Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/130

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SHEMITIC CIVILIZATION.

sion: such is the programme of our course. It is, so to speak, the laboratory of philological science thrown open to the public, that it may call into being special vocations, and that the world may form an idea of the means employed to arrive at Truth.

To-day, gentlemen, I should depart from what is customary, and disappoint your expectations, were I to inaugurate this course by mere technical developments. I would fain recall to you the memory of that eminent scholar whom I have the honour to succeed—M. Stephen Quatremère. But this duty having been already fulfilled in a manner which does not allow me to repeat it, I shall dedicate this first lecture to conversing with you on the general character of the nations whose language and literature we shall study together; on the part they have filled in history; and on the portion which they have contributed to the common work of civilization.

The most important results to which historical and philological science has arrived