parallel in former or contemporary history. The events crowded into the last three ears have wrought a change, not merely in the actual condition, but in the immediate prospects of our community, which, as regards our social and political state and the openiny dawn of accelerated progression, must inspire consolation, confidence, and hope. The discovery of gold, happily postponed until our hills, plains, and valleys were covered with flocks and herds, and until we had emerged from dependence upon, to that of sisterly amity with a province, has brought us into direct intercourse with nations hitherto indifferent to, perhaps ignorant of, the geographical position of this country; the keels of whose stately vessels now furrow every sea to visit us, who exchange with us commodities, productions of every clime, and pour forth their hardy sons to reinforce our numbers, bearing with them practised skill and restless avidity for the acquisition of wealth. The enterprise of our great parent state, but languidly expanding under pastoral occupations, has been caught up, and now directing itself into innumerable fresh channels, gives indication of highly vital force. Each new scientific application to economise labour and time is brought within our reach, opening new avenues to honourably earned riches, and unattended by any of the inconveniences which in over-crowded communities occasionally arise from the substitution of machinery for manual labour before the classes affected thereby have resorted to other occupations; and we may be well assured that there are amongst us many gifted men of cultivated minds, fervid imagination, and intrepid temperament, who, curbed and confined elsewhere by the pressure of surrounding competition, have panted for a field in which their talents may be allowed to expatiate, and have gladly turned to this young country ready to receive thein with a gracious welcome.

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