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to the sword. Puritanism triumphed; but puritanism was already divided against itself. Independency and republicanism were on one side, presbyterianism and limited monarchy on the other. It was in the very darkest part of that dark time-it was in the midst of battles, sieges, and executions-it was when the whole world was still aghast at the awful spectacle of a British king standing before a judgment seat, and laying his neck on a block-it was when the mangled remains of the Duke of Hamilton had just been laid in the tomb of his house-it was when the head of the Marquis of Montrose had just been fixed on the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, that your University completed her second century!
A hundred years more, and we have at length reached the beginning of a happier period. Our civil and religious liberties had, indeed, been bought with a fearful price. But they had been bought. The price had been paid. The last battle had been fought on British ground. The last black scaffold had been set up on Tower Hill. The evil days were A bright and tranquil century—a century of religious toleration, of domestic peace, of temperate freedom, of equal justice-was beginning. That century is now closing. When we compare it with any equally long period in the history of any other great society, we shall find abundant cause for thankfulness to the Giver of all Good; nor is there any place in the whole kingdom better fitted to excite this feeling than the place where we are now assembled. For in the whole kingdom we shall find no district in which the progress of trade, of manufactures, of wealth, and of the arts of life, has been more rapid than in Clydesdale. Your university has partaken largely of the prosperity of this city and of the surrounding region.
The security, the tranquillity, the liberty, which have been propitious to the industry of the merchant and of the manufacturer, have been also propitious to the industry of the scholar. To the last century belong most of the names of which you justly boast. The time would fail me if I attempted to do justice to the memory of all the illustrious men, who, during that period, taught or learned wisdom, within these ancient walls-geometricians, anatomists, jurists, philologists, metaphysicians, poets-Simpson and Hunter, Miller and Young, Reid and Stewart; Campbell-whose coffin was lately borne to a grave in that renowned transept which contains the dust of Chaucer, of Spencer, and of Dryden; Black, whose discoveries form an era in the history of chemical science; Adam Smith, the greatest of all the masters of political science; James Watt, who perhaps did more than any single man has done since the new Atlantis of Bacon was written, to accomplish the glorious prophecy.
We now speak the language of humility when we say that the University of Glasgow need not fear a comparison with the University of Bologna. Another secular period is now about to commence. There is no lack of alarmists, who will tell you that it is about to commence
under evil auspices. But from me you must expect no such gloomy prognostications. I am too much used to them to be scared by them. Ever since I began to make observations on the state of my country, I have been seeing nothing but growth, and I have been hearing of nothing but decay. The more I contemplate our noble institutions, the more convinced I am that they are sound at heart, that they have nothing of age but its dignity, and that their strength is still the strength of youth. The hurricane which has recently overthrown so much that was great and that seemed durable, has only proved their solidity. They still stand, august and immovable, while dynasties and churches are lying in heaps of ruin all round us. I see no reason to doubt that, by the plessing of God on a wise and temperate policy, on a policy in which the principle is to preserve what is good by reforming in time what is evil, our civil institutions may be preserved unimpaired to a late posterity, and that, under the shade of our civil institutions, our academical institutions may long continue to flourish.
I trust, therefore, that when a hundred years more have run out, this ancient college will still continue to deserve well of our country and of mankind. I trust that the installation of 1949 will be attended by a still greater assembly of students than I have the happiness now to see before me. The assemblage indeed may not meet in the place where we have met. These venerable halls may have disappeared. My successor may speak to your successors in a more stately edifice, in an edifice which, even among the magnificent buildings of the future Glasgow, will still be admired as a fine specimen of architecture which flourished in the days of the good Queen Victoria. But though the site and the walls may be new, the spirit of the institution will, I hope, be still the same. successor will, I hope, be able to boast that the fifth century of the University has been even more glorious than the fourth. He will be able to vindicate that boast, by citing a long list of eminent men, great masters of experimental science, of ancient learning, of our native eloquence, ornaments of the senate, the pulpit, and the bar.
He will, I hope, mention with high honour some of my young friends who now hear me; and he will, I also hope, be able to add that their talents and learning were not wasted on selfish or ignoble objects, but were employed to promote the physical and moral good of their species, to extend the empire of man over the material world, to defend the cause of civil and religious liberty against tyrants and bigots, and to defend the cause of virtue and order against the enemies of all divine and human laws. I have now given utterance to a part, and a part only of the recollections and anticipations of which on this solemn occasion my mind is full. I again thank you for the honour which you have bestowed on me; and I assure you that while I live I shall never cease to take a deep interest in the welfare and fame of the body with which, by your kindness, I have this day become connected.
ON RETIRING FROM POLITICAL LIFE.
[MARCH 22, 1849.]
