Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/281

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266
University of Bombay.

Viceroyalty of India. After an interval of six years we conferred it on Dr. William Wordsworth—who though he had never sought great things for himself, and never attained to high official honours, had yet by force of character and conspicuous merits as a scholar and educationist, attained, by universal consent, to that eminence of position which is contemplated by the Legislature as one of the grounds which may justify the degree. To-day we wish to bestow this degree, to which we attach such rare value on one who holds high office as a member of the Bombay Government. But it is not on that account that we wish to honor him. His official rank is but an accident of his real position. In a few weeks it will pass away; but when it is gone, he will still retain that eminence which entitles him to recognition by the University as a fit recipient of the honorary degree; for it is an eminence which he has reached by a life-time's devotion to public duty, in the interests of the people of this Presidency and especially of the cause of education as represented by the work of the University. As your Excellency will presently address the Senate, it is not necessary that I should take up your time with any elaborate attempt to set forth the history of Sir Raymond West's public services. Still I should wish, on such an occasion, to refer to some of the considerations which weighed with the Syndicate when it brought before the Senate the recommendation which has met with such early approval. In the first place then, it was impossible for the Syndicate or the Senate or indeed for the people of this City and of the Presidency, to be insensible to the powerful and pervading influence which was exercised by Sir Raymond West throughout the long period of fifteen years during which he occupied the position of a Judge of the High Court. It was felt by all classes of the community that he was not merely a strong and sagacious Judge who brought a profound knowledge of legal principles and a cultured mind to the disposal of the judicial business of the country —he was more than that. He was a true friend of the people who sought their welfare and their advancement; and lost no opportunity of improving by all possible means, the general administration of justice throughout the Presidency, whether by careful supervision of the procedure of all Subordinate Courts, or by devising effective methods for securing a due supply of competent Judges of all grades for the Mofussil Bench, or by raising the status of the learned body of Pleaders through-out the country, without whose aid, honestly and efficiently rendered, the administration of justice must always be grievously hindered. His efforts in these directions will bear fruit long after he has left these shores; while lasting evidence of his