Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

good-conduct record, and a certain period of sea-service, the latter varying according to the grade of the candidate, are essential qualifications for admission to the official lists; and the board graduates the candidates according to their professional capacity. The classified lists are sent to Paris twenty days before the half-yearly dates of admission, and from them the Minister of Marine makes a selection according to the number of pupils for whom provision is made at the school. The selected candidates are sent in detachments to Toulon, where they undergo the final examination for admission, conducted by the authorities of the school. Candidates failing at this examination are sent back to their divisions.

The method of instruction is similar to that at other French schools. Courses of lectures are given by professors, and full synopses of each lecture, covering all the material points, in fact sometimes the whole lecture itself, are delivered to the students. These are the well-known feuilles autographiées that have already been mentioned in connection. with the Polytechnic School and the Borda. Further instruction is given and recitations are held on the subjects of the lectures by the répétiteurs, and marks are given at the recitations. Theoretical instruction consists of the following subjects * :

Candidates for first master:

1. Arithmetic, elementary algebra, geometry, and plane trigonometry. 2. Mechanics and physics.

3. Theory and description of engines.

4. Management of engines.

5. Repair and preservation of engines.

6. Erection of engines.

7. Regulation of engine-work.

Candidates for the grade of second master, and machinist pupils, have a course in the same subjects, omitting algebra and trigonometry. Candidates for quartermasters omit also subjects 2, 6, and 7. This grade, as well as that of second master, is divided into two branches, the theoretical and the practical; and the course for candidates for the latter branch is more limited than the other. For example, candidates for practical quartermasters have no lectures at all, and those for practical second masters have a special limited course in mathematics, and omit the lectures on the management and the erection of engines altogether. For all students, there are classes in mechanical drawing and in shopwork; and one day in the week is devoted to visits made by the students in company with their instructors to ships of the reserve, to ships in construction or making trial trips, and to workshops.

The examinations for promotion are competitive and are conducted by a board composed of a captain, a commander, a constructing engineer, a hydrographic examiner or professor, and a principal mechanician. The members of the board are appointed for two years, but they continue to

* Detailed programmes of the course are given in the Appendix, Note L.

perform during the period such other shore duty as may be assigned to them. While actually conducting the examinations they have the privileges and emoluments attached to special service.

The examination consists of three parts

(1) A piece of manual work, in boiler-making, forging, or fitting. This is not required in the examination for the highest grade.

(2) A scale-drawing, of objects more or less difficult according to the class examined, as follows:

Candidates for quartermasters, a simple part of the machinery, as a crank, cock, or beam.

Candidates for second masters, and machinist pupils, an apparatus or complex part of the machinery, as a piston, pump, or donkey-engine. Candidates for first masters, a complete engine or boiler.

(3) An oral examination, on the subjects of the theoretical course. The exact subjects of the examination may be seen in the detailed programmes of the courses, given in the appendix. Each candidate draws a question from each chapter of the programme for his grade; and a supplementary question, also selected from the programme, is given by the president. This somewhat imperfect form of examination is supplemented in the case of candidates for the highest grade by a written paper on a single question given to all the candidates. The candidates of all grades also answer questions on the management of engines, taken from the supplementary programmes. No limit is fixed to the number of these supplementary questions; and the mark of the candidate in the branch of management of engines is obtained by combining the mark for his first answers with those of the supplementary questions. For machinist pupils, all the questions are selected by the commission, and the two questions are given on each of the first two chapters. Candidates for the practical masters and quartermasters pass a limited examination, based on the limited course pursued at the school.

The system of marking is somewhat complicated, and it will hardly be necessary to go into its details. The drawing, manual work, and each theoretical subject count equally in determining the final mark. Additional marks (points supplémentaires) are given in recognition of remarkable professional aptitude, and of previous good service. Upon the arrangement of the candidates in the final class-list depends their seniority, and therefore the order of their promotion; but those who fall below a certain standard—and quite a high standard-are not entered at all upon the lists for promotion.

The extent and character of the course may be seen from the programmes of study. These programmes, as they stand, contain the questions given in the examinations, each paragraph representing a question, any one of which may be drawn by a candidate. The programmes may therefore be depended on as an exact statement of the course of study.

THE SCHOOLS FOR COMMISSARY PUPILS (Cours d'administration des élèves commissaires).

The schools for commissary pupils are at the various naval ports, whither the pupils are sent upon their admission to the service. The instructors are a professor and assistant professor at each station, both of whom are officers of the pay or commissariat corps of the navy. The course lasts two years, and the session begins on the 3d of November in each year and ends on the 30th of September following. During this period instruction is given on at least three days in the week. Besides the courses in naval administration, pupils are required to pursue the course of study in the English language, which is opened at all the naval ports for the benefit of officers generally; unless they can give adequate proof of a thorough acquaintance with either English or Spanish. The courses in naval administration are as follows:

CHAPTER XVIII.

