Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

examination thus counts as much in the final standing as the whole year's course. To obtain the final mark of each student for the year, the mark in each branch is multiplied by its coefficient, and the sum of the products is taken, increased by the captain's marks for conduct and aptitude. The co-efficient of the former is 4, and of the latter 2. The two years have equal weight in determining the mark for the whole course.

Daily reports are made by instructors to the captain, of marks given at interrogations. On Sunday the marks for the past week are published. Those pupils whose mark is less than 10 in practical navigation, or less than 5 (25 per cent.) in any other branch, are deprived of the privilege of going ashore. The captain also sends a weekly report to the Préfet Maritime. At the end of each term merit-rolls are made out, in which the rank of students is determined by the method given above. Defi cient students are reported to the secondary council of instruction, which re-examines them, and makes a report of the result, with recommendations as to the final action to be taken. In forwarding this report the captain is allowed, in the case of deficient.students whose conduct or character is bad, to add a recommendation for their expulsion, in place of suspension or permission to withdraw.

After the annual examination, merit-rolls are made out for the year and for the course. Upon the latter depends the seniority of the graduates as cadets or aspirants. At this examination, also, students who show a want of capacity or of aptitude for the service, or whose marks fall below the standard, are reported. Those whose deficiency is due to illness are allowed to repeat the studies of the year, but the others are discharged and sent back to their friends (rendus à leurs familles).

An honorary distinction, but one accompanied by no authority or responsibility, is given at the end of each term to the students who take rank in the first quarter of their class on the merit-rolls for the term. The distinction consists in the title of élève l'élite, and the privilege of wearing an anchor on the collar of the jacket; and in the case of the first third of the élèves d'élite, two anchors. The honor is forfeited for any of the more serious offenses, and is not conferred upon pupils who have undergone imprisonment. The élères d'élite are allowed to go ashore on all the liberty days. A prize of a sextant or a telescope is given to the three highest men on the roll of the graduating class.

The following table gives the branches of study, the coefficients, and the number of hours per week of lecture, study, and exercises, the last being partly theoretical or instructional, and partly practical. The table applies equally to both classes, as both have the same branches of study on alternate days, and the same aggregate division of time.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

• Theory and practice. In the number of hours allowed to geamanship is included the time taken up in getting on board the corvette and returning to the ship; and in gunnery, the time consumed in going ashore and returning.

The total amount of work performed under supervision over ten hours a day (including Sunday)—is reduced slightly by the infreqnent privi. lege of an afternoon on shore; but even with this deduction it would be considered excessive according to American standards, especially in a school where the pupils had only a month or six weeks of vacation in the whole year. The principle of work under supervision is, however, one of the essential features of all French education.

In the daily arrangement of studies, the morning is devoted to scientific subjects; the afternoon, from one o'clock to four, to professional study and exercises (the latter including drawing), and the evening, after five o'clock, to miscellaneous subjects, including naval architecture. The working day begins with general study (étude libre) from a quarter before six to seven. At a quarter past eight the cours for the day begins, twice a week in astronomy and navigation, twice in analysis and mechanics, and once in physics and chemistry. The two subjects in each group are not pursued simultaneously—the second is taken up after the first is finished; but in the allotment of time they are considered as single gronps or departments. The cours lasts one hour and a quarter and is followed by study, on the same subject, under supervision. During this period of study, lasting two hours, the interrogations are held. In the evening studies the same system prevails, the cours being from five to six o'clock, and the study from 6.15 to 7.45. In the afternoon the distinction of lectures, study, interrogation, and exercise is not preserved, but instruction is given during the allotted hours, lasting from 1 to 4.15, in the most convenient manner.

S. Ex. 51-9

This is the programme for five days in the week; Thursday and Sunday are exceptional days. They are not holidays, by any means, for

holidays can hardly be said to exist on board the Borda, except at rare • intervals; but they serve to vary the monotony of a dead level of routine.

On these days the students begin with an hour of practical navigation át a quarter before six in the morning. Part of the forenoon is occupied on Thursday with infantry driil on shore, and on Sunday with inspection, m iss, study, and fencing. The rest of the forenoon and the whole of the afternoon on both days are spent on board the corvette, performing maneuvers in the roads. In case of bad weather, the students remain on board the Borda, having study hours till noon, and various seamanship exercises (école de matelotage) in the afternoon.

During June, with the exception of three infantry drills, the forenoon and evening (from 4.30 p. m.) are given to study. One week is wholly taken up by the third term interrogation. The three hours in the afternoon are variously spent in exercises, visits to the arsenal and other places, and special study. On five days the students go on board the Corvette and work ship. The two divisions spend three or four aftermoons separately in the dockyard, one day in charge of the gunnery instructor, another day of the engineer, and another of the instructor in naval architecture. The first class is taken to the gun-cotton factory by she gunnery instructor. The other exercises consist of drawing, infantiry, and great guns for both classes; observing, at the observatory on shore, and sabre-drill, for the first class; and boat-drills and signals for &he second class. 1 Though the course lasts only two years, the high standard of admission makes it possible to accomplish a great deal in that time, and to do the work thoroughly. The studies classed under “ general subjects” em. brace a full course of French literature, and a continuation and completion of the history course of the Lycées. Instruction in the English language includes the technical terms of seamanship, gunnery, and steamengineering. The manner in which this instruction is given is peculiar and admirable. The lithographed cours of the professors, far from being a mere dictionary of terms, comprise connected treatises on these three kubjects, in English; and excellent treatises they are, apart from their main object of teaching a foreign language, being clear, compact, and systematic. They, therefore, give practice not only in a nautical but in Wigeneral vocabulary, and in the construction of sentences, and the application of grammatical principles. The character of the exercise will be best shown by examples, a few of which are given in the appendix, taken from different parts of the work.*

