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LORD ROSEBERY'S SPEECHES
THE TRUE LEVERAGE OF EMPIRE
Presidential Address at the Social Science Congress, Glasgow, 30th September 1874
IF, in addressing this great meeting, I were to speak out of the fulness of my heart, I should tell of nothing but my own misgivings. But it is too much the practice on these occasions to take up time selfishly in apologies. You asked me kindly and generously to come here to-night. I thought it a clear duty to obey your summons, and reciprocate your sympathy. But none the less sensible am I of my own deficiencies and of my need of your further large indulgence; none the less do I feel as if I were only placed in this prominent position to serve as a foil to the ripe wisdom of so many in this Congress. It is impossible for any one at my age to pretend to instruct-few can have adequate knowledge; none sufficient experience. I can offer, then, no fresh contribution to your
stock of information. I can only, as it were, set in motion my small share of electric current of sympathy and interest, which is surely not the least valuable of the features of this Congress. But I would before all express my pride and my joy at making this first visit to Glasgow under the auspices of your association. There are probably few places to which an Englishman can point with more pride than to Glasgow; none perhaps which a Scotchman can regard with so much.
I suppose that there are in this city half a million of inhabitants; that her rental amounts to two millions and a half; that the shipbuilding of the Clyde is supreme in the world. How long has it taken to produce this immense result? What is the origin of this great population? Whence dates this easy predominance in shipping, this vast collection of material wealth?
Two centuries ago Glasgow was officially described as "a neat burghe town, consisting of foure streets." At that time she possessed twelve vessels carrying 957 tons. In the year 1718, little more than a century and a half ago, the first Scottish ship that ever crossed the Atlantic-a vessel of 60 tons-was launched in the Clyde, which has since witnessed the building of the Cunard line of steamers. And as for her rental of two millions and a half, it has been computed