Page images

site!! His suit was granted; but to his infinite mortification and regret, the glass was broken in his pocket."

The American paper then extracts an article from the London Courier, mentioning that many of the ladies who went to see the royal sleeping-room "pressed their lips to the quilt, and their cheeks to the pillows of the King's bed," and even stole a quantity of the wool of the blankets. Upon this the American editor remarks :—

"We have read the above to one of our Scotch friends, and he said: 'Ecod, the Scots are worse than the Irish; they are as abject as the Chinese, who regard the faeces of the Emperor as a panacea for every disease.'"

After reading the above, I felt very much mortified, that the Courier, in its ultra loyalty, should invent and publish such fables; which do no good at home, and only tend to bring the nation into contempt abroad.

The Delaware continues widening rapidly till it assumes that large and magnificent character which is peculiar to American rivers. On the west side we passed "Point no Point," noticed in Paine's Rights of Man.

The Delaware appeared about one mile across, when we came opposite to Philadelphia. This city is now decidedly the handsomest and best built in the United States, and contains 114,000 inhabitants. The houses are lofty and regular, the streets broad and well paved, and the tout ensemble gives one a strong impression of solidity, comfort, and opulence.

The famous covered market reaches from the Delaware nearly a mile up the street, which is called Market-street, and which traverses the whole of the city. Room is left on each side for carriages, besides a fine broad pavement for pedestrians; and the whole market presents during the morning, when crowded with people, a very curious and interesting spectacle. It is kept remarkably clean by persons appointed on purpose; no straw, waste leaves of vegetables, &c. being allowed to remain in it. The large division nearest the river, is appropriated to the sale of fish, which must be brought alive, or is otherwise condemned by the inspectors. The rest of the market is occupied by butchers, poulterers, fruiterers, &c.

I was much pleased with the exhibitions of fruit, which were very fine; and which, besides the ordinary kinds, such as peaches, apples, &c. abounded with melons, pine-apples, and other fruits esteemed rarities in England.

All the streets in Philadelphia are at right angles to one another. Those that run parallel to Market-street are called by different names; as Chesnut-street, Walnut-street, &c. &c. All those that run at right angles to it are numbered, beginning at the Delaware. The street along the bank is called " First-street," the next, "Secondstreet," and so 6n; and thus, you are directed to Ninth-street north, Ninth-street south, an arrangement which makes it easy for a stranger to find his way about the city.

There are several public edifices here that display a great knowledge of architecture. White marble, quarried in the neighbourhood, is so plentiful, that it is almost invariably used for the steps of doors and the cills of windows. I was particularly struck with the United States Bank, which is entirely built of this white marble. A large flight of steps conducted me to the portico which fronts the street, and which is a copy of the portico of the Parthenon.

The brilliant white of this edifice forms a strong contrast to the brick buildings that surround it. As far as regards the simplicity of the style, and the solidity and beauty of the material, I do not ever recollect having seen a modern structure that pleased me more. The New Theatre and the Bank of Pennsylvania do great credit to the good taste and public spirit of the Philadelphians, who certainly take more pride, and exert themselves more sincerely, in improving and beautifying their city, than the inhabitants of any other in the whole of the Federal Republic.

The old State House, where the congress of the Union used to meet before the seat of Government was removed to Washington, is now chiefly occupied by the Museum. The proprietor unfortunately happens to be a painter, and has disfigured it with some wretched specimens of his art, most of which are pretended portraits of worthies, born only to be forgotten. The most interesting object is an almost perfect skeleton of the mammoth, which was found in a marie pit on the banks of the Hudson. While looking at its tremendous sure, even with the skeleton before me, I could hardly help feeling in some degree incredulous, that such a huge carnivorous monster should have ever existed. And why, indeed, since it once existed, has it now ceased to exist ?—Perhaps we ought to imagine that Noah found it too large and troublesome to put in the ark, and therefore left the poor animal to perish.

Upon inquiring what occasioned the crowd which I observed around the public offices on each side of the Museum, I was informed that an election was going on for two members of Congress. "How astonishing," said I to myself, "that where such numbers vote, every thing should be thus quietly and peaceably conducted!" The supporters of the candidates enter into the different offices, give their votes, and come out again, with scarcely more noise, than if they had been going in and out of church. In this State, as would seem just to any one unskilled in the mysteries of government, every one who pays taxes, has a vote in the election of the Representatives who impose those taxes. This is the secret of the surprising good order. The voters are far too numerous to admit of the possibility of bribery; and as the elections occur every two years, they are such matters of course that no one thinks much about them.

Chesnut-street contains more handsome private houses than any other street in the city, and is shaded by rows of fine trees growing at the edge of the pavement. It is here, in the evenings during hot weather, that the beauty and fashion of the city make their promenade. The ladies dress remarkably well, but rather too gaudily to please the eye of an Englishman. This fault is very prevalent among the American ladies, who have nevertheless a great taste in dress, and are more easily enabled to gratify it than those of any other part of the globe.

The commerce of the United States is so extensive, and so devoid of all restrictions, that they lay the whole world under contribution. Shawls and muslins from India, cottons from England, lace, shoes, gloves, and silk from France, and bonnets from Italy, are all obtained with equal ease. The Philadelphians are however said to dress somewhat less fine, than the ladies of the other cities of the Union, probably owing to a slight tinge of the Quaker manners, which still influence the whole of the inhabitants, although only a small part of them belong to that sect at present.

« PreviousContinue »