The second division, known as the scientific subjects, comprises three groups of studies, astronomy and navigation, analysis and mechanics, and physics and chemistry. More time is given to these subjects than to the others, and the time is in general better arranged, the whole

Note I.

forenoon being taken up with them. The course in the first group of studies, astronomy and navigation, begins with a short review of descriptive geometry and of spherical trigonometry. Astronomy is taught chiefly as subsidiary to navigation, but it receives a pretty full treatment, always from a mathematical point of view. The course in navigation is both theoretical and practical, and includes all that could well be taught in a stationary ship. There is a small observatory on shore, which is in the charge of this department. The hour before breakfast, on two days in the week, is devoted to observations and the solution of practical problems. The time is chiefly devoted, however, to a thorough foundation in the theory of navigation and to working out examples; the year on board the practice ship, after graduation, giving ample time to develop and perfect the exclusively practical part of the subject.

In the second group, analysis and mechanics, the course begins with a short review of certain subjects in algebra, such as fractional and negative exponents, the binomial formula of Newton, series, &c. Next comes a thorough course in analytical geometry, including higher plane curves. This is followed by the differential and integral calculus, including the method of least squares. After this, the class takes up mechanics, going through statics. This completes the course for the first year. The second year begins with the subject of differential equations, after which comes the rest of mechanics, embracing kinematics and dynamics. The second year's work includes an elaborate course in theoretical mechanics, and in mechanics applied to machinery.

Physics and chemistry are so divided that a part of both subjects is taught in each year. At present the Naval School does not possess the Decessary means for instruction in either subject, such as apparatus, laboratories, &c., and the course in both is somewhat meager and inadequate. It is hoped that before long a laboratory will be provided. Of course it will have to be on shore, and its distance from the school will interfere seriously with its usefulness. At present some use is made of the laboratory connected with the pharmaceutical department at Brest; but this answers very ill for instruction in chemistry, and is of no nse at all in physics. The lectures in the former branch are given up to general chemistry, with little view to its application to the naval profession; while many of the theories taught are obsolete, the dualistic formnlas are retained, and the lectures in general do not represent the present condition of the science.

In the professional branches, the only regular cours delivered are in steam-engineering, ordnance and gunnery, and naval architecture. In the other subjects, and even in the first two of these, reliance is largely placed on practical exercises, supplemented by oral explanations. The lithographed cours form a series of elaborate works on the various subjeets, and, with the manuals, afford all the necessary materials for imparting a thorough knowledge of the theory of all the branches. In seamanship, the cours contains a description of the parts of a ship,

treated in a regular and systematic way, with the most general and elementary matters at the beginning; thus avoiding the faults of coustruction and arrangement which characterize most of the text-books on the subject. The cours for the second year is a complete sailmaker's and rigger's guide, and contains a general explanation and description of maneuvers. The problems of mathematics and mechanics involved in the subject, such as arise in lifting and getting on board heavy weights, in the action of sails and rudder on the motions of a ship, &c., are worked out in detail. As between theory and practice, however, by far the greater part of the time in this branch is given to the latter.

The course in ordnance includes the subjects of metals, the fabrication, testing, and inspection of guns; a full description of the three principal types or models in use in the French Navy, those of 1858–60, of 1861–66, and of 1870; carriages; powder; projectiles, and their manufacture; the complete discussion of the theory of motion of projectiles in air; the calculation of range tables, and the effect of projectiles on armor.

Under the head of ordnance and gunnery (artillerie) come also instruction in stationary and movable torpedoes; the cours d'infanterie, which is a treatise on small-arms, principally the Gras rifle, together with the theory of firing (étude théorique du tir), mathematically treated; and a short explanation of topographical charts. The course is filled out by the manuals of the seaman-gunner, and of small-arms, and torpedoes.

The remaining professional subjects, steam-engineering and naval architecture, are treated with great fullness and thoroughness. With the exception of astronomical navigation, calculus, and mechanics, they are the most elaborate and skillfully-managed courses at the school. The instructors are a principal mechanician for the first branch, and two lieutenants of high scientific attainments for the second. Naval architecture includes ship-building, as well as the higher problems of naval architecture properly so called. The published lectures in both courses are well-digested and exhaustive works from a scientific and mathematical, as well as a professional point of view. (See Appendix, Note J.) The practical exercises in the course are as follows:

1. Seamanship.
2. Great guns.
3. Howitzers, in boats and on shore.
4. Infantry.
5. Landing parties (Exercices de débarquement).
6. Boats, with sails and with oars.
7. Steam-engine.
8. Fencing
9. Swimming (school in town).

10. Dancing (first class only). The last three are considered as recreations. The seamanship exer. cises include long drills on Thursday and Sunday, in good weather. In

« AnteriorContinuar »