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Convocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras online

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ignorance ; the more illimitable you will find the regions of
knowledge ; the more you will become diffident and modest ; the
greater forbearance and deference you will exercise and pay
towards your fellows ; the more you will be conscious of your own
insignificance and the vanity of all human affairs ; the more
you will marvel at the greatness and goodness of that universal
Providence which ordereth all things for good, even when to
our finite vision events may present the appearance and the
semblance of evil.

Labour, it has often been remarked, makes the difference
between man and man : and there is no doubt that
leisvu*> r Ve y U1 nones * regular plodding does almost invariably
lead to a certain success in life. But as Lord Bacon
says : ef The most active or busy man that hath been, or can
be, hath no question many vacant times of leisure, while he
expecteth the tides and the returns of business (except he be
either tedious and of no dispatch, or lightly and unworthily
ambitious to meddle in things that may be better done by
others) and then the question is, but how these spaces and
times of leisure shall be filled and spent : whether on pleasure or
in studies " : and I believe that ultimate and real success of a
nature worth the having, and the formation of a truly great and
estimable character depend chiefly upon the way in which those
interstices of leisure are employed. Mental relaxation, bodily
exercise are necessary to all men ; they are essential to the cheer-
ful and efficient performance of our daily duties : but let me
caution you not to throw away these opportunities of leisure, the
only ones you will have left, in idleness or folly, for I will not
stoop to add, vice. It is by inculcating the habit of improving
your leisure, that you will promote your self -education : and this
is all the more indispensable ; because all special occupations have
a tendency to narrow, however they may sharpen, the intellect.
If we are ever poring over the same page, the sphere of vision
is bounded by the four corners of our book ; if we will never lift
our eyes, we may shut out even the glories of Nature and the
light of Heaven, until we come insensibly to forget them. It
is absolutely necessary therefore for every man immersed in

24 University of Madras.

business, to keep his mind open and enlarged, if he would escape
the reproach of having sunk into a mere drudge; if hehopestohold
his place in cultivated society ; if he aspires to achieve aught for
his own fame, for the benefit of his own countrymen, or of man-
kind at large. Thus it is, that you will be ever advancing on the
path of self-education, making yourselves practi-
seiMucation f ca % more useful in your professions, more agree-
able members of the society in which you move ;
better citizens of the State you serve ; and at the same time be
laying up for the autumn and winter of old age, a store of
pleasing recollections and associations, which will form one of
your best solaces, when the body becomes too enfeebled for
further work, and the mind too dull for fresh exercitation and

As you will thus educate yourselves, so we expect you to be
Further the mindful of your duty in forwarding the education
education of of others. You may not be able to do much ;
others. some may have it in their power to do more

than others ; but if you are well satisfied of the pleasures
and the profits of knowledge in your own case, you ought to
seek to impart the same benefits to your fellows. Every educated
man who like you has been stamped by the University, may become
the centre of a fresh circle of educational activity and action.
The scholar who studies merely for himself, pursues but a selfish
aim, scarcely worfchy even of praise or of approval : nay, it may
be that he is but unconsciously wasting his invaluable, irrevoca-
ble time in another form of laborious idleness. He is like a
fountain, the waters of which fall back unproductive into the
basin of its own reservoir ; while the scholar who labours for
his fellow-men is like an abounding river, which gladdens and
fertilizes the country through which it runs. The one at best is
but as a star upon a cloudy night : it shines, but in privacy ;
and so far as this world is concerned, with ineffectual fire ; the
other is as the universal Sun, seen and felt through the clear
atmosphere at midday, giving out light and warmth to all

And now a word to those who have failed in obtaining their
degrees. Disappointment is natural and unavoidable ; but there
is no reason why any unsuccessful candidate should give way to
despondency. The very effort to attain success has necessarily
been productive of good to him : and so far from discouraging
or blaming those who have failed, we sympathize with them ;
and the Examiners will, no doubt, readily admit that the great
majority of candidates who have failed, are nevertheless entitled

1863. Mr. J. B. Norton. 25

to no mean praise. We bid you press on and repeat the fight ;
seek to strengthen the weak places, and to supply the deficiencies
which the results of your examination have pointed out, and
renew another year, with fresh hope, and more enlarged know-
ledge, the struggle for a degree.

