1 DECEMBER 1849, Page 15


WISE'S WANDERINGS.* Is the simmer of 1846, Lieutenant Wise, of the United States Navy, departed from Boston in a "large vessel of war" bound for the Pacific; and there he remained till the present year. In the course of the service, be visited the coaSts of Chili and Peru ; assisted at the blockade, capture, and occupation of Mazatlan; made a journey to Mexico, chiefly on horse- back, in charge of despatches; and spent a good deal of time in California during the period of the war, though he was not there engaged in much actual service. He also visited the Sandwich, Marquesas, and Society groups, on the return, and Rio on the outward voyage. Mr. Wise has the.flowery, fluent, animated style which distinguishes many modern narrators among his countrymen, and which seems to spring as much from animal spirits and "go-ahead habits." as from in- tellectual vigour. Be has a literary knack, which seems common to the Americans as a people, while in Europe it is more limited to the "race that write." Mr. Wise, however, has some distinctive traits of his own. He can perceive the characteristics of a person or an incident, and de- scribe them with spirit and vivacity, though possibly with a little artist- like colouring. In a wide extent of travel and its consequent experiences, he has, like many others of his cloth, rubbed off the narrow prejudices and self-sufficiency of his countrymen ; he can cut a joke or enjoy one at "Yankee" expense, and he is not blind to American demerits or to the merits of other nations. A genial nature, and long familiarity with what he calls the "cayenne of life," as administered in sea-ports and far-off unsophisticated places, has also unbent some of the straightness of the pilgrim Fathers. He joins in scenes, or looks on them approvingly, which would prevent his ancestors (if Mr. Wise was born in the region whence he sailed) from resting in their graves. With this laxity he has the good-nature which frequently accompanies it, and is altogether a pleasant and lively companion. He has not, however, sufficient native genius and acquired art to make an interesting book without a good deal of assistance from his subject. This may be tested in the outward voyage, and to some degree in his de- scriptions of Rio, Valparaiso, and Lima. The common topics of a sea voyage are trite ; and the effort to give them attraction by writing only, imparts a sort of dead-lively style to the narrative. The three princi- pal capitals of South America have been frequently described ; and Mr. Wise was too short a time in each, and his life there too barren of incident, to produce new subjects except occasionally. In the Polynesian Islands, and in California and Mexico during the war, he was on more attractive ground. At the Sandwich Islands, he saw what may be called a formal civilization engrafted upon savage life, without, it is to be feared, much change of heart or mind, and very little of morals. The Society Islands exhibited a conquering power in close connexion with a native race who actually hate them, notwithstanding the real as well as politic good-na- ture of the conquerors, and the economical advantages their occupation must bring to the place. At the Marquesas the same process was ob- served upon a smaller scale ; the natives being less advanced, more sa- vage, and the French occupancy less complete. It was in California and Mexico that Mr. Wise found his most striking field of observation. Ca- lifornia was nearly a disorganized society ; that is, such society as there was being resolved into its elements. There were also the personal charac- teristics of the people and many adventurers, with the sports of the coun- try, to attract attention. Mexico, however, as Mr. Wise saw it, in actual war or influenced by its effects, was the best field for the describer. There the Spanish blood and institutions predominate; there you have the manners and romance of Spain, but more lawless, more corrupt, and with less outward order, while the Negro and Indian races are superin- duced upon the Spanish stock. Every page in the part relating to Mexico teems with wild adventures • the hard, the ludicrous, or the mingled-scenes of war, or some striking exhibition of character, man- ners, or scenery.

The port of Mazatlan was taken and occupied by the American naval force till the establishment nf peace, and our author was on duty there throughout the whole time of occupation. No warfare on an extensive scale took place; but there were several skirmishes and small affairs, either whit the regular Mexican fortes, or with some bands of brigands formed of deserters or of military gentlemen who did business on their own account. The following is a sketch of one of those attacks, with a termination" which presents the "American officers employed in a way that more aristocratic services do not own to.

