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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

. (page 33 of 66)
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Gentlemen, Under the instructions of His Excellency the
Chancellor of this University the duty devolves upon me of
addressing you on an occasion which I trust will be memorable,
not only as that upon which you attained unto a coveted dignity,
but as that from which you set out upon a career, honorable to
yourselves and beneficial to your fellow-men. Gentlemen, in the
name of all here present, I offer you my hearty congratulations
and best wishes upon the academic distinction which you have this
day received ; distinction, intended both to attest the ability and
diligence of those who receive it, and to stimulate others to

14 University of Madras.

pursue a like course of intellectual cultivation. Having been one
of the examiners to test your qualifications as candidates, it has
been to me a special satisfaction to witness your admission to
your respective degrees ; and now, as a member of the Senate
appointed to address you as graduates, I call upon you to con-
sider well the position which by the virtue of these degrees, you
now occupy. That position is to be looked at under a twofold
aspect; one, bearing upon yourselves, the other, upon your
fellow-men. In respect of the first, the conferring
of tliese degrees pledges you to aim at all intel-
lectual and moral excellency ; as to the second, it
lays you under obligation to a course of practical usefulness.
Rise then, gentlemen, to the true dignity of the position to
which you have this day attained and recognise and fulfil the
responsibility it imposes. Do you ask me to define more exactly
wherein that dignity and responsibility consists? I refer you
to the Questions which just now were proposed to you and to
which you severally made response. Those questions were put
to you by His Excellency the Chancellor in the name of this
University, and they were answered by you, I trust, in all
sincerity with a clear appreciation of their import and design.
Review those questions for a moment, and ponder over their
nature and significance. Those questions, you will observe, arc
purely of a moral character, and in putting them, before a
degree was conferred upon you, the University clearly intimat-
ed that ifc looks not for intellectual superiority only, as the con-
dition of a Degree, but for moral excellence also. In the
ordeal to which you had been previously subjected by its duly
appointed examiners, the University had obtained assurance
that in point of learning and ability you were worthy of the
honour to which you aspired ; yet, before it would confer that
honour, it demanded and received from you a pledge of moral
rectitude, as men and as citizens. It asked you whether, as
candidates for your respective degrees, you would promise,
1st, to fashion your daily life and conversation as becomes the
members of this University ; 2nd, to support and promote, to
the utmost of your opportunity and ability, the cause of
morality and sound learning ; 3rd, to uphold and advance, as far
as in you lies, social order and the well-being of your fellow-men.
Gentlemen, these questions are of a momentous character;
they were solemnly put and, I doubt not, seriously
promises made* answered. Note then, to what, by your own deliber-
ate act and declaration, you this day stand pledged,
and therein see what is your true dignity, your proper responsibility
as graduates of this University. You are pledged to eschew every-

1861. Rev. A. R. Symonds. 15

thing low and mean and unworthy ; you are pledged to aim at all
that is high and honorable and befitting ; you are pledged to use
your talents, learning, and influence for the repression of ignor-
ance and evil and for the diffusion of knowledge and virtue ; you
are pledged to maintain and promote the peace of the Realm and
obedience to the Powers that be ; and, finally, you are pledged to
further in every possible way, the best interests of your fellow-men.
Gentlemen, if you fully comprehend the tenor of these promises,
and if in good faith you have made them, then you understand the
dignity and appreciate the responsibility of your position. Now,
then, go forth on the career thus marked out before you, actuated
by the highest motives and braced up with manly resolution. Call
to mind, how of old the candidate for knightly honors, having
first trained himself by long continued exercises of skill and
strength was invested with the insignia of his Order after solemn
vows to defend the right, and to maintain the honour of that
Order untarnished. On this day, you, having passed the required
ordeal, having been invested with academic insignia, after giving
promises of a yet higher import. G-entlemen, stand by your Order
and maintain its honour. Regard yourselves as knights-errant
sent forth to do battle for the cause of Virtue and Learning. Then
quit you like men, be strong ; strong in principle, strong in pur-
pose. Fulfil your honourable vocation, and justify by your future
conduct the confidence which this University reposes in you by
granting you its diploma. Let no blot stain your escutcheon or
mtir the credit of the body into the membership of .which you
have now been enrolled. Remember this, I pray you, that hence-
forth you are members of a Body Corporate ; the honour of which
is committed to your keeping. If one member suffer all the
members suffer with it ; if you obtain honor, it receives honor in
your persons ; if you incur disgrace, it sustains discredit also.
Bear in mind that the eyes of your fellow-men will be upon
you; and that the question will be asked, "Are these graduates
of the Madras University better men, abler men, more efficient
men than others ?" Let your conduct and deportment give a
practical answer in the affirmative. Aim to be good, aim to be
useful, and so not only shall your Alma Mater be honoured in her
sons and be compensated for her travail in bringing them forth,
but the men of your generation shall receive benefit through you,
and rejoice that such as you were raised up among them.

