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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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shirking my duty on this occasion in not addressing you. Now,
what really did happen was this, that I discounted my speech,
and delivered it elsewhere, so that this year you have had an
address from the Chancellor and one from the Vice-Chancellor.
And you need not fear that you are going to have a second
address from the Chancellor. I delivered an account of my
educational stewardship at Poona, which I might have delivered
here, but the reason why I did not deliver it here was that I
thought I could show my respect for this great institution in a
greater measure by listening to the record of events from the
lips of one who himself had had an active share in proposing
and carrying the reforms which have been during the last year
adopted by the Senate. My expectations have been fully realised.
The Vice-Chancellor has not, however, alluded to one fact in
your past history, to which it will be my duty to allude now I
mean the Bill which the distinguished late Vice-Chancellor
drafted in that capacity for the University. Unfortunately he
forgot the ceremony of adoption when the natural father deserted
the child and the result was that this Bill arrived in the Senate
without a father or even a godfather. In the changed relation
between father and child the former had as a member of Govern-
ment to look upon it in a different light. As Vice-Chancellor, with
the authority which attaches to everything that falls from him in
legal and educational matters, he would have undoubtedly justi-
fied the conditions under which it was introduced in the Senate.
But Government and I lay great stress on this fact fully

244 University of Bombay.

respect the autonomy and the independence of this University
and I can give you no tetter proof of it than this : that when it
became clear to Government that the Bill did not meet in the
Senate with that approval which Government expected it would
have received, we decided, on my honourable friend's suggestion,
not to promote a measure which, perhaps, was rather in advance
of the times, and we are prepared to wait quietly until the
University itself appeals to Government in very decisive tones to
proceed with the measure. There is one subject to which the
Vice-Chancellor has alluded, which, I know, to the greater part
of this audience is one of the greatest importance I mean the
matter of examinations. I might, perhaps, before we part sug-
gest that to maintain in your examinations that continuity of
standards, which is so desirable, it may be deemed advisable by
The institu- vou t ;O institute a Board of Studies to which all
tion of a Board examination papers should be referred before they
are issued to the students. Thereby we shall attain
that fixity of standard which is required in testing educational
results, and at the same time, where necessary, that diversity
in standards which science forces upon our educational methods.
Now with regard to the Faculty of Science, which sooner or
later this University is sure to have, your standards will
obviously be of a very mobile character. You cannot keep
science in a ring fence when discoveries in all quarters of
the world are tearing down the fence, and therefore with
regard to science you will have to alter your standards as well as
your instruction in accordance with the progress of science. To
the Medical Faculty the same truth applies. You have a con-
stant and marvellous progress all along the line, and the Univer-
sity of Bombay cannot decline to keep pace. With regard to
the Faculty of Arts, you may rest content in the placid study of
those noble old monuments of ancient classical models, which
remain unsurpassed and from which alone you can derive simpli-
city of expression and pureness of style. With reference to the
Faculty of Law, your standards must vary as modern develop-
ments make it necessary to change your laws, and it is imperative
upon you to take care that the students who pass through that
examination should be well versed in the philosophy of law, so
that in the interpretation of the letter of the law there should
never arise that divorce between law and common sense, which
since the days of Justinian it has been the aim of all great jurists
to avoid. Now, I have only to bid you a hearty and very cordial
farewell. My connection with this University is severed, but my
interest in it will remain permanent. I shall watch with great
interest the proceedings at these your festive occasions, and I

1890. Mr. Justice Birdwood. 245

shall watch with special interest to see whether the figures of
endowments are changed from thousands to lakhs. I shall hope
to read one of these days that you are trying to emulate those
miners in the quarry at Penrhyn, who though their hours of
work were reduced, though they were working only four days
a week, still managed to contribute to a college at Bangor
in North Wales 1,830. The contributions of those two thousand
men were spread over five years, and it was by such means that
the College of North Wales obtained an endowment of 30,000.
These miners, though not able to be educated at this institution,
were convinced of the great benefits which it would indirectly
confer upon them. I also shall watch in these proceedings with
great interest the results of those reforms which, though officially
I was not allowed to take any part in them, I have so often dis-
cussed with both the late and present Yice-Chancellors. And I
trust also to hear that the graduates and undergraduates of this
great institution are more and more realising the very great
respousiblity which the education they have received here imposes
on them. I hope to hear that they are always going along the
straight line, that in having before them the virtues and I atn
sorry to say the vices of two civilisations, Western and Eastern,
they reject the vices of both and blend the virtues of both. Then
and then alone can they lead happy and pure lives. I hope to
hear that they are doing all in their power to advance both intel-
lectual culture and moral enlightenment among their own country-
men. The prayer of this University might well be the motto of
one of the European Universities, Sol justiciee illustra nos.


