When faced with the problem of delivering a presidential address, it seems but natural to turn to the efforts of one’s immediate predecessors in office in an attempt to get some inkling of what is expected in that line. Following this procedure, I was confronted with the brilliant speeches of the two busy B’s, Bayley and Bowen, and felt somewhat discouraged as I knew I could not hope to emulate either the erudition of the one or the classical background of the other. However, a careful perusal of their addresses makes it sufficiently obvious that at least one aspect of mineralogical science, namely the subject I have chosen for my address, has been left virtually untouched. There seemed, therefore, little danger of any considerable amount of repetition, at least during the last three-year period.

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