To those who have been unsuccessful candidates for a degree
in Law, we admit that the presence at the Mofussil Bar of even
such candidates as have failed this year, would effect an improve-
ment in the order of Pleaders. We do not under-estimate the
great importance of throwing practitioners with more legal
acquirements and more general education into the ranks of our
Provincial Pleaders ; but as Examiners and members of the
Senate, we have felt that even that object ought to be sacrificed
to the paramount expediency of not lowering the standard or
the value of the degree of Bachelor of Law.

The Bachelors of Law must remember that they have taken

upon themselves heavy responsibilities. The Ad-

tie?of P Lawylrs vocate not Onl 7 holds himself out as of ability

to protect his client's interests by advice and

advocacy, but it is in no small degree to the Advocates who

are Bachelors of Laws, that the State and the Profession must

look for fche elevation of the character of the Native Bar, and

that better administration of public justice, which is one of the

most important consequences of such an elevation.

Let every Advocate set his face against, strive with all his
might and main against, the hydra-headed crime of perjury.

I am far from imputing to every individual Native a want
of truthfulness in all his ordinary dealings with his fellow-men.
We know too little of Native society to justify any so sweeping
conclusion ; and indeed, society could not hold together under
such conditions. Truth, as Bentham has well remarked, is easier
and more natural to man than falsehood.

I believe that the success that attended perjury before the
East India Company's Courts of Justice has fos-
tered its growth, and there is not wanting plenty
of high reliable English authority for asserting,
that the simplicity and truthfulness of Native character has
degenerated in consequence of the introduction of our tribunals
and institutions. But whatever the cause, the fact remains, that
the records of our Courts of Justice contain little better than
one long catalogue of forgery and perjury.

It is to education that we must look for the final eradication

26 University of Madras.

of these crimes : but in the meanwhile much may be done by
strengthening the Judicial Bench ; by insisting 011 its occupants
being qualified by previous methodical legal training, to grapple
with the enormous difficulties which systematic perjury undoubt-
edly throws in their path ; by taking care that the detection of
the crime shall be invariably and rapidly followed by adequate
punishment ; and last not least, by the resolution of the Provin-
cial Bar, never to tolerate in their clients any recourse to such
vile acts as forgery, perjury, subornation of perjury, for obtain-
ing a favourable decree.

Most earnestly we invite and call upon all Bachelors of Law
to ponder well upon the duties of an Advocate.
Advocate f ** Entitled as the Advocate is to a fair remuneration
for his services, he should never let the acquisition
of wealth be the main end or object of his actions. He should
seek to compose and to restrain, not to foment and foster,
the evil passions of those who consult him. His first duty
to his client is, if possible, to save him from litigation. If that
be impossible, then to stand fearlessly and faithfully by him from
first to last. In order that he may conscientiously discharge his
duty, the Advocate must know what the substantive law is, and
what its shifting forms require ; and hence he can never safely
relax his course of legal studies. His eagerness for his client's
cause must never lead him into any measure that is dishonest or
dishonorable : should a client venture to suggest such measures,
the Advocate may justly spurn him from his door. He is never
to seek to mislead or to puzzle the Court. He is there to aid, not
to embarrass the Judge ; he must never mis-state a fact ; and
always base his arguments upon and confine them to the facts as
they stand proved by the evidence. The relations between Judge
and Counsel in a properly constituted Court, should be those of
mutual reliance and esteem. There should neither be arrogance
on the one hand, nor subservience on the other. The observation
of a due deference to the Bench is perfectly compatible with
the vindication of entire freedom of speech by the Bar; and
while the Advocate pays all proper respect to the Bench, he
should never forget, nor suffer to be forgotten, the respect that
is due to himself. He is the champion of political liberty; he
may be the martyr of political power ; let him take heed that he
never degenerates into the demagogue leader of democratic
licence. Remember that he who aspires to the honors of the
profession, and advancement by the State, must rest his claims
at least as much on the worth of his moral character, as on the
brilliancy of his reputation for intellectual achievements.

