Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Men, too, who have, after the short the service through these homes, service, re-entered, should justly re- and the advantages consequent on ceive increase of pay. Men who

a permanent organisation, might be have maintained a high character, made so comfortable and so popuand have preserved their classifica- lar that dismissal from it would be tion throughout their period of ser- dreaded as a heavy punishment. vice, should receive a much higher These homes, too, might be agents rate of pension. Character being in weaning the seaman from his thus recognised by the good men vices. Dissoluteness has been looked being taken out of the mass, and by upon as the nature of a tar. We its being made a distinction, would believe his dissoluteness to be very prove a strong counterpoise to the artificial-to be the result of imtemptation of riot, and would, we pulses or artificial causes. It is often hope, give a stimulus and a power to produced by mere recklessness, and the discipline of merit and reward. a desire to escape from discomfort;

Whilst, however, the system aims often it is assumed from a traditional at encouraging good men, it must idea that it is proper to the seaman, also insist on discouraging the bad. and that he cannot be true to his They cannot be coerced as heretofore; character unless he appear drunk and the best plan, therefore, is to get rid reeling about the streets, with a of them after they have undergone a harlot on either side of him. Gencertain trial. The authorities have erally, however, it results from the ever been chary of exercising this man, when he is on shore, having no power of dismissal. A man as a resort save the lowest haunts of vice. numerical item was so valuable, that He has no alternative save the pothe was retained even though an in- shop and the brothel. The barrack corrigible scoundrel. The institution would offer him an alternativeof the permanent organisation in would afford him a resort where he barracks would nullify this reason. might find comradeship and recreaMen would be ready to supply tion. vacancies, however they occurred, It may be said, that the barrack and the incorrigible could be cast has little effect on the soldier in this adrift without remorse.' It is well respect. This may be, perhaps, beknown that, after undergoing certain cause it has so little of the character ordeal of punishment, there is little of a home. Yet the barrack may, and hope of reclaiming a man: it is should have, this character. The wiser, therefore, to discharge him at sailor, if not sociable, is a gregarious once. It is no use keepivg a man fellow; he loves to be in a crowd or merely to be continually punishing with others. We would therefore him : he is only then a trouble, an give him large rooms, apart from the expense, and an infection. The pre- dormitories, which might be well sence of such fellows is ever a dis- lighted and warmed, and where all turbance to the general economy, and hands might assemble to dance, to their riddance is a blessing. spin yarns, to sing and to smoke.

The barrack homes would be a This last is an indispensable condistrong support to this discipline of tion. An arrangement which sepamerit, by rendering the seaman's lot rates Jack from his pipe will be so much more comfortable, by giving futile. The bigots of an obsolete an assurance of stability to all its school tried it, and begot discontent advantages, and associating, it so and confusion to themselves. He much more with country and home might also have his coffee-rooms and ties. The motives which induced his reading-room. Though not much such a high state of moral discipline of a literary character, Jack is fond with the coast-guard men during in a great degree of reading, or being their employment in the fleets, might read to, if the books are well chosen. be made equally cogent with the His tastes in this respect may be general body. The tie of home, and well known, for there are certain the home interests which were at works in the libraries furnished stake, would operate in a degree at (which, by the by, have been repeatleast on all. Thus we believe that ed upon him without much change, almost as necessary) bearing the thority stated before the Commission marks of hard service, whilst others that any force could be kept up at a again are fresh as when first issued. certain established strength, and that This will be a good guide. It will the difficulty arose only when sudden also teach theorists that Jack is not increases were required. This, howquite ripe as yet to be made intellec- ever, from late experiments, would tual or scientific, and that if they appear to be a fallacy. Let this, then, would address him through his mind, be the established strength, and let they must first amuse him, and then it be raised, as far as it can, by perhaps they may instruct him. bounty, or by popularising the serThere might also be an allotted vice. If men are not forthcoming, space, where he might carry on his raise a proportionate number of maathletic games and the larks he is rines for the time, as they are always so fond of.

to be bad. The difficulty is only for Men of the old school will growl at the present; the future would take all this, and say it is giving in to the care of itself. The training-ships seaman, making too much of him. would be ever a certain feeding We believe not. There are many

source. Let the number of boys enother concessions too frequently made tered and passed in them be doubled, which may have this effect, but we trebled, or quadrupled, as may be believe it is perfectly legitimate to necessary, to keep up the supply. The make the soldier's and sailor's home standing force might thus be ever, attractive by every reasonable_com- after a few years, kept up to its fort and means of recreation. Every standard. The man difficulty would plan by which he can be kept volun- no longer exist. We should no longer tarily within his own walls must be need to go about begging and bid. a gain to the service.