1. The Navy; its purpose; the mercantile marine and its relations with the Navy; French establishments abroad.

2. The ministry of marine and of the colonies.

3. General organization of naval arsenals and other establishments.

4. *Organization of the colonies.

5. Composition and organization of the various corps in the navy. 6. Legal status of an officer of the Navy.

7. Recruitment of the naval forces.

1. The commissary-general.

2. Maritime inscription.

I. GENERAL VIEW.

[ocr errors]

*

*

a. Organization, classification, drafts.

b. Maritime police.

C. Right of domain in territorial waters.

d. * Coast fisheries.

e. * Wrecks.

f. Naval pensioners (Etablissement des Invalides de la Marine).

g.

* Pensions and compassionate allowances.

3. Duties of commissary officers in connection with surveys or boards of audit, in relation to

a. Staff officers, foremen of dockyard works, and other officials.

b. The administration and accounts of the different corps.

*

II. MARITIME JUSTICE. †

III. COMMISSARIAT SERVICE.

4. Armaments.

5. Administrative service at sea.

The starred subjects are those taught during the second year of the course.
This subject enters only into the examination for higher grades.

6. Stores.

7. Provisions.

8. Hospitals and prisons.

9. Public works.

a. Laborers.

b. Accountability for material (1) on shipboard, (2)* in the arsenals.
c. Purchases.

10. Organization of central offices of sous-arrondissements.

11 Financial accountability and details of expenditure.†

12. * Accountability for provisions and stores.

Commissary pupils attend the courses for both years; those of the first year only are attended by the assistant commissaries appointed from ensigns and from graduates of the Polytechnic School.

The courses of the second year are practical as well as theoretical. During this year it is the special charge of the assistant professor to instruct his pupils in the application of principles and methods to the actual duties of the corps. Written exercises are performed by the students under his direction, bearing upon every detail of the commissariat service, especially at sea. The professor is required to conduct the pupils to the various workshops and storehouses to instruct them in the details of business connected with the reception and inspection of stores, supplies, and equipments, and every facility is given him in the performance of his work. Outside of lecture hours the pupils perform subordinate duties in the various branches of the commissariat department of the station; in which they are subject to quarterly transfers to famil iarize them with all the parts of their profession.

Interrogations take place frequently, and examinations are held at the end of each year, before a board composed of the commissary-general of the marine, an officer of inspection, and three commissariat officers. The examinations are both written and oral; marks are given, and the final classification determines the order of seniority. Fifty per cent. of the maximum aggregate is required in order to pass, and candidates who fail are allowed to go over a second time the course for the

year.

It should be added that complete special libraries, composed of works pertaining directly or indirectly to matters connected with the commissariat service, are to be found in each port, and that they are placed at the disposal of the students.

*Second-year course.

This subject enters only into the examination for higher grades.

CHAPTER XIX.

GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE FRENCH SYSTEM.

It was remarked by Captain Hore, the naval attaché of the English embassy in Paris, in his testimony before the Committee on the Higher Education of Officers, in 1870, that the English had no system of naval education, and that the French had too much system. That there is much truth in the first part of the observation will be acknowledged by every one who has examined the matter at all, and Captain Hore, being himself an English officer, was in a position to know. But his judgment. upon the French system must be taken with some allowance, and certainly his testimony before the committee does not indicate such an acquaintance with the subject as would entitle his opinion to great weight.

The fault of "too much system," if it means anything, means a sacrifice of results to methods, an effort which looks rather to the perfection of the machinery than to the work done by the machine. It is a fault very commonly charged to French methods of administration, and one to which, perhaps, they are largely open. It is a necessary consequence of extreme centralization, and it affects to some extent the system of public education, including both the secondary and the professional schools. Its injurious effects are felt, however, rather in minor details and in exceptional instances than in the general result. In most respects the public-school system, although highly organized, is sufficiently elastic to meet the wants of individual cases. As to the training-schools for this or that professional service, and especially for a military service, it is doubtful whether a flexible system is as productive of good results as a more rigid one; and in the French naval schools there is certainly in matters of theoretical and practical instruction much greater flexibility than is to be found in those of almost any other nation. The system of oral teaching, without the restrictions of a text-book and supplemented by individual explanation and interrogation, cannot be other than an elastic one. With regard to discipline, however, it must be confessed that if French boys are at all like other boys, a great many rules might be relaxed with direct and positive benefit.

The broad features of the French system of naval education may be readily recognized from the detailed description that has been given. They consist in a unity of purpose underlying the whole plan; a rational organization, with a distinct perception of the ends in view, and an adaptation of means to reach the ends proposed; the exaction of a high standard of preparatory training; and great originality, freedom, and thoroughness of instruction. Looking at the details, we find, in the case

« AnteriorContinuar »