I THANK YOU, my Lord Provost-gentlemen, I thank you from my heart for this great honour.* I may, I hope, extend my thanks further-extend them to that constituent body, of which I believe you are, upon this occasion, the expositors and which has received me here in a manner which has made an impression never to be effaced from my mind. [Alluding to the box containing the document, verifying his admission as a freeman, he continued:] That box, my lord, I shall prize as long as I live, and when I am gone, it will be appreciated by those who are dearest to me, as a proof that, in the course of an active and chequered life, both political and literary, I succeeded in gaining the esteem and good will of the people of one of the greatest and most enlightened cities in the British empire. My political life, my lord, has closed. The feelings which contention and rivalry naturally called forth, and from which I do not pretend to have been exempted, have had time to cool down. I can look now upon the events in which I bore a part, as calmly, I think, as the events of the past century. I can do that justice now to honourable opponents which perhaps in moments of conflict I might have refused to them.
I believe I can judge as impartially of my own career, as I can judge of the career of another man. I acknowledge great errors and deficiencies, but I have nothing to acknowledge inconsistent with rectitude of intention and independence of spirit. My conscience bears me this testimony, that I have honestly desired the happiness, the prosperity, and the greatness of my country; that my course, right or wrong, was never determined by any selfish or sordid motive, and that, in troubled times and through many vicissitudes of fortune, in power and out of power, through popularity and unpopularity, I have been faithful to one set of opinions, and to one set of friends. I see no reason to doubt that these friends were well chosen, or that these opinions were in the main correct.
The path of duty appeared to me to be between two dangerous extremes-extremes which I shall call equally dangerous, seeing that each of them inevitably conducts society to the other. I cannot accuse myself of having ever deviated far towards either. I cannot accuse myself of having ever been untrue, either to the cause of civil or religious liberty, or to the cause of property and law. I reflect with pleasure that I bore a part in some of those reforms which corrected great abuses, and removed just discontents. I reflect with equal pleasure, that I never stooped to the part of a
The tender of the freedom of the city of Glasgow.
demagogue, and never feared to confront what seemed to me to be an unreasonable clamour. I never in time of distress incited my countrymen to demand of any government, to which I was opposed, miracles-that which I well knew no government could perform; nor did I seek even the redress of grievances, which it was the duty of a government to redress, by any other than strictly peaceful and legal means.
Such were the principles upon which I acted, and such would have been my principles still. The events which have lately changed the face of Europe, have only confirmed my views of what public duty requires. These events are full of important lessons, both to the governors and the governed; and he learns only half the lesson they ought to teach, who sees in them only a warning against tyranny on the one hand, and anarchy on the other. The great lesson which these events teach us is that tyranny and anarchy are inseparably connected; that each is the parent, and each is the offspring of the other. The lesson which they teach is this-that old institutions have no more deadly enemy than the bigot who refuses to adjust them to a new state of society; nor do they teach us less clearly this lesson, that the sovereignty of the mob leads by no long or circuitous path to the sovereignty of the sword. I bless God that my country has escaped both these errors.
Those statemen who, eighteen years before, proposed to transfer to this great city and to cities like this, a political power which but belonged to hamlets which contained only a few scores of inhabitants, or to old walls with no inhabitants at all-these statesmen, and I may include myself among them, were then called anarchists and revolutionists, but let those who so called us, now say whether we are not the true and the far-sighted friends of order? Let those who so called us, now say how would they have wished to encounter the tempest of the last spring with the abuses of Old Sarum and Gatton to defend-with Glasgow only represented in name, and Manchester and Leeds not even in name. We then were not only the true friends of liberty, but the true friends of order; and in the same manner aided by all the vigorous exertions by which the government (aided by patriotic magistrates and honest men) put down, a year ago, those marauders who wished to subvert all societythese exertions, I say, were of inestimable service, not only to the cause of order, but also to the cause of true liberty.
But I am now speaking the sentiments of a private man. I have quitted politics-I quitted them without one feeling of resentment, with
out one feeling of regret, and betook myself to | pursuits for which my temper and my tastes, I believe, fitted me better. I would not willingly believe that in ceasing to be a politician I relinquish altogether the power of rendering any service to my country. I hope it may still be in my power to teach lessons which may be profitable to those who still remain on the busy stage which I have left. I hope that it may still be in my power so faithfully, without fear or malignity, to represent the merits and faults of hostile sects and factions, as to teach a common lesson of charity to all. I hope it will be in my power to inspire, at least, some of my countrymen with love and reverence for those free and noble institutions to which Britain
owes her greatness, and from which, I trust, she is not destined soon to descend.
I shall now, encouraged by your approbation, resume, with alacrity, a task, under the magnitude and importance of which I have sometimes felt my mind ready to sink. I thank you again, most cordially, for your kindness. I value, as it deserves, the honour of being enrolled in your number. I have seen with delight and with pride, the extent, the grandeur, the beauty, and the opulence of this noble city-a city which I may now call mine. With every wish for the prosperity, the peace, and the honour of our fair and majestic Glasgow, I now bid you, my kind friends and fellow-citizens, a most respectful farewell.