Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/559

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University of Madras.

progress, endeavour to lead pure and blameless lives, strive to control the lower passions of your nature, and, by constant practice o£ self-denial, learn the luxury of doing good. Of this be sure that, to the extent to which you become wise and virtuous men, to that extent only will you be fit to exercise political power, and the fitness to exercise such power must, as history sufficiently proves, be followed sooner or later by the attainment of it. It may fall to some of you to conduct native Newspapers, in English or in one of the Vernacular languages. I trust the Press is destined to become as powerful an organ in India as in England, but that this high destiny may be accomplished, the writers to the native papers should be imbued with a fitting sense of responsibility, and should endeavour to reflect public opinion faithfully as in a mirror. I know that in India public opinion has to be educated as well as represented. This makes the responsibility all the greater. The native Press should keep steadily in view the cardinal requisites of progress, —a desire to find out what is true, just, and beneficial, and to avoid what may secure temporary advance at the cost of more or less permanent injury; an ever-present feeling that large masses of men can move but slowly onward, and that the true secret of success is "to hasten slowly;" a cordial recognition of all that is good in existing forms and methods, and a settled conviction that "political institutions, to be efficient, must grow up from within, and not be imposed from without." The native Press is yet in a state of infancy. Faults of indiscretion deserve, therefore, to be treated with indulgence. I have often noted a desire to produce sensational effects, a proneness to exaggerate, a warping of the judgment due to defective knowledge, and a tendency to make intemperate invective do duty for sound and sober criticism. Permit me to urge that the plainest mode of saying a thing is almost always the most effective mode, and that no criticism strikes so vigorously home as that which bears the evident impress of a careful study of facts, and of a desire to judge without fear or favour.

Allow me to say a few words next on social reform. It is said that human opinion has to pass through three phases, —"the unanimity of the ignorant, the disagreement of the inquiring, and the unanimity of the wise." Having after long ages emerged from the state of unanimity of the ignorant, we are now passing through the necessary transition stage of the disagreement of the inquiring. The fault will be ours, if we do not so order things in this second stage, as to make the nearest approach possible