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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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which militate against all religion, disregarding all appeals to those
higher principles having their or/ gin in the supernatural and actu-
ating all religious organizations. In Calcutta and here com-
plaints of teaching said to be. of that character have been made by
the Natives of India. I cannot but refer to the public declaration
made in a periodical, the recognized organ of an important section
of the Native communityjin that direction. This is what I have to
say upon the subject that I hold it to be as great a breach of neu-
trality to teach in opposition to religion, as to import into profes-
sorial teaching any dogmatic religious principle whatever. That
I certainly think would be a matter in which Government would be
bound to interfere; but it would be going as far wrong in the other
direction were anti-religious teaching to be given, and I believe
that nothing would be more distasteful to the Natives of the
country. I have observed suggestions of the utmost liberality made
by the heads of the Roman Catholic Church in regard to a possible
common system of inculcating morality and virtue. That may not
be found possible ; but I hope that never, under the auspices of
the British Government, will there be sanctioned or tolerated
teaching which is opposed to those supernatural beliefs which
actuate all religious organizations, and which give to morality the
support of the reliance on a higher power, and the encouragement
of immortal hopes. We have reason, gentlemen, to congratulate
you, and the community which is proud of you, on the continued
success of this great institution ; and I earnestly hope that it will
continue to call forth liberality on the part of the citizens, and train
up thousands to be honoured subjects of the Queen and useful
members of the community to which they belong.



146 University of Bombay.

TWENTY-THIRD CONVOCATION.

(BY H. E. SIR JAMES FERGUSSON, BART., K.C.M.G-., C.I.B.)

Mr. Vice-Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, At this
great annual gathering, which marks another year that has
passed in the history of this University, it is most gratifying to
admit to the degrees and licence so many young men who to-day
receive the reward of their industry and their self-denial, and I
trust they will advance to-day another step in their career with
higher hopes and increased aspirations to public usefulness. I
trust that the interest the enduring and increasing interest
which is taken in these annual meetings, will tend fco increase
in their minds the importance of a University degree, seeing that
it is the hall-mark of their scholarship, and that it not only
qualifies them for admission to the highest employment open to
their ranks in this country, but will so stimulate them, I trust,
to rise still higher in the career which they have chosen for
themselves. I need not, I hope, caution them against supposing
that the success which has so far attended their efforts is all that
they ought to aspire to. Too many suppose that the knowledge
which they have gained entitles them to criticise and dogmatise ;
true knowledge should always be modest, because, as the
searcher proceeds, he sees how much there remains behind to
attain. It should stimulate the modest and thoughtful mind
rather to diffidence than to self-confidence. I hope that the
idea, which some years ago was deprecated, of the right of those
who attain to degrees in the University to public State employ-
ment is fast disappearing. It would be, indeed, unfortunate if
neither learning was loved for itself or its possession was held to
render a humble occupation unworthy of the holder. In the
countries where learning has been most widely diffused take, for
instance, the Kingdom of Prussia, it is thought by no means
derogatory for those who obtain successes in the Universities to

Eursue humble callings. Not only should knowledge respect
ibour, but it should seek to produce increased discoveries for
the benefit of its profession and of mankind, Gentlemen, the
year has not been an eventful one in the sense of any extraordi-
nary occurrence in the history of this University. We have
pursued the even tenour of our way without any very extraordi-
nary event having marked the year 1883 ; but yet we can con-
gratulate ourselves on the increased numbers of those who have
offered themselves for the Matriculation Examination, and the
increased proportion of those who have been successful is shown
by the larger number of those who have attended to take



