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boys received on board came with no intention of becoming sailors, and the true aim and raison d'etre of the system was lost sight of: it naturally died of inanition. From that time until 1875 when the Minnesota was commissioned as a training ship we had no other dependence than upon the same class we enlisted during and after the civil
England, to whom the navy is an absolute necessity of national existence, founded her present training system in 1862. It has passed through several phases, but has finally settled into a uniform method of training in which, it seems to me, there are few things to improve.
There are in the whole service afloat between eighteen and nineteen thousand blue jackets out of the about thirty thousand enlisted men (exclusive of boys) in the service; nearly all of the former have been passed through the training ships. To keep up this number between twenty-three and twenty-seven hundred boys must be trained annually, this number being the waste in the blue-jacket class from death, desertion, and expiration of eulistment. These boys are gathered from every part of Great Britain by recruiting sergeants at frequent points, and also by means of the coast guard and other ships on board of which boys can be received and examined, and from which they can be forwarded to one of the training ships. The Navy, always popular, has of late years, amongst the people at large, become greatly more so, so that no difficulty whatever is found in getting a full supply of excellent material; the supply indeed is much greater than the demand, so that the boys received are really picked boys. To enter, the boy must be between 15 and 164 years of age, must be of good physique and must know how to read and write. Stress is also laid upon character; persons who have been in reformatories or who have been committed by a magistrate not being received. He passes a preliminary examination at his recruiting station and a final and more rigorous one when he arrives on board ship.
To receive this large number (twenty-four hundred being the last year's allowance of new entries) there are five line-of-battle ships, two of which are stationed at Devonport, one at Portsmouth, one at Portland and the other at Falmouth in Cornwall. Each of these ships can accommodate comfortably about seven hundred boys; the Impreg. nable however at Devonport had on board at the time of my visit a few over nine hundred, a greater number than a ship of this kind should receive. In all the ships there was a total of about thirty-one hundred boys.
The officers in command are of the grade of Commander, with the exception of the captain of the Impregnable, who was a captain high on the list, and who has, under the Admiralty, complete control of the entire system ; his place is thus by no means a sinecure. The staff of officers comprises but three lieutenants, but the want of officers is made up by a large force of trained men who are employed in the details of seamanship and gunnery drills.
The interior arrangements of the ships are made with regard to convenience only, bath-rooms, study, and model rooms are bulk-headed off without refer. ence to the appearance of the ships as men of war; they are all fully supplied with reduced spars; have from twenty-five to thirty-seven boats each, and have on board a great variety of useful models. To each ship is attached a brig and also a hulk, which latter is used for a variety of purposes. The one connected with the Impregnable is an old frigate called the Circe, which is moored near by: she serves as a store ship, a carpenter shop, where are educated a number of boys as carpenters, and above all is used as a receptacle for newly entered boys where they are taken in hand by the ship's corporals and are gotten into shape before going on board the parent ship. During the week they are on board this hulk, they are provided with bedding and clothing belonging to the government. In the meantime their new clothing is taken in charge by the corporals and plainly marked, and the boys are taught to stow their bags and hammocks. At the end of the week they are transferred with their kit in perfect condition.
The outfit allowed amounts to the sum of $25 for clothing and $5 for bedding, so that the boys enter untrammelled by debt.
The schooling is limited in extent, but within the limits is very thorough. Nearly all the boys are excellent penmen and good readers, and cipherers. In arithmetic they are taken through decimals : elementary geography is also taught. The instructors, who are under the chaplain, who holds likewise the position of Naval instructor, are all either Naval schoolmasters or pupil teachers from Greenwich Hospital School, who are preparivg as schoolmasters: they are men admirably trained for the purpose, and I know nowhere a more efficient and well prepared body. I cannot speak too highly of the training and zeal of these men ; both are shown most fully in the excellent results attained in the schools of the training ships.
The practical training consists in learning all the work and duties of the sailor. The models supplied are for use, and not for show only, as much is done with these as can well be done with such means; and a great deal can be done if such means is properly utilized. Daily exercises of spars and sails take place, except in the winter months; handling boats under sails and oars is frequent; cutlass drill, infantry, gymnastics (which is taught by a non-commissioned officer of marines), truck gun exercise, and swimming, are all thoroughly well taught. All these exercises, excepting those of sails and spars, are under the immediate direction of the trained men or petty officers, who are detailed as instructors in seamanship.