A Special Convocation of the University of Bombay was
held in the University Hall on the 18th December 1890, for the
purpose of conferring upon Mr. W. Wordsworth, B.A., C,I.E.,
Principal of Elphinstone College and Vice-Chancellor of the
University, the Degree of Doctor of Laws.

The Honorable Mr. Justice Birdwood said :

Mr. Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, Early in the
year 1884, the Government of India passed an Act which con-
ferred on the Universities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay the
power of granting the degree of Doctor in the Faculty of Law to
certain persons, without requiring them first to pass a qualifying
examination. An honorary degree may be conferred on the
recommendation of the Syndicate, if supported by a vote of the
majority of the Senate, and confirmed by the Chancellor, on any
person on the ground of his eminent position and attainments.

246 University of Bombay.

Sucli a degree, if it is to possess any value, will necessarily be
bestowed only on rare occasions. Accordingly we find that
during the period of nearly seven years that the Act has
been in force, this is the second occasion only on which this
University has thought it fit to exercise its powers under the
Act. It is just six years ago to-day it was on the 18th Decem-
ber 1884 that an eminent statesman, the Marquis of Ripon, on
retiring from the Viceroyalty of India, became associated with
us, as a member of the University, by admission to a degree
under the Act. To-day it is on one who is already
Services of a member of this University, who indeed for more
wwth. S t nan a quarter of a century has done work of

a very high order for this University, and for
the most important of the Government colleges affiliated to
it, and who this day holds office as our Vice- Chancellor, that
we seek to confer this honor. We seek it for one who, though
he has never sought publicity or personal advancement, has
yet, by force of character and great merit, attained to that
eminence which the Act recognizes as a proper ground for the
bestowal of an honorary degree. The name of William Words-
worth is so familiar in our ears, and is so honoured and
esteemed in this Presidency, that any elaborate attempt to justify
to ourselves within these walls, or to the public outside, the
step we are now taking, would indeed be an idle and super-
fluous proceeding. Still, it is only right that, on this occasion,
we should take notice of the fact that the recommendation of
the Syndicate on behalf of Mr. Wordsworth was adopted, by
acclamation at a very full meeting of the Senate, and that
the Senate which, with such unanimity and such enthusiasm,
desires to honour him is a body composed, not of men of l one
class or of one way of thinking, but of representatives of many
races, creeds, and callings of men separated from each other
by the daily occupations of their lives, by the associations ampdst
which they have grown up, and by their most cherished tradi-
tions and sentiments, who yet, as members of this University], are
united by a common bond, by their single-minded interest in^ the
advancement of learning. It is a society representing nx-any
classes, therefore, and not a mere clique or section of our varied
community that now asks your Excellency to confirm and ra'-tify
its vote. And then, again, I think it will be as well if we try to
realize to ourselves, for a moment, some of the grounds of the
very general approval with which our action to-day is certai
regarded. We shall do well to remember that, during
period that Mr. Wordsworth has been connected with the B;
cational Department of the Bombay Government, a very gi.

1890. Mr. Justice Birduvod. 247

change has come over the public service a change with which
his own position in the department has distinctly associated him.
The ranks of the service are now filled largely by men who have
received a liberal education in the Government colleges and in
private colleges. Its whole tone has thus been raised. It is
not yet a perfect service. But speaking for that branch of it in
which I am myself especially interested, I am proud to bear
testimony to the wonderful improvement which has taken place
in the judicial administration of this Presidency during the last
twenty years. That improvement is, no doubt, partly and
greatly due to the wise forethought which led the Government,
at the commencement of the era of reform, to raise the scale of
salaries of judicial officers ; but it is, in my opinion, largely due
also to the wholesome influences brought to bear on many can-
didates for the public service, during the most impressionable
years of their lives, when they were prosecuting their studies at
school and college. We have now scattered throughout the
Presidency, in large towns and remote villages, men who owe
their position in the public service to the excellent training they
received at school and college. A large proportion of these men
were educated at the Deccan and Elphinstone Colleges, with
both of which institutions Mr. Wordsworth has been connected
during the greater part of his Indian career. These men know
well what they owe to him ; they know the value of the tuition
which it was a part of his official duty to impart. They know
and appreciate still more the kind sympathy and zeal for
their welfare which led him to give up much of his leisure
time for their benefit precious hours, when they sought and
received from him friendly counsel and guidance. Most of all
have they profited by the example ever set before them of
plain living and high thinking. It is not to be wondered at if
these students, now that they have grown to men's estate and
occupy positions of trust and influence in all parts of the country,
should carry with them, and communicate to others, the feelings
of admiration for their teacher and friend by which they are
animated. But there are others beyond the circle of Mr.
Wordsworth's friends, members of our society at large, who,
though they have never been brought under his immediate per-
sonal influence, still know him as a man of genius and a man of
letters, a thoughtful and philosophic writer, not merely of frag-
ments of matchless verse, but of weighty comments also on great
events which have stirred the hearts of men in the history of
past 25 years. Though they have not always agreed with
Mim in his views, they have always appreciated his expression
o>*: them. - And so it is that, though Mr. Wordsworth has always


