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NO. V.-SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 1807.
FROM MY ELBOW-CHAIR
The following letter of my friend Mustapha appears to have been written some time subsequent to the one already published. Were I to judge from its contents, I should suppose it was suggested by the splendid review of the twentyfifth of last November; when a pair of colors was presented, at the City-Hall, to the regiments of artillery ; and when a huge dinner was devoured, by our corporation, in the honorable remembrance of the evacuation of this city. I am happy to find that the laudable spirit of military emulation which prevails in our city has attracted the attention of a stranger of Mustapha's sagacity ; by military emulation I mean that spirited rivalry in the size of a hat, the length of a feather, and the gingerbread finery of a sword belt.
FROM MUSTAPHA RUB-A-DUB KELI KHAN,
to Abdallah Eb'n al Rahab, surnamed the snorer, military centinel at the gate of his highness'
Thou hast heard, oh, Abdallah, of the great man gician, Muley Fuz, who could change a blooming land, blessed with all the elysian charms of hill and dale, of glade and grove, of fruit and flower into a desert, frightful, solitary and forlorn ;who with the wave of his wand could transform even the disciples of Maliomet into grinuing apes and chattering monkeys. Surely, thought I to myself this morning, the dreadful Muley has been exercising his infernal enchantments on these unhappy infidels. Listen, oh, Abdallah, and wonder! Last night I committed myself to tranquil slumber, encompassed with all the monotonous tokens of peace, and this morning I awoke, enveloped in
ibe noise, the bustle, the clangor, and the shouts of war. Every thing was changed as if by magic. An immense army had sprung up, like mushrooms, in a night; and all the coblers, tailors, and tinkers of the city had mounted the nodding plume; had become, in the twinkling of an eye, helmetted hemoes and war-worn veterans.
Alarmed at the beating of drums, the braying of trumpets, and the shouting of the multitude, I dressed myself in haste sallied forth and followed a prodigious crowd of people to a place called the battery. This is so denominated, I am told, from having once been defended with formidable wooden bulwarks, which in the course of a hard winter were thriftily pulled to pieces by an economic corporation, to be distributed for fire-wood among the poor ; this was done at the hint of a cunning old engineer, who assured them it was the only way. in which their fortifications would ever be able to keep up a warm fire. Economy, my friend, is the watch-word of this nation; I have been studying for a month past to divine its meaning, but truly am as much perplexed as ever. It is a kind of national starvation; an experiment how many com. forts and necessaries the body politic can be deprived of before it perishes. It has already arrived to a lamentable degree of debility, and promises
to share the fate of the arabian philosopher, who proved that he could live without food but unfortunately died just as he had brought his experiment to perfection.
On arriving at the battery I found an immense army of six HUNDRED MEN, drawn up in a true mussulman crescent. At first I supposed this was in compliment to myself, but my interpreter informed me that it was done merely for want of room ; the corporation not being able to afford them sufficient to display in a straight line. As I expected a display of soine grand evolutions, and military maneuvres, I determined to remain a tranquil spectator in hopes that I might possibly collect some hints which might be of service to his highness.
This great body of men I perceived was under the command of a small bashaw, in yellow and gold, with white nodding plumes and most formidable whiskers; which, contrary to the tripolitan fashion, were in the neighborhood of his ears instead of his nose. He had two attendants called aid-de-camps, (or tails) being similar to a bashaw with two tails. The bashaw, though commander in chief, seemed to have little more to do than myself ; he was a spectator within the lines and I without : he was clear of the rabble and I was en
compassed by them ; this was the only difference between us, except that he had the best opportu, nity of showing his clothes. I waited an hour or two with exemplary patience, expecting to see some grand military evolutions or a sham battle exhibited ; but no such thing took place ; the men stood stock still, supporting their arms, groaning under the fatigues of war, and now and then sending out a foraging party to levy contributions of beer and a favorite beverage which they denominate grog. As I perceived the crowd very active in examining the line, from one extreme to the other, and as I could see no other purpose for which these sunshine warriors should be exposed so long to the merciless attacks of wind and weather, I of course concluded that this must be the review.
In about two hours the army was put in motion, and marched through some narrow streets, where the economic corporation had carefully provided å soft carpet of mud, to a magnificent castle of painted brick, decorated with grand pillars of pine boards. By the ardor which brightened in each countenance, I soon perceived that this castle was to undergo a vigorous attack. As the ordnance of the castle was perfectly silent, and as they had nothing but a straight strect to advance through,