"Our march.had beensosilentas not to create alarm, and, strangeto say, there sus nota sentinel awake. Embers of the watch-fires gave sufficient lightto distinguish the sleeping figures of the troops, with horses picketed near. We divided our forces into two parties, one commanding the pathway to the meadow, Whilst the other poured in a deadly-fire and immediately charged across the ravine. Taken zompletely by surprise, they jumped up in great consternation, and in their flight received the bullets from our remaining muskets: before we could reload .they were flying, like so many.ghosts, germs The ,field, leaving every- thing behiad. On gaining the bivouac, we found it quite a _picturesque little 0415, shaded by lefty forest-trees; and beneath were a number of hough-tmilt tuts, verging on the-rivulet that crossed the road. We counted eight dead :bodies; One poor youth was breathing his last- By the Stfullight of a-torch I tore-open S bale of linen at hand, passed some thick folds over the welling Wood of his wounds, placed a drop of brandy to his lips and left him to die. They were sixty in number, and we captured all they had—carbines, lances, ammunition, horses, saddles, and clothing, besides their private correspondence. " There was one incident connected with this esearamuza which was a source of den) regret to us. The wife and daughter of the commanding officer had, very imprudently, been on a visit to the encampment- When the attack com- menced, they were sleeping in a hut, and immediately fled.; but the child, a little rI of ten years, had been grazed by a ball in the foot, and told her mother the

• bbles hurt her feet; the kind but unfortunate woman ran back, in the thickest of the fire for the child's shoes, and, upon returning, received a mortal wouad

in throat. She was found by her friends, and died the following day— sales Grimm; or an Inside View of Mexico and California: with Wanderings in Zero, ChM, and Polynesia. By Lieutenant Wise, U. B.11. Published by Putnam. " ' 0 1 tennne cost a tort Won vous comas amide, Ala vet: de vos canna vous sins iutrepide.' 'I Loading our men with such articles as . could be conveniently transported, we burned or destroyed a large quantity of arms, munitions' and merchandise, and then began our march towards the.port. Such a motley throng as we presented Some were Wm:sham the muzzles of their muskets down to their heels, with every possible variety of trumpery—bridles, Bakes, Slags, serapes, and even women's clothing ; others, mounted on several saddles, one a-top of the other, with bundles of lances and fluttering penons seramd.totheir horses. Our trusty guide, in lieu of the purloined swine, had heaped hale upon bale on his horse and individual person, until he appearectin the midst or his plunder as if seated on a camel: our gallant captain had contented himeelfsvith a key-tingle, and a capacious nalform frock- coat some sizes-too large for him: I did better, for coming upon the dead body of an officer, I removed a silver-bound saddle from his head, which, with silver. mounted bridleshandsomesabreouid a fewother articles, I appropriated to myself: indeed I have never since wondered at the rage one feels for abstractiug an enemy's goods and chattels on similar occasions—such an itching, too, beyond mere curi- osity to search.people's pockets—that in a few more guerilla excursions I felt con- fident of becoming as good a freebooter as ever drew a sword."

From San Blas to Mexico Mr. Wise travelled Tartar fashion,--thit is, keeping almost incessantly hi the saddle ; though he oceasionally got a lift in a diligence. Till the • hard riding knocked him up, he had the company of a Mexican officer, one of the best of the race ; whence we may judge of the bad. " The horse I bestrode was not very beautiful-to behold, certainly—being what is technicallytermed in animalatructare a singed cat; but nevertheless herattled along bravely, without a jolt, -plunge, or stumble, and we got on famously to- gether. We contrived to while away miles andhours, coursing.along the marls- mas of the sea, with a clear ,right moon to light us; or winding through magni- ficent forests of sycamore and pine, beneath densethickets, arched With vines, cactus, and acacia; grouped here-and therewith palmettos, or cocoa-nuts, crackling in the breeze—and looking for all the word like long-legged, tronserless, turbwatd Turks. The scene was quite exhilarating; and even my comrade allowed his huge moustache to be parted; but whether owing to the pure air and excite- ment of the ride, or the yet purer brandy from his alforgas, his hitherto taciturn tongue was let loose, and we became bosom friends on the spot. He had put sufficient in his mouth-to steal away his brains; and not alittle to my surprise— though I expressed none—he shortly proposed to me a capital plan of cheating the Government: that by keeping together—he being empowered 'to take homes for nothing—we might charge the full amount, and halve.the proceeds. I readily assented, sealed the bargain by a squeeze that nearly wrenched him from the saddle, and resolved to cut his fascinating society at the first COM euient oppor- tunity. This gentleman bore the reputation of being one out of a few honest officers in .the Mexican army. However, it is but justice to State that these little sins of commission are net regarded in -so serious a light as with us ; al- though I could not help speculating on the beautiful moral attributes pastimes(' by the remainder of the army. They have a very trite saying, which hits.their 'case precisely: Primero jo, puss ml padre—Me first, then daddy."

