Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/478

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selves for any slight contumely by the reflection that theirs is not an isolated case. Even to-day the young West Pointer on joining his regiment finds himself often sadly at a loss in many practical ways of the service, in which the old sergeants of twenty years or more standing are easily his superiors. So far as they dare and as army discipline permits they will "put up jobs" on these commissioned youngsters. When in the forties of the last century the naval academy was instituted at Annapolis, the old sea-dogs, ancient vikings who had worked their laborious way upward to a commission, had no few or gentle Jibes for midshipmen and ensigns who, as it was said, "had crawled into the service through the cabin windows." All that sort of talk has long ago been ended; our navy is officered now by graduates, and the Deweys and Schleys and Sampsons and Evanses have proved themselves no unworthy successors of the Decaturs and Perrys, the Porters and Farraguts. So I am confident the young graduated police officer will have it in him to say: "Damn the torpedoes! Go ahead!"

It is not, I think, difficult to forecast the nature of the results that—though perhaps slowly—would modify and in the end entirely subvert those evils that have smirched and defiled New York. There would be abundant criticism; but it may be assumed that every good citizen and the powers of the daily press would stand for fair play. As class after class was added to the blue ranks it would not be long before the influence of the increasing number of graduates would begin to be felt. It would be seen and noted in rapidly decreasing number of charges, trials and dismissals, and in the lessening disproportion between arrests and convictions.

Doubtless objection will be made on account of the extra cost of the proposed school and the length of time that must elapse before any very marked benefit could be perceived; but surely if the principle is right a few years devoted to preparation ought not to prevent or postpone action. The prudent investor looks less to the pretty architecture of the home that he proposes to purchase than to the conditions unseen or underground—the drains and sanitary plumbing. The effects of education are in the end certain and salutary. Good habits acquired at the proposed institution in youth will form character not lightly to be flung away in manhood, the sort of character over which the smirch and stain of temptation shall inevitably lose its power. The roundsman's vocation should be dignified, his service compared with that of the army officer, for both are keepers of peace. To the officers of the regular army the Chepultepecs and El Caneys and Indian and Malay ambuscades come seldom, and when they come bring glory with them. But the policeman's duty is done in obscurity and the dark. For him there is but trifling applause and never any brevets. He is always on the firing line, always liable to lead a forlorn hope;