Page images
PDF
EPUB

TRAINING SHIPS FOR SEAMEN IN THE ROYAL NAVY.

a

The entrance to the Royal Navy is now limited to boys between the ages of 15 and 17, who present themselves at certain recruiting stations on board of Receiving ships stationed in the principal ports of Great Britain, and who are found on examination to be in sound health, not below a certain standard of height, weight, and circumference of chest, of good character, and with a rudimentary knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic. After passing satisfactorily the required examination, with the written consent of their parents and guardians they are entered and bound to Her Majesty as sailors until they arrive at the age of twenty-eight, and then sent to one of the five Training Ships at Devonport (Impregnable and Implacable), Portsmouth (St. Vincent), Falmouth (Ganges), and Portland (Boscawen).

In each Training Ship the boys are divided into two classes—the First and Second. The First class is the upper division, into which those pass who have been twelve months on board. Here they receive 7d. per day (instead of 6d. in the Second), and if they bave passed a satisfactory examination in seamanship, gunnery, and school work, they wear a badge, and are called Badge Boys, and enjoy the privileges of a Petty Officer,-extra liberty on shore and exemption from dirty work, as well as increased pay.

The work on board of a Training Ship, consists of (1.) School duties, and (2.) Instruction and training in the practical work of a sea-going vessel.

(1.) The school work is conducted by the Head-master and his assistants, under the gencral control of the Chaplain and Naval Instructor. The boys are put into four divisions, irrespective of the classification of First and Second, which has reference to the time they have been on board. Having a knowledge of reading and writing when they enter, they are taught arithmetic avd geography, and become quite expert in elementary studies. Each division is subjected to a searching examination four times a year, by the Captain, and twice a year by the Inspector of Navy Schools, who reports direct to the Admiralty.

(2.) The Training work, includes all branches of the service required of a sailor, and a familiarity with every part of the vessel and her rigging; the names and uses of the masts and yards; knotting and splicing; the use of the helm and needle; the compass; all the various niceties of rigging; the way to reef and furl; to make, shorten, and shift sails; and the meaning of the various words of command. To go through with quickness and precision all these various subjects, the boys are divided into sections, each under a regular teacher. The lessons are short, but frequent, and the repetition is continued till the right way becomes a habit. A portion of the boys are taught flags, and the various systems of signaling. All are taught swimming, and how to rescue a man overboard, before they go to sea. To perfect the boys in rowing, sailing, and managing boats, a number of different descriptions is attached to each Training Ship. A Brig is also provided which is placed under the command of a lieutenant,'to cruise daily with a party of boys, who perform all the work, under an experienced sailor. Those who bave been at school for six months are sent off for two or three weeks at a time to get accustomed to real sea work. After an experience of two months in a Brig, the boys return to the Training Ship for further drill as a preparation for sea service on board of naval vessels.

Boys who show an aptitude for the use of tools are formed into a special class to be trained for ship-carpentering. And to give the practical knowledge, a small ship (the Circe) is fitted up as a workshop, and is attached to the Impregnable, at Devonport.

The training of the British sailor is not limited to seamanship, but each boy is now conducted with great attention through a complete course of gunnery instruction. This course is divided into four sections.

1. The Handspike drill, and manning boats' sides.
2. Pointing, sponging and loading. Rifle drill.
3. Pointing, dismounting and mounting. Sword Exercise.
4. Independent tiring; quick and broadside firing; shifting, breechings,

trucks, and trigger lines, bow and quarter firing; and securing a

lower deck gun. On leaving a Training Ship about half the boys go through a course of Practical Gunnery, to enable them to aim and accustom them to firing shot and shell, on board of a ship specially fitted up for their use.

In few schools of any grade is the occupation of the pupils more incessant, but the routine is so diversified, that the lads are in high health and spirits during their entire training.

SCHOOL SHIPS FOR DESTITUTE CHILDREN IN SEAPORTS.

а

IN 1856 the frigate Akbar was handed over by the Admiralty to a Board of Managers in Liverpool, and in 1858, the frigate Venus, to the Marine Society in London, to be fitted up and occupied by a class of boys, who were found hanging about the docks, and were fit candidates for police and reformatory treatment. In these ships successive classes of lads—in the former an average of 70, and in the latter, of 140, each year have received the ordinary elementary school instruction, and in addition, have been trained to the ordinary routine of a seaman's life. In due time a majority of them, rescued from bad influences, and lifted on to a higher plane of intelligence, have been put on board of merchant vessels, to work their way up into positions of good pay and responsibility.

In 1870 the Admiralty turned over to a Board of Management (charged by the Poor Law with providing schooling for destitute and pauper children) in the Forest Gate District, composed of three of the eastern parishes of London, a fine wooden man-of-war, the Goliath, of 84 guns, rendered powerless for the service, by the progress of modern naval construction. The ship was fitted up as a nautical and industrial school, at a cost trifling compared with that of a new building, site, and equipment for the same number, and, with its complement of 400 lads born to poverty and almost predestined to vice and crime, anchored off Gravesend. Fortunate in its superintendent, Captain Bourchier, of the Royal Navy, and his staff of industrial and book instruction, these lads (increased during the year to 450) have been subjected to a daily nautical drill and school course, which give great satisfaction.

