Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/319

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IN acknowledgment of the unexpected honor that has been done me in calling me to this chair, I have first to perform the very pleasant duty of saluting the foreign and French scholars who have responded to the invitation of our committee. I shall do it in few words, but I affirm, in the name of all my colleagues, that they come from the heart. Welcome, gentlemen!

Unluckily, the same honor imposes on me another task, and a difficult one. It is the usage, in opening a session of the Congress, for the president to make an address to his colleagues respecting the questions that are to occupy them; and what can I say, concerning America, to learned men who make that continent the object of their habitual studies? I do not merit, as you do, the title of Americanist. Called by the duties of my teacher's office to deal with the history of all human populations, I can not undertake especially a study which is more than sufficient to absorb a whole lifetime. I have much to learn from you, and I thank you in advance for all that you are going to teach me.

Yet, it is hardly necessary to say, in looking from the point of view of the whole, which has usually been my practice, my thought could not fail to be often directed to that New World the discovery of which opened so many new horizons to nearly all the branches of human knowledge. The question of the origin of its inhabitants appears at the very head of the problems which it sets before the anthropologist. Are the indigenous Americans in any degree relatives of the populations of the other continents? Or, have they appeared on the lands where we have found them, without any ethnological connection with those populations?

You know that both of these opinions have been maintained, and still have their partisans; and I made known long ago the solution which I had reached. In my view, America was origi-

  1. Address before the eighth meeting of the Congress of Americanists.