1884. Sir James Fergusson. 147

degrees, whereby I am sorry to say the seats provided for the
graduates have proved insufficient. But, gentlemen, in the his-
tory of a University we cannot always look for startling events.
We must be contented in this, as in other phases of our career,
to lay one more stone of the edifice which we hope to raise to
solid and enduring usefulness. It is thus that in the little span
of our lives, which seems to us important, but which is soon for-
gotten by our fellow-men, we must be satisfied that we have
maintained the standard of the past and contributed something
little to the cause in which we are all interested. On this great
annual occasion I should do wrong if I forgot the memory of one
who was well known to us, but a few days since
T S 8 *?*^ passed away. I refer to the Honorable John

John Marriott. J~ , i i -IT f*-n T

Marriott, who on several occasions had filled an
important ofiice in this University. That one so eminent in
his profession, so entirely respected in his private life, enjoying
the regard of so many, should in the full enjoyment of his
intellect have passed away from us with startling suddenness,
is an event which must cause us regret and sorrow. But,
gentlemen, it must be a satisfaction to us to know that his
memory will be cherished amongst us. He was one who raised
himself from the threshold of his profession to the front by his
own industry, and one against whose memory no man can cast
a stone. fl

Then, too, gentlemen, during the past year we have had to

congratulate ourselves on fresh contributions to the

means of reward to our diligent students. The

four fresh scholarships which have been announced to-day testify

to the public spirit of our citizens and to the interest which they

take in this useful institution. I am sure no more pleasing

tribute can be paid to the memory of past members of the

Service who have gone from us than that their names should be

perpetuated by the encouragement of academical distinctions in

those branches in which they themselves took an interest.

It is indeed to me a matter of congratulation that the most

Admission of important step has been taken of admitting women

women to public to public examination. There are many steps that

examinations. ^ haye to be taken before fa ej will have the full

benefit of the University. They cannot yet, for example, with-
out proceedings being taken by Government, be admitted to
the enjoyment of our colleges, and no doubt many matters will
have to be considered before such a step can be taken ; but I
do not think that the warmest advocate of female education
can object to one step being taken at a time ; and it is well that



148 University of Bombay.

ladies should, I trust, present themselves in no small numbers at
first and show their capacity for these examinations. Gentlemen,
for myself I can see no ground why women should be excluded
from the educational advantages which are extended to men.
I will not insult the female good sense by wishing that they
should be placed in all respects on an equality with men. They
have their career and a very high career of duty it is which
must always be entirely distinct from ours, but their intellects
are as acute, their power of assimilating knowledge as great,
and means of usefulness open to them by the acquisition of
knowledge not inferior to those of men. In all countries the
education and development of the female character must rest
with female teachers. It may be that instruction in arts and
sciences can best be conferred by men, but the formation of
character must always rest with female teachers. How can
female teachers be qualified to a due extent if they have not
educational advantages open to them ? Therefore I cannot see
myself why the whole benefit of an University should not be
extended to women ; but in this country, until society greatly
changes, we cannot hope we cannot expect if we do hope that
women expect in their young years, can be present at mixed
places of education. The education which they must receive after
years of childhood, and many of them who have not had any edu-
cational advantages in childhood at all, must be derived, if at
all, from female instructors. Therefore, I say in this country it
is peculiarly advantageous that female education should be
encouraged to the utmost extent ; and that no advantages which
this society can offer, should be denied to women, I have some-
times thought that we may be rash in judging what may be best
for races and people and religions so different from our own as are
those in this country : but I cannot be wrong in thinking that as
we in old time derived all our knowledge and civilization from
the East, so we should bring to the East and offer as a debt of
gratitude the fruits of that which we derived from them: The
result must be in the hands of your own people ; and we must
look to the leaders of society that what we think reforms shall
have their support to be judiciously carried out. No greater
bond can exist between the Natives of this country and their
foreign rulers than the common desire for their future advantage.
Gentlemen, finally, the Supreme Government have empowered
this University, with those of Calcutta and Madras, to confer
honorary degrees. This power will enable the University to
reward merit in many quarters in which at present no recognition
is possible. It will, I doubt not, be exercised with discretion
and reserve, for, as in the case of fellowship, the value of such



