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rapidly approaching to an equality with that of England, and is three times that of France. If the disparity of numbers is so much against us, in a comparison of our navy with that of England and France, we are not so sure as we would wish to be, that a comparison, in other respects, would be more favorable to us. In the order of their ships, whether for appearance or for service, in the efficiency of the batteries, the arrangement of the sights and locks, the condition of the small arms, and their convenient arrangement for use, as well as in the habit of using them, in successful effort to attach the crews to the service, in every thing, in short, but the issue of ardent spirits and the indiction of the lash, we are not sure, that our navy would not suffer in a comparison with that of England. We fear, indeed, that the English navy, in its condition, bears somewhat the same relation to ours now, as ours did to it at the commencement of the late war. The acknowledgment is made reluctantly and with mortification, but with a view to reformation. With regard to the French navy, it is inferior to ours in the evolutions of single ships, and in seamanship generally ; but superior in the arrangement of the batteries, magazines, and small arms. Gunnery is more practised, and better understood, in the French navy than in ours. A familiarity, too, with the use of hollow shot, projected horizontally, gives them a great advantage over us. Shot of this description were first invented, in this country, towards the close of the war with England, by R. L. Stevens, Esquire, and some were preparing to be put on board the President frigate, when she sailed and was brought to action by a squadron of British ships. These shots, having been found, by experiment, to be very destructive, were put, formerly, on board of our ships of war ; but, of late years, the practice has been discontinued. In the mean time, the French have introduced them into all their ships. Four heavy guns, for the discharge of hollow shot, are placed in each of their large ships, and two in the smaller vessels. These hollow shot were found very effective in the attack on the castle of San Juan de Ulloa. The English are also introducing them into all their newly-fitted ships. It is time that our officers, also, should become acquainted with the use of a highly destructive missile, originally invented among us.
In full view of all these circumstances, we think, that, in order to be prepared to come successfully out of any struggle, in which we may hereafter be involved, our naval preparations should be on a footing, to enable us to put to sea, within five years, with a force of forty sail of the line, and an equal number of frigates. Half of this force should be ready to sail within a year, the rest of the ships should be on the stocks, or in frames, ready to be set up. Six line-of-battle ships might be kept in commission, as a feet of observation, and school of practice. Six frigates, with twenty sloops, and a dozen brigs, would suffice, for the ordinary protection of commerce, throughout the world; the feet of line-of-battle ships being always ready to repair to a threatened point of hostilities or blockade.
A home squadron, of half a dozen vessels, would be exceedingly useful, for the purpose of relieving vessels coming on our coast at inclement seasons, and, at all times, as a school of practice and a nursery for seamen. The home squadron might, also, include all the revenue vessels, they being brought into the regular service. In England, where the temptation to smuggle is so much greater than here, the cruisers, which protect the revenue, form part of the regular service. There is no reason, why the same system should not answer here ; and at a time when it is desirable to find useful employment for our officers, such a field for it, as the preventive service would afford, should not be neglected. The officers of our navy, taking part in this service, in turn, would all obtain accurate local information of our coasts and harbours, which would be of the greatest value to them. The present officers of the revenue service could be introduced into the navy as masters, and masters' mates, or placed upon pension. In times past, the revenue vessels have, occasionally, been commanded by naval officers, but not as belonging to the regular navy. If they have been guilty of misconduct, or failed to give satisfaction to the Treasury Department, they have been dismissed from their commands, without suffering at all as naval officers. If we were to adopt the preventive service, as it exists in England, in connexion with our home squadron, the system could not fail to work well, and the navy to derive great benefit from it.
Instead of the present system, of attaching a ship permanently to one station for three years, great benefit would be derived from introducing a rotation of stations. The ships, which go first to the Mediterranean, might leave it, on the approach of winter, during which they do not cruise in that sea, and proceed to Brazil, by the Canary Islands, and the coast of Africa ; after remaining a year on the coast of Brazil, they might return homewards by the West Indies, completing their term of service on that station. In like manner, the East India ships might return by the Pacific and Brazil, as the Columbia and John Adams, indeed, are about to do ; and the Pacific ships, having remained on the coast of Brazil until the season should be favorable for passing Cape Horn, might circumnavigate the world in the contrary direction, returning by the East Indies and the Cape of Good Hope. Great advantage would result from this system, in the protection of commerce, as the field of cruising would be greatly extended, and our ships would be constantly appearing in remote quarters and unexpectedly. The object of professional improvement would be promoted, by our ships being almost constantly at sea, and the irksomeness of a long detention on a particular coast would be avoided. The flag ships might remain constantly on the same station, if it were deemed advisable. In addition to our present stations, the constant presence of a sloop, in the neighbourhood of our principal whaling station, for the time being, would be exceedingly useful to that valuable branch of commerce and nursery of seamen.
