Imatges de pÓgina

accustomed to the sight of bodies under arms are always prone to exaggerate them. But this propensity to swell the mass had not an equal tendency to convert it into soldiery; and the irregularity, want of discipline, bad arms, and defective equipment in all respects, of this multitudinous assemblage, gave no favourable impression of its prowess. The materials of which the eastern battalions were composed were apparently the same as those of which I had seen so unpromising a specimen at Lake George. I speak particularly of the officers, who were in no single respect distinguishable from their men, other than in the coloured cockades, which, for this very purpose, had been prescribed in general orders, a different colour being assigned to the officers of each grade." Memoirs, P. 145.

"Among the military phenomena of this campaign, the Connecticut light horse ought not to be forgotten. These consisted of a considerable number of old-fashioned men, probably farmers and heads of families, as they were generally middle-aged, and many of them apparently beyond the meridian of life. They were truly irregulars; and whether their clothing, their equipments, or caparisons were regarded, it would have been difficult to have discovered any circumstance of uniformity; though in the features derived from local habitation," they were one and the same. Instead of carbines and sabres, they generally carried fowlingpieces; some of them very long, and such as in Pennsylvania are used for shooting ducks. Here and there, one, "his youthful garments well saved," appeared in a dingy regimental of scarlet, with a triangular, tarnished, laced hat. In short, so little were they like modern soldiers, in air or costume, that dropping the necessary number of years, they might have been supposed the identical men who had in part composed Pepperil's army at the taking of Louisbourg. Their order of march corresponded with their other irregularities. It "spindled into longitude immense," presenting so extended and ill-compacted a flank, as though they had disdained the adventitious prowess derived from concentration. These singular dragoons were volunteers, who came to make a tender of their services to the commander-in-chief. But they staid not long at New York. As such a body of cavalry had not been counted upon, there was, in all probability, a want of forage for their jades, which, in the spirit of ancient knighthood, they absolutely refused to descend from; and as the general had no use for cavaliers in his insular operations, they were forthwith dismissed with suitable acknowledgments for their truly chivalrous ardour *. An unlucky trooper of this school had, by some means or other, found his way to Long Island, and was taken by the enemy in the battle of the 27th of August. The British officers made themselves very merry at his expence, and obliged him to

"It appears from a letter of General Washington, that they refused fatigueduty, because it was beneath the dignity of troopers."

amble about for their entertainment. On being asked, what had been his duty in the rebel army, he answered, that it was to flank a little, and carry tidings. Such, at least, was the story at New York among the prisoners." Memoirs, P. 152.

In the retreat from Long Island, our author's regiment formed part of the covering party: and with the natural impetuosity of young soldiers, having "come off too soon," it had to return with all expedition to its abandoned post. The troops formed with great spirit, against a false alarm; and covered themselves with glory in resisting the charge of some wild colts who pastured near their encampment. Some of these raw soldiers were distinguished as rifle men; and the Pennsylvanian, much to the credit of his humanity, loudly reprobates the system which was first introduced in this war, of picking out individuals for slaughter in cold blood. He once, indeed, stopped a brother officer from taking deliberate aim at an unoffending outpost, simply because he was a fair shot. Desertion was frequent in the ranks, and the Automoli seldom went off empty handed.

"I very well recollect that it was found necessary to post a guard at Kingsbridge to stop the fugitives; and that, upon one of them being arrested with a number of notions (qu?) in a bag, there was found among them a cannon ball, which, he said he was taking home to his mother, for the purpose of pounding mustard." Memoirs. P. 127.

Occasional plunder improved the quality of the American equipments. A Hessian picquet was once carried by a serjeant, and a few men on the Author's station; and the serjeant, as the Pennsylvanian observes, like one of Homer's heroes; or as we should say, like a Malay pirate, (perhaps there is little difference after all) appeared on parade, in the uniform of an officer whom he had killed with his own hands.

In the engagement at Fort Washington, our author was taken prisoner, and in that capacity saw many strange varieties of the fortune of war, in the different treatment which he experienced from separate individuals. A Scotch serjeant gravely warned him," Young man, you should never fight against your King." A Hessian retainer grinned at him, in broken English, “Eh you rebel, you dam rebel;" and a light infantry officer threatened to "give him the butt" of his fusee. To others again, whom he specifies with the most grateful acknowledgment he was indebted for every kindness which could alleviate his misfortune. We select the following instance as highly creditable both to the giver and receiver.

"Previously to entering the city, we were drawn up, for about an hour, on the high ground near the East river. Here, the officers being separated from the men, we were conducted into a church, where, if I mistake not, we signed a parole. While in this building, which, with the addition of those spectators who pressed in along with us, was pretty much crowded, a portly, well looking, middle aged, non-commissioned officer of the 42d regiment, approached me, observing, in a low voice, that he was sure he had seen me before: Was not my name- ? I answered

in the affirmative. I thought so said he, I have often seen you at your mother's in Philadelphia; and though you were then but a boy, I clearly retrace your features. As you are probably in want of money, may I beg of you to accept of this? slipping into my hand a dollar. I objected to taking it, as I might never have an opportunity of paying him. No matter if you have not, said he; it is but a trifle, but such as it is, you cannot oblige me more than by accepting it. I accordingly put it in my pocket, the confusion and bustle of the scene preventing my taking measures for ascertaining the means of seeing him again; and, having never afterwards met with him, I am still indebted to this amount." Memoirs. P. 228.