To you who have attained the degree of Bachelor of Arts, I

Advice to would say more particularly that to you we look for

Bachelors of aid in the furtherance of sound learning. If ever

this great Country is to be pervaded with the

16 University of Madras.

literature of the West, it must be through the medium 01 edu-
cated Hindoos. All that we can do is to form here and there
certain large reservoirs of the waters of knowledge; but
you, and such as you, must be the channels to convey its
fertilizing streams, far and wide, over the dry and thirsty land.
What a noble and beneficent course lies then before you. It is
quite allowable that you should find gratification in the distinc-
tion conferred upon you this day, and that you should regale
yourselves in the walks of literature to which you have been
introduced ; but you will fall altogether short of the true object
of the one and of the happiness of the other, if your aims and
your desires terminate in self. Eegarding ^then, your Degree
as the starting point of a career of distinction and usefulness yet
to be run, go forth upon the errand on which we now send you,
and learn by actual experience the luxury of doing good, how
much more blessed it is to give than to receive.

Upon you who have attained the degree of Bachelor of Laws,
Advice to ^ wou ^ impress the momentous character of the
Bachelors of promise specifically made by you. /You have
pledged yourselves faithfully and carefully to fulfil
the duties of your profession, on all occasions to maintain its
purity and reputation, and never to deviate from the straight
path of its honourable exercise by making your knowledge
subservient to unworthy ends. Act out this promise, and the
University will have no reason but to rejoice in any success
you may attain. It is well known that peculiar tempta-
tions assail a Lawyer, and he must be a man of strong moral
purpose and principle, who can put those temptations away from
him. To advert to one instance only in illustration. The defence
of a criminal may devolve upon you ; you may become aware that
he is guilty of the offence with which he is charged, you are not
bound, therefore, to abandon his defence ; on the contrary it is
your duty to afford him the aid which the Law recognises and
sanctions ; but you are bound, even though you might thereby
save his life, not to employ any false or unworthy artifice, such
as asserting your own conviction of his innocence or diverting
suspicion to another person. Such artifices have too often been
employed. The temptation to use them may be strong, but you
must arm yourselves with vigorous and manly principle to resist
it. Shun, as injurious to others and degrading to yourself, all
unworthy, tricky, pettifogging action, and by the purity and
straightforwardness of your own practice, rebuke and discoun-
tenance such action in others. We send you forth into the
arena of your profession to be champions of truth and equity

1862. Eev. R. Halley. 17

and righteousness ; and, as to the Knight of old, when the
Herald handed him his spear, so to you we present your diploma
with a charge to be valiant for the truth, and God defend the

Finally, gentlemen, I venture to say to you one and all, have
Acknowledge respect in all your doings to the Great Supreme. I
and Respect am aware that, on many important points, most of
you hold not the same creed with myself ; but I have
not had intercourse for so many years with intelligent Hindoos,
without knowing that with myself they acknowledge a God, all-
wise, all-powerful, all-good, knowing all things, seeing all things.
I appeal to you, then, as recognising a Supreme Being, and in His
name charge you to eschew evil, to love virtue, and to seek the
good of your fellow-men. For this end may strength and wisdom
be imparted to you ; may the study of truth lead you into all truth;
may the blessing which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow
rest abundantly upon you and your occupations. And, as the
morning star, having brightly shone in darkness, then disappears
not in darkness, but only in the still brighter effulgence of the
rising sun, so may you shine as lights in your generation, and at
the end of your course be withdrawn into the brightness of the
Fountain and Father of Lights, even that adorable and Great
Supreme, whom truly to know and faithfully to serve is present
peace and everlasting happiness.



