페이지 이미지
PDF

ledge, and who possess those sure badges of superior minds, a love of excellence, and an ambition to attain it; let me recommend to those who recognize in their own characters, those strong features of wisdom and virtue, to extend, I mean within reasonable and Inoderate bounds, the season of acquirement, rather than to rush forth with the crowd, at the first unbarring of the doors, bearing with them but a pittance for present use, and leaving treasures behind. It has been shewn that under the several heads of comparison, resting alone on the formal ground of numerical estimation, the two years, with a slight advantage sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other, will remain with balanced scales, and can be placed only on a footing of equality. But in other points of view I am enabled, with much gratification, to state some solid and essential acquisitions of the present year. The first, and perhaps most visible, conquest of that period, has been made in the Arabic language. In that language we possess the extraordinary, and, as I am informed, the unexampled proficiency of Mr. Sotheby; unexampled, I inean, in the college of Fort William ; and I might employ, I believe, if it were ever discreet to do so, expressions of much wider and more comprehensive import. Mr. Furneaux and Mr. Tod have also attained a distinguished degree of proficiency in the same language. The Arabic of Mr. Magniae is indeed not of our own growth, but it now flourishes in our soil, and I will at least claim by anticipation the fruits of our future culture. That the progress of the present year, in Arabic, is much greater than is shewn by a mere numerical comparison of the students reported to have attained proficiency in that language during the two periods, cannot be doubted. The students in Arabic of the present year, if tried with the proficiency of the former, must be ranked apart, and would leave the preceding year in a separate and inforior form. V c. , 1 1 - * *

I cannot congratulate the college on this interesting and important acquisition, without calling to their notice the eminent and conspicuous merits of the learned professor of Arabic and Persian, Mr. Lumsden, to whose assiduous labour and talents, not less than to the diligence and capacity of his pupils, the college and the public are indebted for this precious accession to the learning of British India. The value of this improvement will be readily appreciated by those who know, that Arabic is to be considered as fundamental in the principal branches of oriental philology; and that, without resting his studies on that basis, the Persian scholar may possess a popular and superficial, but cannot attain a radical and consummate knowledge of the latter language. The Arabic possesses, of its own, rich stores, both of science and literature; and we cannot forget that when the reviving learning of the west was yet in a sort of new infancy, the Arabic language was not only a vehicle of Eastern knowledge, but was found to have afforded, at least, a partial refuge to the perishing . learning of ancient Europe, which it restored to the awakening enquiries and researches of modern scholars.

Mr. Lumsden's valuable services are discerned in the growing proficiency of the college of Fort William, in every branch of study committed to his charge, and not less so in its Persian than in its Arabic pursuits. The world is indebted, also, to his learned labours for a variety of works in oriental philology and literature, executed, or in progress, which it is not now, however, the moinent to enumerate.

I have placed the progress made in the Arabic studies of the college at the head of those proofs of advancement which the present year has afforded, because the in proven, eit iu this branch is made manifest by clear and visible criterions. But it is, perhaus, yet mole gratifying and encouragig to aid, as on safe autuority I may, that the sudious habits of the college have perceptibly increased. If I am well informed, the aro our n.d. constancy displayed in study, during

