Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/395

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of His Excellency the Chancellor and the Fellows of this University I congratulate you on the position you have attained, and trust that your past success may be an earnest of a future career, highly honorable to yourselves and useful to your country.

The University to which you have now the honor to belong has been in existence only some eighteen years. We cannot, therefore, point to an Institution invested with the authority of antiquity, nor stimulate you to action by bringing forward the illustrious example of a brilliant array of men famous in the annals of their country. But we have no mean counterbalancing advantages. We have neither the difficult, the tedious, task of modifications and reform, nor, should change become desirable, have we, on the score of sentiment^ to retain any organization which is not the best of its kind. Your University has already expanded far beyond what could have been supposed possible even by those who were most sanguine of its success. It is a great power in the land. Its influence permeates every school and shapes the course of study in every college. Its honours are eagerly sought after by yearly increasing numbers. It is a centre of national life and of national unity. Whatever your difference of caste and creed, of mother-tongue and race, the higher education will form among you a bond of union for the great work of doing battle with ignorance and superstition, and disseminating light and knowledge throughout the length and breadth of the land.

And surely, gentlemen, you are well fitted for such a work. You have received many advantages denied to the majority of your countrymen. You have been trained to read, to speak and to think in one of the leading languages of the West — a language which possesses the richest and most varied literature in all departments of. human thought, and which for you constitutes the only pathway to all that is best in Philosophy, in History and in Science. This is the greatest of your acquisitions. It introduces you to the society of the original thinkers of the age, and enables you to participate in the intellectual movements of your generation.

The importance of a scientific training in English was only recently recognized in England itself. There the reverence for Latin — legitimate enough as long as Latin was the language of educated men in all Europe — was handed down from generation to generation, and was strong enough to cloud the most vigorous