Gentlemen, By the regulations of our University, at this
stage of to-day's procedure, it becomes the duty of a member of the
Senate to exhort you to conduct yourselves suitably unto the posi-
tion to which by the degree conferred upon you, you have attained.
This duty by order of the Vice- Chancellor devolves upon me, and
in the name of this University I call upon you at all times so to
act, that your good name may add lustre to your degrees ; that in
the consistency of your life, the purity of your motives, the
exaltation of your aims and the devotedness of your patriotism,
it may be seen that the cultivation of sound learning is a spring
of lofty action ; and that you may repay the fostering care with
which you have yourselves been nurtured, by continuing " to
support and promote the cause of morality and sound learning "
in this Presidency,

18 University of Madras.

You, as amongst tke earlier graduates of this University,
will doubtless have great influence upon your countrymen for good
or evil ; they will look to you for the fruits of Western learning,
and by your lives will they judge of its results. Your literary
exertions have been rewarded this day by your admission to a
University degree, but remember that with this new position
you have incurred new responsibilities not only in the promise
and declaration you have made, but in the fact that you have
received, as a trust, the setting forth before the world's eye in
your own persons the advantages of a liberal education.

In times gone by the treasures of the East were carried
towards the West in so great profusion that
Eastern wealth became proverbial ; but as the
merchant sends forth his ship from port laden
with a rich cargo, in faith that she shall cross the seas and
traverse them again and enter once more the port bringing
higher freight to repay him for his lengthened waiting, so now
the day has come, when, your waiting being ended, your vessel
has returned to port, and the treasures of the West are laid at
your feet. We offer to you, as we think, a literature unsurpass-
ed in the world's history for extent, variety, and elevated thought;
science, mental, moral and physical, true, because it is derived
from a careful induction of facts and phenomena, subjective
and objective, and is not the crude invention of mere theorists ;
art, refined and elevated, because it is the truthful expression
of conceptions gained from nature, rather than the grotesque
fancies of a distorted imagination. This is our merchandise ;
your position here to-day bears witness that you have tested
its value, and we call upon you still to buy the truth and sell
it not.

I say the truth rather than knowledge, for knowledge is
but the instrument, truth is the object to be sought. It is not
enough to know the theories of men ; you must carefully test
them and examine for yourselves, separating the wheaten grain
of truth from the chaff of doubtful speculations. You must
try and gain something worth believing and cherishing, some-
thing that you can weave into the texture of your own mental
being, and something that you can hold by in practice, as a
guide in action a power within you.

The title you now assume suggests a figure. Borrowed
from chivalry, it speaks to you of loyalty and
The title a nonour . y ou are the bachelors, you have come
to the age of manhood, and, after refined investi-
gation, have been deemed worthy, and have been this day

1862. Rev. R. Halley.

invested with manly arms. You have yet to win in the field
the full honours of the Knight banneret, but now you are
no longer squires, as knights you must conduct yourselves.
Go forth to the tournament, let knowledge be your spear,
but let truth be your mistress she sits, the Queen of the Fair,
to watch the day, and from her hands shall you receive the
prize of the valiant. Wearing her favours, what a motive to
the knightly virtues ! And the first of them is loyalty. Be
loyal to her whom you have chosen, for her do battle, whoever
may oppose whatever your object, you cannot deprave the

Arrayed in the lists are the champions of Error she pre-
Antiquity the suines to sit i n rivalry with Truth she ! with her
champion ' of brazen face, shaking her gaudy ribbons ! And
who are her champions ? There is grey-haired
Antiquity, who in many lists has unhorsed the champions of
Truth; whilst he deals his hardest blows, he will recount for
your dismay his victories of old, and if the battle goes hard with
him, he will cease his vauiitings, and will appeal to your knightly
magnanimity, reminding you that he was the friend of your
fathers. Spare him if he will leave the lists, but so long as he
is in arms for her rival, you must not, you dare not be disloyal
to the Truth. He may taunt you as striplings, he may ridicule
your mistress, he may laugh at your juvenile enthusiasm ; but the
day is yours, if you are stout of heart before your weapon,
knowledge, he cannot stand.