the present year, had never before

been equalled. It would seem as if a sudden burst of emulation had broken forth, and not only sharpened application and energy, which had stood the proof before, but roused and awakened faculties, which till then had slumbered under the enervating influence of indolence or dissipation. That the quantity and ardour of study of the present year has been conspicuous, compared with former periods, I am happy to have been informed, and to believe. The natural consequence has followed. The proficiency of the present year has gained also on the former. It might be collected from the reports of the several professors in the final examination of the year; but it is expressively established by the opinions and suffrages of the professors themselves, and of all those who are qualified to pronounce on the comparative difficulty of the exercises appointed for each year, that the qualifications required for being ranked in the higher classes on the late examination, much exceeded those which would have placed the student in classes of the same denomination at all former periods. This proposition is capable of demonstration from a mere statement of the books read, and the exercises performed, in Arabic, in Persian, in Hindoostanee, and in Bengalee; but it shall suffice to say in this place, that this strong criterion of progress is supported by the authority of those whose testimony is proof. I have much pleasure in saying, that the general conduct of the students, of all ranks and standing, has, with few exceptions, been highly meritorious and exemplary, more especially in regularity of attendance, of which some junior members, whose names, I am confident, will adorn the next discourse that will be delivered from this chair, have furnished very laudable examples. The progress that has been made in the studies of the college of Fort William, and in the proficiency of its tudents, form the clearest and best

founded encomium on the professo's and officers, who have been the meritorious instruments of this improve. ment; but I should deprive myself of a great satisfaction, if I omitted to record, on the present anniversary, the conspicuous and continued zeal, assiduity, talents, and erudition, which have ever distinguished the learned instructors, native not less than European, attached in their several capacities to this college.

I have had the satisfaction of presenting degrees of honour, and other badges of merit, to the followinggentlemen : - |

1. Mr. Sotheby,

2. Mr. Furneaux,

3. Mr. Sargent,

4. Mr. Forrester,

5. Mr. Tod,

6. Mr. Tulloh.

Mr. Sotheby, whose name stands at the head of the college roll, was admitted in September, 1807, one year and four months prior to the late examination. He holds the first place in Arabic; the first in Persian ; the second in Hindostanee; and is reported proficient in Mahratta. To this may be added an elementary acquaintance with Sanscrit.

In Arabic it is not enough to say that he occupies the first place. His superiority is such as to rank him, in truth, in a separate-class of his own; and he has left both his cotemporary competitors, and every student of Arabic since the foundation of the college of Fort William, at a distance. His Arabic studies are, indeed, distinguished by one proof of excellence, which will place him on a level with the majority even of learned Asiatics. He has read the greatest part of the Mokåmåt Hariti, a work of such difficulty, that few native scho

lars can master it without previous

study. He has also afforded, at the late examination, a difficult, but conclusive proof of Arabic proficiency, by accurate translations from English into that language. Mr. Sotheby's superiority in Persian is not less conspicuous; and if to these eminent acquirements be added a rank next to the highest in Hindoostanee, a Proficiency in Mahratta, and an elementary knowledge of Sanscrit, we shall not think the short term of Mr. Sotheby's collegiate life misspent in the acquisition, or in the high cultivation of five oriental languages. The rapidity of Mr. Sotheby's acquirements in the four months that preceded the former examination, was a theme of cordial commendation and applause. In my desire, however, to discover progress in the subsequent period, I do not fear to compare Mr. Sotheby even with himself, and to congratulate Mr. Sotheby of the present year on a victory over his junior of the last. Four months was, indeed, a short period for his former acquisitions; but if the conquests of the following year be measured, he will still be found to have maintained his advantage against time; and if the value, as well as the extent, of his acquirements be considered, the sudden fruits of the last short season can stand no comparison with the full and mature harvest of the present. I confess that I contemplate with more than ordinary satisfaction and interest, the successful termination of Mr. Sotheby's academical labours. He discovered formerly what appeared to me marks, not to be mistaken, of judgment, character, and energy, the steadiness and success of which might with confidence be depended upon. When he resolved to prolong a voluntary restraint, and to labour, not for present and golden advantage, but for the pure love of excellence, I pronounced, as I felt, the eulogy of that virtuous disposition. Had the labour, he then courted, been permitted to relax; had this year of supererogation proved barren, or even less fruitful than the season which it succeeded, Mr. Sotheby would have deceived the hopes he had created, and I should on this day experience the pain of condemning, perhaps, by faint praise, the object of my former encomium. The contrary has happened, as was to be expected; the resolution of last year has not proved to be a flash of momentary enthusiasm, but the steady

