25 DECEMBER 1880, Page 3

Fathers of families, and especially fathers of scapegraces, will hear

with pleasure that Naval Cadetehips will hereafter be given by a modified system of competition. The plan of admission by patronage, revived by the Tories, has not worked well, and Lord Northbrook has reverted to the sounder principle. We hope he will insist in the first instance on controlling some of the details. The Civil Service Commissioners are apt to want too much. Naval cadets of fourteen -ought to have a very special examination, intended to test -ability, and not knowledge, and "loaded" with a certain number -A marks for physique and activity. There is not much use in a middy who cannot go aloft, who cannot keep watch on a March night in the Channel without going into hospital, or who cannot see clearly a hundred yards before him. The physical qualification should be tested much more strictly, and as honestly as the mental one is, and should count towards the total number of marks, as if health were one of the imperative " subjects."