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Since, according to the proposed plan, there would be no naval cadets on board the ships of the fleet, and an officer would be only three years in the rating of midshipman, it follows that the number of junior officers would be much smaller than at present; and it may be asked, therefore, Who is to do the various duties that are now performed by the youngsters? We will try, then, to give a satisfactory answer to this question. In the first place, it is considered by many experienced officers that the number of warrant - officers might be greatly increased, with advantage to the service, and that the duties of mates of decks could be advantageously performed by them. In the next place, every one who has been acquainted with the Navy for the last five-and-twenty years, must be aware that a great change has taken place in the habits and nature of the seamen. They are no longer that careless, childlike, thoughtless set they were, whom it was impossible to trust out of sight; and who never expected, or wished, to be so trusted. The majority of the ships' companies now—or soon will-consist of men who have grown up from their boyhood in the service, who have been carefully trained and educated; and the numerous measures which have been adopted of late years to improve the condition of the sailorshowing him that the country takes an interest in his welfare, and that he is looked upon as a valuable public servant-have not been without their fruits in a very marked and decided improvement in the conduct and disposition of the men. The consequence is, that officers in command find that they can now place their men in positions of trust and responsibility, which a few years back they would not have dreamt of; and the very fact of finding himself in such a position, and being confided in, develops a man's good qualities, and raises his tone of mind to a much higher level. There can be no reason whatever
should not be considered in the same light as the non-commissioned officers of the Army, with whom they rank, and who have come from the same class of society. These men, in the Army, are frequently sent in charge of detachments of soldiers, to reside miles away from any of their officers. The ordinary duties of boat-service, therefore, such as landing officers and answering signals, might be performed by the coxswains of the boats, as is done in the French navy; and it would only be requisite to send an officer upon special occasions, such as copying orders of importance, and going on board foreign men-of-war. No doubt, just at first, some inconvenience would be experienced by the change of system; but this necessarily attends any alteration of long-established custom whatever; and we confidently believe that in a very short time this arrangement would prove of great benefit to the service, in raising the position of the petty officers, and making it of greater value in the eyes of the seamen. And it must not be forgotten that there are great disadvantages in the present system of schoolboy officers, by which the discipline of the fleet suffers no slight injury, as we have before pointed out.
Turn we now to another branch of our subject. Whether such a project as either of the above be adopted, or whether the Admiralty may decide only to carry out at the College a partial system, such as that now in practice in the Britannia, and keep up the plan of naval instructors to continue the education on board ship afterwards, it is certain that provision must be made, as at present, for a higher course of study, at an after period, for commissioned officers. As we have be
fore stated, it is difficult to overestimate the benefit which has resulted to the naval service, from the studies pursued by officers of all ranks at the College in Portsmouth Dockyard, during their intervals on why the petty officers in the Navy shore; although the benefit might
have been even greater had the establishment been placed upon a different footing, as we shall see presently. Although it is advisable that the Cadet College should not be situated too near the seaport town, yet in every respect it is to be desired that the senior College should be in the dockyard, and the old building is quite well suited to the purpose. It is not too much to say that the advantages gained by officers studying there are multiplied tenfold by the circumstance of their residing in the principal dockyard of the kingdom. Not a day passes without there being something novel and instructive to be seen in this immense establishment; every class and description of vessel may there be compared together; the latest improvements in steam machinery, the newest inventions in artillery, the art of shipbuilding, and every method of rigging-all may be seen and studied there during the daily stroll round the yard, which is the constant practice of the student officers. We therefore trust, that wherever it may be determined to fix the situation of the junior College, the senior establishment may remain where it is.
We have seen how that the course of study at the College for the lieutenant's commission has of late years fallen to the ground. This is much to be regretted, for, as we before showed, the system was an excellent one for the service. It is, however, a question whether it is altogether desirable that an officer at the sub-lieutenant's age should remain for such a long period on shore, for it is just at that time of life that the most valuable experience at sea is gained. We would rather suggest a different plan, which we think would benefit the
profession still more. It is a very general opinion in the service that officers should remain for three years on the sub-lieutenants' list, and then be promoted as a matter of course, when they would have been, according to the scheme we have proposed, at least six years at sea,
and not less than twenty-two years of age. Now it is in the rank of lieutenant that officers at the present day remain longest, the commander's commission being most difficult of attainment. We would propose, therefore, that after three years' sea-service in the rank of lieutenant, officers should be permitted to join the College for a course of study similar to that which the mates formerly went through; and that a commander's commission should be given halfyearly to the individual passing the highest examination. By this plan all the benefits of the former system would be restored, and, as we think, with increased advantage both to the service and to the officers.