Through the exertions of his mother, who paid a visit to Sir William Howe, in person, our author was released on his parole: and he did not a second time expose himself to military hazards. As he advanced in life, his patriotism appears to have cooled. He preferred Burke's reasonings on the French Revolution, to those of Tom Paine; and he has at length subsided into a belief, little compatible with his juvenile ardour, "that England has long been, and still is, fighting the battle of the civilized world."

We come now to Mr. Welby. This gentleman was induced to visit North America, in 1819, principally with a view of examining into the veracity of Mr. Birkbeck's statements. We do not think he was lucky in his passage. The ship was crowded beyond its fit complement; a cabin passenger was safely delivered of her first boy, within a fortnight after setting sail; and once or twice the vessel ran a-ground. These were particular grievances; for the benefit of fresh water sailors, we will add those which we suspect are universal.


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"Anything but clean, anything but simple-anything but what one is used to.


"Some risk,-little comfort,-a total inversion of all accustomed habits, a feeling of insecurity,-irratibility,-a longing to be ashore; in short, a total be-blue-devilment." Visit, &c. P. 9.


In the boarding-house at Hobroken, near New-York, Mr. Welby first encountered the effects of what he properly terms "freedom without refinement." When he inquired for the landlord, a young woman who was sweeping the floor, slipshod, desired him to walk into a room to which she pointed, and "wait for further orders." At Paterson, he was introduced to a new order of society.

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"I asked the little shabby bare-footed boy, our guide, whether he worked at a wool manufactory we were passing, No,' said he, rather bluntly; I go to school; my father's a 'squire:" thinking I did not hear correctly, I repeated the question and received the same answer. And pray what is a 'squire, what does he do?" "Oh, he attends sessions, trials, and hears causes.' "And what may your father do at other times?' He assists Mr. ** at the tavern there, in the bar!'" Visit, &c. P. 24.

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A Virginia gentleman who had visited Pittsburgh, to attend a trial, gave a singular description of the manners of an American court of justice. Neither counsel nor judge, as is well known, wear any gown. The barrister retained in the present instance, being incommoded by heat, first stripped off his coat, and then his waistcoat. In an interval of pleading he put a segar in his mouth, and deliberately smoked it, till the opposite counsel had wound up his reply.

The Pennsylvanian in the early part of his career, while recruiting, met with a country gentleman, who was an amateur in biting and gouging, or as it may be correctly termed, the tooth and nail fancy. Pointing to one of the most distinguished practitioners in this science, he observed, "There is a fellow that has not his match in the country: see what a set of teeth he has a man's thumb would be nothing to them!" Mr. Welby found these accomplishments still encouraged. He heard of a man who had been so mauled in a" rough and tumble," that a friend compassionating his condition said, "You have come badly off this time, I doubt:" "Have I," was the triumphant hero's answer, "what do you think then of this eye?" at the same moment drawing one from his pocket.

The police of Indiana, does not appear to be very strictly regulated. Mr. Flower related to Mr. Welby an accident which had recently occurred in the Prairie country, and which had been passed over without legal investigation. A party proposed to each other, to go and shoot a neighbour who had frequently behaved ill to them. The plan was settled, and the old man was quietly rifled in his own field, while at plow.

Mr. Welby was tempted by the assurance of an


lent road," to accept an invitation to a country-house about twenty miles from Vincennes. For the benefit of the Commissioners of Turnpikes, we transcribe the method by which these excellent roads are formed.

"Imagine a woodland in a state of nature: through this, guiding themselves by compass, people get on as they can, chopping a piece of bark from the trees in the line, which they call "blazing," as a direction to those who follow with tools to cut down the trees between those blazed, which they do at about a foot to a foot and a half from the ground, leaving the stumps and brushwood standing. In a short time this latter gets worn away, but the stumps remain a long while; and between these, horsemen, waggons, and other carriages proceed, steering between, or bumping upon them, which is at times unavoidable." Visit, &c. P. 99.

But the Illinois was the grand object of search. After passing bog, wood, gully and stump, Boulton House Prairie was descried. The inn, in its vicinity, reminds us of some of those which it was Sancho's hard lot so frequently to encounter. There was no stable save a straw-yard for the horses. The men, with difficulty, obtained some very rancid butter, a little sour bread, some tough slices of thin fried beef, and a basin of bad coffee, sweetened with wild honey. Water was not to be had. Mr. Birkbeck had a plentifully supplied well, but his answer was sufficiently concise, "that he made it a general rule to refuse every application." A wheelwright, who had been tempted by his reading, to repair to this gentleman's paradise, found himself starving at the end of six months, so he quitted his new master, and set up for himself. He told Mr. Welby, that now he had plenty of work, but was doubtful of his pay. From which statement, it is more than probable, therefore, that he has got some more starving in reserve, even yet.

"Our tavern-keeper, who was a very respectable farmer, left a good farm near Baldock in Hertfordshire, guided by Mr. Birkbeck's book, to find health, wealth, and freedom at Boultonhouse Prairie: of the two first both himself and family were quickly getting rid, while they were absolutely working each day like horses without one comfort left." How came you," said I, "to leave so good a farm, as you had in England?" His answer was, 'Mr. Birkbeck's book. You would be glad now to return ?' added I. 'Sir,' said he, we must not think that way; we have buried our property in getting here, and must here remain !' Such facts as these are worth a thousand flattering theories on the other side; and another may be here added,-perhaps a salutary caution to Mr. B. if this should be the first intimation-that the angry feelings of the poor people who had been entrapped by the

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