National Geographic : 1896 Feb
HER GOVERNMENT, PEOPLE, AND BOUNDARY 51 United States; his daily routine is similar, and he is annoyed by office-seekers to about the same degree. He commences business at half-past six o'clock in the morning, and often has cabinet meetings as early as seven. The government offices open at seven, when all the clerks and officials are expected to be on hand, no matter how late they were dancing or dining the night before, but they knock off work at eleven for their breakfast and siesta, and do not return to their desks again until two. Cabinet ministers are paid $6,000 a year and congressmen $2,500, without any additional allowances, but the sessions do not last more than three months usually, so that they may engage in their regular occupations the rest of the year. The standing army is composed of five battalions of infantry, 1,842 men; one battery of artillery, 301 men, and one regiment of cavalry, 325 strong. Besides these regulars, who garrison the capital and the several forts throughout the country, there is a fed eral militia which is drilled annually and required to respond to the call of the government at any time. The rank and file of the army is composed exclusively of In dians, negroes, and half-breeds. They are obedient, faithful, and good fighters. Some of the fiercest battles the world has ever known have taken place in Venezuela with these poor fellows on both sides. Their uniform in the field is a pair of cotton drawers, a cotton shirt, a cheap straw hat, and a pair of sandals, but when they come to occupy the barracks in town and do guard duty around the government buildings they are made to wear red woolen trousers, blue coats, and caps of red and blue, with regular army shoes. The officers are generally good-looking young fellows of the best families, who take to military service and enjoy it. They wear well kept uniforms, have good manners, and are usually graduates of the university. The government has established a school of industry for the education of the Indian children, and every year a commission is sent to obtain recruits for the army among them. The boys are taught trades and all sorts of handicraft, as well as reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the girls are drilled in the duties of the home. When they have reached an age when their faculties are fully developed and their habits fixed they are sent back among their tribe as missionaries, not to teach religion, but civili zation, and the Indians are said to be improving rapidly under the tuition of their own daughters and sons.