Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/26

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
11
1863.—Sir H. B. E. Frere.

rightly value a liberal education for their offspiing, has a tendency to consolidate and perpetuate itself, the most ample fortune entrusted to a man who does not possess and deliberately undervalues a liberal education, has a perpetual tendency to waste away, and leave the possessor far worse off than his industrious ancestor who first emerged from poverty by his own exertions.

I would beg the Native gentlemen of Bombay to bear in mind Definition of Liberal Education. that what I have told them is mainly true of a liberal education. It is not simply reading and writing, it is not even what is called a good practical education highly valuable, if not indispensable, as such knowledge is to many of the most important classes of the community that I now speak of; no amount of mere reading and writing, nor even of purely practical signs properly so-called, can do what I have told you we expect in England from a liberal education. It must be an education which, whatever its subject, aims at training, purifying and strengthening the intellect, which seeks not merely to impress on men's memories, knowledge which may be useful and. profitable to them, but which aims at training them, to correct modes of thinking and reasoning, and to fill their intellects with the loftiest and most beautiful results of human thought. I cannot now attempt to discuss the reasons why such training must be useful to the student and profitable to the community of which he is a member; I can only beg you to receive my assurance of the fact, and to ponder over the reasons of it, that we English hold these views and habitually and deliberately act on them, at immense cost of personal labour and even privations, and that it is my deliberate opinion, shared, I feel assured, by every educated Englishman here present, that the adoption of the course I have indicated as that which Englishmen adopt by long habit, and as it were by instinct, affords the best chance of perpetuating that wealth which is now flowing into this community from every side, and of ennobling it by those attributes which in the opinion of civilized Europe can alone give to wealth permanent dignity and permanent influence.

Nor will I attempt to point out those branches of liberal learning which appear to me most likely to have such a permanent beneficial influence on those who study, not for immediate profit, but with a view to strengthen and elevate their own intellects.

There is, however, one branch for which the facilities have lately been largely increased, and which appears to me so