But side by side with Antiquity, yet strangely contrasted, are
champions of Error, your equals in years. They
are tne sons of Pride ; dubbed knights on the same
day with yourselves, they have grown up in your
company, and will prove loyal to error, as long as you leave them
unslain. Unhorse them to-day, they will utter their defiance to-
morrow; with them it must be war to the death. They are Crude
Speculation, Juvenile Conceit, Dogmatism and Presumption.
They hate the Truth with utter hatred, for they have tested her
scorn. They would have sworn themselves hers, but she rejected
them with disdain. And now they have taken their place as
Error's knights-bachelors. Their sinister countenances are well-
concealed, as in full armour they stand, fair to the eye of the
inexperienced. With dazzling brilliance they advance, their
plumes are bright, their devices gay, their lances sparkle in the
sun; but though stalwart their form and gallant their bearing,
make no friendship with them ; they are sons of Pride, and like
their father, they hate the truth, they have embittered hearts ;

20 University of Madras,

slay them outright, or they will never cease troubling you;
yield to them but a foot and you wound and grieve the Truth.
But I cannot describe all the champions of Error, they stand
opposed, you can see them well, Custom, Influence, Profit and a
host less known, all range themselves on Error's side.

But Truth calls on you to join her followers and to take up

arms in company with Sobriety of Thought, Care-

Tmth erentS f fuln ess of Investigation, Simplicity, Humility,

Docility and Virtue, to show your loyalty and love

for her. She claims your affection, as well as your arms ; she

must be mistress of the heart, as well as of the hand. If there

be not love towards her in the heart, you but insult her when

you take up her colours, and your wages shall be her scorn.

But if valour and loyalty for the Truth are the first of the
knightly virtues, assuredly they are not all. I
remind you that the next of them is Courtesy. If
combat must be if Truth's good name and Truth's wide sway
can only be maintained by constant fighting, still towards even
your bitterest foe, you must not forget that courtesy is demanded
of one of your degree ; you cannot descend into menials' hall
and join in the squabbles of the retainers. With dignity and
courtesy you must lead your own, choosing only to answer to the
challenge of knights ; and though you deal hard blows, you
must neither trample on a wounded foe, nor forget the respect
which is due to a worthy opponent. But out of the battle-field
or of the tournament, to all you must exercise chivalrous courtesy,
bearing yourselves as true knights with deference to your
elders, with respect to your equals, with good-will and kindness
towards the younger. And the courtesy of the true knight
called forth his valour not only for his mistress, but to aid any
who were in danger. So must it be yours, though Truth be
your mistress, to step forward and save from harm, when any of
the fair are in danger in your presence.

You must never shrink from breaking a lance in behalf of
Patience, and Temperance and Charity, and Purity,
lr " an< ^- Philanthropy. If these be wounded or injured
"before your eyes, much more if their trust be from
yourselves, Truth will be shamed, for you will lack the courtesy
of her knights.

But there is also required of the true bachelor, that he

should show munificence. This virtue you are

ofioenoe. cal i e( j upon to exercise. With knowledge as your

weapon, you will spoil many foes ; yet your gains must not be

1862. Rw. R. Halley. 21

wholly for yourselves. You must help to scatter, with a
prof use hand, the intellectual wealth you have won. You must
not take the miser for your pattern, who hoards and never
scatters, nor must it be sufficient for you to keep your retainers
in comfort and the destitute from starvation ; of your wealth you
must scatter to the good and to the evil, denying yourselves
that others may abound.