resolve of an ardent, but sober mind, conscious alike of its own constancy and vigour. I can say nothing better to Mr. Sotheby, nothing more expressive of my own sentinents, and, I think, of those of the world, than that he has fulfilled his own fair promise. In the wider field of useful and practical exertions which now claims him, he carries hence my ardent wish, and not less my confident expectation, that qualities so well proved will bring, each year, fresh accessions of benefit to the state, and of honour to himself. Mr. Furneaux was admitted in August, 1807, and has afforded the most satisfactory proof of steady and vigorous application, by attaining, in so short a period, the high proficiency, which entitles him to rank in the first classes of Persian and Hindoostanee, the second class in Bengalee, and the fourth place in Arabic. Mr. Furneaux possesses the extensive distinction of having stood an examination in four languages, and attained high proficiency in all. In quitting study for business, he carries with him that high and merited reputation in the first stage of life, which will be sustained, I am confident, through every succeeding period, and accompany him, through future exertions, to those honours, which are the just reward of merit. Mr. Sargent holds the first place in Hindoostanee, the first in Bengalee, and is reported proficient in Mahratta, being the only student who has pre

sented himself for examination in that

language. Mr. Sargent was admitted to college in November, 1806, but, as I am informed, the acquirements which I bave now stated are the fruits only of the last year's study. I would not recal the low standard of Mr. Sargent's former acquisitions, both in Persian and Hindoostanee, if the defects of the preceding period did not now redound to the credit of the following. Mr. Sargent is distinguished at this day by very uncommon and remarkable proficiency in Hindoostanee and Bengalee. In the former, he has prevailed against so formidable an opponent as Mr. Sotheby. Of his masterly knowother testimonies, I have already adduced his translation of Virgil into that language. His proficiency in Mahratta has also been adverted to before. He was prevented, by indisposition, from attending the examination in Persian, and is, therefore, not included in the report of that branch of study, but I believe I may safely add, to his -other attainments, a considerable progress in the Persian language. I should fall short, however, of the commendation which is due to this gentleman, if I were contented with a bare enumeration of his various successful studies, and if I did not point with satisfaction to that circumstance in the history of his academical life, which most enhances the merit of his distinguished labours, and which, having once furnished matter of uneasy reflexion, has been converted by subsequent exertion into a foundation of reputation and honour. Mr. Sargent has not only accomplished the difficult labours which have been recited, in a much shorter period than his standing denotes, but he has achieved the more arduous task of subduing himself, and breaking through the strong controul of indolent and enervating habit. His character and talents were not formed for a long subjugation to such restraints, and when honour and duty were fairly placed before his view, his mind acknowledged their higher attraction, and the ardour of his pursuit soon regained the ground which the tardiness of its commencement had Most. * I dwell with peculiar pleasure on this topic, not only as honorable in a high degree to Mr. Sargent himself, but as furnishiug a powerful invitation and encouragement to those, who may yet be held in the chains which he has broken, to make that manly effort, from which his example has taught them to expect success. Mr. Forrester has attained the second class in Persian, the second in Bengalee, and he ranks in the first class of Hindoostanee. Mr. Tulloh is ranked in the first

ledge of the second, independent of class of Persian, the first class of Hin

doostanee, and the second class in Bengalee. Both these , gentlemen were admitted in Aug. 1807, and have afforded the most honourable proofs of application and talents by the profit to which they have put this moderate period of study, in the acquisition of distinguished proficiency in three languages. I have reserved Mr. Tod, who stands third in Arabic, third in Persian, and third in Hindoostanee, as claiming distinguished notice in a point of conduct and character, of which only one other instance has been afforded. Mr. Tod was reported at the examination of last year qualified to quit the College and enter in the public service. Mr. Tod, already entitled to claim emancipation from the restraint and fatigue of study, holding already in his possession the clear sanction of authority for embracing the tempting objects, which the world presented to him, offered a second example, in the same week, of that option, rare and always to be admired, which Mr. Sotheby had already made. Mr Tod requested and obtained the permission of the college to continue his studies, and to add a yet higher proficiency to that which had suffered to release him from tuition, and usher him into the captivating scenes of active life. I was not soon enough acquainted with Mr. Tod's participation in this merit to give

