Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/25

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
University of Bombay.

stndents, their equals and in some few cases their superiors in academical distinction, who, after leaving the University, entered into almost every one of the numerous professions open to educated Englishmen. Some fought as soldiers in India and China and the Crimea; some became Lawyers, and Members of Parliament; some of the most distinguished applied themselves to teaching to others the knowledge they had acquired, and devoted themselves to learning, and science, and to the service of God in various ways, while a great proportion betook themselves to the management of their own estates, and affairs, their land, their counting houses and their banks.

The fact is that in England we consider a liberal education Liberal Education, a sine qua non of social and political position. a necessary part of the claim of any man to prominent social or political position. It is true that many men do, by force of natural ability or by other natural and acquired advantages, obtain distinguished positions in society or political life without such education, but they are the exceptions, and, as a rule, the only one point which all prominent men, in society and politics, of all classes and opinions, have in common, is their liberal education.

But it may be said a man may be very happy and prosperous, and do great good and possess great influence and enjoyment in life, without a liberal education or indeed, without any education at all. I will not detain you to consider how far this is true in the abstract, nor to account for exceptional instances, which might be adduced to prove it; I can only assure you that this is not our English view, and that, practical hard-headed money-making race as the English are said to be, no man amongst us, as a general rule, aspires to political or social eminence without the advantage of a liberal education, and what is more, no family long maintains a high position, in the political or social scale, unless its members seek to acquire this advantage. This is a truth which I would wish the successful merchants and bankers of this island more particularly to lay to heart. If they go to England they will find our leading commercial men treated as equals by the most exclusive aristocracy in the world, and occupying a position of the highest influence in the administration of public affairs. You will soon find out your mistake, if you suppose that this position is due to their wealth. You will find that in England the possession of wealth, unaccompanied by that refinement of thought and manner which liberal education alone can give, makes the possessor simply ridiculous, and you will find, if you enquire into the history of particular families, that whereas new born wealth in the hands of men liberally educated or who