Journal Volume 4 2004

Lead, Kindly Light? Education and the La Touche Family  (continued/9)

Twentieth Century
Sir James J D La Touche, Lieutenant Governor of Agra and Oudh

Louisa's elder brother Sir James John Digges La Touche KCSI (1844 - 1921) was Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, 1901 - 1906. Selections of the many speeches he made were published at the end of his appointment, including those delivered at:

    • The prize distribution at La Martiniere College, Lucknow (1902)*

    • The opening of the Brass Foundry attached to the workshops of the S P G Mission at Cawnpore (1903)

    • The Convocation of the Allahabad University (1903 & 1904)

    • The laying of the foundation stone of the Mumtaz Boarding House at the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh (1905)

    • The meeting of the Central Committee of the proposed Medical College for the United Provinces (1905)

    • Government House, Lucknow, when a deputation called on him “to enlist his sympathy on behalf of the scheme for commemorating the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales by the establishment of a medical college in these provinces” (1905)

*La Martiniere College, Lucknow, still in existence, was the subject of a television programme in 1997. Apparently the school continues very much in the English tradition, with students studying for British examinations. English is the first language, spoken at all times by the pupils who are mostly from privileged Indian families. The text of the Lieutenant Governor's speech delivered there in 1902 is reproduced below.


In his speech encouraging non-academics at La Martiniere, Sir James J Digges La Touche, quoted the school's motto Labore et Constantia. He said “...the work of the world is carried on not so much by men of genius as by honorable and hardworking men. It is our duty to work and do it with all our might”. In a way, he could have been summing up the work of the many La Touche men and women mentioned in this paper. Genius? Maybe not, but they did their duty, worked hard, got involved, and certainly made a difference, made things happen.

Let's go back to the beginning. Education, educare - to lead on, to lead out, to lead forward. The La Touches took a lead, were involved with the education of others in one way or another, at one time or another over two hundred years, at every stage from kindergarten to adult. They were, of course, governed by the social, religious and political prejudices of the day. But I believe this is a fine family which has left its mark in many ways, on its adopted country. Ireland has cause to be grateful for their dedicated input.



Speech delivered by Sir James John Digges La Touche at the prize distribution at La Martinière College, Lucknow, on the 20th February 1902

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,-First of all, I may express on behalf of the visitors the pleasure which it has been to be present at another prize day of the Martinière and to hear Mr. Sykes telling us again of the continued prosperity of the school. Though the institution is one of the oldest of its kind in India, yet, far from showing any signs of decrepitude, it is in the fullest enjoyment of a vigorous and healthy life. Time does not stand still, the old order must change, giving place to the new, but the changes, like those of time itself, must be made quietly and by degrees. The governing body has learnt the secret, without revolution and without breaking with the past, of meeting the requirements of the age. The MartinièreSchool commands the confidence of the public. I found here on a recent visit paying boarders from every province of India, from Baluchistan to Burma, from Simla to Madras; even the residents of the presidency towns, Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, are glad to send their sons for education to this school. I was led then to consider the causes of this extraordinary popularity. There is first the great success of the school in imparting knowledge and preparing students for responsible positions in life. At the provincial examinations both boys and girls have done extremely well, and education at the Martinière is almost a certain passport to the RoorkeeCollege of Engineering. There is, secondly, the excellent moral tone of the school, of which there is ample evidence in the last report. You will remember that in the poem “Oenone” Tennyson in the person of the. Goddess of Wisdom sums up the qualities which alone bring live to sovereign power; they are self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control. Self-knowledge teaches us to be modest and to walk humbly with God; se1f-control enab1es our better and higher nature to keep our passions in due subjection; self-reverence helps us to dislike anything that is base and unworthy. It is a great aid to self-respect to belong to a school with the high traditions of the Martinière, for what Martinière boy is there, whether an old boy or a new boy, who is not proud of his school, and who would not be miserable at the thought of doing anything unworthy of its reputation? Again, the school is situated in wholesome surroundings and in pure air, and in respect of health it compares favourably with many hill schools. I am specially pleased to note the remarks made by Colonel Pope on the pluck, keenness and intelligence shown by the boys in their work as volunteers. A genuine volunteer increases his self-respect, while at the same time he acquires habits of discipline, order and obedience, and in Lucknow the heart of every Martinière boy must warm within him as be thinks of the memories of the defence of the Residency, with which the names of his predecessors are imperishably connected, not only by the record on the ground of the post then gallantly held, but by the unwritten memorial of the school traditions. I also congratulate Mr. Pope and the boys on the high standard of excellence attained in singing, of which we have had proof this afternoon. At the conclusion of his address Mr Sykes says genius may be quite beyond us, and in organizing school affairs we must leave it out of the reckoning. This is no doubt true, but the work of the world is carried on not so much by men of genius as by honorable and hardworking men. Genius has been somewhere defined as on infinite capacity for taking pains, and this perhaps is but another way of expressing the motto of your school "Labore et Constantia". Our duty is to work and to do it with all our might. On behalf of the visitors I desire to congratulate the Principal, the Lady Superintendent, and the other masters of the college and teachers of the girls' school, and all who during the year have interested themselves in the working of the school, on the very successful record of progress which we have heard.


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