1884. Mr. Justice West. 149



degrees depends upon their judicious distribution. With regard
to fellowships, I may say that it is a matter as much of regret
as it is a bounden duty to Government to confer that honor only
in the case of academical and literary distinction, while a degree
may be not inaptly given in recognition of service which would
not qualify for a fellowship. I thought when I rose that I had
little to say, and that my observations would not be long, yet
there is one more consideration I would offer, which I trust will
not be out of place, and which I cannot reconcile to myself to
omit. In the year 1883 the country has been greatly distracted
The Uiberfc ^ v Pliti ca l strife. Animosities have been ex-
Bill Contro- cited, as they must always be ex-cited by a political
versy. difference, which has been greater than we can

remember for many years. The University has the privilege
of sitting high above the waves of faction. Those and there
may be some amongst us who have taken part in the controversy
of the past year never ought to carry it into their academical
life. What occurs to me, gentlemen, is this. We have in
such an institution as this a healing element which may go
far to soothe the difficulties which political controversy has
raised, because in this Senate sit men of different races and
countries, actuated simply by the one common desire, to benefit
the people of this country of whatever races in one and the same
way. With us there is only that desire to impart to them to the
utmost the knowledge which we ourselves prize, and this consider-
ation, which seems to me to rise to the highest stage of Catholicism,
must, I think, so heal dissensions that they will endure but for a
day and in a few years be forgotten. Gentlemen, I trust that this
is one of those institutions, which will bring home to the people of
this country the true and deeply-seated desire of England to use
her great mission in this country for the highest benefit of India ;
and that it may be seen that Englishmen, and Muhammadan, and
Hindu, and Parsi may sit on the same benches to co-operate, not
only without jealousy, but with one motive and aspiration, the
advantage of our fellow countrymen.



THE FIRST SPECIAL CONVOCATION.

A Special Convocation of the Bombay University was held
on the 18th December 1884, to confer the Honorary Degree of
LL.D. on the Marquis of Bipon. Sir James Fergusson, BART.,
K.C.M.G,, C.I.E., Governor and Chancellor, was present. The Honor-
able Mr. Justice West, the Vice- Chancellor, said :-

Gentlemen, By an Act of the Indian Legislature, No. 1
of 1884, this University has been vested with the power of



150 University of Bombay.

conferring the honorary degree of LL.D. on any person who by
reason of eminent position and attainments is a fit and proper
person to receive such a degree. In accordance with the pro-
visions of this Act the name of His Excellency the Most Moble
the Marquis of Kipon has been brought before the Syndicate and
Senate, and it has been voted unanimously that this degree be
conferred upon the retiring Viceroy. Now, Mr. Chancellor,
although it might be superfluous on the present occasion and in
the present instance to enumerate the special reasons for which
the bestowal of this degree is specially appropriate, yet this is
the first occasion on which this degree is to be conferred ; and
the Syndicate of this University felt, as you yourself, Mr.
Chancellor, also must feel, that we should be cautious and exact
in setting up a precedent of what is to be done and what is to be
provided before aught is done in relation to the conferring of
honorary degrees in future. We are bound to establish well, in
the light of day and in. the face of the public, the right of every
recipient of such a distinction the recipient ought to stand forth
as a representative either of learning, which will give illustration
to this institution, or else as one distinguished for eminent public
services which make us proud of him who receiving our humble
honor thus associates himself with us.

For this reason, therefore, the duty has been assigned to
me, unequal as I feel to the function, of stating as I can to you,
Mr. Chancellor, the particular public services which the illustri-
ous gentleman, who has to receive the degree of Doctor of Laws
to-day, has performed to entitle him to that distinction and to
make us anxious to have him associated with us as a member of
this University.