The following graphic sketch of a street brawl will give an idea of the 'lawlessness of 'Mexico. The leperos, the heroes, are akin to the lazzaroniof Naples : the scene is Leon. "We rode through one of the mein avenues of the city, and entered the grand plaza as the great bell of the cathedral was slowly tolling for oraehm; and norm- scionsly we checked the horses to behold a vast concourse of many thousands silently kneel, with uncovered heads and-faces turned 'towards the church, whilst all was hushed to perfect stillness. I never was more deeply impressed with an emotion of awe and solemnity.

"Three aides-of the large square were lined with portales or arcades; with -every archway and open space filled with venders of glass, cigars, eutlery,

bridiery, and every kind-of home equipment; all, -however, destitute tof workmanliketinish. The plazadtself -was crowded withltineraat trailers, scream- ing in every possible intonation of voice their different-wares. Stalls and booths were also doing a large-business in licores and fried bits of meat, frijoles-and tdr- titles: but what carried away the commercial palm by long odds were the duke women. There were a .number of these popular saleswomen, squatted beneath huge umbrellas full ten feet in diameter, surrounded by crowds of buyerego whom they were dispensing papers of -coloured sugars, candies and sweetmeats unceasingly. I passed them again the next morning, when they appeared busy as ever; and .I was an eye-witness to a little incident wherein a centavo's worth of augur was the cause of a fatal stab. A leper° was purchasing atit of chive- late: it fell in the dirt, when another, probably thinking it a lawful prize, seised it, and -took a large bite; whereupon the lawful owner swung a mass of hersey steel spurs attached to his wrist, jingling with some force, on the offender's .ad. In a second down dropped the spurs, and serapes were wound.round-the leftaross. With low deep curses and flashing eyes, their knives gleamed in the lights -the spectators cleared a ring, and to work they went. I sprang upon a stone pillar, to be out of_harin's way, andthus had a clear view of the-fray. Mheir blades were , very unequally matched: one was at least eight inches, and the other nottielf / that measurements but both appeared 'adepts at the game, watching eachother like mild eats ready for a spring, moving cautiously to and fro, making feints. the shielded arm or stump of the foot for a minute or two; when, quick as aD I saw two rapid passes made by both: blood spurted from an ugly wound i spur-vender's throat; but at the same moment his short weapon seated-the deem of his antagonist, mad he lay stretched upon the ground, as lifeless as -Us. bio.aa, steel that struck him. -I glanced at the wounds after the affair had te imninteci, and *found the knife had been plunged twice directlyin the region of the

the survivor caught up his spurs, a bystander quickly folded a fiend

There was no effort or attempt made by the beholders to arrest the 4,artiesd some kerchief

-to his neck, arid threading the crowd, he was soon out of sight. corm was laid upon aliquor-stand, -with a delf platter upon the breast."

The morality of the Model Republic, about which we I at times, only seems an article for home wear. Allows -be -made when masses of men are congregated togeth home hung loose upon society, and some of whom for quitting; but it is doubtful whether a place of pean army would openly exhibit such scenes as tb Undoubtedly I saw Mexico at disadvantage; and in leaning over the stone luillastrades of the palace, mente going through their evolutions, particularly pressed me so deeply with their soldierly bearing battles they had fought andsgallantly won, as 1 the curiosities Lobe seen of a conquered city: Americanized: the great fondas and socied - .8 were all under the dominion ,of Yarkees; with Yankee ice, Yankee drinks, Ligna manners, habits, and custonis, A8 if the city had been from time immeMorial Yankeefied all over, instead of being only occupied a short twelvemontili by the troops. I usually dined in one of these large establishments; and, exc`-‘pting the hall of the eating saloon, from patios to attics, on every angle of the ,brmd flights of stairs, crowded one beta° the other, were gamingstables of ever _kind and description. Such a condensed essence of worldly hell, in all its gjxing disgusting frightfulness, never existed. And there never were lack of P1Lyere either; mo, not one but was closely sor. r a good (loaf nee is always to abroad, who At ssibly had reasons upied,by any-Law- e.

deed I took more pleasure regarding the different regi- Seventh Infantry, whoom- nd national pride for the hard leave no roomfor admiration-of deed, Mexico was almost entirely

rounded by officers and soldiers, blacklegs and !Mains of all sorts: betting an- commonly laigh too; many of the banks having sixty and eighty thousand dollars in gold alone on the tables; and once I saw a common soldier stake and win two hundred ounces at a single bet. Other saloons were filled with Mexican girls, with music and dancing, attended by every species of vice, all going on unceas- ingly, day and night together. My friends called these pandemoniums the hells of Montezuma. Whether such scenes will be of future benefit to the thousands of young men whom the war had called to Mexico, will be a matter for future speculation."