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Address delivered by Mr. Raymond Poincaré, President of the French Republic Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow, 1914-1919 on November 13th 1919

FOR nearly five hundred years the University of Glasgow has elected a Rector, whose post has for long been an honorary one, entailing no greater labour than the delivery of one address during the three years' tenure of office. The post, during the last century or more, has usually been held by a distinguished statesman in earlier days by ecclesiastics; and it is curious that the highest honour which the undergraduates of the University have in their power to bestow, has rarely been offered to a man on account of his scholastic or literary or scientific work. The last holder of the office, however, was probably the only Lord Rector who was the head of a Great Nation, and M. Poincare's address, which was delivered in excellent English, was of unusual interest as expressing the feeling of France towards Great Britain, and especially towards Scotland. The tributes of praise to Scottish soldiers, sailors and nurses are as generous and as discriminating as those to Scottish scholars, statesmen and institutions, although the place and circumstances of the address naturally led the speaker to adopt a laudatory rather than a critical tone throughout. But what gives the address its peculiar value is the intimate estimate by the President of the French Republic of one great Scotsman, the British Commander-in-Chief, whom M. Poincare singled out as possessing typical national characteristics. Withdrawing for a moment the veil which usually hides the proceedings at critical conferences, M. Poincare told the story of his consultation with Field-Marshal Haig on two occasions, when the fate of the Western Powers seemed to be hanging in the balance, and when the Field-Marshal not only showed his clear-sightedness and moral energy, but acted with 'a patriotism and a loyalty which will make him still greater in the world's history.' The sincerity of this personal tribute is unmistakable. In addition to the print of the Rectorial Address, the French Government has also issued in their ' Petite Collection Historique ' a series of eleven charming booklets containing speeches by the President on various public occasions during the last two years. These cover a wide field, including an oration in memory of authors who have died during the War, an address delivered at the Sorbonne, and speeches at Verdun and Nancy.

You can read his address here in pdf format

We also have a couple of pdf books about General Douglas Haig...

A visit to Sir Douglas Haig  |  Sir Douglas Haig's despatches (December 1915-April 1919)

Return to Book Index Page


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