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The Health of Her Majesty's Ministers is the toast which I now ask you to drink.
The Brethren of the Trinity House have at all times been anxious cordially to co-operate with Her Majesty's Government, by whomsoever conducted; they know no politics, but feel that the responsibility which is imposed upon those men who are intrusted with the care of the multifarious interests of this vast empire is an awful one, requiring every assistance which it may be in the power of individuals or public bodies to afford. They are convinced also, that, however party violence may separate public men from each other, they are all equally influenced by one sole consideration, the good of their country.
The Earl of Aberdeen and Her Majesty's Ministers.
I am very grateful to you, gentlemen, for the kindness with which you have received the toast proposed by the Deputy Master, and beg to thank him for the obliging terms in which he has proposed my health.
When this important Corporation elected me as their Master, I was well aware that I did not owe this to any personal merit of my own, giving me a claim to such an honour, and I might well have paused before I undertook to succeed, in any task or position, that great Man whom few can hope to equal in talent, energy, and wisdom; but I saw in the choice of the Brethren a desire to mark their attachment to the Throne, and, in my own acceptance, a means for the Queen to testify through me her interest and solicitude for British Commerce and Shipping, and for the British Seaman. This Corporation has had, since King Henry the Eighth, one of the high functions of administration delegated to it by the State, that, namely, of lighting the coast, piloting vessels, and tendering aid and assistance to the merchant seaman worn out by the toils and the privations of his adventurous life. The world bears testimony to the manner in which this duty has been discharged; and I can refer to none which can be more satisfactory to the Corporation than that which has been only recently borne by our brethren on the other side of the Atlantic.
Gentlemen! The ever-changing, renovating, and preserving influences of time have, in their inevitable operation, made themselves felt also with regard to this Institution, and the greatest credit is due to the wisdom and patriotism of the Brethren for having rightly judged and appreciated the demands made by them. Having hitherto enjoyed the almost irresponsible power of taxing the public for the objects of their trust, they cheerfully consented to submit their affairs to the utmost publicity, as well as to a control from Government. Their own power they surrendered without a murmur; the interests of the poor seaman they thought themselves bound. to advocate. Whilst repudiating any wish to retain patronage in the distribution of alms, which in fact they had hitherto looked upon rather as an anxious and responsible duty, they exerted themselves to the utmost to bring the claims of this deserving class before the Government; and whatever may be the inherent difficulty in framing a measure, the purport of which is to relieve a class, without impairing its moral strength and self-dependence, they still hope that the Legislature will not shrink from the attempt.
Gentlemen—for all the Trinity House may have done, thanks are solely due to the excellent Deputy Master, and the Elder Brethren by whom
he is so efficiently supported. Let us drink his health, and Prosperity to the Corporation of the Trinity House.
One of the peculiar features of the public life of this country is, that no public body stands isolated in the community, but that it endeavours to establish and maintain an organic connection with the other interests and classes of society, securing thereby the inestimable advantage of harmony of action and feeling. The Corporation of the Trinity House has sought to effect this through its Honorary Brethren ; and I have only to point to those who now sit as such round this table to prove that, whilst the Corporation has been guided in its choice solely by the desire to connect itself with the men who stand highest in the estimation of their country, the most distinguished men have, on their side, deemed it an honour to become the objects of that choice.
In drinking to the Honorary Brethren, I would mention the name of the gallant Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Byam Martin, who may be truly called the Father of his profession.
LLOW me to return you, on my own behalf, A and on that of the Royal Family, my best thanks for the manner in which you have proposed our health, and to you, gentlemen, for the cordial response which you have made to the toast.
I am, indeed, highly gratified to have been a witness to the Two Hundredth Anniversary of this Festival, testifying, as it does, that the people of this country do not relax in efforts which they have once undertaken, and do not forsake the spirit which animated their forefathers.
When our ancestors purified the Christian faith, and shook off the yoke of a domineering Priesthood, they felt that the key-stone of that wonderful fabric which had grown up in the