Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/539

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University of Madras.

amount it is quite another to lay down what the amount should be. But in any case, before all else devote yourself zealously to your profession. This is not a superfluous caution, for strange though it may seem there are men who spend much time and truble over other matters and yet leave the real work of their lives to take care of itself. Master your profession; be not a niggard of your labour. Go back to its beginnings, trace its development, see how its present form and features were arrived at. For example, if you are a lawyer spend days and nights over such books as Sir Henry Maine's Ancient Law and Village Communities. Then note how it works and the varying aspects it presents in other countries, and so escape contracting narrow views. By comparing the different existing legal systems, for instance, you would probably come to the conclusion that our own, especially as modified in India, is the best, but you would avoid the mistake of supposing it to be perfect. Then you will soon see that in order to know your own profession you must know something of many others also. You will find that it is like a tree in the midst of a dense forest, with other trees close around; that as you ascend and get further from the root the branches spread more and more, crossing and interlacing with the branches of the neighbouring trees, till it becomes necessary to learn the principle on which these other branches grow in order to rightly understand the directions of your own. To take the former example, a lawyer must be more or less acquainted with mercantile usage, the recognized methods of book-keeping, the agricultural system of the country, the general principles of anatomy, the nature of wounds, the actions of poisons, and a score of other matters, for otherwise he cannot grasp the bearings of a case and cannot appreciate or check the evidence of witnesses. A study of your profession on these broad and liberal lines will not leave many hours for other labour, but you must make it leave some. The next and only other necessary work is to keep yourselves fairly conversant with the questions of the day, to do which needs much discrimination in the choice of newspapers, magazines, and reviews, since a busy man has only time to read a small fraction of the vast amount written. Now let us suppose that after this there are still two or three hours remaining each day for what may be called optional work. How to employ these spare hours each must decide for himself, and on your decision will to a great extent depend the kind of man you become. One may take up general or special literature, another may turn to science, and so forth. And here it is worth consideration whether a short space each week might not be