248 University of Bombay.

worked so unobtrusively, though the only life which has had
any charm for him has been the quiet life, yet he has now, by
common consent, attained to that position of eminence which
clearly marks him as worthy of the honor which we, as a
University, are empowered by the Legislature to confer. It
is now my duty, Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of the Senate, to
present Mr. William Wordsworth to your Excellency, and to
ask you, in the presence of this assembly, to meet our wishes by
conferring on him the degree of Doctor in the Faculty of Law,
on account of his great and distinguished merit.

His Excellency Lord Harris said :

Mr. Yice-Chancellor and Gentlemen of the Senate, It is a
coincidence that on this day of the month six years ago, on the
18th December 1884, the first and the latest special Convocation
for conferring the honorary degree of LL.D. was held, and
on that occasion my hon'ble and distinguished colleague, and
for three separate periods your Vice-Chancellor, Sir Raymond
West, in the course of a most eloquent and graceful tribute
to the character and career of the Marquis of Ripon, remarked
that the Syndicate of this University is bound to establish
well in the light of day, and in the face of the public, the
right of every recipient to such a distinction that the recipi-
ent 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 honour thus associates himself
with us. How jealous this University has been of the honour
which lies in its power to confer, how distinguished it has
made that honour by its trustful guard of it, requires no de-
scriptions from me ; the mere fact that six years have elapsed
since the first and the latest honorary degree was conferred is
in itself sufficiently significant. It must be a gratification to
you, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, that in selecting you for this degree
there was in the end complete unanimity not only amongst
those who have the power to confer this degree, but also as
regards the fitness of the selection in the public voice, which by
its numerous expressions of regard and esteem for yourself and
gratitude for the services you have rendered to India has per-
haps brought a contentment and pleasure to your breast, which
no honorary distinction could arouse. I have used the expression
" that in the end there was complete unanimity " advisedly ;
for at first there was one voice that did not readily join the
swelling chorus; and those who know you best will readily
understand, Dr. Wordsworth, that the consent which was neces-

1890. Lord Harris. 249

sary, but for a time wanting, was yonr own in your official capa-
city. I, as Chancellor, have gocfd reason to be grateful that in
the end the retiring modesty, which lias won you the love
of all who have known you, was eventually overborne by a
unanimity of feeling from both outside and inside this University
which you could not resist, for nothing short of an amending
Act could have met the resistance of a Vice-Chancellor to an
honorary degree being conferred on himself. Dr. Wordsworth,
your career here and a period which I think is strikingly marked
by a notable advance in education in Western India, are so
nearly synchronous that it is difficult to look back on the one
without finding the other included in the same field. This Uni-
versity, although incorporated four years before you arrived in
Bombay, did not receive its full liberty until 1860, and as a
matter of fact, its first Fellows were not appointed until after
you had taken post as Head-master of the High School, and I
believe that you, as Principal of the Deccan College, were
ex-officio one of them. This occasion is not unsuitable for a rapid

retrospect of the changes you have seen; and
e " ^ rst as re g ar ds institutions. In 1862 there were

two Government Arts Colleges, one Aided Arts
College (now Wilson College), one Government Law School,
and one Medical College ; total five. There are now nine Arts
Colleges, besides the College of Science, two Law Schools, and
the Medical College ; total thirteen. In 1862-63, twelve High
Schools sent up for Matriculation 147 candidates, of whom
56 passed. In 1888-89, 89 High Schools sent up for Matricula-
tion 1,559 candidates, of whom 620 passed. You have seen
the after-life of the youths who come up year by year ; you see
now your pupils occupying posts of eminence in the High Court,
as Ministers in several native states, and as Professors in the
Educational Department, but for whom indeed the expansion of
aided enterprise would have been scarcely possible ; they are to
be found in every grade of judicial offices and they almost
monopolise the executive appointments subordinate to the Deputy
Collector's grade / or if I were to take another test that of fees
which is indicative , bu^ .being complicated does not form a con-
clusive basis for argument, you have seen the total fee receipts
advanced from Rs. 1,06,000 in 1865 to Us. 12,16,000 in 1888-89,
or, taking numbers of scholars, there were in public colleges and
schools in 1865, 60,000. There are now 524,000. You have
seen the institution and the increase of independent colleges,
you recognized their value, but you did not fear their rivalry
with Government institutions, and that your confidence was
justified is proved by the Elphinstone College attracting twice

