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fifty add twenty years for the peace, and the sum will be seventy, •We believe that we know the age of every admiral in the service, and have the paper in our possession. We will not print it, as some of them flirt a little yet, but we find by this list that the average age
of the admirals is seventy-six. We do not mean to say but that many are now just as competent, as full of zeal and energy, as ever they
but this we do say, that however fresh they may be in their intellects, their constitutions will not, after a twenty years' residence on shore, bear up against the fatigue and constant excitement of a sea life, and that a couple of winters in command of the channel fleet would lay the majority of the list under hatches; and we assert it too with the conviction that death has more trouble in killing an old admiral than any other class of people. Still they must haul down their flags to him at last.
We have been looking over the list, and decide that Sir Edward Brace is the freshest man among them. Hardy is moored at Greenwich, much too soon for his country's good ; and as for Sir George Cockburn, we require him as First Lord of the Admiralty, a situation he should have held some time ago. But we forget that we were not to mention names; we were about to select those who are still serviceable, but by so doing we should imply that those not mentioned were not so, and therefore we must adhere to our general assertion.
We cannot help here remarking, that it is a strange anomaly putting a civilian at the head of the Admiralty ; and it is most indefensible, for the reason, although not avowed, is as discreditable as it is notorious. The asserted reason is the very contrary from the true. They say that an admiral who has been so long in the service, must have a great many followers, and that he will show partiality in promoting them. Now, that an admiral of eminence will have followers is certain, and that he will prefer advancing those with whose merits he is well acquainted, is not surprising ; but surely, if an officer has by his courage and conduct raised himself so conspicuously as to be selected to fill so high a station, it is but fair to infer, that those whom he has taken under, and who have proved themselves deserving of, his protection, must be officers of merit, and are worthy of being selected. But the above reason is not the true one; it is, on the contrary, as follows, and was introduced during the height of old Tory misrule. Government discovered, that with a naval First Lord, the patronage of the Admiralty was not so wholly at their disposal as they could wish. They found that a naval lord not only could fully appreciate, but would consider, the claims of the officers, and preferred rewarding services done at sea, to services done to government; and this did not suit them. As for talking about the First Lord having naval lords as advisers, that is nonsense. Advisers have no power, and, moreover, no responsibility. If the nation is really anxious for economy during peace, and energy during war, and justice being done to merit, let them have a naval First Lord of the Admiralty, and certainly, of all the officers now on our list, there is no man so competent, and in every respect so well qualified, as Sir George Cockburn. At the same time that we give our free opinion on this point, let it not be supposed that we would infer that there have not been lay first
lords who have wished to be impartial, especially latterly; but they have laboured under a great disadvantage in not understanding the routine of the service, or not being able to appreciate the various claims ; they have been obliged to trust to the advice and opinion of others, who are without responsibility, until they have been seated a sufficient time at the board to understand the routine of the service, and to disembarrass themselves from leading-strings.
With every respect for the admirals at present on our list, we must invalid the majority for harbour duty, and assert, that if a war should in a few years hence break out, we should not be able to select a sufficient number, as nearly all, from age and infirmity, would be prevented from accepting a command. Now there is no portion of our navy which it is so imperative should be effective, as the list of admirals. The responsibility of an admiral is immense, for on the fleet which he commands may, as it more than once did, during the last war, depend the safety of the nation. And be it observed, that allowing most of the present admirals on the list to have passed away, and their vacancies to have been filled up by the senior captains, we should not be better off. There is little or no difference between their respective ages, for although we have so many young men on the post list, yet the average age is sixty, owing to the advanced age of those who are on the top of it. Here then the service is, and if some remedy be not applied, will, when required, prove to be, vitally ineffective.
