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ed. But to the north and northeast, the landscape is far different. Almost the whole of the rich county of Orange lies stretched at your feet, like a beautiful map, chequered with meadows, fields, orchards, and woodlands. A part of Dutchess county is also included in the landscape, and, aided by a good glass, we could distinctly see the citizens in the streets of Newburgh, and the beautiful village of Poughkeepsie. At a distance it is said the mountains of five states are visible ; and there is a grand view of the long range of Catskill mountains, standing proudly above all surrounding heights, and apparently rearing their cloud-capt summits to the blue vault of heaven. To the south, we have a view of the border towns upon the river down as far as Yonkers: and, occasionally, we catch a glimpse of the Hudson, rolling its majestic course onward to the ocean, but diminished so much by distance as to appear like the clear blue fountains depicted by an Italian master on the canvass. Approaching the river from the west, our course was suddenly arrested by the bold steep, which, at this place, descends almost perpendicularly to the river. Pausing for a moment, we could not but call to mind Shakspeare's unrivalled description of the cliffs of Dover.
"Here's the place :-stand still. How fearful
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air,
Who can gaze upon scenes like these, without raising his thoughts with wonder and admiration to that GREAT POWER, "which has spread the canopy of the heavens, and which shows itself in its greatest, as well
as its smallest works, to be so infinitely superior to the skill of man !"
We changed our direction, and descended the mountain at a very rapid rate; leaping from rock to rock, from one precipice to another, where it would have been nearly impossible to have ascended. On a small plain near the base of the mountain, now entirely covered with a thick and thrifty growth of timber, we found ourselves amidst the ruins of a great number of stone cottages, in which I was told a regiment of American troops wintered during the revolution. These ruins are ranged in two lines; and one of them, standing in the centre, from its unusual size, we judged to have been constructed for the commanding officer and his staff.
"Nor ever yet
The melting rainbow's vermeil-tinctured hues
In which the sun-beams, glancing from the west,
The Military Academy at West Point was established by law in 1802. It then consisted, however, of the corps of engineers only-that corps having then just been organized. No teachers or professors were provided, and it appears originally to have been intended merely as a practical school for the officers of that corps. In 1803, an instructer of drawing, and a teacher of th French language, were authorized by law, and attached to the corps, for the instruction of the officers. 1812, an act was passed, under which the academy has attained its present system of organization. It allowed an increase of the number of cadets to 250, and, by the establishment of professorships, provided for their more effectual instruction in all the elements of a scientific military education. It is a remarkable fact, that may well be noted here, that, for some time preceding the declaration of war, in 1812, the little corps of cadets, that had been authorized by previous laws, was greatly diminished in numbers. No attempts were made to fill its ranks, as the probability of war increased, and it is
believed that not more than one or two of the cadets were commissioned in the army during the year of the declaration. In this year, however, after the passage of the law abovementioned, and in 1813, the numbers were considerably augmented, and the professors and teachers, authorized by that law, commenced their duties as the circumstances of the institution from time to time required. But as yet there had been no organization of classes, answerable to that which appears to have been contemplated by the law. Some steps towards this were taken in 1815 and 1816; but the system was not completed and carried into effect until the latter part of the year 1817.
Since that period, various changes and modifications have been made; and the system so modified and improved, is the one by which the studies and academic duties are now regulated. It is by no means supposed, as the officers and professors informed us, that the organization is yet as complete as it might be, or the system as perfect. Every year, we are told, convinced them that their regulations are still susceptible of improvement. But as these improvements are generally made whenever circumstances appear to call for them; and as improvements are always made with more facility while a system is yet" young and tender," they indulge reasonable hopes that if the institution is not crushed by false notions of economy, at no very distant day it will have attained a degree of perfection fully adequate to all the objects contemplated by its creation.
The course of studies employs four years, and the cadets are organized into four corresponding classes, numbered 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, from the highest to the lowest. The first year after entering, the cadets are chiefly employed in the elementary branches of mathematics, beginning with algebra, and including of course geometry and plain and spherical trigonometry. In the afternoon they recite a lesson in the French language. The second year they pursue the more elevated branches of mathematics, as descriptive geometry and perspective; application of algebra to geometry, differential and integral calculus, &c.; and in the afternoon they recite
French and practise drawing, alternately, each three days in the week. In the third year they pass to mechanics, experimental philosophy, and astronomy, &c. They also attend lectures in chemical philosophy; and in the afternoon apply the principles and practice of drawing to perspective and topography. In the fourth and last year, they are employed on the course of engineering, civil and military, and in acquiring a knowledge of the theory of war. They also attend lectures in chemistry applied to the arts, and mineralogy. In the afternoon they receive instruction in history, moral philosophy, and national law, successively.
The drills and military duties serve as a collateral exercise to the whole; and during two months of the year, while the cadets are encamped, viz. from the first of July to the first of September, they are exclusively employed in these drills, and the duties peculiar to a camp. The effect of this kind of discipline and exercise, upon the carriage and health of the cadet, is truly astonishing. All who have seen them, we are persuaded, will be sensible of the truth of this remark.
The classes are subdivided into sections of about twenty each, for the purpose of instruction; and this sub-division is so ordered that all the best of a class are in a section by themselves. The next best are in another, and so on to the last. The advantage of this mode is, that the best students not having to wait the progress of the more ordinary, are enabled to study a more elevated and useful course in some of the sciences, than some of their companions; while on the other hand, those of less brilliant minds are never urged to attend to more branches than they can acquire with a tolerable degree of application. This system has, moreover, the effect of a very powerful stimulus, since it is manifest, at the first blush, that it affords a fair criterion of relative merit.
On the scientific branches, the cadets are engaged about three hours daily, with their instructers; and from three to four hours on the same subjects, in their own rooms. The instructer generally explains and demonstrates to the section at the black board, or illustrates
by experiment, the business of the next meeting; and on the following day, the same principles are explained and demonstrated in like manner, by the members of the section-and that in such a way, that no pupil, who is not as it were imbued with the subject, can possibly succeed in doing it. One operation of this system, is, to make the pupils, i. e. the most prominent of them, excellent instructers themselves; and, accordingly, upon the Lancasterian plan, the professors employ several of the 1st and 2d classes to assist in the instruction of the 3d and 4th. The mode also, of mixing the cadets of the upper classes with those of the lower, in their rooms, tends greatly to facilitate the studies of the latter. In this way, it is found that studies, which, when first introduced, were considered as very abtruse and difficult, become, after a year or two, exceedingly plain and easy. And in this way, also, they are doubtless enabled to make intelligible many subjects, which would otherwise be difficult elements of instruction, and which on this account, indeed, are excluded from other seminaries. Descriptive geometry, for example, has been taught for several years past, and well understood, without any text book whatever.
The Differential and Integral Calculus of Lacroix is studied from the French text, as also the application of algebra to geometry of Biot. The most minute notes are kept by every instructer, on the recitations of the day; a system of conventional marks are employed, which serve to indicate the merit of each individual, in the performances of that day. Should it be necessary, these files would show in what manner any young gentleman had acquitted himself, in every performance of his class, during his whole term of residence at the academy.
Twice a year all the classes are subjected to a public examination; the first, commencing on the first Monday of January, and the other, on the first Monday of June. The first of these examinations lasts about three weeks, and the last, upwards of three weeks--ten hours per diem. No studies, however, are interrupted during this time, as all the sections, except that under examin