1864. Mr. E. Thompson. 27

And may you all, of whatsoever degree and in whatsoever
Preserve the faculty, never forget this ; that the University
honor of the has committed her honor to the keeping of each
and every one of you. No one individual can
be guilty of a mean or ignoble action without in some measure
casting a tarnish on the lustre of his University ; and it
may be that hereafter, if ever you should be tempted to swerve
from the broad straight path of honor and truth and duty,
the recollection of this fact, even if you had no higher or ' better
angel to turn to, may save you from peril in the hour of tempta-
tion. Temptations you must all have ; that yon may nob fail
nor quail before them is our earnest hope. The University which
has accredited you with her degrees, will affectionately but
scrntinously watch over your careers, now that she sends you
forth from the calm halls of academic learning into the fierce
struggle of the real battle of life. Her interest in you does not
now cease ; it has only commenced : for your association with
the University dates from this day : she will hear, from time to
time, with pride and pleasure of your success ; and she bids you,
through me, one and all, ride on in honor and prosperity.



Gentlemen, Having been desired by the Chancellor to
deliver at this Convocation the customary address to the Gradu-
ates, I have to ask your attention for a few minutes while I attempt
to discharge the duty which has been assigned to me. I am un-
fortunate in having to follow the many able men and eloquent
speakers who have represented the Senate on former occasions ;
so much has been said and so well said on various subjects more
or less connected with University education, that it is difficult to
say any thing new, and I shall therefore confine myself strictly to
the duty prescribed by the University, that of exhorting you to
conduct yourselves suitably to the position you have attained.

I have before me Graduates in Arts, in Law, and for the

first time in this University, a Graduate in Civil Engineering,

and it will, I think, be convenient, before making some remarks

common to you all, to say a few words to each of these classes

individually. To begin with the Graduates in

AdvicetoGra- Law. You have before you a most honourable

duates in Law. career indeed; I can hardly imagine a more

important mission than the one to which you are called.

28 University of Madras.

The Native Bar and Bench have hitherto laboured under many
disadvantages, and have been exposed to much unfavourable
criticism. Your very presence here to-day, and the signs of
academic distinction which you wear, prove that you have made
considerable progress in your legal studies, and that you are
bringing to the practice of your profession, knowledge and
i ability rarely possessed by those of your fellow-countrymen who
have hitherto taken part in the administration of the law. Add
then to the knowledge which you already possess patient study
and careful practice, and above all, see that you add to pro-
fessional ability, the strictest integrity of conduct, without which
your career, however brilliant for the time, cannot fail to be attend-
ed with disgrace in the end. Recollect the promise which you
have just made to maintain on all occasions the purity and
reputation of the profession, and never to deviate from the
straight path of its honourable exercise. But to return to the
point with which I began. You know better than I can possibly
know the defects and shortcomings of Native Judges and Advo-
cates ; see that you strive to the very utmost of your power to
remedy these defects, to make up for these shortcomings. Recent
changes in the rules of the High Court have made the possession
of University distinctions a passport to practice in the highest
Courts of the country ; I trust that your conduct at the Bar, and,
it may be, on the Bench, will be such as to enable the framers of
those rules to look back upon their work with unmixed satisfaction.
The example of one conspicuous and deeply lamented member
of your community, showed how much could be effected even
under the old system by consistent industry, modesty, and in-
tegrity; the advantages and opportunities you enjoy, far exceed
his ; take care that they have not been bestowed upon you in vain.

The career of the Civil Engineer is not less important than

that of the Barrister. His labours have an im-

Advicei En- mense influence upon the happiness of mankind.

