Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/172

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157
1884.—Mr. Justice West.


Next there is one other subject, and I believe for me—who enjoy, as I trust, the confidence and in a certain measure the respect of most of those who are sitting near me—it is not necessary to avoid even that subject, the glowing embers of which are still led beneath the ashy soil. I refer to the amendment of the Code of Criminal Procedure. On the policy of that measure I do not intend to say anything; but I do call your attention, gentlemen of the Senate, to the noble and magnanimous bearing, the self-respect, charity and kindness and absence of all retort by Lord Ripon in relation to that measure and the clamour with which it was received. Probably Lord Ripon knew practically the spirit and the character of his countrymen so much better than those who have retorted ill for ill and hard words for hard words that their outcries made less impression on him than on the volunteer defenders who were comparative strangers to the rough struggles of intense political life. There is in truth not much to wonder at, and but little to resent now that the contest is over. We know that the Englishman, who has conquered in all climates and peopled the waste places of the earth, is an energetic and self-willed being with unbounded resolution, but also with a large share of the faults of his high qualities. These defects could no more be removed from his nature than the wart from the portrait of Cromwell. The man would no longer be the same. Lord Ripon knows this well, and no doubt his historical reading has taken him back to the passage in Milton—certainly a liberal, if ever there was one—where he describes our countryman in his time as having minds not readily accessible to civil wisdom and a sense of the public good, "headstrong and intractable to the industry and virtue of executing or understanding true civil government, valiant indeed and prosperous to win a field; but to know the end and reason of winning injudicious and unwise, in good and bad success alike intractable." These are the characteristics of an Englishman. These are the characteristics which have prevented him so often from knowing when he was beaten and often gained him an unscientific victory. Come down to Goldsmith and he paints our ancestors with

'Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,

and when as the poet conceives them they are

'Intent on high designs'

Lord Ripon knows, and we all know, that there is no nobler breed. Let this be said of my countrymen in relation to the measure which Lord Ripon as a part of a great policy and as an act of great justice to the Natives of this country thought it his duty to make law. It cut sharply across the masterful