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adjunct of modern training. There is no reason why a ship's company of five hundred men should not be able to land at any time a battalion of three hundred, perfectly equipped and ready to take the field. The sailor is so much more a man of adaplability than the soldier that I see no objection to including the work of the latter in that of the former, when occasion requires. The universal praise accorded the English blue-jackets in the late Zulu campaign says more than any argument on this subject: where the soldier was helpless the sailor was full of expedients; he was always sheltered ; always had food; was always in good fighting trim. I think it would be far viser that instead of decrying efforts to extend our usefulness, saying that this and that does not lie in our way, we should take pride in being able to do so much.
There are trained on board these ships a number of signal boys, sufficient to answer the demands of the service; and lately the experiment of educating carpenters has been tried: this laiter has not been long enough in operation to judge of its effectiveness. Bandsmen and buglemen are also here trained, giving a uniformity which we sadly lack. The bugle is almost entirely used for calls, and the men of the entire fleet are accustomed from the earliest years of their service to the same notes: the ceaseless variations arising from the whims of captains or executives, or from the taste of the bandmasters, are avoided, and one's ears are not afflicted with the unmelodious morsels from popular airs, so general with us.
The Greenwich Hospital school, which serves, under its new regime, as a feeder to the extent of two hundred boys yearly to the training ships, supports a complement of one thousand boys, the sons of seamen and marines who are, or who hare been, in the service. It is immensely valuable as furnishing the ship's stewards' bors, and the schoolmasters of the service alone, and the additional two hundred who are supplied yearly to the training ships are amongst the best received. They immediately take the highest stand, as their previous education at Greenwich has given them really alipost all that a boy can learn in these ships; and, in time, if education and training tell at all, they must furnish, in a great degree, the petty officers of the navy. The more institutions of the kind there are in any land, the better; no more wise and noble charity could be than this, which takes the sons of those men who, above all others, are from unavoidable circumstances, unable to look after their children, and educates them for a useful service. Being on the half-time system, each boy acquires a trade of some kind, the greatest number being tailors, or garment-makers of some sort. We can hardly expect anything in this country analogous to this very notable school, for many years to come, as our sailors have so few ties to the service as yet, that their children do not fall under government protection, though I see no reason why in time they should not be cared for to some degree.
The training-ships for boys are somewhat supplemented by the employmeut of a sailing frigate for additional training of young ordinary seamen, and on board of which there are usually about two hundred, taken from those on board the depot ships who have not been drafted into service. The unfortunate Eurydice was a ship of this class: her place has been taken by the Atalanta, a small ship, of about a thousand tons, which during last year was cruising about Madeira, and in the vicinity of the British coasts. It is intended in time to have sufficient ships to take on board all the young ordinary seamen for the time being otherwise unemployed. As nearly eight thousand out of the nineteen thousand blue-jackets are employed in harbor ships, there is certainly opportunity for this extra drill at times.
In the question of training, the English have one great advantage over ourselves in the long time enlistment. Their boys are taken to serve for ten years from the age of eighteen, and no continuous service man is enlisted for less than ten. Of course the first time of the boy extends on an average over a space of twelve years, so that an exceptionally long time might be expended in training and there would still be a long remainder for useful service. With the great number which they are obliged to have in order to furnish all the demands of the service, the question of a year longer in the training ships proper, becomes rather more one of expense than of expediency. The sum already yearly expended is over five hundred thousand dollars, and this would be much more than doubled if the time were so extended. Take it all in all they have taken a good average both as respects the time at which a boy is taken in hand, and the time for which he is trained. Though nominally this latter period is for a year, if time is allowed it extends through sixteen months, divided as I before said between twelve in the training ship, six weeks in the brig, and ten in the Gunnery ship. Sixteen appears by almost universal consent to be the best age at which a boy can be received. So many questions are included in training that this of age is difficult to decide; impressibility, physique, mental power and previous education must all be considered. Much can be said for almost any time between thirteen and eighteen, so that instead of adducing arguments, it is better to take the opinions of experience.
These, as given before a parliamentary commission by ship owners, shipmasters, and naval men, were almost unanimously in favor of not taking, as an average, boys under fifteen or sixteen. Of course much depends upon the time for which it is intended to keep the boy under training. If expense and time are unlimited, no doubt the boy taken at fourteen and trained carefully for three or four years will make a better man than one whose education and training have lasted but half this. With the English, however, the question of expense would be almost insurmountable; with ourselves both that of expense and that of having comparatively but a small part of the boys' enlistments available for active service, unless we could limit our entries to very young boys, in which case expense alone need be considered.