The want of good communications has been a

serious obstacle to the material progress of this country, and

well educated honest native officials may do much to remedy

this want. You will probably be called upon at no distant.

time to hold a responsible position in the Department of Public

Works, notoriously this department has suffered greatly from

tli gross dishonesty of subordinates and contractors ; we trust

that you too will bear in mind the promises you have made

to-day ; that you will not only prove superior to all temptation

to wrong doing yourself, but resolutely oppose and frustrate the

malpractices of others.

1864. Mr. E. Thompson. 29

To the Graduates in Arts, of course I have nothing so special
Donotbedis- * sav as * ^ eir brethren of the other Faculties,
heartened by but I cannot pass on to my general remarks with-
out pausing to congratulate two of their number
more especially on their present success, and dwelling for a
moment on the lesson which it inculcates. I have heard indeed
of instances in this University of young men being so disheart-
ened by a single failure, that they have never had the courage to
try again; they have felt, it seems, a morbid sense of disgrace, and
have not ventured to appear a second time in the Hall of Exami-
nation. But how much nobler it is to triumph over this feeling
and to resolve to make up for past ill-success by continued industry
and perseverance that this determination may be crowned by
success in the end, you have a proof to-day, and I trust that
those who were unfortunate enough to fail in the recent exami-
nation will be animated by your success, and in their turn come
to be numbered among the Graduates of the University.

And now, gentlemen, addressing you all and congratulat-
The secret ^S vou u P on tne distinctions you have attained,
of Englishmen's the question naturally arises, What is expected
from you? The University has tested your abilities,
has set as it were her seal upon you, and now sends you forth,
as sterling coin, fresh from her mint. What then does she expect
from you ? that you will acquit yourselves like men, that you will
do your duty- Some unmerited praise no doubt is attributed to
Englishmen by themselves, and some unmerited blame perhaps
cast upon them by others, but this much, I think, I can assert
without fear of contradiction, that Englishmen are animated above
other nations by a pervading sense of duty ; and a glorious result
it will be of England's mission in the East, if she succeeds in any
degree in impressing upon the minds of the countless millions of
this land, over whom she has been called to bear rule, some
portion of the feeling which animates her sons. It is this con-
sciousness, that in any circumstances he is expected to do his
duty, that nerves the Englishman in the hour of trial ; it is this
that has so often carried him along the road that leads to victory,
it is this that has consoled him as often under the certainty of
danger and death. This last sacrifice to duty, it is very impro-
bable that you or any of us here to-day will ever be called upon to
make ; but you will and must be called upon, over and over again,
to make to duty sacrifices of inclination, of pleasure, or of profit.
And who will undertake to say that this obligation is an easy one
at all times to fulfil ? There are however other ways and other
senses in which you are expected to do your duty, and it is to

30 University of Madras.

these that I wish more particularly to call your attention.
For instance, there is a duty which you owe to the
th6 State - Evei 7 citizen of a State is bound to yield
a willing and cheerful obedience to the law, and
to support, as far as in him lies, the cause of order and good
government. And surely this obligation, incumbent as it is
upon all, is more especially incumbent on those citizens, who
like yourselves have received a superior education. You ought
to be above the prejudices and passions which hold unlimited
sway over the minds of the masses ; a calmer judgment, a more
intelligent obedience will surely be expected, and, I trust, found
in you. But there is another point connected with this duty to
the State, which concerns most of you very nearly. I do not
wish to dwell much upon it, but I think it well briefly to allude
to it. Most of you I believe have at an important period of
your life received what may really be called a State educa-
tion, and to this education, utilized by your own industry, you
owe your present position. You have received then a great
benefit, will you not strive to make some adequate return ? And
this brings me by an easy transition to another

