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both as to recruiting and training. Whereas the English aim at producing a good mean throughout their service, the French effort is mainly directed towards specialties. Seamen-gunners, small-arm men, quarter-masters, signal men and topmen all receive a special training from the time of entry. In the English service work of this kind is, wisely, I think, undertaken later on, and, as a rule, only in the case of those who show special fitness.
Nearly all the men who man the French Navy are taken from those enrolled in the Inscription Maritime. These men are sent to the Barracks, or Divisions, established at each of the five military ports, where they await detail for service. While here, selections are made for the various branches of the service, of men who may seem best adapted, and these men are sent for a four or six months course on board the Bretagne, a magnificent specimen of the old three decker, which had on board, last August, a complement of over sixteen hundred per
The total on board, of men selected for specialties, was thirteen hundred and seventy eight, divided between topmen, seamen-gunners, fusiliers or small-arm men, and men of the quarter-master class. After passing these four or six months on board this ship, with frequent exercises underway, in a small frigate attached to her as a tender, and to which one division is sent weekly as a crew, these apprentis marins are forwarded to the various points where the special schools are established for further training, undergoing there a specific course laid down by the Ministry of Marine; to the gunnery school at Toulon; to the school of Infantry and small-arms at Lorient; to the school for top-men, quarter-masters and signal-men in two cruising frigates. A portion of the apprentices on board the Bretagne are supplied from the Austerlitz, a line-of-battle ship stationed at Brest, and on board of which boys are taken for a two or three years course.
The number so supplied, however, is limited and can have no great effect upon the service at large, but eight hundred being the ship's complement, so that not more than three hundred are yearly supplied in this way. So far as it goes the method is good, as these boys are kept for a long time under good discipline and training, having the advantages of exercise afloat in the tender to the Austerlitz and leaving the ship altogether better prepared to rise in the service than are the others on board the Bretagne, who have been taken directly from the various depots.
At Brest too is a school similar to the Greenwich Hospital school, which has in it four hundred boys, taken generally at a much younger age than those at Greenwich. It is certainly a most meritorious in. stitution, and excellently well managed, but the boys were by po means up to those of Greenwich in physique or intelligence, nor of course could the yearly supply by any means equal that from the latter.
The French also educate their coast pilots and their musicians, instruct a certain number in the use of torpedoes, educate their firemen, and turn out in many ways a most superior set of men. The only criticism I can make is upon the methods themselves, and not upon
the manner in which they are carried out. I do not think it consonant with our ideas to differentiate duties to such an extent, and I think, as I believe most of you will also think, that it is better to have a good general level of homogeneous material than to have more highly trained separate organizations which must have among them many discordant and inharmonious elements.
The system of promotion amongst the men in the French navy is most excellent; in all the corps of specialists, brěvets or certificates are given after passing an established examination, which entitle the holders to precedence of selection for petty officers' positions in their especial branches. These examinations are held by regularly constituted boards of officers; four officers usually being upon each. In most cases there is a fixed schedule of questions published by the Ministry of Marine, covering the entire subject. Certain percentages of marks are necessary to establish the claim of the applicant for a first, second or third class certificate. There can be, to my mind, no better way of selecting petty officers; the examinations are rigorous and before such boards that they must be fair, and the man's rank really counts for something.
In this we have an excellent model for ourselves. No organization, and certainly no military organization, can be successfully and happily organized with such sudden and immense differences in the status and obligations of its personnel as in our own. I have always thought, and after extended observation still more think, that we have been more successful in educating officers than has been any other nationality; but here we stop,—an immense break takes place, which must be bridged over. The boatswain's mate, the coxswain, the captain of the top, must be men equal to, and ready to assume certain responsibilities. We are now looking forward to a change in the attitude of the country on the naval question, and in considering the questions of re-organization, we must deliberately face and recognize our present disabilities, not only in materiel but in personnel.
To impress upon you the particularity with which the French enter into this question of education, I hope you will allow a re-enumeration of the schools in use. The Establissement des Pupilles, for sons of seafaring men, in which there are four hundred boys; the training ship Austerlitz, which has a complement of eight hundred boys, who stay on board two or three years, or until they are sixteen, and who are transferred to the Bretagne for further instruction; the Bretagne, the training ship for novices, (the greater portion of whom, of course, come from selectious made in the Divisions,) and which serves as an intermediary for the purpose of breaking in, so to speak, those destined for specialties; all the preceding are at Brest :- the guunery school at Toulon; the school of musketry at Lorient; the two cruising frigates for the instruction of topmeu and quarter-masters; the school for coast pilots; the turpedo school at Ile d'Oleron, where seamen are also instructed, and, as in the other specialties, receive certificates of aptitude. Besides these there are others for firemen and machinists; for apprentices in dock-yards; for naval school-masters, etc.
