Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/218

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1888.—Sir Raymond West.
What are to be their real contents? If we look into the works on ethics, from Aristotle down to our own day—take up, for instance, the work of Herbert Spencer on the Data of Ethics, or that of Leslie Stephen on the Science of Ethics—I think you will find that in no two works is there any precise agreement as to what are the primary grounds of moral obligation. You will see that in the search as to what are the grounds of moral obligation the thing itself fades away like beauty while you seek it, or as life when you are pursuing it to its centre—as life perishes away under the knife of the dissector. I came across a passage the other day in Mr. Helps's thoughts on Government, which is very pertinent to the subject. He says something to this effect:—"Look through history, and you will find few instances of a noble life in any man that has not had noble examples presented to him by those who have been the instructors of his youth." The way to secure true ethical instruction. Then, I say, the ways in which you may secure true ethical instruction and influence, the way in which you may fill the minds of your students with those tastes, and ambitions and desires, those fine sensibilities, which form a lofty character, with the result that the low vices and the more ignoble parts of our nature perish, the way to attain this object is to put them under good instructors, securing men of fine capacity and noble nature for the purpose. Leave these teachers to do the work, and they will find the way in which to impress themselves on the students. We have had examples of that in this city and Presidency; I will mention one or two names which, I am sure, will awaken a responsive chord in many of those present. Mr. Green, who was one of the earliest pioneers of education in this Presidency, has a memory, which is still fondly cherished by many who were his pupils. In later times we come to Sir Alexander Grant, a fine and noble nature, who impressed himself upon his students, to whom was transmitted in some form and degree, at least, his generous character. There is another whose absence to-day we regret—I mean my eminent and valued friend Mr. Wordsworth. I think it will be admitted, certainly by every one who has had the blessing and the advantage of close intercourse with that gentleman, that no student ever passed a month or a day under his instruction, but that he came forth from it better as well as a wiser man. This, then, is what I conceive to be the way in which ethical and moral instruction ought to be conveyed to comparatively adult pupils who are placed under professors. I have little faith in any other method, and for those who desire a continued progress and elevation and refinement of character, as well as the