The training given at any time to men of good character and capacity in the Gunnery ships is of great importance. There are at present in the English Navy about ten thousand men who are trained men or seamen gunners. The course on board the Excellent and Cambridge is not limited to any particular time; a man if zealous and intelligent, sometimes being kept several years, unless there is a call for his services afloat. They learn on board these ships every thing they need to know respecting the arms they handle or the ammunition they use. The best of the men turned out are au exceedingly good class, able to act as drill officers in almost any of the subordinate capacities on board ship. There is also a torpedo school in which many men are instructed in the use of torpedoes. We have not as yet done anything in this direction with the enlisted men of the service, but it must naturally come with a perfecting of our training system.
There is one other bit of training which should be mentioned, that of ships' cooks in the school of cookery on board the flag ship at Portsmouth, where a training of three months is necessary before a man can obtain even the rating of cook's mate. Seamen have been a class much sinned against in this regard, less care even being taken as to the mau who cooks his food than as to the food itself. A discussion of this subject however, of ships' rations and of the men who cook them would extend into too wide a one for the time we have. I can only say that I think there is no better field for improvement, and that it is one which should have been undertaken long since. The rations of the boys under training in the English Navy, and their hours of meals, are all that could be desired, being far superior to those of the Navy at large, or to those of any other service with which I am conversant. This is as it should be: man as well as other animals is made to great extent by the amount and quality of food he eats, and it is all important that in these growing years, a boy, to have a sound physique for the strain and wear of the navy in after years, should have as much healthful food as he can assimilate.
One result of the present system of the English has been to give them exceptionally young crews. All boys are promoted to be ordinary seamen, or ordinary seamen second class, at eighteen. They begin then really upon their first term of enlistment, which is for ten years, or until twenty-eight. By serving another such term, or until they are thirty-eight, they can retire with a pension of a shilling a day or more. These men rarely have any difficulty in obtaining employment elsewhere, if they wish to serve no longer in the navy; the character of the seamen of the fleet standing so exceptionally well that they are readily taken. Many men, during their terms of service, are transferred from the navy, upon their own application, to the coast guard, an institution which all of us, I think, must regret not to have here. If applied to our life saving service, it would give us in time a reserve of two or three thousand men at all times available for emergencies and at all times ready in respect to drill and instruction.
The English have nine coast guard districts which were instituted primarily for revenue protection, each of which is under the charge of the Captain of the first reserve ship attached to that district. The districts are subdivided in seventy-three divisions, commanded by inspecting officers who are commanders or lieutenants in the Navy. These divisions are again subdivided into two hundred and thirty stations, each in charge of a chief officer (about equal in rank to a warrant officer,) the whole is under the charge of an admiral, whose head quarters are in London. At the stations along the coast one sees groups of comfortable cottages which are the residences of the men of the station, in which they live with families. No part of the coast is out of the view of the coast-guardsman who is always at hand to give aid to sufferers, or to telegraph information to headquarters. The nine coast-guard ships called the first reserve, all of which are large iron-clads, and which are for most of the time under reduced complements, gather together yearly the men of their district for a summer's cruise of six to eight weeks for practice and discipline, and cruise in squadron. The cruisers used for revenue protection are about forty small vessels varying from one hundred to five hundred tons.
I do not think I need specially point out the benefits of such a systen to our own service, which would tend to bring it more in contact with the people; give it an employment at home; afford a refuge for the most deserving men; give our life-saving service a strictly military organization, such as it ought to have, and furnish, as I said before, a reserve of disciplined and trained men sufficient on the occurrence of an emergency to man a squadron of eight or ten ships.
The whole British system is now thoroughly homogeneous-practically all the blue-jackets are passed through the same training and are turned out as much alike as possible. Their practice of having the system under one head and allowing no chance for the exercise of individual whims or fancies cannot be too much commended. The captain of the Impregnable is commodore of the squadron, if it may be so called, of the five line-of-battle ships and their adjuncts. Every thing pertaining to the system is referable to him, there being no question which does not come under his cognizance; he is answerable to the Admiralty alone. There can be no real success in such a scheme without such a subordination to one head. Having determined upon the methods to be pursuell, one officer should be vested with the general executive authority. It is better to have one method with some faults than to have the conflicting schemes of individuals, though each in itself may be more perfect than the one general scheme. The English, as I say, have determined in favor of one head and absolute uniformity, and judging from the general success of their system, we should do well to follow suit.
I cannot, in the time allotted, do more than merely glance at what is doing in Great Britain in training for the merchant service. There are eighteen large ships, permanently moored, so employed, but as the aims and results are so different from those of the Navy, one can hardly institute a comparison. Their material, to begin with, is vastly inferior to that of the Navy-much or most indeed being made up of homeless and destitute boys who are seut to these ships as to a species of reformatory. There can be furnished in this way but a very small percentage of the men needed ; sixteen thousand a year being the estimated waste among the two hundred thousand sailors who man the British Merchant ships. We no doubt in this country must establish schools when our commerce revives. Schools for officers will then be an absolute necessity, as we now have far too small a merchant fleet to rear any number. The St. Mary's is now rendering a good service, worthy of imitation in other ports.
To pass to France. We find here a complete change of methods,