The Alliance Record 27th February 1892 pages 40 & 43
Presentation to Mr. Munro
At this stage the representatives of the organisations rose with Mr. J.W. Hunt upon the platform.
Mr. Hunt said he thought all would feel very sincere regret that they were about to lose their old and esteemed chairman, the Hon. James Munro. That gentleman had taken such a prominent part in Temperance work, and had identified himself so completely with it, that he did not know where they would be able to find for him a worthy successor. The Temperance bodies could not allow Mr. Munro to go away without giving him some slight token of the esteem in which he was held. It was thought that a meeting of this kind would afford an excellent opportunity for a presentation, so that all the recipient’s friends might join in it. He has been, therefore, asked by a committee formed of all Temperance organisations to make a present to him, not in any way commensurate with his deserts, but just a memento of his work as a Temperance reformer. One of the reasons he admired and honored Mr. Munro was because of his thorough consistency. (Applause.) Mr. Munro was also a thoroughly consistent teetotaller. When he carried out his principles as Agent-General he would be equally honored at home. (Applause.) Mr. Munro had been connected with the Temperance Hall – which was the birthplace of Temperance in Victoria – since 1873, and had been president since 1878. He had joined the Rechabites 27 years ago, and had been president of the Alliance since its inception. (Cheers.) He thought the Alliance would not supplant Mr. Munro by appointing a new President unless he stayed away longer than three years. Mr. Munro had endeared himself to those with whom he had been connected in his work on account of his thorough integrity and manliness. (Applause.) Mr. Munro was an upright and honorable man. He was sure all would heartily unite in wishing him and his good wife God speed – (Applause) – and pray that every blessing might attend them in their new field of labor.
Mr. Hunt then presented the testimonial which consisted of a very handsome writing-case, suitable either for travelling or the drawing-room, furnished with every requisite, and bearing the following inscription:- “ Presented to the Hon. James Munro, M.P., on the occasion of his departure for London as Agent-General for Victoria, by the united Temperance organisations of the colony, as a token of their appreciation of his long and devoted services as Leader of the Temperance cause. (Signed) Henry Crispin, vice-president Melbourne T. A. Society; J.W. Hunt, chairman Victoria Alliance; M.E. Kirk, secretary W.C.T.U.; R.K. Mackay, D.C.R., I.O.R.; Edward C. Shakespeare, G.C.T., I.O.G.T; G.F. Dominey, G.W.S., O.S.T.; A.J. Kellaway, Sec. C.E.T.S; William Anderson, Pres. V.B.H.U.; Charles Wilson, Pres. N.M.B.R.U.; Henry H. Meadows, Pres. S.M.T.A.S. “ The band played Auld Lang Syne, and the audience gave three hearty cheers. Mr. Munro, in rising to return thanks for the presentation, was received with loud cheers. He said, - I appreciate very much this act of kindness on the part of the various temperance organisations who have been good enough to make this presentation. The article itself is a very valuable one indeed, and it deserves, of itself, to be taken care of and appreciated; but it has an additional value on account of those from whom it is received. I am sure that those of you who have listened this evening to the names of the Associations who have been good enough to make this presentation will feel that they are associations worthy of the respect and honor of all in this community. Personally, I regret very much indeed that I have not been able to do much for the Temperance cause; but my temperance friends know I have always been anxious to do whatever I could for them. We are here this evening celebrating the jubilee of the Temperance Cause in Victoria, and I feel that, while I shall be absent for three years, the representatives of the cause here will continue to advance it until very great progress is made. This is a somewhat different meeting which took place here last Monday evening – (Cheers) and one marked difference is that you don’t all run away from the collecting-plate. (Laughter.) Friends of the Temperance Cause have all to labor with their hands and voices, and they have all to put their hands in their pockets and do their work to the best of their ability. Lately, I do not know why – I have been endeavouring to find out – I have had the very distinct honour of being the best abused man in Victoria and I noticed that some of the gentlemen who exercised their eloquence on this platform last Monday said it was not necessary to give reasons for abusing me, because everybody knew the reasons already. Well, as they were not able to give the reasons, I am in ignorance why those things were said and done. When the Argus roused society to its depths on account of the enormous wickedness of sending a teetotaller home as Agent-General, they managed to get men to come on this platform whom, I venture to say, not a man of you here would lend a half-crown to in the hope of getting it back again. The Temperance cause is under great obligation to the Argus, because there was no movement ever made in this community in the direction of sobriety and morality but the Argus has always been against it. That being so, every man who has any respect for his own character will feel he is in the right direction when the Argus abuses him. I am about to go away, not as the representative of any section of the community, but as the representative of the whole of Victoria. I often wish the Argus would leave me alone in that position. I don’t want to say anything against them, and I do not want to have even an unfriendly feeling towards them. I shall have the honour of representing this colony of Victoria where her Majesty’s Ministers are at headquarters. I intend to do my duty to the best of my ability, and I desire to go away having no ill feeling towards any section of the community. I have been treated well by both sides of the House, and I felt pleased that, though the Argus worked up this terrible furore against me, they could not get a single member of Parliament to come forward and say a word against me. I feel that very much, and I have also felt pleased at the number of kindly letters which I have received from my fellow members. I go away from you feeling that I have done nothing of which I am ashamed. I have spent between 30 and 40 years – all the best years of my life – among you, and I shall long to be back again as quickly as possible. I have now to say thank you most heartily for this presentation, and not only for it, but for the good wishes that are conveyed with it, and I do hope that all our temperance organisations will go to work energetically and determinedly, and do all they can for the good of this great country, of which we are all proud. (Applause)