Having been a member of the Actuarial Society of Edinburgh for something like a quarter of a century, and having been during that period anything but a working bee, in so far as the interests of the Society are concerned, I felt, when I was asked to be its Honorary President for this session, that I had no claim whatever to the honour proposed to be conferred upon me.
Further reflection, however, led me to see that wrong-doing in the past formed no valid reason for a continuance of the same line of conduct in the future, but rather that the reverse should be the case. It seemed to me that, having hitherto failed to take my fair share of the work of the Society, I should best expiate my guilt by trying to do better in the future.
In coming to this conclusion, I was quite aware that the first mark of penitence I would be called upon to show would be the delivery of an Inaugural Address at the opening of this session, and that meant time for preparation, which, in a busy life otherwise, was not so easily secured. However, the time between the election of the Honorary President and the opening of the session was considerable, and I trusted to opportunity presenting itself.