for “multitude” is not an Americanism, but good Old English. Thus, in Morte d'Arthur, the word is not unfrequently so employed; and the high-born dame, Juliana Berners, lady prioress in the fifteenth century of Sopwell nunnery, speaks of a bomynable syght of monkes (a large number of friars).
“Where is so huge a syght of mony.” —
(Far). Zarga, the Arabian heroine of the tribe Jadis, could see at the distance of three days' journey. Being asked by Hassân the secret of her long sight, she said it was due to the ore of antimony, which she reduced to powder, and applied to her eyes as a collyrium every night.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894