That the lists of post-captains, commanders, and lieutenants, are effective, there can be no doubt. We shall therefore pass them over, and proceed to those who are not on the list—the midshipmen, whose cause we must plead, not only on account of the injustice with which they have been treated, but also because we are convinced that it is one of the utmost importance, if we wish to retain an effective
navy. It is universally acknowledged, that there is no service in existence which has done its duty better, or been more valuable to a state, than the navy of Great Britain. Yet, strange to say, it is the only service which we know of, in which young men are induced to enter, without any surety of future benefit or indemnity for their exertions. The case of the thousands of midshipmen who were cast adrift at the close of last war, is a proof of our assertion, and we exclaim against it as an act of cruelty and injustice. That the Admiralty have felt the truth of what we here state, and at the same time have been obliged to extend to them nothing but pity, in consequence of their hands being tied up by the necessities of the state, is most certain ; and although not warranted in redressing former grievances, they have made such regulations as in future to prevent the admission of so many into the service. This has been judicious and considerate, as it will give a better chance of promotion to those who now enter, (what that better chance may be, we will show directly,) but at the same time, in this view of the question, we are on the horns of a dilemma ; either we shall at the commencement of a war not have sufficient junior officers for our fleets, or we must admit more into the service, without, indeed, we again resort, as was the case at the opening of last war, to the plan of putting the men before the mast on the quarter-deck as officers ; the very worst plan that can be resorted to, and the bad effects of which have but very lately disappeared from the service. We have stated, that to man our present naval force, we shall require 4,538 mates, midshipmen, and volunteers. As the latter are always to be procured, we shall base our calculations upon the mates and midshipmen. The number allowed by the rules of the service to man our present navy, is 3,152; and we cannot do without them. It is astonishing how much the discipline suffers from the want of midshipmen, and it should be here observed, that, during the war, ships were permitted to, and did, bear many more on their books than the prescribed allowance. Let us examine what prospects we have of obtaining this supply in case of a war, and in so doing, we must assume some period to which we may calculate. We will say five years. The number of midshipmen still hanging on in the service, is not very easy to be obtained, still we can very nearly approximate to the truth. There are ninety-seven vessels at present in commission, and the number of mates and midshipmen allowed to be borne on their books is six hundred and sixty-one. By an Admiralty order to provide for a portion of those who otherwise might starve, each ship is permitted to bear two Admiralty midshipmen in lieu of two men. We shall take it for granted that all these vacancies are filled up, and they will amount to one hundred and ninety-four. Then there is another employment found for midshipmen now-a-days, in which if they do not learn all their professional duties, they at least learn one part of them, which is, to keep watch : we refer to the coast guard, and we believe we are correct in stating, that every lieutenant employed on this service is allowed two midshipmen. The number of lieutenants employed are three hundred and eight; we may therefore calculate that there are six hundred and sixteen midshipmen walking the beach, and sniffing the gale for gin. These three items will give a total of 1,471 midshipmen and mates. The last time that the Admiralty attempted the census, we are informed that the calculation was about 1,700, but we prefer taking the smaller estimate.
We must next proceed to ascertain the proportion of volunteers now in the service, and what may be the increase of our junior officers in five years, according to the present regulations.
The ninety-seven vessels in commission as the peace establishment, are allowed at the time that they are fitted out to enter on those books four hundred and thirty-six volunteers of the first class. Now there is little difference in our peace establishment from year to year, one ship replacing another that is paid off, and each ship is retained in commission for three years. It is true, that by the regulations of the Admiralty, a volunteer may be rated as a midshipman, after having served two years in that capacity; but as there are but seldom vacancies, this permission will not much increase the number. We may, therefore, as four hundred and thirty-six are allowed to be entered every three years,
estimate the annual admission at one hundred and forty-five.
We will just examine whether, in five years, we shall have a sufficiency to meet the demand which may be required. We have in the service 1,471, and 145 x 5 years, will give 725 + 1,471 = 2,196 mid
shipmen, making no allowance for casualties or promotion. We have shown that the lowest number required will be 3,152.
