Page images
PDF
EPUB

list; but the commissions remained. The boys still followed the example of their grandfathers, and disbanded their forces, though we had the advantage of them in our music, as we had willow whistles, tin kettles, bird calls, and pumpkin stalk trumpets,-a pretty decent band, while I do not remember that the old folks had even a drum and fife, while the old state “ queen's arms”-as they were called, I believe, from having been presented to the insurgent colonies in the name of the queen of France,-while these old muskets were becoming private property, by possession,--we boys found our wooden guns very serviceable in the game of bat and ball, and thus, if we did not turn the sword into the ploughshare, we changed a mock tragedy into a real comedy. Our militia titles were, however, more evanescent than those of our grandsires ; but mine, unfortunately, has stuck to me to the present day, like the "old man of the mountain,” in spite of all my endeavors to get rid of it. . I do not know how much my early promotion in the militia line might have puffed up my vanity, and made me a son of Mars, in

stead of an apostle of peace, had it not been for an impression, of a contrary tendency, which was made on my mind, soon after my promotion. I was sent on an errand—to borrow a darning needle and a pinch of snuff for Ma'am Creighton, my old school-mistress, to the cottage of old Granny Hall, who kept a sort of nursery for unfortunate children, whose parents were ashamed of them, whom she boarded at the low stipend of a shilling a week. The old lady kept the children as neat and clean as circumstances would allow.But, as their parents often forgot them, the boys would outgrow their clothes, so that their legs and arms would protrude far out of their envelopes, like the leg bones of an over-boiled chicken; and the clothes of the little girls were in no better plight. But there is no station so low, in which the pride and vanity natural to the human heart may not be exhibited. These little creatures, seldom going out of doors, or seeing any body but one another, thought themselves mighty fine. On this occasion one of the little giris, in a frock of many colors, which wonld rem mind one of Otway's description of the witch's cloak, and which would have puzzled Martinus Scriblerus himself, assisted with Locke's chapter on identities and diversities, to determine whether it was the same identical, blué, cotton frock which her mother gave her,-ran up to me, and pointing, with her tiny finger, at a piece of new yellow baize,---of a shape not to be found in Euclid, —which was sewed on to her waist,-_exclaimed—“ Ah, see my new patch! see my new patch!" I cannot tell, whether the association arises from the similarity of color, but I never see a new-made officer, strutting under his gold epaulette, but I think I hear him exclaim, with Granny Hall's bantling, " See my new patch! see my new patch !"

It appears to me evident, that the cause of our militia system, is the delight of certain ambitious and leading characters in military foppery and personal display. Beside this, there was once, a great ambition of military titles, and that pride may now inflate a weak or vain mind; but the man must at present be below par, whom a military title will digBify. These ambitious characters, who take

the lead in militia matters, have, however, an influence, at least, from their activity, if not from their talents; as small bodies, moving with great velocity often have a greater momentum than large masses moving but slowly; and a one lb. ball fired off with a charge of“ real Dupont,” has a greater effect than a stone of an hundred pounds weight thrown by an ancient catapult. These induce others, by the show, parade, music,—the hope of preferment, and especially the rum, to be marched, countermarched, and wheeled right and left to music, like a contra dance ;-and so a frolic is made of it—the grog goes cheerily round some stay and dance with the fair spectators till day-light, in some neighboring barn floor -others reel home—and a majority of men. and officers find themselves very thirsty before morning; and grave professors of religion sanction the system from motives of patriotism and national defence, forgetting that “righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

During the reviews, last fall, I heard one man say to another, “ Well, neighbor, what did you see at the review at Freeport, to

day ?" The answer was in a very ludicrous style and manner to this effect : “See ! why I saw half an acre of galls, (girls.) Neighbor B. did pretty well, I guess: he got nine dollars before eleven o'еlock, beside a watch, pawned for two dollars; all for rum.” Now I appeal to the moralist, the christian, the statesman, and in fact, to every man of common sense, to say, if there is any good in the militia system, which will counterbalance abominations like this.

NO. 12.

SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.

The evil tendency and utter inutility of the Militia System being pretty generally acknowledged by those who think at all on the subject, the only question to be agitated as mong the friends of good order, is, How may

it most readily be disposed of ? • Some, for whose judgment I have a great respect, think it best to press the matter in

« PreviousContinue »