Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/206

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191
1888.—Sir Raymond West

part of the year, must interfere with my presiding at the meetings of the Syndicate and with my presence and active part in the daily affairs of the University. Therefore, for these, if for no other reasons, I propose to take an early opportunity of resigning a post which I have felt it a great honour to hold and in which I have experienced so much kindness from you, but which I now feel is becoming in a manner untenable.

There are some interesting features in the results of our examination this year, University culture for ladies. and you will recognise the propriety of my first of all dwelling on the circumstance that this year we have our first lady bachelor. This University was one of the first in Her Majesty's dominions to recognise the equal rights of either sex to the honours and distinctions which it confers, and by the introduction of a few words, that words in the masculine in the rules of the University shall for the future include also the feminine, we have effected a very considerable revolution in the future constitution of our University; and now we feel for the first time in the active life of our institution the results of that change. We must all wish the young lady, who has this day by her ability and perseverance attained so honourable a position, every success—equal and still growing success—in all her future career. Although the liberality which our University has shown in the instance of ladies, who desire to become graduates, is in very recent times perhaps a matter of some note, yet I may remark that in those Universities which first spread the light of the renascent learning through Europe, learned ladies were never wanting, and if one looks to the history of Padua, he recognises the propriety of Shakspeare drawing his advocate from that University. For, if not Portias as advocates, Portias as lawyers or as scholars there were there and at Bologna in an almost continued succession till a very recent period, and thus the tradition of female scholarship was kept up in Italy, and from Italy it was transferred to other countries in Europe. I may point to the learned Madame Dacier in France as having been one of the most eminent commentators on the Classics, a commentator whose explanations and discussions of passages in the Greek authors are still referred to with great respect by scholars. The tradition has now been taken up in England and with excellent results. Now it may be said that females devoting themselves to the pursuits which have hitherto been monopolised by males, and which have been pursued with an energy and an amount of toil for which the female physique, it may be supposed, is somewhat too feeble, are stepping out of, their