ding in the different markets. Nor do we propose more consider- In these boys, too, we should not ation than should be shown in the only have the readiest materials, but construction and arrangement of all the best. There would be no diffibarracks, nor more than is now gen- culty in the supply. The seafaring erally contemplated. The barracks men would eagerly seek such an early should be a home, not a single room provision for their children. It might where numbers of men congregate to be made, and would be considered, a eat, sleep, and dress, and where they boon by the seamen of the navy. The have neither space nor permission to State might here take its choice. The assemble for recreation. With these State, too, by taking these its future barracks we would also associate the servants at an early age, would be sailor's home. There should be cer- enabled to nurture and train them tain rooms set apart where men be- according to its will, and might bring longing to ships might have a bed all the best and worthiest agencies to and a fire-might find comradeship bear on their moral education ; and and pleasantness without riot. We when these its neophytes, brought up do not think that the seaman will at under its own supervision, shall be once be weaned from his old habits, infused in numbers amid the ranks or withdrawn from his old haunts, or and classes of the navy, then, if ever, that he will be ever made a saint by it may hope to carry out and develop these means ; but we doubt not that the discipline of merit. This source, they would operate upon him in time after a few years, would afford to for good. At any rate, as we said the service a continuous supply of before, he would have the alternative young men who had been healthily of a home, and would not be driven fed and well cared for from their to vice as a resource,

boyhood; who had been also graThe next expedient, after trying to dually instructed in the preliminary make men better, is to get better exercises and duties of their vocation, men. How is this to be done? It and educated under proper surveilis difficult to get men at all; and lance; and would thus give not only how are the ten thousand, which it is quantity, but quality; not only give proposed should be always in reserve men enough, but men able, healthy, at home, to be raised ? A great au- and intelligent, and who, from their former antecedents, might be expect- have no reason to dread a contact ed to prove men also of a better and with any one of the great navies. superior stamp men who would But we asserted, also, that it was give a higher morale to the service. the destiny of England -a necessity

It has been objected to this plan, of her polity and her existence—that that it will make the service too ex- she should not only be equal to one clusive, -that the men coming from Davy, but to the navies of the world; one class will form a caste. We can. that England, to be the England not think that this will be so. The of other days, the England even of introduction of boys from the mer- the present time, must be supreme chant schools will prevent this. among maritime powers. In this There might also be always room we are supported by the authority of and place for such men of the naval the past, by the general conviction of volunteers as, from coming into con- the present. It is not denied to be tact with the navy, might be induced in consistence with political balances to join it. These, we believe, would and national policies. not be few, and they would ever be Facts have also unfortunately corinfusing fresh blood. Even were it roborated all we have said as to the not so, the evil of exclusiveness want of facility in manning our would be a much lesser one than that fleets; as to our impotency, in an of the ever-recurring man difficulty. emergency, to command men enough

Thus we think that we see in the to render our navy equal to meet a barrack system an institution which sudden danger, or constitute a nawould give to the seaman faith in the tional defence. intention of the State, and in the per- Without such powers we may manency of the service he is asked to build and build, add ship to ship, enter; which would remove many of and still be defenceless-still far the difficulties which now hamper the from an assertion of supremacy. administration, many of the objec- Herein, confessedly, lies our weaktions which render the service un- ness in the national comparisons. popular; which would produce uni- We have endeavoured to show what formity throughout; which would be should be the material power, what a great auxiliary in raising the tone the man power of our navy, and how of the navy, and strengthening its we may attain it. discipline; and which, in conjunc- We may be wrong in details; they tion with the standing organisation, may be wrong, faulty, and impracwould give the country the assurance ticable ; but we believe that the prinof having always men sufficient for ciples asserted are such as consist its defence, and men, too, worthy with the weal of the navy and the of their vocation and their nation. responsibilities of national defence. We began these papers with a

We would here briefly recapitulate comparison betwixt" the navies of our suggestions; they have been England and France, which was then given through an earnest desire to the great question of the day, and see the country truly defended, its we have been led step by step to naval might maintained : let them examine in detail the external and be so received. internal state of our navy, the ma- We have suggested that the standterial and the economy, and also to point of England's ships should discuss the proper position of Eng- never be below one hundred sail of land as a maritime power, and the the line and sixty or seventy frigates, naval strength which she should pos- with a proportion of small craftsess to uphold it as a defence and as that there should be a standing navy a supremacy:

sufficient with the resources to man Facts and concurrent testimony these ships—that this standing nary have since affirmed our statements should have a permanent organisaand opinions relative to the compara- tion, which should include and depend tive strength of the two countries in on a system of barracks to be erectships, and of their comparative powered at the different ports—that this of producing material, and we are force should be fed by the increase confirmed in our belief that we should of training - ships for boys—that it