Last, but not least, of the knightly virtue, was Justice.
Without this no knight could be complete, he must
hate a wrong, and love the right, and defend
only that which was just. There are amongst you those who
have armed yourselves with law, as your weapon. You are
champions of Truth and must not forget the virtue of Justice;
without it you are no true knights. Let the true knight only
wield so dangerous a weapon. Rightly are those who take it in
their hands, more narrowly watched, and more severely judged
than others, if in the smallest degree they forget their honor. A
chosen band of knighthood, admitted by a special initiation,
their honor is their best possession. One mean device, one
coward's trick, one unfair blow, and the whole brotherhood of
these Knights Templars is disgraced. They live to battle with
oppression and with wrong.

Recreant knights will you be ; ten times scorned in the
halls of your special brotherhood, if you use your weapon to give
triumph to wrong doing; if you wield the sharp edge of the law, to
obtain for yourselves, advantages which are not yours of right, -
or if for base gain, as a hireling freebooter, you seek for others,
possessions to which they are not entitled. Truth calls to you
as her champions, guard your honor unsullied in its purity ; but
especially exercise justice. Truth needs your aid. It is yours to
cleave the black armour, within which chicanery and perjury
and treachery have encased themselves. It is yours to strip them
of their false devices and on the dunghill of their lying inven-
tions, to strike off the spurs of these false and base born knights.

Knights Bachelors, you are invested this day, brace your-
selves for the conflict, the lists are ready, the champions of Error
have sounded the defiance, I call upon you to go forth. as true
Knights, endowed with valour and loyalty and courtesy, and muni-
ficence and justice. Give them a fall on behalf of your mistress,
fear not their blows ; onward ! try your new armour ! try the
mettle of your weapons ; and as the old enemies of Truth bite
the dust, your victory is secured. You shall come again to the
spot where you obtained the favours of your mistress, and in
the sunshine of her smiles shall you receive the prize of the

22 University of Madras*

conqueror. As the din of the martial music is heard through the
field, and there is sounded and resounded from the lips of the
minstrels " Honor to the Sons of the Brave ! "



Gentlemen, You have this day finished your general edu-
cation. The University to which you belong has stamped you
with the seal of her approval, and sends you forth into the world
valued and accredited with the honor of her degrees. But you
would fall into a grievous error if you should suppose, and into
a still greater if you acted upon that supposition, that you have
now completed your education, and that henceforth you have
only to discharge the duties of such offices as you may chance to
occupy. Life is one long school, and the education of every man
only closes with his dying day.

The objects of your general education have, I trust, been
Objects of attained ; that is to say, that you have become the
general educa- masters of no inconsiderable mass of substantive
tion - information; that you have acquired habits of

labour, order, and reflexion ; that your minds have become
practised instruments for judging accurately and dispassionately
on such subjects as may hereafter be submitted to you ; and,
above all, that you are imbued 'with sound principles of honour-
able and moral conduct.

So far from your education being finished, your special edu
cation now begins ; and remember that hitherto you have had
careful, anxious, pains-taking, conscientious masters to watch
over, to guide, to instruct, and to correct you ; but that you are
henceforth your own teachers, and self-education has become to
each of you his sacred task and duty.

You may, if so disposed, carry your studies, even with
reference to this University, to a far higher reach ; for it is open
to you to seek the degrees of Masters in Arts or Laws. The
higher honor is not with us a mere form, but marks a very con-
siderable progress in, and a much deeper knowledge of, the
subject-matters in which you have this day taken your several

But it is rather with reference to your self-education, uncon-
nected with the University, that I would now
Self-educa- address you. And I would pray you to be on your
guard against the insidious approaches of vanity,

1863. Mr. J. B. Norton. 23

self-sufficiency, arrogance ; charges of which have, I know, been
heretofore freely laid against the young educated Native. I will
not say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing ; for all know-
ledge is in itself good : but I would ask you to mark carefully
the great difference between the pride of knowledge and the
humility of wisdom. The more you learn, the more you will
discover you have to learn ; the more you will fathom your own

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 33 of 66)