Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/394

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1875.— Mr. Geo. Thom.

her invincible locks; methinks I see her, as an eagle, renewing her mighty youth and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam; purging and unsealing her long abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance, while the whole tribe of timorous and flocking birds, with those also who love the twilight, flutter about, amazed- at what she means, and in their envious gabble would prognosticate a year of sects and schisms." Gentlemen, let us apply Milton's language of courage and hope to your own case, and think of India as the mighty and puissant nation, rousing herself, after her long, long sleep, purging and unsealing her long-abused sight, and preparing herself, as I pray God she may, to enter upon a nobler and happier cycle of existence than ever yet has dawned upon her.

Then whenever it is fated that we are again to part company and History writes, "Fuit" upon the British Raj, she will not record that the races of rulers and administrators from the far West came hither on a bootless errand, or departed without having achieved a grand result. She will point to a long list of solid improvements effected, to many real curses of the race removed, to happiness brought within the reach of classes who knew not of its very existence, to life rendered to many millions something brighter, better, and nobler than before; she will record how the English found India impoverished, and left her opulent; found her the home of ignorance and superstition, placed the sacred torch of knowledge in her hand; found her the prey of the great untamed forces of nature, turned those very forces to enrich and embellish her; found her the monopoly of a despotic few, left her the common heritage of all her sons; found her a house divided against itself, and the prey of the first comer, left her harmonious and tranquil, and therefore strong ; found her a mere congeries of petty tyrannies with no principle but mutual distrust and no policy but mutual extermination, left her a grand consolidated empire with justice for its base and the common happiness its guiding star.



EIGHTEENTH CONVOCATION.

(By Geo. Thom, Esq., M.A.)

Gentlemen,—You have now reached a most important stage in your journey through life, and may well pause for a little to look back on the difficulties you have surmounted and forward to the great world which you are about to enter. In the name