The College should likewise be open, as at present, to half-pay officers who may wish to go there to study scientific subjects; and every encouragement ought to be given to induce men of ability so to employ their intervals of forced idleness. According to the present system, there is no regular course of study prescribed, but each officer is, as we have mentioned, allowed to follow the bent of his own inclination, and to take up whatever subject he has a taste for. So far this is a wise arrangement, for the naval profession embraces such a diversity of matters standing as it does in close relationship with nearly every department of science-that it would be impossible for any person, except he were endowed with an extraordinary intellect, to gain more than a slight acquaintance with the higher branches of all the subjects bearing upon his calling. He might, indeed, be "Jack-of-alltrades," but he certainly would be "master of none." It is therefore more desirable that an officer should confine himself to one or two subjects, and follow them up as far as he is able; and since the various ramifications of science are interwoven with, and to a great extent depend upon, each other, he could not fail, in gaining a thorough know
ledge of one, to acquire a certain insight into others.
To this end there should be every facility afforded to enable the officers to carry out their studies properly; but, unfortunately, this is not the case at present; and no one is more painfully aware of this than are the excellent Professor and his colleagues, who have striven continually, but without effect, to induce the Admiralty to supply the necessary means for that purpose, such as instruments, apparatus, and other appliances. The only subject which has been brought under a regular system is Steam, for which there is an established course to go through, and an examination at the close of it with classed certificates of proficiency. And, fully alive to the unsatisfactoriness of the state of matters, the Professor, in framing the steam course, did all in his power to remedy it, by including as well as practical instructionsuch theoretical requirements as rendered a certain amount of mathematical knowledge necessary; while the highest class of certificate requires, in addition, a considerable knowledge of mechanics and hydrostatics. But it is not compulsory to go through even the steam course— although practically every one does so-and that finished, which is generally in six months at most, there is no longer any regular system to follow, nor any further certificate of study to be obtained. Therefore those officers who may have studied for three or four years at the College, and acquired a high amount of scientific knowledge, have nothing to distinguish them from such as may have merely passed through the steam course with a third-class certificate. They have neither experienced any encouragement to persevere in their studies, nor have they any other reward to look to for the labour they have bestowed upon them, except that which is contained in every well-regulated mind-a consciousness of having employed one's time in a profitable manner.
There is an observatory belonging to the College, which, if it were kept for the use of the students, would be of the greatest value to those who might be disposed to study astronomy; but this observatory is used as a depôt for the Government chronometers and meteorological instruments; and since the rating of these chronometersupon whose accuracy the safe navigation of our ships depends-is performed solely by means of the transit instrument in this observatory, it would never do to let it be used as a hack instrument for the purpose of instruction. At present it is quite impossible for any naval officer to become an astronomer, unless he has access to some private observatory, or unless he obtained permission to study at Greenwich, which might probably not be considered convenient or advisable to grant. But if the College observatory were set apart exclusively, and properly fitted up, for the use of officers studying astronomy, this very important science would be at once placed within the reach of all. Every astronomer would testify to the great benefit which would accrue to science, were a certain number of intelligent naval officers, scattered over different parts of the world, in a position to take reliable observations of the various celestial phenomena, and to furnish intelligible and trustworthy records of them.
Another subject which is of the greatest value to a naval officer, and for acquiring a knowledge of which there are at present no facilities, is marine surveying. There is not one officer in fifty, we will venture to say, who has any practical acquaintance with this duty-except those who have served in surveying-ships-although there is not a station in the world where such a knowledge would not be useful; for we are constantly opening up fresh regions to commerce, and our surveying expeditions cannot keep pace with the demands upon their services. It will be in
the minds of most naval readers of these pages, how many localities they have visited which have never been more than roughly surveyed, how many inaccuracies are found in charts, and how often it would have been in their power to furnish correct plans of different harbours they have visited, or to fill in an imperfectly known coast-line, had they only known how to set about it. The very limited knowledge of our naval officers of the two subjects we have just mentioned, is a standing reproach to the service; yet the blame does not rest with them, as we have endeavoured to show.
