Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/30

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15
1864.—Sir H. B. E. Frere.

opposite direction; and I trust that Mr. Erskine, whom I should have been glad to have seen among us to-day, had his health permitted him, will carry from these shores the conviction that the great principle for which he always contended, and which has been so well maintained by his successor in the office of Director of Public Instruction, is not likely to be departed from in this University.

In any other assembly than this I could dwell on the noble Munificent benefactors. liberality of those to whom, during the past year, the University has been indebted for numerous benefactions, remarkable alike for their princely amount and for the judicious selection of the conditions which accompany the gift. But I shall best consult the feelings of the benefactors by confining myself to a general expression of the gratitude of the University, and to noting one feature which is common, I believe, to all the benefactions; and that is the simple unostentatious manner in which the gift has been tendered for the acceptance of the University. The tender was often made through the Government party, perhaps from a traditionary feeling that the Government is a sort of general trustee for all great public funds, partly from a natural difficulty in separating the Government from an institution originally founded and endowed by the Government, and in the success of which the Government takes so lively an interest. But there could not have been a more entire absence of any parade or self-seeking. One of the most munificent benefactors of the University has been a gentleman well known to me, indeed, by his high repute as one of the ablest and most successful of our great merchants, but personally known to me only at a single interview to which I invited him, that I might myself express to him my sense of the obligations, under which he had placed the University. These gifts were not legacies, given when a man can no longer himself enjoy the wealth he leaves behind him. They are gifts by men in the full enjoyment of life, and keenly alive to all the pleasures that life and fortune can give, but living among you in a simple unostentatious fashion, and setting to the younger members of their community as good an example of steady application to business and unaffected plainness in habitations, dress and manners, as they set to all India in the princely munificence of their benefactions. It is the manner and the objects, much more than the princely amount of these benefactions, which make me sanguine that they may be regarded as indications of the same spirit which moved the merchant princes of the middle ages in Europe, and that Arts and Learning may find in the