But the above is of little consequence compared to the other view, which we are now about to take, of this question, which is, as to what are the prospects of those young men who are now in and continue to enter the service, and we submit, whether in justice even the small number of one hundred and forty-five per annum ought to be permitted to enter the service, if the present regulations are adhered to. What is the rate of promotion now a-days? Let us examine the navy list, and take the four last years.
Lieutenants promoted in 1831
ditto ditto ditto
1832 1833 1834
37 46 38 40
Mean promotion of Midshipmen to Lieutenants
As this promotion has been regulated by a plan of not promoting one lieutenant until three are off the list, it may be taken as the general average of future promotion. Now, one hundred and fortyfive young men are entered into the service every year, out of which only thirty-eight can receive their commissions, and we have already 1,471 midshipmen in the service, most of whom have already served their six years, and passed their examination.
Let us first calculate how long it will be, at the present rate of promotion, before these 1,471 will all have been promoted. It will be between forty and forty-one years !! And the evil will, each year, be on the increase, for assuming that we have twenty years peace with the same regulation holding good
Midshipmen already in the service
40)4,371(109 years So that, entering the service at twelve years old, some of the midshipmen will have to attain the age of one hundred and twenty-one years (that is, if they can) before they will obtain their rank!!!
This is a charming prospect for our young heroes, yet still it is undeniably the fact that such is the prospect before them. And yet if we wish to keep the service in any way efficient, we must enter these young men.
Must not we, then, have recourse to some other arrangements, by which the service may be rendered effective, and at the same time we may not be guilty of such monstrous injustice?
Having proved that we have a navy list much too extensive, even in time of war, and also explained in what departments our service is defective, we shall proceed to lay before our readers a plan by which there would not only be a large sum saved to the country, but we should be fully prepared in the case of emergency. That this plan, if acted upon, would operate gradually, is true, as it will be only in full activity when a large proportion of the present officers on the list shall have died off, but to propose any other would be an act of injustice. Still, the sooner the plan is acted upon, the sooner the country will be released. The half-pay of the admirals, post-captains, commanders, and lieutenants, at present on our navy list, amounts to the sum of 760,0001., or nearly so.
Our calculations were made a few months back and the list has been somewhat reduced, still it is an approximation sufficient for our purpose. We propose to render the service much more effective, to do injustice to no one, to do justice to many, and at the same time to reduce the expense of the navy list to about 428,0001., which will be a saving to the country of about 332,0001. per annum. We will at once lay before our readers our proposed scale, to which the list should be confined, and then comment upon its provisions in detail.
f. Admirals, red, white, and blue 5 of each, 15, at 21. 2s. per day 11,497 10 Vice-admirals,
15, at 11. 12s. 6d. Rear: admirals,
15, at 11. 58, Admirals by Brevet
35,359 7 Post-captains Post-captains by Brevet Commanders
31,025 0 Commanders by Brevet 1,500
136,875 0 Lieutenants by Brevet 2,500 at 401, per year
d. 0 6 0
8,896 17 6,843 15
155 300 100 200 200
57,480 0 18,250 0
at 12s. 6d.
Present Navy List, with amount of Half-Pay.
£. 208 Admirals
109,179 0 109 Post-captains
28,842 2 150 ditto
34,218 15 553 ditto
105,968 12 150 Commanders
10,995 0 841 ditto
130,460 2 482 Lieutenants
61,575 10 700 ditto
75,750 11 2,225 ditto
REMARKS UPON THE PROPOSED ALTERATION IN THE NAVY LIST.
Admirals.-Although every lad enters the service, with a firm conviction of his one day being an admiral, that is no reason why we should have two hundred and eight admirals on the list ;* when, in the most active and extended war, we cannot find employment for thirty. The respectability of a service is not increased by the highest
* The list of admirals has been reduced by death, since these calculations were made. They are not now more than one hundred and sixty-five. Death has been busy with them, but we could renew the whole on that account,