Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/557

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University of Madras.

the water they drink and the air they breathe contain the germs of disease and death? Is there ground to hope that the masses will, in their present state of ignorance, find out what it is that makes human beings fall like grass beneath the mower's scythe, and hasten to adopt the remedies that science has devised for alleviating human suffering and prolonging human life? Can they be made to feel that their houses require to be kept clean and white-washed, that their drains need flushing, that their streets need widening? Are they likely to realize the need for preserving the wells and tanks that supply drinking water free from impurities of all kinds? What they are likely to say and do is what they have so often said and done, and that is to plead poverty and inability, and to submit themselves with such resignation as they can command to the decrees of an over-ruling fate. Graduates of the University, I wish I can, by any words of mine, make you feel what a vast field of useful labor lies before you in imparting to your fellow-countrymen the rudiments of natural knowledge. You know the saying that he who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, is a benefactor to his country. Judge then what immense benefit you will confer on the generation to which you belong and through them to succeeding generations, if through your exertions men learn to lead healthier lives and to suffer less from the maladies that flesh is heir to.

In regard to the relation in which you stand to Government, I have nothing new to say, but trite as what I may say will sound, I cannot pass over so important a topic. The benefits that the British rule has conferred on us are so well and widely appreciated that a very brief mention of them is all that is necessary. You enjoy a security of person and property, unknown to your fore-fathers; you have received the precious gift of British Literature and Western Science; the countless ways in which the genius and industry of man have compelled the forces of nature to minister to his material wants have been placed within your reach. In addition to these great blessings, you enjoy a freedom of thought and speech which it cost your rulers centuries of painful struggle to win. You who have received such benefits are bound to be grateful, and mark my words, you will, in my opinion, be acting most unwisely, if by any thing you say or do, you let it be thought that you are wanting in grateful loyalty. It may well be that you are not content with what you have already got, but remember that you owe this very sense of a better condition of things than the present to that wise generosity which prompted our