! --- A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, FROM ITS FOUNDATION TO THE PRESENT TIME --- >
This book, originally published in 1880, provides a comprehensive history of Philadelphia from its earliest settlements in the 1600's all the way to 1880, the year of the Centennial Exhibition.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Early Settlements
Chapter 2 The Quaker Colony
Chapter 3 The Founding of Philadelphia
Chapter 4 The Successors of Penn (1701-1766)
Chapter 5 Old Philadelphia (1701 to 1766 continued)
Chapter 6 The Gathering of the Storm (1766 to 1776)
Chapter 7 The Revolutionary War (1776 to 1783)
Chapter 8 Philadelphia as the Capital City (1783 to 1800)
Chapter 9 Growth and Development (1800 to 1876)
Chapter 10 The Centennial Exhibition
Chapter 11 Philadelphia in 1880
This little sketch of the birth and growth of Philadelphia, the materials for which were originally collected for the use of the Tenth United States Census, is cordially dedicated to those many sons and daughters of Philadelphia who prize her welfare as their own, and whose best energies are loyally and freely exerted to hold and confirm her in her high place among the sisterhood of cities.
Chapter 1 Early Settlements
It is difficult to realize, when studying any one of our large American towns, how short a time it is since the ground on which it stands was an unbroken wilderness, upon which eye of white man had never rested. This is particularly the case with those immense capitals of the West whose birth and growth are comprised within the past half-century; but the thought is sufficiently striking with regard to what we term our "old" settlements. Two centuries and a half - a mere drop in the sum of the ancient civilizations - represents all, and more than all, of what we in America count as antiquity. Take Philadelphia, for instance - second in population and importance among the cities of the United States, and rivaling in area every capital of Europe, unless it be the city of London: its foundation goes back to the earliest days of our colonies; yet Rome was already in the decadence of age, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Athens, had numbered each over two thousand years, when, in 1609, the little yacht of Heinrich Hudson, Dutch navigator, crossed the sea in search of a short cut to China, which that worthy commander had "contracted" to discover for the use of the Dutch East India Company.
The name of the yacht was the "Crescent," familiarly known to its sailors as the "Half-Moon." Failing to find the wished-for passage, and his crew growing rebellious, Hudson abandoned his quest, and pushing southward, coasted along the New England shores. To Cape Cod, which he took to be an original of his own, he gave the name of New Holland. Still keeping a southwesterly course, he came, on the twenty-eighth day of August, to a point south of the capes of the Chesapeake, and sighted a large bay, into which a river emptied itself. This river, now known as the Potomac, he did not examine, though he explored the bay for a short distance. Retracing his course and keeping to the southeast, he discovered another bay, into which emptied another large river. This was the Delaware, and the keel of the "Half-Moon" was the first touch of civilization laid upon its waters.
Passing into the bay above Cape Henlopen, Hudson found the land "to trend away toward the northwest with a great bay and rivers." The bay being shoal, and in places dangerous with sandbanks, he again stood out to sea, and a fortnight later discovered and ascended the noble stream which still bears his name. In the autumn the "Half-Moon" returned to Holland with charts, and reports of its discoveries. In the following year Hudson again visited in the New World, to renew his search for the China passage. His crew mutinied in the icy northern seas, and putting him, his son, and seven others into a small boat, cast them adrift. Their fate was never known. "Alone among the great navigators of that day, he lies buried in America, the glorious waste of waters which bears his name being his tomb and his monument."
Eleven years later, the Dutch Government, incited by Hudson's report, incorporated a company for trading with the new country. Taking possession of the district lying between New York and a point south of the Delaware, they gave it the name of "New Netherland." The river itself they called the "Zuydt," or South, River, in opposition to the Hudson, or, North, River. In 1623 or thereabouts they built Fort Nassau, near Gloucester, on the Jersey shore, opposite and about three miles from the present city of Philadelphia.
In 1637 a colony of Swedes, sent out under the auspices of the leading citizens of Stockholm, landed on the inland curve of Cape Henlopen, at a point which, after their protracted voyage, seemed to them so charming that they gave it the name of "Paradise Point." Exactly how long they remained there is not known, but by May of the following year they had pushed up the river as far as the site of the present town of Newcastle, and four miles above it, on Manquas Creek, had built a fort, which they named "Christiana," after the young Queen of Swedes - a name retained to this day. During the next eight years, a number of other forts were erected by them on either side of the river, to which they gave the name of "New Swederlandstream," the country in general being called by them "New Sweden." Previously, in the year following the visit of Heinrich Hudson, Lord De La Warr, rediscovering the often-christened bay and river, had called both by his own name, which they bear at the present time.
