A. Bennett Cooke

1907 to 1908

It is becoming that my first word on this occasion should be one of appreciation and gratitude. From the very beginning I have considered it one of the rarest privileges of my professional life to be a member of the American Proctologic Society, the most independent, select and exclusive of all national medical organizations. And when I recall the high character and conspicuous prominence of those who have preceded me as president, I cannot but feel that I have been honored far beyond my just deserts. But the chief source of gratification in such preferment lies in the personal tribute it conveys. Aside from the approval of his own conscience, there is no keener satisfaction in life to the man whose heart is right than to feel that he has the confidence and esteem of those who know him best.

Formal words are always inadequate to express the deepest feeling. Let the sincerity of this simple acknowledgement atone for all it lacks in grace and fervor, and believe me when I say that this body will never have a president more deeply sensible of the high honor of the office nor more genuinely appreciative of all that his elevation to it implied.

Not the least difficult thing about a presidential address is the choosing of a theme. Mindful of the harrowing experiences of certain of my immediate predecessors, I have determined to inaugurate a reform in at least one respect which I am sure will win approval. Before beginning the actual work of reducing my seething thoughts to orderly expression I resolved that, at whatever cost, this address should not exceed two hours in length. I recognize that this selfimposed restriction will deprive you of much of surpassing value, but within that short time I shall hope to present briet1y several items which may well engage our attention. This is our tenth annual meeting. Time is conveniently marked by decades, and on the highway of the course we are traveling together, the first mile-stone is now being passed. The occasion is auspicious for a balancing of accounts; or a restatement of the purposes for which our organization was founded, for a glance at the progress made, and for a renewed consecration of our loyalty and endeavor.