The system of study, therefore, for the senior officers, requires a careful revision. There should be different courses of study established, besides that of steam, for other branches of science—viz., the higher mathematics, mechanics and hydrostatics, nautical astronomy, marine surveying, naval architecture, practical astronomy, field fortification, and optics. An elementary knowledge of mathematics would of course be necessary before any of these could be entered upon; but according to even the present system of educating cadets, they acquire this; and were such a plan adopted as those we have sketched out, officers, when they came to study at the senior College, would have previously been thoroughly well grounded in many of these subjects also during their three years' instruction as cadets. The officers joining the senior College, according to this arrangement, should be at liberty to select any of the above subjects, for each of which there should be an examination to go through at the termination of the course, and certificates of proficiency given, a certain time being allowed for each subject. Some distinguishing mark might be put against an officer's
name in the Navy List who had obtained first-class certificates in any of these branches of science ; and if the Admiralty wished to put their hand upon an officer for any special service, they would at once be able to select one who, by the nature of his studies, had qualified himself for that particular duty.
We have thus endeavoured to show what are the requirements of the naval service with respect to the education and training of its officers, and how these requirements may be provided for. We have entered fully into the subject, for two reasons; first, because it is one of the very greatest national importance, and also because-since it has been resolved to abolish the present system, and to establish a College for the naval cadetsthis is the especial time to take these matters into careful consideration. We earnestly hope that the Admiralty will look upon this question in a broad and liberal light, and permit no paltry motives of economy, or no narrow-minded prejudices, to stand in the way of the development of some scheme which may be worthy of this great country, and the first Navy of the world. And we trust that naval officers themselves, fully sensible of the neglect under which their education has suffered, will one and all, whenever opportunity shall offer, raise their voices in favour of some such system for the future as shall in every respect atone for the shortcomings of the past. To them we would recall the words of the late Sir James Graham :* "I cannot express in adequate terms my admiration of the naval character; I think it decidedly the very flower of British society. I think that a naval officer, trained from his youth in his profession, and master of his profession, is one of the noblest and finest characters that the history of this country can produce."
Evidence before Select Committee of the House of Commons on Admiralty Administration, 1861.
LETTERS FROM THE PRINCIPALITIES.
NO. II.-SOCIETY AND POLITICS IN MOLDAVIA.
THE British public have very little notion of the complicated questions which are preparing for them in the East, and more especially in those Principalities of the Danube, which may be considered the centre of the Gordian knot. Carefully eschewing the study of any question which is in the least difficult to master, they never hesitate to pronounce a very decided opinion upon its merits when the moment for doing so arrives. Popular convictions are none the less strongly held because based upon absolute ignorance, and we have a notable instance, in the Schleswig-Holstein question, of the whole British nation regaling itself upon humble pie, to the great amusement of Europe generally. If we would only take the trouble beforehand to look into the most important points of foreign policy which are likely to arise, we should be saved this humiliation. Instead of this, any well-informed member of Parliament would think he was insulted if he was asked whether he understood the question of the secularisation of the Dedicated monasteries by Prince Couza. Some of the worst jokes that ever were made, because they were in such bad taste, were those made upon the impossibility of understanding the SchleswigHolstein question by persons whose business it was to understand it. Very much more of the same description of facetiousness on the part of our public men will impair the national dignity to such an extent that, in the end, we shall be forced into a war for no other purpose than the recovery of prestige. If the Convent question is too dull to be studied in this country, let people go, as I did, and learn it from the nuns themselves; but in some way or other do let them know something about it before they give their votes.
Hitherto I had only visited the monasteries and convents belonging to the Cenobitic class-Nyamptz, Seku, Agapia, and Veratica. Everywhere I found the same sentiment prevailing. There was a great deal of dissatisfaction expressed as to the mode in which the measure had been carried out, but the principle of the thing was not objected to, and beneficial results were anticipated by those who were most directly affected. It remained yet to see a good specimen of a Dedicated monastery, and we decided to proceed from Veratica to Piatra, a town situated in the valley of Bistritza, and from thence to visit a monastery of the same name in the neighbourhood. scene, when we bade adieu to the nuns of Veratica, was not so touching as when we reluctantly tore ourselves away from the Mikas of Agapia; but still we turned our backs with real regret on our hospitable entertainers, and, furnished, as before, with convent horses and gypsy postilions, sped down the valley towards our destination. After a five hours' drive through scenery which, without being grand, was full of charm and variety, we descended at dusk upon the picturesquely situated town of Piatra.
Far away from any great route, few travellers have ever visited this remote spot-but it would be the starting-point for a most interesting mountain-trip. The turbulent Bistritza, after a headlong course through the lovely scenery of the Carpathians, here issues from a gorge in the mountains, and henceforth glides tranquilly across fertile plains till it falls into the Sereth. Just before our arrival, half the town of Piatra had been swept away by the overwhelming force of its torrent, and we walked over acres of debris and desolation. Containing about fifteen thousand in