It is not to be supposed that the Dutch allowed this co-occupation to pass without protest, though the Dutch Governor lacked the necessary strength to dispute it. Gustavus Adolphus was just dead, his fame survived, and Sweden still ranked among the warlike powers of Europe. So though collisions, sometimes accompanied with bloodshed, not infrequently occurred between the rival colonies, no effectual stand was made against the Swedes. In their dealings with the Indians the Swedes have the credit of inaugurating that peaceful policy which afterward bore such good fruit under William Penn. They recognized a title from the aboriginal lords of the soil as being superior to and extinguishing all other titles. An amicable settlement with the savages was consequently of the first importance with them, and they spared no pains to secure it. The Dutch, perceiving the material advantages of this astute and Christian theory, made haste to follow their example - with this result, that whereas during their sole occupation of the district, ill-treatment of the Indians had been commonly practised, and had led to more than one massacre; after the arrival of the Swedes, and during their joint sovereignty of the river, not a single drop of Indian blood was shed along the Delaware by either party.
The jarring interests of the rival emigrants were brought to an end in 1674 by a treaty between England and Holland, in which all settlements in America were transferred to the former power. The Swedish colonists pursued their peaceful course under the new government, and their descendants are still to be found in the neighborhoods of their original settlement.
Chapter 2 The Quaker Colony
For more than a quarter of a century a new and powerful influence had been working in England to build up a sect which above all others was to be instrumental in the civilization of the disturbed and thinly-peopled waste over which the Dutch and Swedish colonies were disputing. "The rise of the people called Quakers," says Bancroft, "is one of the memorable events in the history of man. It marks the moment when intellectual freedom was claimed unconditionally by the people as an inalienable birthright." Born amid the stormy throes of the Protectorate, feared and distrusted alike by the Presbyterians and by the Church, ground and tortured between the upper and the lower millstones of contending factions, fined by both, imprisoned by both, whipped and branded by both - the Quakers increased and multiplied by that strange power of growth which seems inherent in all persecuted peoples. The spirit of George Fox, their founder, imparted its principle of indomitable meekness to thousands of human souls, and among the rest to the soul of William Penn, destined to be the founder and lawgiver of the great State of Pennsylvania.
William Penn was descended from a long line of sailor ancestors. His father, an admiral in the British navy, had held various important naval commands, and in recognition of his services had been honored by knighthood. A member of Parliament, and possessed of a considerable fortune, the path of worldly advancement seemed open and easy for the feet of his son, who had received a liberal education from Oxford, continued in the schools of the Continent. Beautiful in person, engaging in manner, accomplished in manly exercises and the use of the sword, fortune and preferment seemed to wait the acceptance of William Penn. But at the very outset of his career the Divine voice fell upon his ears as upon those of St. Paul. "God in his everlasting kindness guided my feet in the flower of my youth, when about twenty-two," he says, and "not disobedient to the heavenly vision," we find him, during the autumn of that same year, in jail for the crime of following his conscience.
Many trials awaited the youthful convert. His father cast him off. He underwent a considerable imprisonment in the Tower for "urging the cause of freedom with importunity." He was fined for contempt of court. At another time, when the jury hesitated to convict, they were promptly remanded to their room by the judge, with orders to stay there till they could render a better verdict. In time these afflictions abated. The influence of his family saved him from the heavier penalties which fell upon many of his co-religionists. His father on his death-bed reinstated him as heir. "Son William," said the dying man, "if you and your friends keep to your plain way of preaching and living, you will make an end of the priests."
Some years later we find him exerting an influence at Court which almost amounted to popularity. It is evident that, with all his boldness of opinion and speech, Penn possessed a tact and address which gave him the advantage over most of his sect in dealings with worldly people. This was in great part, no doubt, the result of the wide education and varied experience which preceded his conversion. It is not given to every enthusiast to combine with the energies of an ardent faith that knowledge of affairs and of the minds and conditions of men opposed to him in belief, which shall enable him to meet them successfully on their own ground, while still maintaining the integrity of his own. Penn possessed this happy combination of qualities, and he used it for the advantage of his people and of mankind.
In 1680 his influence at Court and with moneyed men enabled him to purchase a large tract of land in east New Jersey, on which to settle a colony of Quakers, a previous colony having been sent out three years before to west New Jersey. Meanwhile a larger project filled his mind. His father had bequeathed to him a claim on the Crown for L16,000. Colonial property was then held in light esteem, and with the help of some powerful friends, Penn was enabled so to press his claim as to secure the charter for that valuable grant which afterward became the State of Pennsylvania, and which included three degrees of latitude by five of longitude, west from the Delaware.
