Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/62

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
34
MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY

sinecurist on shore for the last fifteen years, he was lifted over the heads of many laborious and meritorious officers, and placed by you in the command of the Exploring Expedition in violation of law" .

Maury wrote, in December of the same year, seven more articles for this newspaper, hiding his identity by inscribing them "From Will Watch to his old messmate Harry Bluff". In these he went further still into details as to the inefficiency of the administration of the navy, dealing especially with the waste connected with the building and repairing of ships, the need for a system of rules and regulations in the navy, and the advisability of establishing a naval school. As to the latter, he wrote, "There is not, in America, a naval school that deserves the name, or that pretends to teach more than the mere rudiments of navigation. . . . Why are not steps taken to have our officers educated and fitted for this high responsibility? The idea of a naval academy has been ridiculed. This may be the fault of Congress; I will not lay the censure at the wrong door—but the Department has been equally inattentive to providing the young officers with the proper means of learning even practical seamanship".

These "Harry Bluff" and "Will Watch" articles, together with one other on "Navy Matters" by "Brandywine" which also appeared in the Whig at this time and reveals Maury's authorship through its style, contained the germs of the ideas which he more fully developed in his "Scraps from the Lucky Bag". This series of articles on the need of reform in the conduct of naval affairs appeared in the Southern Literary Messenger during the years 1840 and 1841, under Maury's former pseudonym of "Harry Bluff". The navy was then in a condition of