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patience has been expressed at the delay which has thus arisen. Indeed, one French Member, past the prime of life, so far despaired of seeing the following pages with mortal eyes that, when lately asked if he had left his address with the Editor that his copy might be sent him, he answered, “Oui, mais pas pour l'autre monde." It is at least a satisfaction to me to know that this omission was immaterial, and that before many days are over the publishers will have forwarded to him, as well as to every other Member of the Congress, a copy of these “ Transactions."
ROBERT K. DOUGLAS.
May 3rd, 1876.
DELIVERED ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14th, 1874,
SAMUEL BIRCH, Esq., LL.D., PRESIDENT.
This second meeting of the International Congress of Orientalists is an event of more than ordinary importance in the annals of Oriental studies. The fortunate idea of bringing together these students of congenial pursuits to interchange thoughts, to discuss points of common interest, and to make each other's acquaintance, is due to the exertions of M. de Rosny, who, I am happy to say, has given us the favour of his company to-day. It was founded in Paris in 1873. The warm interest ever shown by France in Oriental studies, and the high distinction long ago attained by the celebrated men of that country, most of whom have unfortunately passed away from us, but whose labours adorned the country to which they belonged, made Paris a most appropriate site for such a Congress. At the close of that
. Congress—September 6, 1873—the vote of those present determined, notwithstanding brilliant offers and pressing invitations from other countries, that this second Congress should be held in England, and in this great city, distinguished for its extent as well as for its devotion to the study of the East, and connected with that East by a thousand ties, the interests of commerce, the spread of civilization, missionary labours, and the duties of governing Oriental Dependencies of various tongues and sites in that East which is to-day the object of our meeting and the subject of our thoughts. In order that the Congress of Paris might have a successor, it was necessary to elect a President in this country, and the nomination fell upon myself. In undertaking the duties of such an office, I was well aware of the difficulties involved in the task. A President, gentlemen, at the present day is not merely a name or a sinecure, he is a reality, an administrator; and, however ably seconded by his secretaries and his committee, he has yet a great deal of detail to manage and many arrangements to effect. In the presence of so many who are more versed in the duties of affairs than myself, there is but one thing to ask you, and that is your cordial co-operation with one who accepted the office under the feeling of his own deficiencies for the task, and of the necessity that some one should promptly step forward to continue the work which had been begun, and which promises to be of such great advantage to Orientalists.
Our first duty is to announce the favour with which the movement has been received by the different States and Sovereignties of Europe, delegates from whom are present here to-day. Besides those gentlemen who appear as representatives of the different powers of the North and West, others have come from the far East to add by their presence, by the information they bring and the objects they display, to the pleasure it will afford us to make their acquaintance. Here, gentlemen, I must tell you that the application made to the Secretary of State for India was received in the most kind and prompt manner, and that the Hindoo savants designated as likely to contribute by their presence to the success of the Aryan Section were at once consulted by the Indian Government, who offered to send them to Europe to be present to-day at our first meeting. If from various causes they are not here, India is not without its representatives. An eminent Civil Servant of the Indian Government is here from the Presidency of Bombay, and will, I am sure, carry back with him to that Presidency the remembrance of the warm reception which you will accord him. There has been every desire on the part of the India Office to do all that has either been asked or lies in its power on behalf of the Congress, and you will see on the occasion of your visit to that Office that an admirable museum and an extensive library show that the Office is not indifferent to Oriental learning and studies.