The Marquis of Ripon began his'public services by entering

Parliament at an early age in the year 1852. He

The Marquis succeeded to his Peerage in 1859 and was immedi-

it^Seer" Pub " ately afterwards made Undersecretary for War,

In 1861 he became Under-Secretary of State for

India, and so commenced that association with this country

and its interests which has been of such manifold advantages to

all the inhabitants of India. In 1863 he became Secretary of

State for War with a seat in the Cabinet. In 1866 he returned

again to the care of the interest of India in a still higher

position as Secretary of State for India. In 1868, and from that

time till 1873, he was Lord President of the Council. During

that period, I need hardly remind any of my English hearers,

that great measure was passed under the care of Mr. Forster

which has made a revolution in the educational condition of



1884. Mr. Justice West. 151

England, and will probably be looked back upon in the ages to
come as constituting one of the great eras in our history.
Certainly we may look forward with hope and confidence seeing
what education has done for Scotland and Germany, and con-
sidering the extraordinary advances made in England, as every
one revisiting the country must have noticed, during the last
twelve or fourteen years in the education and intelligence of the
people. We cannot but bless the name of one who has brought
such manifold blessings upon our Native land. Now this work
was carried on very much under the care and guidance of Lord
Eipon, who was at that time Lord President of the Council which
had the controlling power and direction over the work of educa-
tion in England. In 1869 his Lordship was made a Knight of
the Garter and in 1870 he received the degree of Doctor of
Civil Laws at Oxford.

In the period during which Lord Ripon was President of the
Council, a serious question arose between England
Lord Ripon an d the United States, and it became necessary
of wl^hingtou! to determine how that difference was to be settled,
and to place matters, if it could be done, upon
such a footing, as to remove all the motives of estrangement
which might exist between these two sister nations. For this
duty Lord Ripon was selected. He negociated or helped to
negociate as a member of the High Commission the Treaty of
Washington. It may be that some of us Englishmen think that
in the final event when the treaty having been completed,
active operations were transferred to Geneva and the Committee
of experts sitting there gave their decision in the international
cause, poor England came off second best. That may be ; but
let us remember that three or four millions to a great nation
was but the price of a fortnight or less than a fortnight of war.
By the Treaty of Washington was first established, and by the
subsequent proceedings effect was first given, on a large and
important scale to the great principle of settling international
differences by reference not to the arbitrament of war, but to
the decision of persons recognised as specially competent to
deal with the questions in issue. This idea of a universal peace
and of a council governing Europe in the interests of peace and
reducing its jarring elements to one great harmony originated
first in modern times in the mind of the great Statesman Sully,
and was adopted by Henry IV of France, his equally great
master. Our own sagacious Queen Elizabeth gave her adher-
ence to the scheme, but in the then existing state of Europe it
proved impracticable The conception was revived under



152 University of Bombay.

Louis the XV by that prolific genius St. Pierre. He com-
municated his ideas to many of the Governments of Europe,
whose Statesmen, however, received them with but an academic
approval. Leibnitz, who wielded at that time an almost im-
perial sceptre in the world of thought, replied to the humbler
philosopher's claim for approval and support in a half-cheering
and yet half-jeering tone : " I trust, my good friend, you will
live to see your noble plans carried out," and to another friend
he wrote : " In one place I have seen the proclamation Pax per-
petua, but that was over a cemetery. Till people reach that last
retreat they still must go on fighting." Yet the plans and visions
of the philanthropic speculation though hither to it has been found
impossible to give them any direct effect in the international
concerns of Europe, have not been fruitless, as great and humane
ideas seldom are fruitless. In several ways they have permeated
the minds of Statesmen and the miseries of wars which have
occurred in more recent times have been alleviated very much
by the ideas which were put forward by the thinkers of two
centuries or more ago. I feel certain that as he recollects the
events of his active life, when he approaches the end of his dis-
tinguished career, Lord Ripon will look back upon no part, no
transaction in this career with greater satisfaction than on
the part he took in the settling of the Treaty of Washington. For
many of his acts and much of his work he will occupy a distin-
guished place in the history of his country and of this great
dependency ; but with the Treaty of Washington he takes a high
and distinguished position, one never to be lost, in the history
of the progress of mankind. That progress, gentlemen, as we
must hope, must involve at no very distant stage a universal or
at any rate far more widely extended peace than has hitherto
been known. As a messenger of peace, as a negociator of a
great international arrangement, Lord Ripon may congratulate
himself on the position he has won in history.