250 University of Bombay.

as many students for the University M.A., as all the other
colleges of the Presidency. Yu have seen the Deccan College
blossom into the important institution it now is, and take over
the handsome and spacious building it now occupies and you
have seen the old building of the Elphinstone College taken over
by a school of industry, and the college itself take up quarters,
thanks to generous benefactors, nearer to the University. You
have seen the demand for education diverted into other channels
than the art course, through the media of the College of Science,
the School of Art, the Victoria Jubilee Institute, and Industrial
Schools ; and above all you have seen this University recogniz-
ing its position of trust, taking the lead in directing education
and advancing from time to time its standards to meet the pro-
gressive demands of the public service. Dr. Wordsworth, it is
my misfortune not my fault, that our acquaintance, our friend-
ship if I may so term it, dates from so recent a period that I am
unable of my own knowledge to recapitulate the services you
have rendered to the cause of Education in India; but, Sir, could
I have done so, that portraiture would have been but the photo-
graph of outlines, telling nothing of the traits of character, of
the facility and luxuriance of exposition, of the force of example,
of the kindliness of disposition, of "That best portion of a good
man's life, his little nameless unrein embered acts of kindness
and of love," which, if undetailed in a record of services, never-
theless meet with ready recognition amongst your friends at a
moment like this. Dr. Wordsworth, the reward
^ an i ns ^ructor of youth lies far less in public
honors, and the recognition of ability and virtue
than in the characters and careers of those whom he has instruct-
ed, and if the honor which this University has conferred on
you had been withheld, if expressions of public and private
regard had been grudged you, you could have still retired
after an honourable career, knowing that you had deserved
well of the State in training for it men who by the honourable
positions they are attaining to are bringing honour to you, their
preceptor, and who by the uprightness of their conduct, bear
generous witness to the bright example you have set them. Dr.
Wordsworth, we may hope that as we can look back with grati-
tude to your all but thirty years of life here, so you can look
back with conscious satisfaction that they have been well spent,
and a feeling that they have been happy ones. I should suppose
that there must have been moments of disappointment at being
misunderstood. You have distinguished yourself amongst your
fellows and there is no man who has reached high eminence but
must have now and again found himself opposed in feeling

1890. Lord Harris. 25

either to the smooth but steady current of official authority, o
to the agitated wave of public caprice. No man of character an<
position, but must have had to face such moments. But if yoi
have to look back on such you can now permit them to be efface<
by the assurance that it is recognized on all sides that you hav*
pursued an upright and undeviating course from that which yoi
thought right, and that having the power to train the minds, t<
bend the inclination of your pupils which way you willed, it i
now, when the effect of your training is made apparent, acknow
ledged that your tuition has been fruitful in raising up loya
citizens for the service of the State. But, Sir, if authority hai
good reason to be grateful to you, not less so must those be who
coming to you to be shown how to live and how to learn, hav<
found a master living a moral and a virtuous life, a studem
loving his books :

" And books we know

" Are a substantial world, both pnre and good
" Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood
" Our pastime and our happiness will grow."

Loving his books, not to strain and distort their meaning for pur-
poses of argument, but for the power they give him of making more
interesting, more fruitful of illustration, more easy of recollec-
tion, the tuition which was his profession, not only the master
not only the student, but above all a friend, Sir, I venture tc
say that the unanimity which the public has indicated in approv-
ing of the conferment of this degree on you to-day has beer
won by the large-hearted and open sympathy, not given to the
insular reserve of all your countrymen to display, but which you
have bestowed in overflowing measure on the resident national-
ities of this country. Dr. Wordsworth, if amongst those whc
have effected the reforms I have outlined, you of your modestj
would not say ' quorum pars magna fui/ nevertheless youi
friends must feel that in the Councils that have initiated them
yours was indeed a weighty opinion ; and gauging them fairly ;
and bearing in mind the influence you have had in Council, in
literary education, and in training up public servants, I think
I am justified in saying that you are a worthy recipient of the
honours of this degree, not only as a representative of learn-
ing, but also as one who has given eminent public services tc
the State. Dr. Wordsworth, you are about to leave us, we trust
for your good and your greater comfort, but we hope that the
separation is not to be complete, and that now and again whis-
pers may reach us over the resounding sea, expressions of th<
thoughts aroused by the contemplation of the mountains anc
lakes of that northern country so inseparably connected with th<

252 University of Bombay.

name you bear, or the classic scenes which an " Excursion in
Italy " may disclose to you. Be that how it may, there is memory
still, and that must bind you in thought to the land that has
seen your life's service. Be certain that Bombay will not cease
to remember you, to be grateful to you, and that she assures
you as her last farewell that to the last day of your life there
may remain to you

"A consciousness that you have left
Deposited upon the silent shore
Of memory, images and precious thoughts
That shall not die, and cannot be destroyed."



Gentlemen of the Senate, We have now brought to a close
the practical part of the business of the thirtieth Annual Convo-

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 28 of 66)