« AnteriorContinuar »
profession; endeavour to gain a meritorious name in it; and, remember, that can only be accomplished by attention, industry, and per
“ You will have occasion to observe, that although the British navy is governed but by one code of laws and regulations, yet the different modes of administering them produce the most obvious effects on the interior regulations of every different ship, clearly showing how much may be effected by a wise and judicious commander.
“ He may be compared to the mainspring of a watch, or the balance of a chronometer, which, when justly tempered, produces the most admirable and regular effect on the whole complex machinery, reducing the result of its motions to a certainty.
66 Those officers in his Majesty's service who have had an opportunity of witnessing good as well as bad discipline, cannot be at a loss to determine, that the former is produced by a. decided conduct in those in command, grounded upon judicious regulations and arrangements, systematically observed and executed, together with a just, impartial, and equitable admi. nistration of the laws of the service ; and that the latter is the result of indecision and indifference, combined with an unwise, capricious, and oftentimes severe enforcement of bad regulations : for it cannot be denied that severity, when injudiciously directed, increases the evil which it is intended to cure.
“ There is no profession or sphere of life where strict obedience is more necessary than in the navy, from the commander-in-chief down to the humblest individual in the fleet ; indeed, without it, all is confusion and irregularity; and there are but too many fatal instances on record, where the neglect of it has been followed by the loss of ship, fame, and life.
“ The obedience which is most conducive to the acceleration of public duty, is not of that passive description which is produced by the fear of punishment; but it is founded upon a
sense and conviction that it is absolutely necessary, and from a just estimation of the respect due to those who are placed in superior situations, for the purpose of directing the efforts of the public service in a proper channel; and this leads me to a very important, though certainly a difficult subject, namely, the motives for performing your duty.
Although I would have you endeavour to gain the approbation and esteem of your superiors, by proper and laudable efforts in performing the duties of your station, as well as in becoming and respectful behaviour towards them ; yet you must be careful that their personal commendation does not become your chief motive of action, because you may find, during your professional career, those whose personal approbation may be valueless; while, on the other hand, if you take your motive of duty from the principles which your father has been so careful to instruct you in, there is no possibility of its ever failing you.
“ In saying so much, however, I must warn
you against presumption, obstinacy, and selfconceit; and request you will bear in mind, that on professional subjects, the opinions of your superiors, from their long experience, must always be entitled to the greatest respect ; and remember, that although there may be times when you cannot conscientiously give your judgment up to others, yet let not that affect your obedience.
“ Perform the duties allotted to you with promptness, recollecting that you are a link in the chain of discipline ; and if you do not bear your proportionate strain, mechanically speaking, you distress the rest, and morally, you steal the strength of others, besides being answerable for all the baneful and contagious influence of bad example ; and, whether you command a boat or a ship, do that which is allotted to you first, and never risk the failure of a whole plan for the sake of personal distinction. This is not said with the idea of prescribing certain bounds to your exertions, for
you cannot do too much for your country; but merely to warn you against that species of gallant folly which sacrifices public good for particular notice.
Perhaps in no profession more than the Navy, is theory subject to prejudicial opinions; and this, because it is known to be entirely useless, without a combination of practical knowledge ; on that account, however, we should be blamable to neglect the trite advice of a scientific signpost, which points out the nearest, best, and safest road to professional skill ; besides, the tree of science is now flourishing almost throughout the world, and it would ill become the naval heroes of England to linger in its shade!
“ We have a schoolmaster on board, who will instruct you in navigation and the necessary branches of mathematics applicable to nautical astronomy; but, in your leisure hours, I wish you to inform yourself on general subjects, and, for this purpose, I present you with an Ency