Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/120

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105
1879.—The Honorable J. Gibbs.


I accepted at the hands of Sir Seymour Fitzgerald an office which had been filled by such eminent men as Sir Alexander Grant and Dr. John Wilson, to name only my two immediate predecessors. The former of these brought not only the resources of scholarship which had won for him high honour in his own venerable Alma Mater, but a grasp of educational doctrine and practice which was of the greatest value in laying the broad and deep foundation of our system, and which had found an appropriate recognition in his elevation to the highest post in the Educational Department of this Presidency. While of the latter, who looked on his appointment of Vice-Chancellor as his most cherished distinction, it may be said that he brought to the performance of his duties a most intimate knowledge of India and its people, a life-long experience in the cause of education, and a keen and catholic interest in all branches of knowledge, combined with a sympathy broad as the University itself with all the many races whom we desire to attract to our portals. To follow such men without a feeling of diffidence at the thought that I should be judged by the high standard to which they had accustomed the public mind, would have argued presumption on my part; but I was encouraged to think that the principles they had laid down would prove a sure foundation on which to raise the superstructure, while a pretty long experience in the public service would, I ventured to hope, give me some special qualification for the duty.

It has been my privilege to preside over the meetings of the Syndicate and Senate for a longer period than has fallen to the lot of any previous Vice-Chancellor, and it is with peculiar satisfaction that I learn from you. Sir, that the spirit in which I have endeavoured to discharge this and other functions appertaining to my office has commended itself to my colleagues on the Syndicate and to the body of the University. With you I am glad to believe that the progress of the University has been satisfactory during the period I have presided over its counsels. On that point I hope to touch in detail presently. In the mean-time I cannot do better than borrow the language of this Address, if you will first permit me briefly to make some adequate recognition of other services to the University which have had no small share in contributing to this success. For I could not omit this opportunity of putting on record my high sense of what the University of Bombay owes to the unbought exertion of the Syndicate. On this point I fully concur with what Sir Bartle Frere said in his farewell address at the Convocation for 1867, when,, after pointing out that "it is a noteworthy