From an official statement published in the London Times (Oct. 11, 1871), it appears that out of 449 boys received on board since the Goliath took up her station, 16 have gone into the Royal Navy, and in a few weeks 40 others will be in readiness; 13 have gone to sea in merchant ships, and more berths are promised shortly; 25 have found desirable situations on shore or been discharged to their friends. Besides the regular elementary school studies in which all engage for four hours, and seamanship which

a

a

is taught to all, 115 are under instruction in the bands, of which there are four on board, in addition to a drum and fife band. There are 160 treble and second singers; and concerts, vocal and instrumental, are given by the young performers. For young musicians there is a demand in the army, and a list of 30 adepts have been sent to the Horse Guards. There is a swimming bath attached, and 185 bave been taught to swim. Out of a fund raised by subscription, prizes are given, the first distribution of which is thus described:

The prizes, of which about 100 were given away—and Captain Bourchier said he wished heartily that he had a prize for every boy, for " there was not one black sheep among them "-were awarded according io a system calculated to stimulate the better feelings as well as the intelligence of the boys. Thus, while there were prizes for seamanship, for smartness aloft, for the best sailmakers, best coxswains of boats, best tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, painters, buglers, &c., there were also prizes for the best swimmers, the best captain of messes, for the boys who kept their clothes or band instruments in the best order, one for the boy who had attended most carefully to the sick, and two for the most popular boys in the ship. The latter prizes had been awarded according to a species of informal and unconscious plébiscite on the part of the boys themselves. There were five “popular boys” nominated; for one of these-a small, dark, round-faced urchin-every boy in the ship voted; the next on the list bad a little over 50 per cent. of the crew in his favor; and if names be any guide to nationality both these boys ought to hail from the sister island. To tive of the boys silver medals were given for special good conduct, and these enjoyed the distinction of standing in the front row and having their honors fastened on by Miss Bourcbier, daughter of the Captain Superintendent, the general stribution of books being made by Mr. Brushfield, chairman of the Board of Managers. As the little fellows came up to the table it was impossible not to remark what a difference existed between recent arrivals in the school and those who had been a few months or even a few weeks on board the Goliath. The school records show that, though commonly feeble and stunted in growth when they embark, numbers of them have since grown two and three inches in height, and as much as two inches round the chest. At Gravesend mariners know that the salt water mingles with the fresh; the process is silent, but not the less real. And in the Goliath, as in the tide itself, a change may be traced, working quietly but just as surely, in the physique and characters of the boys on board. The constraint, depression, and helplessness lurking in all pauper boys lifts and melts away by little and little. In its place come the fraukness, courage, and love of adventure natural to English boys who live near the sea. Every thing on board encourages a cheerful, self-reliant tone: the music, good food, good air, alternate hours of work and play, care, and strict discipline—these are the elements in the midst of which they live. The boys make every thing for themselves. Even the neat Hussar uniform in which band No. 1 plays on the quarter-deck has been cut out and made on board. The form of punishment held in most awe is to be forbidden to row in the boats. Moreover, they one and all feel that they have a future. Taking into account the advantages, physical and educational, which the boys receive, it would not be placing too high a value upon the training in the Goliath to estimate it in the case of each boy at 501. a year. Yet the actual charge made to other unions is 6s. 6d. a week.

The editorial notice of this enterprise concludes as follows:

Thus, beside the regular supply of trained sailor boys who may be expected to take to the navy-we are told the punishment most dreaded on board thie Goliath is being forbidden to row in the boats—there will be a considerable residue brought up to steady work on shore, to skilled labor and occupations „which ought to secure them in after life a decent subsistence, and a position far above the slough of hopeless and belpless poverty in which they were born.

RECENT SCHOOL LEGISLATION.

L LAW RESPECTING POPULAR SCHOOLS IN NORWAY.

(Passed May 16, 1860.) Section 1. The object of the popular school is to aid domestic education in instilling into the youth of the country true Christian enlightenment, and to provide them with the knowledge and the skill which every member of the community ought to possess, as also, in as far as circumstances will allow, to extend further that general culture.

Section 2. The popular schools are divided into lower and higher schools.

(a.) The lower popular school is a district school, in which the children belonging to the district receive the instruction which the law makes obligatory, and also further instruction, which is not obligatory.

(b.) The higher popular school shall be common for several districts, or for a whole school community, or for several school communities, and shall provide a superior degree of instruction for the children belonging to the district union, or to the school communities.

Section 3. Each school community is divided into school districts, the limits of which shall be determined by the school commission, who in doing so, must take care that each dwelling is included in the district of the school which is within most convenient reach.

If the dwellings are situated so near to each other, that a number of at least thirty children beld ing to them, who are within the school age, can conveni. ently attend one and the same school, one shall be opened in a building hired or erected for the purpose. Should the number of children in any one district be so great as to render it unavoidable to have them all taught by one master at the same time, they shall either be divided into sections, which shall attend school at different hours, or assistant teachers (male or female) shall be appointed.

When the distances make attendance at a fixed school difficult or impossible, the school may become movable, but in every place in which it is kept a proper school-room must be provided.

Section 5. The subjects of instruction in the district schools are:-(a.) Read. ing. (6.) Religion. (c.) Selections from the reading book, particularly such as treat of geography, history, and natural science. (d.) Singing. (e.) Writing. () Cyphering

When the school commission find it feasible, the boys should be taught gymnastics and military exercises. The school shall open and close every day with a prayer, and the singing af a hymn, or with one or the other.

Section 6. As a general rule, each district school shall be open during twelve weeks in each of the two divisions of the year; but the schools in which the children are divided into classes according to their skill and knowledge, shall be open only nine weeks in each half year. Changes may, however, be introduced herein, if the proper authorities think fit. Each week shall have six school days, and each school day, on an average, six school hours.

Section 7. Any time beyond that fixed in the preceding article, which the school commission, with the approval of the communal administration, may assign, for the instruction of the children of a district, whose parents or guar. dians desire it, shall be devoted to further instruction in the branches comprised in the district school, to which may be added, if it be deemed desirable, one or more of the subjects comprised in the higher popular school.

Care shall be taken that in fixing the time during which the children of the popular school are bound to attend, the most convenient periods of the year be selected

« EelmineJätka »