his due share of the applause, which, at the last anniversary, was bestowed upon another, and I am

happy on this day to render the justice, to which he was then entitled. The estimation, in which I hold this unusual sacrifice of tastes and desires so natural, and how much I honour this devotion to higher pursuits, has been expressed too fully on a former occasion to admit of my enlarging again even upon a theme so grateful. I must be content to say that the sentiments I have already delivered on that topic are addressed alike, to Mr. Tod, who will, I am sure, reap a rich and full colnpensation for this period of self denial, in the gratifying reflection which the memoryof thatsacrificewill through life afford to himself; and in the esteem which it will ever attach to his name in the world. I proceed to a less grateful part of my duty, and have now to observe on a passage in the report of this examination, which I cannot contemplate without concern.' The college council have judged it proper to submit to me the following resolution : “ Resolved further, that the following students be noticed to the right honorable the visitor, as having been above two years attached to the college, but not included in the above report, in consequence of two of thern, Messrs. Monckton and Pond, having attained proficiency in one language only, and the others not appearing proficient in any language.” The list alluded to consists of seven students, of whom I shall name, however, only the two gentlemen specified in the body of the resolution, who are distinguishable from the remaining five, by proficiency, at least, in one language, and also by natural or other unavoidable disqualifications, which, without the imputation of voluntary neglect, may account for their studies having been confined within the limit. Mr. Monckton has attained a very distinguished degree of proficiency in the language of Bengal, occupying the third place in that study, and yielding only to competitors as eminent as Mr. Sargent and Mr. Forrester. I have already remarked with satisfaction, on the indisputable proof of Mr. Monckton's intimate knowledge of the Bengalee dialect furnished by his successful execution of a task so difficult as a version into that language of the tragedy of the Tempest. In this language, therefore, Mr. Monckton has attained, not merely the competent knowledge, wheh would, in respect of that branch in his studies, entitle him to be released from Coliege, but he is distinguished by a high and reunarkable proficiency. Combined with the merit he may justly claim in what he has acquired,

the disadvantage to which he has been subjected by a natural infirmity, in the prosecution of further studies, has been thought worthy of consideration, and has appeared to furnish an adequate justification of his failure in some part of those qualifications usually required for quitting college. It has been considered also that the language, in which he is so well versed, will enable him to discharge, without detriment to the public, the duties of the commercial branch of the service which he has chosen. Mr. Pond is similarly circumstanced ; he has attained a considerable proficiency in the same language, and has been disabled, by a long course of ill health, from acquiring a competent knowledge of any other. I have been desirous to state the considerations which have governed the resolutions adopted in favour of these gentlemen, for two reasons. First, because I think myself, and the college council, responsible for an impartial administration of the powers with which we are invested. Secondly, because the indulgence extended to these gentlemen," if misinterpreted, and if its principle were not clearly explained, might lead to an opinion of latitude, and arbitrary discretion, in the execution of our regulations, which would give birth to hopes of partial relaxation, very adverse to exertion, and diligence, and sure to end in the disappointment of that unreasonable expectation, and in regret for having entertained it. If these two gentlemen had acquired the proficiency which they are reported by the college council to possess, in one language only, but had been subject to no insurmountable obstacle in the acquisition of more, they would not have been permitted to quit college. So if Mr. Monkton had only tha impediment of speech under which he labours, and Mr. Pond had only the infirm health with which he has been afflicted, to plead; but could neither of them have laid claim to the proficiency they Lave attained in Bengalee,

« 이전계속 »