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Hôpital des Invalides, be regarded by “contemporary posterity," otherwise than as acts from which Civilization, sighing profoundly averts her eyes ?
To descend from our buskins; revenons à nos moutons.
At the beginning of this century and for nearly a "century previous, army expenditure was subject to the supervision of two civilian comptrollers, subsequently increased in number to four, one of whom accompanied the army into the field during the Peninsular War. The office was abolished in 1836. Contemporaneous with the increase in numbers of the Comptrollers was framed the scheme for the Commissariat establishment, and the officers so appointed continued to work in a double capacity as civil clerks under the Treasury, and military ones under the War Office until 1854, when they were transferred to the sole alle. giance of the War Minister, and in 1868 their civil status entirely 'ceased and determined.' That the change was regarded suspi. ciously cannot be doubted, and we well remember how jealously the Press drew attention to this building up of a system of military finance uncontrolled by direct parliamentary supervision.
It must be admitted that the great Duke was opposed to all such changes, and recorded his opinion that “the Commissariat should be under the Treasury and responsible to the Treasury alone." Yet it is scarcely fair to arrive at the conclusion intimated by Mr. Clode of the War Office, in his late admirable compilation, that “once constitute the War Office and Horse Guards of the same personnel, destroying the distinctive character of each office, and a dual government is created.”
The visible shudder with which the “ Constitutional historian" witnesses the insidious advance of the military element into the administration of the Consolidated Department, finds vent at length in a startling quotation which might be harmful were it not ludicrous.
“-Scandit fatalis machina muros
Accipiunt socios, atque agmina conscia jungunt.” But the following paragraph explains his abject terror when he admits that “ besides being directly prejudicial to the public interests, such arrangements are discouraging in the highest degree to intelligent men, who in some instances with high intellectual endowments (the italics are our own) have been invited by competitive examination to form the Secretary of State's Department which constitutional usage had hitherto assigned to civilians."
But are high and intellectual endowments incompatible with the Queen's commission ? And when appointed to the new branch, is it not possible that the pen may be wielded with the ease of the sword ? or that the “ Acting Commissary” may not become more control than control itself, on the principle of Ameri
canior Americanis ? nay, that having got into the grooves of the system the combatant volunteer may not surpass in apti. tude and zeal the tried exactitude of the mechanical office man?
If no other lesson has been taught by the war, surely one fact speaks for itself, and arrests the attention of all rational men, that to render an army homogeneous and efficient it must be administered by military men, subject of course to Constitutional Parliamentary supervision and control. But this must not be overdone, it must not be exigeant, for the administrative routine that impedes a general in the execution of his office, and deprives him of activity and foresight, is fatal to all operations. Witness what Gambetta's unwarrantable interference with General d'Aurelles de Paladine cost the Army of the Loire.
We have had on their trial, as it were, and in direct competition with each other, the two systems of France and Prussia. Can we not eliminate wbat is good and practical out of each, and apply it to our own? This Session of Parliament is to be emphatically a military one, and its deliberations will have to embrace this important subject in any discussion on Army Reform, and the Reserve questions. Let us then not blindly adhere to any theoretical system, nor yield to any unsubstantial measure calculated merely to stave off present panic, but take the lesson of this war to heart, and earnestly decide on what is best for the country.
NURSERIES FOR THE NAVY.
The question of properly manning our Navy must be universally allowed to be one of the most important that can occupy the attention of the public. Our ships, their construction and capabilities, have justly been the principal topic of discussion for some time past; and the experiments with the latest iron-clads have. been dwelt on, both by the Press and the general public, with the greatest interest and earnestness for the last few months. This interest has been heightened by the collapse of the unfortunate Captain,' and endless have been the speculations and theories to which this catastrophe has given rise, and fully and freely have they been ventilated.
England's principal strength must lie in her Navy-without a powerful Navy, not only is she powerless to guard against invasion, but she must lose the command of what have been justly termed “the keys of the British Empire," the British Channel and the Mediterranean.
Well, we suppose that, on the whole, we may be fairly contented with the present condition of our fleet. It is thoroughly
efficient and well found, and although it cannot be considered as sufficient in the event of a war, still it is thoroughly serviceable and reliable, and forms a sufficient nucleus capable at any time of such expansion as may be found necessary or desirable. But ships without men are only an evidence of what might be, and it will be generally allowed that next to the formation and equipment of our ships, the men who are to render them serviceable and enable them to fulfil the high hopes we have formed of their performance, must prove the most important subject for our attention. The question of manning the Navy has occupied the attention of Parliameut, the Lords of the Admiralty, and various Committees and Commissions for some years past, but we propose to consider the question from a simple, and, so to speak, original point of view. We take it for granted that England must always place her chief dependence upon her Navy, and therefore that the question of the supply of seamen is not one of to-day, or to. morrow, but of all successive to-morrows that are yet to come. So we leave the present supply of men, and propose to confine our attention to the means which exist of keeping up a constant and unfailing supply of the best material for the purpose; or in other words, to ensure a steady flow of boys into the Royal Navy, who are well trained, and thoroughly fit for the sea-service of their country.