The organization of the Division itself is one of the most praiseworthy of the many things to be praised in the French service. The men are here housed in comfortable barracks, instead of being crowded on board hulks and depot ships; with plenty of light and air, places for exercise, a good library, and a school for the instruction of all who fall below certain attainments in school-work. They are here subjected to a complete military organization and discipline; and, instead of deteriorating, as men crowded into receiving ships almost always must, they are, when drafted for active service, in a far better condition than at entry. This is a question which can hardly concern us much just now, but the time has been when I have known over two thousand men in a two-decker in a state of filth and disorganization painful to look back upon.
Under the same circumstances we should have to undergo much the same thing again. Where have we, at our Navy Yards, receptacles for men, in any war emergency? The old liners ia which we crowded the men during the rebellion are, with three exceptions, gone. Here in New York, fifteen hundred might be properly taken care of in our two receiving ships, but during the time they are on board in such numbers, there is no chance for adequate drill or discipline, and one could only look for a repetition of the experience of 1861-65. What can be thought of the preparations for emergencies at Norfolk, where we have one frigate as a receiving ship; at Philadelphia, where is an old sloop-of-war; 'at Boston, where is one line-of-battle ship? Both the French and Germans employ barracks, and I met no officers in England who did not advocate the same.
The Germans have a most elaborate training for a limited number of boys, lasting through three years of alternate shore and sea-service. About four hundred are constantly under training, a sufficient number being thus supplied to furnish all demands for warrant and petty officers. As iu almost everything else pertaining to educational methods, they enter into this with exceeding minuteness, no detail of professional knowledge being omitted. The scholastic training includes arithmetic, geography, history, music, and, in the case of a limited number who show themselves especially capable and clever, English.
From April to October the ships cruise; a month's leave is then granted, after which the boys are in barracks at Kiel or Wilhelmshaven, at which latter place is the gunnery school for the navy. In returning from sea the ships are dismantled and laid up for the winter by the boys themselves, and in the spring they also do the refitting. During the first year the new recruits do not leave the waters of the Baltic; but in succeeding years an extended cruise is taken, their training ships frequently visiting our oign coasts. I have not space, of course, to enter into details regarding the system, but a most elaborate series of regulations has been published, entering minutely into the distribution of the time, both on board ship and at the barracks. While at the latter, infantry exercises form a prominent part of the course, and, besides the usual drills, long marches are taken. If any complaint can be made of this system, it is that of over-training.
Seeing what extreme attention is thus given to this subject by the greater foreign powers (I have not mentioned others, though most have systems quite as elaborate as these mentioned) it stands us in good stead to give it much more thought than has been usual with us in general. We now have our boys, and our ships in which to train them, but we still want a system. Everything heretofore has been tentative, and it is well that it should have been so, as it is not well to permanently fix such a thing hastily, In a multitude of councillors there is safety, and I think every naval officer ought, if he has any thoughts upon the question, to give them to the service.
We now have in commission four ships, the Minnesota, the Constitution, the Saratoga, and the Portsmouth, of which one only is cruising. I think it is well agreed, both in the Navy Department and out of it, that what is now doing in many ways is unsatisfactory, and many plans for a permanent systematizing of this part of the service have
been made. New London has lately been selected as a temporary head quarters, with the design of passing all recruits through the Minnesota which, as I understand it, is to be used as a depot ship, from which, after a certain period of training, boys are to be passed to cruising training ships. Now what shall be the duration of each of the periods of training and their extent?
I think there can hardly be two opinions upon the question of subordinating the system to one head, and, that being taken for granted, we will suppose that head to have command of the central station. At this center should be either two or three large ships, or, what is still better, barracks, sufficient to easily accommodate all the entries of
These ships or barracks should be fitted with all conveniences for study and for exercising; with models for teaching, with bath rooms, means for washing and drying clothes, etc. They should, if ships are used, no longer make a pretense of being men-ofwar, but everything should be subordinated to the idea of making them first a comfortable and healthful shelter for their inmates, and, second, places for successfully carrying on study and the work incidental to teaching. Baths for teaching swimming should be provided, boats in plenty for exercising, and a small ship or brig for teaching practical seamanship under way. Here the boy should be kept from ten to fifteen months according to ability and physique, undergoing such training, scholastic and practical, as may be determined upon. The former, I think should be limited to the English elementary branches. Writing, spelling and arithmetic through decimals, in this time, can, if we have a properly trained body of school masters, be well and thoroughly taught; some geography and history should be added; plenty of sport should be allowed; gymnastics should be taught, and lectures on interesting subjects, illustrated by stereopticon views as much as possible, should be given, at least once a fortnight. Have as adjuncts at this station three or four small ships, such as the Saratoga, Portsmouth and Supply, to serve as cruising vessels. At intervals of four months let one of them take on board the boys who have undergone sufficient training at the station and cruise for six or eight months, having the crew of boys fit the ship for sea and dismantle her on her return. Book work, if there is any at all during this cruise, should be reduced to a minimum. We thus have given altogether about eighteen months training; amply sufficient, I think, to fit a bright boy of sixteen for a sailor's work. By the time he gets on board the sea-going man of war he would be (in the case of a boy