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are not great. The experience really an education in itself. of the Japanese navy during It is noteworthy that by such the present war has proved a competent observer as Prothat steam fleets in time of fessor Main of the Portsmouth war pass quite as much time College the men produced in at sea as did the sailing fleets. the past were considered to It is believed that the crews of have an extraordinary capacity certain ships did not set foot for hard mental work when on shore for months. Ships a distinct object was to be may be somewhat less uncom- gained. fortable now than they were in the past, but life on land is now more luxurious, so that the differences between life afloat and ashore are unchanged. It is this that tells the restraint and confinement especially rather than the absolute amount of discomfort.
Another well-known and important advantage of going
sea young is that boys acquire quickly the habit of command and a knowledge of men and things, coupled with a quickness of eye and a readiness of resource which do not come so easily later in life. This argument only holds in the case of those who are allowed to take their proper share in the duties of the ship, as was the practice in the past. Unfortunately there arose a custom of abandoning this practical training in favour of mere book knowledge. This was brought about largely by the pressure of men who, having little or no sea experience, were unable to appreciate the value of practical training. These argued that naval officers were not taught to think under the old system. It was forgotten that they were trained to observe, and acquired habits of order and a knowledge of men and things which was
It will be interesting and useful to trace the gradual change in naval education which has taken place during the last century. At the close of the French war in 1815 cadets were entered between the ages of 12 and 14. Some were sent straight to sea, others to the college at Portsmouth where they underwent a course of instruction for two years. Between the two classes existed much antagonism, doubtless due to the diverging lines of thought produced by difference of training, and not allayed by the advantages accruing to the successful "Collegians." These advantages varied from time to time. At one period the cadet who passed out first was awarded a gold medal, which carried with it a lieutenant's commission on passing in seamanship at the age of nineteen. This was found to be too great a prize to be won at the age of fourteen or fifteen, and was abolished. In 1835 the maximum reward to the most successful cadet was a silver medal and one year's time. After serving six years at sea, including any sea time allowed for meritorious passing out of the college, and being nineteen years of age, they were ex
amined vivá voce to ascertain fell the Crimean War, and the changes from sail to steam, from smooth-bores to rifled guns, from wooden ships of the line to armoured battleships. If war had been studied, and higher education of the right kind properly encouraged, during the period 1839-59, the reader is asked to reflect on the difference in progress which might have resulted during the eventful period 1859-85,-between 1859, when the Warrior, the first ironclad, was laid down, and 1885, when the imminence of war with Russia exposed the backward state of the navy and initiated the naval renaissance. Quite twenty years are required to give full effect to radical changes in an educational system. Would minds trained to deal with the fundamental principles of war have clung to sails quite so long? or misreading the lessons of the American Civil War, have sanctioned the building of ships fit only for coast defence? or have failed to acquire a thorough knowledge of the new motive power? or have depreciated the efforts of the late Admiral Colomb to direct naval thought to the study of tactics and strategy? It is a noteworthy fact that the neglect to study war systematically continued until the year 1900, when the Board of Admiralty directed a war course to be started at Greenwich College. It is true that the Order of January 1873 establishing the College for the higher education of naval officers contained this clause :
whether their practical know-
To the men thus trained
10. Naval history and tactics, including naval signals and steam evolutions. But so little attention was paid to this that it was not included in the Regulations dated November 1888. The Navy was too much occupied with questions connected with the material to trouble about such matters as strategy and tactics! May this not have been due to the influence of the "Collegians," whose mathematical training would fit them to deal with questions connected with ships and their fittings, but would neither help them much in the study of war nor turn their thoughts in that direction? The late Sir Cooper Key, the most distinguished "Collegian," was the first President of the Greenwich College, and, as has been shown by the late Admiral Colomb, never fully understood the fundamentals of naval strategy. This must have been due to some extent to his education,
as his ability and capacity were undoubted. It is significant that he was First Sea Lord in 1885, and had been so since 1879. May it be that the Navy's distrust of the "Collegians" was to some extent well founded in that the higher education which they favoured was not of the right kind?
The Crimean War reacted powerfully on the naval mind, and paved the way for many innovations steam, armour, and the rifled gun-and for educational reform. The system of entry and education, which had enjoyed a struggling existence from the year 1729 until its abolition in 1837, was again introduced in 1857. But instead of the Portsmouth College, a harbour trainingship-eventually the Britannia -was used. The age on entry remained practically the same from 1815 until 1898, when a material increase was made. The facts are as follows:
Age on going to sea.
14 to 16
these appear to have passed through the Portsmouth Academy, with its two years' course of instruction.