Each of the lieutenants on board has charge of certain subjects, but the men who do the instruction work under them are a class absolutely unknown in our service, and whose existence in that of England is one of the greatest evidences of the benefit of their system. These men are almost exactly analogous, in the authority which they exert, to the non-commissioned officers of the arnıy. While we have always had a large number of men, with large pay, whom we have designated petty officers, we have never, as a rule, had any who could be really looked to for an adequate return for the benefits they have received: They are often not even leading men. It has been until lately the custom to make and break them at the humor of the moment; they have existed, and to a large extent do exist, as petty officers in name only. It appears to me that this is one of the most crying evils of our service. Why should we have coxswains who are not capable of commanding and taking care of a boat's crew? Why should we find it necessary, in sending a boat ashore, to send an officer in charge of the coxswain, who, as it now stands, is paid a large extra sum for doing the easiest part of the labor in the boat,--the handling of the helm,—without having any special fitness for it? We can only get such a class as these I speak of in the English navy by training men who are equal to the task of making themselves obeyed. Obedience to day is not given to superior physique only; it is given much more to mental and moral superiority,—to the man who knows how to command himself; who knows the extent of his authority, and has the mental and moral force equal to exerting that authority. The truth is, we have had no such self-respecting class from which to draw. We must cultivate such a one, as all other civilized pations have done ; must make the tenure of their position stable, transferring them from ship to ship with their rank. In the English navy continuous service petty officers carry their ratings with them, it being left open to the captain of the ship they join to alter the specific rating to that best suited to their abilities; but no worse positions, as regards pay and emoluments, can be given them than those which they had previously held. Our own regulations provide that a continuous service man who is distinguished for obedience and sobriety, and is proficient in seamanship and gunnery, may, on the expiration of his enlistment, receive a good conduct badge; after he has received three such badges under three successive reënlistments, he shall, if qualified, be enlisted as a petty officer, and hold this rating during subsequent enlistments : nor can he be reduced to a lower rating, excepting by sentence of court martial. This is a great step in the right direction: the French, however, whose system in this regard will be mentioned further on, seem to me to have solved this question almost perfectly.
To return, however, to the boys themselves. The scholastic and practical training on board the parent ship lasts about a twelvemonth; after which is given a six (6) weeks' sea training in the brigs, and finally a ten (10) weeks course in gunnery on board the gunnery ship, after which the boy is ready for service.
During this time, in addition to schooling and training, he has had great advantages ; kind treatment; a discipline in cleanliness and order; plenty of leave and liberty; access to a good library on board ;--all tending to reform boys of bad disposition, and to make excellent men of the well-disposed. Great care is taken to amuse and instruct, outside of the regular routine, a large sum being allowed, which is mainly used for the purchase of games, bats, balls, etc., and for such books and papers as boyish taste demands. The course is not all work, and, so far as I can see, the result is general contentment. Fifty-three days leave are allowed during the year, divided into two periods of sixteen days each, and one of twenty-one. One afternoon a week is set aside for general liberty, and all, whose relatives live near enough to the ship, are allowed to go home on Sunday. Punishment is light, and offences few. The whole method of discipline is humanitarian: there are as few restraints and punishments as possible, and, altogetber, I cannot imagine a better school in which to bring up a young man of this class.
The brigs, which are each of about four hundred tons, and one of which is attached to each ship, are under way as much as possible between April and October. Of course the six weeks training allowed to each boy is altogether insufficient to make much of a sailor of him; but with the other twelve months drill it goes far towards it, and the boy is turned into active service with his brain alert to receive anything which comes in his way to learn. After all, education, in its true sense, is not so much the giving of information as it is the quickening of the perceptive powers of the brain, awakening it to receive new ideas and thoughts; and this is a good deal the result of the methods employed in these training ships. Little advance towards the true idea of education has been made by an instructor until he learns to discriminate between instruction and education. One may receive all the facts in the world, but until he is taught to reason about what he has seen and heard, his education has been naught. Much is sometimes said about the non-necessity of certain studies at the Naval Academy; the appli. cability of this is not seen, or the uselessness of thnt is held up to derision. The scoffer does not understand that the broadening and deepening of the mental powers is what is aimed at, and not merely the cramming of the mind with certain facts, many of which may be obsolete. Naral science is so advancing and always moving that it is much better to have men who are able to take in and reason about that which is now happening, than to have them simply conversant with the practice of the past. Of course we strive to have both. We are too liable to become the slaves of routine in the navy, in any case: we lack adaptability to new methods, and are not apt to think well of new things, because they are not such as we have known of old. Conseryatism is good in its way, but too much of it is ruinous.
In the same way, we want to train our men to use their brains to some purpose; we no longer want the machine of the past, who never had a reason for action in his head, and never thought of looking for
The ten weeks of gunnery on board the gunnery ships is thought by many to be too long. It would be better, too, if this were made a part of the course on board the training ship proper, or in a vessel entirely under the control of the commander of this ship. During the first twelve months the boys are given nothing but an exercise of truck guus, having target firing on Saturday mornings. As there are still between seven and eight hundred of this class of guos afloat in actual service in the English navy, this drill, besides being a good disciplinary one, is not lost,
Much more attention is given to small arms than with us, and the British sailor is turned out a very respectable soldier. For one, I am a strong advocate of much infantry drill, if it is properly given. I cannot see how it can injure the boy or man in any way as a sailor, and it affords a convenient and pleasant variety froin sail-drill : it need never be so much used as to conflict with the latter; there is no better means of discipline; it affords a good setting-up; makes a hapdier and more capable man: so that I regard it altogether an indispensable