In addition to our present classes of ships, we should find great advantage in having three or four frigates, to draw not more than nineteen feet, for flag ships on the Brazil and West India stations. Vessels of this draft might be made to sail and perform well, and could enter the ports of the river La Plata with ease, as well as most of our southern harbours, and those of the Gulf of Mexico. Sloops of war will not answer the purpose, as they are not considered, abroad, sufficiently respectable to bear the flag of a commander-in-chief.
If we are not to have admirals, and without them we can never have a respectable or well-disciplined navy, at any rate our commodores should never be permitted to go to sea without captains to command their ships. Commodores, without captains under them, scarcely ever merit the name. They are merely captains of particular ships, often making use of their superiority only to render the other ships of the squadron subservient to their own, instead of feeling an equal interest in all. Moreover, from the advanced age at which they usually reach this station, they are unsuited to handle their ships in a skilful and dashing manner. The mature judgment and caution, which would fit them to govern fleets, as admirals, are not so applicable to the active command of single ships, which requires promptness and excitability. We are of opinion, that, in addition to captains in all flag ships, it would be highly conducive to discipline, is the executive duty, now assigned to the first lieutenant, were performed by commanders in all our line-of-battle ships and frigates. No vessel, however small, which is sent on a foreign station, should be commanded by a lower class of officers, than that of commander ; and vessels commanded by lieutenants, on the home station, should have passed midshipmen to keep the watches.
Among the existing evils of the service, is the frequent change of officers in our ships. In no case should an officer be transferred from the ship in which he originally sailed, unless his health should be so much impaired, as, in the case of a seaman, would lead to his being sent home as an invalid. Nothing occasions so much discouragement among the seamen of a ship, as to find their officers leaving them, either to go home, or to pass to another ship. The evil of a change of commanders is of course much greater, and should, if possible, never be incurred.
Another evil, of greater magnitude, is keeping a crew out beyond the term of their enlistment. Besides disgusting seamen with the service, and discouraging their return to it, it often leads to acts of insubordination at the termination of the cruise, which are deplorable in themselves and fatal in their example. Nor is this evil much abated, where men on foreign stations, towards the end of the term of their service, when they should be on their way home to be discharged, are cajoled to reënter until the return of the ship to the United States. In the first place, a favor is to be asked of those, who, while on board of our ships, should be required only to obey. In the second place, the choice is not honestly offered them. They would all prefer going home and being discharged, when their times should be out; but the bribery of a week's liberty and two or three months' pay, after years of close and almost uninterrupted confinement, is more than they can resist. A dishonest bargain is made with them, and on
their arrival in the United States, they burst the bonds of discipline, and enact scenes disgraceful to the service, and permanently prejudicial to its character. Three years are quite long enough for our officers and seamen to be absent from their country, and we should be glad to see our ships return much within that time.
In concluding these remarks, which a strong interest in the subject has led us to extend far beyond our intention, we would express the servent hope, that our navy may, ere long, receive the extension and improvement, which the best interests of the country demand.
Art. VII. - Dictionary of Latin Synonymes, for the Use of
Schools and Private Students ; with a Complete Index. By Lewis RAMSHORN. From the German ; by FRANCIS Lieber. Boston : Charles C. Little & James Brown. 1839. 8vo. pp. viii. and 475.
We are glad to see, in our own language, a translation of this valuable work of an eminent German scholar and practical instructor. If the Latin language is still to be a part of our course of education, and we hope it will long continue to be so, - it must be studied with the aid of such works as the present ; for which, indeed, we shall be obliged, for some time, to look to Germany, now at the head of the literature of all Europe.
The volume before us is not the original work of Dr. Ramshorn, but an abridgment of it, made by the author himself, expressly for the use of schools. The principal difference, however, between the two is, that while the vocabularies agree, the larger work has a more extensive list of authorities under each word, and has also a designation of the book and section of the Roman authors in whose writings the citations are to be found; but the present abridgment has only the name of the author, without a reference to the book or chapter of his work. By this arrangement, the work is comprised within a moderate compass, and is thus better adapted to the use of schools and students in general.
The French philosopher, D'Alembert, remarks, that, in addition to the different significations of the same word, a philosophical grammarian must examine in what cases differ