With, these antecedents, and with these claims to public
respect and confidence, Lord Ripon accepted in
of indiTwheS 1880 the post of Viceroy in India. He landed
Lord Bipon land- here at the end of May 1880. You will all re-
member who were here at that time, that it was
the end of a somewhat troubled and depressing period. We had
had during the preceding years a war which could hardly be
pronounced aught else but inglorious in spite of some brilliant
episodes. We had incurred a great increase of burdens conse-
quent on the war, and there was a generally spread feeling of
unrest and craving for some new departure in politics, some



1884. Mr. Justice West. 153

relief from the burdens of war, some definite movement in the

direction of internal reform. To all who looked forward for

these advantages the advent of Lord Ripon was welcome. His

character and antecedents were such that the whole community

joined in hailing his arrival. We looked to him who had

negociated peace with the great sister country of England across

the Atlantic, as one who would maintain peace in this country,

and that hope has never been disappointed. With a few most

insignificant exceptions peace has been preserved all through

the course of Lord Kipon's administration, and with peace have

arisen the opportunities for all that progress and all those great

measures with which his name must be indissolubly associated.

The charm of H w did he set about the work he had to do ?

his personal in- He moved amongst the people, was facile of access,

gentle and simple in demeanour, winning all hearts

by his suavity of manner :

" Not with half disdain hid tinder grace,
Bat kindly man moving amongst his kind."

Whoever came within the circle of his influence, was charmed
into communicativeness as when some kindly soul enters a
house and draws the children of that household towards him by
an irresistible attraction. They sidle up to him, whom they
find really interested in their child nature; to him they reveal all
their little troubles. In six minutes he has won all their love,
and all their trust, and thus has paved the way for impressions
which will extend all through their lives. Now such was the
position taken up by the distinguished Viceroy on his arrival in
this country ; and at every moment of this close converse with
the people with whom he was in communication he reaped the
advantage of that freedom of intercourse. His was not a nature
that needed disguising under any muddy wheel of mystery.
He could afford to stand forth in the bare simplicity of steadfast-
ness and sincerity before the eyes of the people he had come to
govern, and being known to be received by them for all in all,
or not at all. Thus he won their confidence, thus he gained
their hearts, and thus entered into the spirit of the people in
the way that best qualified him for the work he had to do.

Now there is a necessity for every man who enters in a
career such as that of a Viceroy of India, whether

LordlS P oii f ke w ^ or llofc > * ie neec ^ s must frame some plan of
action, some theory of human affairs, and of the
affairs of the nation or the community whom he comes to rule,
unless his rule is to be misrule and the consequent confusion and
chaos. Such a theory, no doubt, Lord Kipon formed reposing



154 University of Bombay*

on the communications to which. I have adverted. He found
India in one of those critical stages which arise at times in every
nation when men's minds having become imbued with a new set
of ideas aud desires, certain changes in the spirit of the adminis-
tration are absolutely necessary, unless there is to be a decided
falling back in policy, and thence dissension leading on to strife.
There is a period in the progress of every community, in the
history of every government, when the rulers of the community
must adapt themselves to changed circumstances, to new and
enlarged views, for, if they do not, from the divergence of the
views of governors and subjects must surely spring in time a
total alienation. It is the part of a Statesman to anticipate any
such events. He must look back on history and consider such
periods as when Christianity invaded the Roman Empire and the
(Government based on a too narrow set of conceptions found itself
unequal to the direction of the new moral forces that thus grew up
around it. That faith and that spiritual enlargement which might



Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 17 of 66)