tinctive record of constructive achievement. The distinguishing characteristic of the General Assembly was not the long period of its sitting. This General Assembly will go down in history as a legislature that struggled for the better part of five months to interpret satisfactorily the needs of North Carolina in a trying period and to serve adequately those needs.
I feel that the people of the State as a whole, and especially you who are listening in tonight, have followed the entire course of legislation more carefully this year than has been the case in former years. In the newspapers, over the radio, through the week-end visits of your local members, you kept up uncommonly well with the course of the struggle over the various measures.
No adequate appraisal of the work of this General Assembly is possible without a comprehensive understanding of the times and the conditions out of which its problems arose and toward the solution of which its labors were directed. The economic conditions prevailing throughout North Carolina in 1931 are so different from 1929 that it is extremely difficult to compare the work of this General Assembly with that of the 1929 Legislature. Indeed, the economic and business conditions of North Carolina today are not comparable with those of any period in the modern history of this State. In 1930 North Carolina agriculture had its most unsuccessful year since this Nation entered the World War. With the possible exception of two industries, the industrial condition of the State was at a lower bottom than we believed it could reach. Business was in a state of stagnation. Real estate had no market. Individual fortunes had melted. Within 12 months more than 100 banks had been forced to close their doors. Industries, businesses, and individuals had found their debts standing still and their securities placed as collateral for their guarantee, shriveling and