England affords you the opportunity of filling offices hitherto reserved for her ablest and most experienced public servants, be assured it is not because she undervalues the office, nor will she continue the offer unless you on your part can furnish men who are fit to sit beside such men as an English University can furnish.
You will not, I am sure, suppose that I would make the University degree Love learning for its own sake. in itself a passport to the public service; it must be sought for its own sake, as the test and in itself the great reward of the best education we can give you. I cannot better illustrate the spirit in which I would have you seek it, than by an anecdote of the great statesman beneath whose statue we are now assembled. It was told me by an officer of our Bombay Army, who devoted his leisure during his furlough to attend the classes in the University of Edinburgh, that he habitually sat beside an old man whom he noted for his diligent attention to the lecturer long before he knew the name of his fellow student. It was Mountstuart Elphinstone, who had long filled the highest offices in this country, and was believed to have twice declined the Governor- Generalship of India. To the close of his life he sought as a privilege that knowledge, which this University here freely offers to you. Let the same spirit animate you, and you will be worthy of the high public employment which England offers you, if it can be said of you, as it was of one of the wisest and most learned Cambridge graduates of the last generation,
The purpose of his life — its end and aim —
The search of hidden truth, careless of fame,
Of empty dignities, and dirty pelf.
Learning he loved, and sought her for herself.
(By His Excellency Sir H. B. E. Frere.)