Society of Arts and Sciences (1847)

From The Arab Awakening, George Antonius, G P Putnam's Sons, 1946.

In the early days of their association with the American mission, Bustani and al-Yazigi had come forward with a proposal for the foundation of a learned society. They may have felt that some effort ought to be made to promote knowledge among adults by bringing them into contact with Western culture.

In January 1847, the Society of Arts and Sciences was established in Beirut,Yazeji and Bustani were both members, as were the missionaries Eli Smith, Cornelius van Dyck and several other Americans, as well as the Englishman Colonel Churchill who was a resident of Syria. Within two years of its foundation the Society had fifty members, of whom the majority were Christian Syrians living in Beirut. Bustani was the Society's secretary. There was no Muslim or Druze membership. It had a modest but useful library, of which Yazeji was librarian.

Meetings of the Society at which papers were read by one or other of the members were held once a fortnight. The Society lived five years, and in its last year, issued a volume of its activities and summaries of the papers presented there.