We will begin with the steps taken by the Government to attain this end. Talking of the sea, and its ships, we find that our thoughts unconsciously turn to the Thames, and soon after leaving London, we find ourselves contemplating Greenwich Hospital. The school attached to that noble institution has lately attracted a good deal of attention and discussion. In a recent article in this Magazine we gave a detailed history of this school, and sketched, as briefly as possibly, the results of the inquiries which had been made up to that date into its working and results; we also called the attention of our readers to the appointment of a Committee of investigation, intended to propose a scheme for its re-organization so as to effectually secure the realization of the two objects for which it was founded and subsequently supported, viz:
1.-The education of the children of seamen; and
This Committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. G. O. Trevelyan, M.P., was composed of the following gentlemen, experienced in education, the Rev. Dr. Woolley, the Admiralty Director of Education, Mr. Carleton Tufnell, Inspector of Schools under the Poor Law Board, and Mr. G. W. Hillyard, Superintendent of the Central London District School at Hanwell, with Captain G. G. Randolph, R.N., to represent the Naval interest, and as it were to watch the proceedings on behalf of the Navy, and Mr. Loveless, the head of the Greenwich Hospital Branch in the Admiralty, as Secretary.
The instructions given to this Committee by the Admiralty were very clear and concise. We quote the principal points.
“ To inquire into the present condition, cost, and utility of Greenwich Hospital School, with reference to its character as a feeder for the Navy.
“ To propose regulations for the future admission of the boys, and their ages for entry and discharge, and to determine how far the admission of boys is to be governed by the service of their fathers, and how far by their own physical and mental qualifications, and their willingness to serve in the Navy."
"To lay down a curriculum of education, including a system of industrial training, on the understanding that the boys are admitted with a view to their entering the Navy.
" To report as to the continuance of the Nautical School; the destination of the scholars, with reference to their being eventually employed in the public service, and their number; the whole number of boys in the school generally not exceeding 800, &c., &c.”
The Committee having carefully considered the mass of evidence taken by previous Committees, which is truly described as valuable and exhaustive, and having completed their investigations, made their report to the Admiralty, on the 15th June last, and it was presented to Parliament on the 5th July following.
It appears by a Return appended to the Report of the Committee of 1868, that out of 776 boys in the school in July 1867:26 were sons of commissioned and subordinate officers, Royal
warrant officers, gunners, boatswains and carpenters
non-commissioned officers, Royal Marines
The remainder, viz., 265 were sons of seamen in the Royal Navy, and of privates in the Royal Marines.
It was thefore evident that the character of the school had completely changed from that originally intended, and as the Royal Commissioners well remarked in their Report of 1860, the school was no longer a charity school professing to bestow a limited education on the children of pensioners and poor seamen, the curriculum having been so extended as to make the education an object of desire for the children of parents of higher social position, whereas by comparing the Acts and 1696 and 1697 it is abundantly clear that the advantages of Greenwich Hospital were to be allowed only to persons not raised above the degree of a master's mate in any of His Majesty's ships of war.
Again, it appeared that the country did not obtain the services of the boys to anything like the extent which ought to result from the gratuitous maintenance and education of so large a number in the school. Out of 1,558 boys discharged between 1859 and 1866 inclusive, only 310 entered the Royal Nary from the school as boys, while 1,068 were discharged to their friends; although by the regulations in force all boys were required to be physically fit for sea-service when they were admitted. Thus one of the great objects for which the school has been maintained, to act as a Nursery for the Royal Navy, has been systematically defeated.
In pursuing their inquiries the Committee found that industrial training formed no part of the education, and that the services of the boys had not been used in any degree for domestic purposes, in order to reduce the wages of servants, &c., and that the superintendence and personal cleanliness of the boys had not been so complete as was desirable, and as might have been the case had the pupil-teachers been made use of for this object. Only one opportunity of washing was afforded daily, and when the swimming bath was not available on account of the season, the bathing accommodation in-doors was found insufficient for such a large number.
On comparing the cost of the school with that of the Central London District School at Hanwell, the rate per boy appears high, being £29 3s 10d at Greenwich, while at Hanwell the rate is only £20. When the recommendations made by the Committee are fully carried out, it is hoped that the disparity between these rates will be vastly reduced.
The recommendations of the Committee having been approved by the First Lord of the Admiralty, it was necessary to appoint an able Naval officer to take charge of the Establishment and carry out all the proposed reforms in a thoroughly efficient manner. Happily the right man has been found, and in Staff-Commander Burney, who has had much valuable experience while superintending the late Naval Training Establishment at force in Jersey, we believe that the system of industrial training will find an able and zealous exponent. We will now describe briefly the principal alterations which have been, or will be, made in the system of education and training pursued at Greenwich Hospital School.
In order that the boys may be thoroughly instructed in practical seamanship, the upper deck of a ship with masts, yards and sails complete, is to be erected in the grounds of the school, in order that the boys may be trained to work aloft ; boats will be provided for their use on the river, and every effort made to familiarize them with that element on which so many of them are to pass the greater part of their future lives. The boys will receive industrial training in the following occupations, and in the proportions attached to each making a total of 350 boys to be employed daily upon industrial pursuits :