Duty to our ?, -r i . j_ on

reUow-cotmtry- class of duties. I mean your duties to your fellow -
meu - countrymen. For you can hardly show your

sense of the advantages you have derived from the liberality of
the State in a better way than by endeavouring to enlighten the
community to which you belong. There are many ways in
which you may do this, but a single instance will suffice for the
present. It often occurs that the best intentions of G-overn-
ment, the best plans devised by it solely and purely for the
good of the people, are misunderstood and misrepresented.
You and such as you, can, I think, do much to prevent this ;
you know well enough the utter groundlessness of the belief
popularly entertained from time to time upon such matters,
and if each of you in his own sphere were to endeavour to
combat these delusions and to place in their proper light
the acts of the Government, I feel assured that much imme-
diate and permanent good would be the result. Again, to
speak of the subject so proper to this particular time and
place, Education ought not you who have made some progress
in knowledge, who have at least learned enough to long-
ardently to know more, and to wish that others should have the
same tastes and aspirations ; ought not you I say to endeavour
to the very utmost of your power to spread among your people
the blessings you yourselves so highly appreciate. Some of you
have already devoted yourselves, or are immediately about to
do so, to the task of spreading education directly, by becoming

1864. Mr. E. Thompson. 31

teachers ; all honour to you for your choice of a profession.
I hope that you will be encouraged to persevere in the course
on which you have entered, and that you will not merely look
upon tuition as a means of livelihood for a time, to be given up
when something more attractive offers itself, but as a profession
to last your lifetime. It is indeed an arduous one, full of
anxieties, difficulties, discouragements ; it may indeed, (if you
persevere, it must) afford you a competence, but you cannot
expect much more, and wealth is out of the question ; but it
has its bright side too ; it is pleasant to watch the progress of
pupils in the school and in the world, and it will be no small
consolation in after years to look back upon a well-spent
useful life, and to feel that hundreds are indebted to you for
some of the purest and highest of earthly pleasures.

But those among you who are not about to become teach-
ers, may still do much to promote education.

cation * 8 EdU ^ n ^ e ^ rs ^ P^ ace J OTL ma y exert your personal
influence with your families, and point out to all
connected with you the great advantages to be derived from a
liberal education, and in the course of time when sons and
daughters are born to you, it will be yeur duty to see that
they do not, to say the least, fall short of the acquirements
of their parents. Again, it may well happen, now that so
many roads to advancement are open to you, that some of
you at least may become wealthy men ; and a portion of that
wealth can hardly be better employed than in providing means
of instruction for others. You may found prizes, scholarships,
professorships, and the time may come when even a College
may owe its origin to the enlightened liberality of some educat-
ed Hindu. It was remarked the other day by the Vice-Chan-
cellor of the University of Calcutta, himself one of the brightest
living ornaments of his own University, that to found a College
was a means of transmitting to distant posterity the memory of
a name which otherwise would soon have passed away. He
instanced a College at Cambridge, founded by a Physician in
the reign of Queen Elizabeth, whose name however well known
in his own times would undoubtedly long since have been
forgotten, had it not been that year after year students, issuing
forth from the College which owes its existence to his bounty,
and distinguishing themselves in the University and in the world,
have made familiar to the ears even of the present generation
the name of a physician three centuries in his grave. This
laudable ambition has already induced some natives of Bombay
to come forward with princely munificence, and found Colleges

32 University of Madras.

and other institutions for the good of their fellow-countrymen,
and I trust that the memory of their good deeds will last as long
as the memory of Dr. Cain's. But why should Madras be behind
the sister Presidency in the race of good works ? You are no
doubt aware that the Government have proposed to erect for the
University a Hall for Examinations, Lectures, and Meetings such
as the present ; and this proposal was hailed by the Senate with
lively satisfaction ; but that satisfaction I need hardly say would
have been greatly enhanced, if the offer had come from a wealthy
and enlightened native gentlemen ; for what we desire above
everything else is, to see the natives of this country taking the
work and cost of education more and more into their own hands
and depending less and less upon the assistance of the State.

And now let me say in conclusion a few words on what I may
Avoid con- ca ^ duties to yourselves. It is a duty you ewe to

Online LibraryK Subba RauConvocation addresses of the universities of Bombay and Madras → online text (page 34 of 66)