Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/415

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University of Madras.

dissolute manners of Syrian cities. One of the causes of the rise of Rome was also one of the causes of her decline and fall. Changes should be always well considered before they are carried out. "It were good/' says Bacon, that men in their innovations should follow the example of time itself; which indeed innovateth greatly, but quietly, and by degrees scarce to be perceived." But in this country especially, great caution is necessary in adopting the manners and institutions of foreign nations. There is much in the present state of European society which is admirable and deserving of imitation, but there is also a good deal which, although unobjectionable in itself, is not suited to India in its present stage, and there is not a little which is wholly unworthy of being copied at all, and which Europeans themselves deplore. I shall quote in connection with this subject a passage from a lecture in which Ruskin discusses before an Oxford audience the causes oi the degraded state of Art in Great Britain. '^ Gentlemen," he says there has hitherto been seen no instance, and England is little likely to give the unexampled spectacle, of a country successful in the noble arts, yet in which the youths were frivolous, the maidens falsely religious, the men slaves of money, and the matrons of vanity. Not from all the marble of the hills of Luni will such a people ever shape one statue that may stand nobly against the sky ; not from all the treasures bequeathed to them by the great dead, will they gather for their own descendants, any inheritance but shame." I shall offer no comment on this passage, beyond observing that if there is any truth at all in the portrait, it is obvious that some dis- crimination is needed in copying European models. The best mode of forming an opinion as to the extent to which European institutions and customs should be introduced into this country, is to go to Europe and study them on the spot. Travelling is an important part of education, but it is one for which no provision is made in this University, although travelling fellowships are not unknown elsewhere. To many, however, if not most of you, the expense will prove an insuperable obstacle, and others will meet with the difficulty which I believe still remains unsolved, as to whether such journeys are permitted by the Shasters. Those who are untrammelled by either of these obstacles may be reminded that a great deal has been done of late years to make the position of the Hindoo stranger in England as little irksome as possible,

I trust that you will, in your several avocations and spheres of life, endeavour to fulfil the engagements into which you have