It may be noted that during the eighteenth century the age on going to sea varied between ten and seventeen, those who did not join the Academy em- Up to the time of actually barking generally younger than going to sea no great difference those who did. Keppel was existed between the College ten; Rodney, Hawke, and Nelson, system of 1815 and the twelve; Jervis, thirteen; Dun- Britannia course of 1898. It can and Keith, fifteen; Dun- is true that in 1868 a sea-going donald, seventeen. Not one of training-ship was introduced,
in which the cadets passed one year; but this was abolished in 1873, as it was rightly held that the fleet itself, with all its varied experience, must necessarily give a professional training far better and more real than could be obtained amid the artificial surroundings of a special training-ship. In 1902 the Britannia was found to be too small for the increased number of cadets. Regardless of past experience, a sea-going training-ship was started to provide the necessary accommodation. The professional training of the boys would have gained by drafting them direct into the fleet, but a special training-ship was more favourable to producing officers of the same pattern and to the passing of examinations. What would the modern Navy be without superficial examinations!!!
It is in the education after leaving the training-ship that the great and vital change was made. For a practical training unsurpassed was gradually substituted a very inferior book education. A Chinese system of examinations was the engine by means of which this was brought about.
The original examination in seamanship for the rank of lieutenant was a vivá voce "pass to ascertain whether the candidate was competent to take charge of a ship at sea, and was conducted by three captains or commanders, as being most interested in seeing that the officers under them were efficient. This was supplemented by "pass" examina
tions, in gunnery on board the Excellent, in navigation and steam at the Portsmouth College. During the 'Sixties accelerated promotion was given to those who took first-class certificates in the three subjects. The examinations thus became competitive instead of simply for a "pass." The advantages derived from early promotion were so great that this change soon began to make itself felt, and was wide-reaching in its results. Although candidates only went to the Excellent and College to pass, they were allowed time in each case to prepare for examination. Under the pressure of competition, demands were first made to equalise these times for all, and then to extend them with a view to education instead of merely preparation.. When the Greenwich College was opened this was done. Commencing 1st January 1874, the gunnery course in the Excellent was fixed at three months, and that for navigation at the College at six months.
Subsequently were added a pilotage course, and in 1882 a torpedo course in the Vernon. By 1886 the system had been entirely changed, and was then as follows: Cadets entered at ages between twelve and thirteen and a half passed two years in the Britannia, went to sea between fourteen and fifteen and a half, served at sea five years less the time allowed out of the Britanniaone year being the maximum— passed in seamanship and joined the College between nineteen and twenty and a half. They
now passed through the following courses of instruction: at Greenwich, for navigation and mathematics, six months; in Vernon, for torpedo, one month; in Excellent, for gunnery, three months; at Portsmouth, for pilotage, two months. This consumed, including leave and interruptions of various kinds, about fifteen months. The age on completing the whole varied between 20 and 21 years. Those who passed the best examinations were immediately promoted, and gained upwards of two years over their contemporaries. As in the case of the gold medal of the Portsmouth College with its lieutenant's commission, this was considered so excessive that an attempt was made to mitigate it. In 1891 was introduced a graduated scale, based on the classes of certificates obtained. This scale made accelerated promotion applicable not only to those who took all first-class certificates, but to others who passed less well. The competition was extended by this to a much larger number of officers, instead of limiting it to those in the first flight. At the same time, it was recognised to be futile to attempt to pass the whole body of sub-lieutenants through the same mathematical course, thus confirming the opinion given by Professor Main of the Portsmouth College twenty years before. The Greenwich course was divided into two parts of three months each, the first only being compulsory. This was the first sign of a reaction against the system.
The effect of these examinations on the naval service has been profound. The professional career of the present generation has been governed by ability to pass examinations rather than by their practical professional knowledge. So much has depended upon the result of the examinations that practical training at sea has been sacrificed to prepare for them. The qualifying seaservice has been reduced. This was six years during the sailing era, five years and six months in 1859, and only three years and six months in 1900, including Britannia time in each case, which might be twelve months as a maximum in 1859 and four months in 1900. Midshipmen have been so largely withdrawn from the ordinary duties of their ships for the purpose of attending school, that they have not had sufficient opportunity to acquire practical knowledge of the working and management of ships, their fittings, equipment, and armament. Unlike their predecessors, they have not made themselves familiar with the practical working of the motive power. They have become lieutenants, notwithstanding that they undoubtedly possessed less knowledge of these matters than their predecessors. This has been recognised in 80 far that, whereas formerly when a midshipman passed in seamanship for the rank of lieutenant he was held to be qualified to take charge of a ship, such is now not the case. He must now, after passing all his ex