Tet we

should always command, beyond the Now there is a lull; the political peace establishment of ships in com- horizon is clear; there is no cloud in mission, a reserve of ten thousand the sky; there are no signs of storms seamen, ready at once to man a fleet or tempest ; there is promise of fair strong enough to meet an immediate weather for years to come. Experidanger, furnish a nucleus on which ence shows that political barometers the other resources should form, are not unchangeable—that storms that this reserve should be raised by follow quickly on calms. all the legitimate means of recruit- would not base our arguments on ment, by bounties and other means, the uncertainty of political arrangeuntil its feeding source was prepared ments, or on the probabilities and --that the Royal Marines should anticipations of danger: we believe never fall below the strength of that in peace or war, whether 20,000, and that this number should alliances are friendly, or politics be increased until the seaman tale threatening, it is our duty to hold was complete--that there should be the supremacy of the seas—it is the a uniformity in the general adminis- heritage bequeathed by past gcnertration, discipline, and routine, and ations, it is the destiny of our future. that many defects and grievances This supremacy cannot be claimed now adverse to the popularity of unless we manifest the might which the navy might be removed, and the should assert it. This might, we general tone of the service elevated, believe, cannot consist of lesser means through the agency of the barrack than we have suggested. War policy system. And we have further sug- or peace policy affects this not. We gested, though here we tread on un- must stand secure and stand supreme known ground, with regard to the -secure from panics or crises-sureserves, that those which are not preme over the fears or possibilities reliable or generally effective, should of aggression. not be depended on; and that our Cost-cost-all this will involve whole strength should be thrown cost. True, cost there must be; but into the effort to connect the mer- it is supremacy, and will be well recantile service with the navy, and paid by future security and future to find in it our resources for a economy. final reserve and a final defence. Cost there must be. Defence is This we believe the constitution costly, and defence is now a national of the Royal Naval Volunteers will policy. The nation has willed it. It effect. There may be errors in de- is a question only as to what are its tail which have been alluded to, most necessary elements. We are but the principle is sound, and will, planning a system of national dewe hope, bear healthy fruit.

fences. Our harbours are to be forWe have also insisted, and must tified, the assailable points of our insist, that the life-springs of our coast protected ; and the outlay is standing navy and our resources are estimated at ten millions. This is the school and training-ships. Hence good, very good. Our arsenals should must flow the life-blood which shall not be open to attack, our shores to feed both systems.

invasions ; but it will be a new thing Again, when we began these papers, for the flag of England to find prothe national mind was disturbed by tection behind batteries. Our first what peace agitators denomiuate a fight should be fought on the seas. panic; we were surprised in unpre- Fortifications are a necessary element paredness; there were wars and of our defence--not the first. The rumours of war, and we had not creation of a navy wbich shall comreliable national defences. Every mand the seas should be the first voice was then for defence; the demand on the country's resources. nation was stirred to its depths in England's chief and first defence resolving it.

must be her navy.



There are some of my neighbours who say of my song,
“OLD Taurus is surely a little too strong :”
They ask why I speak of so strange a-design
In a pleasant and peaceable neighbour" of mine?

And they think that the plan

Of the sly little man
Is merely to keep what he has, if he can.

But did he not say to us, not long ago,
“Come over some day-I have SOMETHING to show”?
And did we not, some of us, see on the spot
What a "pleasant and peaceable neighbour" we've got ?

And that it's the plan

Of the sly little man
To bother my buttons whenever he can?

Besides, I have not quite forgotten the day
When he got his own House in that queer sort of way:
And although when we meet I may give him my hand,
There's a something about him I don't understand ;

And my Wife shakes her fan,

And says, “ JOHNNY, my man, That feller will ravage us all, if he can!

* He talks very civil and pleasant, 'tis true,
But I never much care for your mere parleyvoo :
And if you, my own JOHNNY, would hold your own place,
You'll let him talk on till he's black in the face,

And take your Wife's plan

Like a sensible man,
And make all about you as safe as you can.”

And I think my Old Woman is not so far wrong ;

such at my neighbours, and stick to my Song : Vinto my song, and my bolts and my bars si to my Rirle--and thank my kind stars

That, though a plain man,

is the true plan
ma Butuc latch all as snug as I can.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »