« AnteriorContinuar »
other was distinguished by a chapeau five feet in length, and a cod-fish for a sword! Wigs, beards, and false noses were common; and the coats were of bright scarlet, brown woollen, green baize, deer skin, and split cane. Here was a Highlander in top-boots, and there, his Satanic Majesty, with pitchfork and tail! One carried four muskets, and was attired in shaggy goats'skins, like Robinson Crusoe; another was half horse and half alligator, or a Kentucky snorter! Never before was such an array witnessed! And though this review was entirely burlesque, it may have the effect of producing a thorough reformation in the militia-laws, which at present make fops rather than soldiers of the young, dissipate the time of the seniors, lead to scenes of debauchery in all, and make a mockery of drills and reviews.
To conclude, in reviewing the military system in the States, we find that, owing to the nature of the institutions and habits of the people, it is very defective. The citizens dislike the restraint of discipline, and though the navy is held in estimation by them from its unexpected successes last war, the army is not viewed with an eye of favour.
The secretary-at-war and all attached to the military department, have much trouble to ob
PROSPECTS OF WAR.
tain from Congress the necessary supplies, and as it is, the scanty armaments in the forts are old and nearly useless, and many of the works themselves in a very dilapidated state. But with all this, having had an opportunity of seeing (cursorily) many of the States, and knowing what a shrewd and intelligent people the Americans are, (and individually as brave as Britons, being of the same stock,) I am convinced that, if they saw a pressing necessity for an immediate alteration in the military system, they would set about it. Since, however, there is not at present the slightest prospect of war, and all are striving to partake of the general prosperity around them, the Americans are indifferent to forming an efficient army.
Ere long, there may be a dispute with Mexico for the valuable territory of Texas, rapidly settling with American squatters. The encroachments of Russia in the north-west may cause American troops to march to the Pacific; and in the course of time, American manufactures competing with British in foreign markets, may bring about a maritime war with England. However, these two last events are remote, and may not take place in our day; but at all events, we ought to strive to avert the last, or be prepared for it, and not trust to a dissolution of the
294 ENGLAND OUGHT NOT TO BE JEALOUS.
Union, for the Americans will not readily commit a political suicide, and thus become incapable of coping with us in war with any chance of
If we glance our eye over the map of the world, and view the great, the varied, and the rich possessions of our glorious empire, we shall not envy the Americans their territory, even though it may extend beyond the Rocky Mountains. We have enough, and more than enough, considering the small though efficient army that is left to defend our possessions; and instead of feeling petty jealousy at the growing prosperity of America, we ought on all occasions to extend the right hand of friendship to her, cultivate her acquaintance, and feel proud of so creditable a scion from the stock of Old England.
Leave the Military Academy.-The Valley of Canterbury.Murderer's Creek.-Newburgh. Fire. -Journey to New York. The City Hotel.-A Concert.-An Evening Party.The Penalty of Indulgence.-Useful Receipts for Topers.— General Santander.- Lawrie Todd. - Dine with the St. Andrew's Society.-A Patriotic Speech in honour of Scotland.-Visit Long Island.-The Navy-yard." Ready, aye Ready."-Leave New York.
FROM the military academy I went in a sleigh through a pass in the mountains, and descended into the romantic valley of Canterbury, in the bottom of which runs Murderer's Creek, so named from the murder of a white family of the name of Stacey, by the Indians, a century ago. One old red-skin, who attempted to save the Staceys by giving information of the designs of his tribe, was also inhumanly tomahawked.
I remained a night at the pleasant town of Newburgh, and was exposed to some inconvenience from the importunities of rival innkeepers for the honour of my company. At last, when
296 TOWN OF NEWBURGH-NEW YORK.
I was comfortably seated alone in a carpeted parlour of the mansion-house, it suddenly struck me that there was a haze between me and the candles, then there was the rushing of many feet in the passage. I opened the door, and followed the noise to the sunken floor; flames and smoke now announced that the house was on fire, we seized buckets and succeeded in extinguishing the burning fire-wood. Next day, by a beautiful road with wooded hills on the left, we reached Jersey city, by way of Hackinsack, and crossed over to New York.
I now established myself for some days in the city hotel, one of the largest in America, and found the house crowded with people of all nations. I was highly pleased with New York, the first in population, the first in wealth, and the first in commercial enterprise in the Union. I walked over every part of it, and was careful to promenade in Broadway, between the hours of one and three, to admire the fair dames even in winter tripping along with mincing steps in gauze ribbons, silk pelisses, and satin shoes. I also admired the bay inclosed by Long Island, round which, like reeds in a pool, the masts of the shipping were thickly set.
I visited the battery, from which the town extends like a triangle, the city hall and the exchange.