"This day," writes Penn Jan. 5, 1681, "my country was confirmed to me by the name of Pennsylvania, a name the King [Charles II] would give it in honour of my father. I chose New Wales, being as this a pretty hilly country. I proposed (when the Secretary, a Welshman, refused to have it called New Wales,) Sylvania, and they added Penn to it, and though I much opposed it, and went to the King to have it struck out and altered, he said 't was past, and he would take it upon him . . . I feared lest it should be looked upon as a vanity in me, and not as a respect of the King, as it truly was, to my father, whom he often mentions with praise."
In return for this grant of twenty-six million acres of the best land in the universe, William Penn, it was agreed, was to deliver annually at Windsor Castle two beaver-skins, pay into the King's treasury one fifth of the gold and silver which the province might yield, and govern the providence in conformity with the laws of England and as became a liege of England's King. He was to appoint judges and magistrates, could pardon all crimes except murder and treason, and whatsoever things he could lawfully do himself, he could appoint a deputy to do, he and his heirs forever" [Parton's "Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin," vol. i, p.368].
The original grant was fantastically limited by a circle drawn twelve miles distant from Newcastle, northward and westward, to the beginning of the fortieth degree of latitude. This was done to accommodate the Duke of York, who wished to retain the three lower counties as an appanage to the State of New York. A few months later he was persuaded to renounce this claim, and the Charter of Penn was extended to include the western and southern shores of the Delaware Bay and River from the forty-third degree of latitude to the Atlantic. "It was not for the love of the land, but from the love of the water that I desired it," says the mild Penn; but it is easy to see how essential to the fortunes of the infant colony was the possession of this outlet to the sea.
The charter confirmed, a brief account of the country was published, and lands offered for sale on the easy terms of forty shillings a hundred acres, and one shilling's rent a year in perpetuity. Numerous adventurers, many of them men of wealth and respectability, offered. Their articles of agreement included a provision as to "just and friendly conduct toward the natives." Fair-dealing and humanity were from the beginning integral parts of Penn's system of government.
In April, 1681, he sent forward "young Mr. Markham," his relative, with a small party of colonists to take possession of the grant, and prepare for his own coming during the following year. Penn's charter covered most of the lands occupied by the Dutch and Swedish settlements, and Markham bore with him the following letter of reassurance to such colonists as were already living on the soil.
"My Friends - I wish you all happiness here and hereafter. These are to let you know that it hath pleased God in his Providence to cast you within my Lott and Care. It is a business, that though I never understood before, yet God hath given me an understanding of my duty, and an honest mind to doe it uprightly. I hope you will not be troubled at your chainge and the King's choice, for you are now fixt, at the mercy of no Governour that comes to make his fortune great. You shall be governed by laws of your own makeing, and live a free, and if you will, a sober and industreous People. I shall not usurp the right of any, or oppress his person. God hath furnisht me with a better resolution, and hath given me his grace to keep it. In short, whatever sober and free men can reasonably desire for the security and improvement of their own happiness, I shall heartily comply with. I beseech God to direct you in the way of righteousness, and therein prosper you and your children after you. I am your true Friend, Wm. Penn. London, 8th of the month called April, 1681."
"Such were the pledges of the Quaker sovereign on assuming his government; it is the duty of history to state that during his long reign those pledges were fulfilled. He never refused the free men of Pennsylvania a reasonable desire" [Bancroft, vol. ii, p.364].
The fitting out of the emigrant ships bore heavily on Penn's fortune and credit, and he was forced to borrow considerable sums to meet the expense. It is the more to his praise that when, the August following Markham's departure, a trading company offered six thousand pounds and an annual revenue, for the monopoly of the Indian traffic within his jurisdiction, he should have refused it. In his straitened circumstances the temptation must have been a powerful one; but the cherished principle of his sect, that of equal rights to all men, forbade monopolies. "I will not abuse the love of God," he writes, "nor act unworthy of his Providence, by defiling what came to me clean. There may be room there, though not here, for the Holy Experiment."
Another temptation must have assailed William Penn at this time and afterward - the temptation of almost absolute power. How successfully he combated it may be judged by his own noble words. "I purpose," he writes, "for the matters [or sake] of liberty I purpose that which is extraordinary - to leave myself and successors no power of doing mischief; that the will of one man may not hinder the good of a whole country. It is the great end of government to secure the people from the abuse of power; for liberty without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is slavery." These few words contain a digest of perfect government. "A plantation reared on such a seed-plot," says Chalmers, "could not fail to grow with rapidity, to advance to maturity, to attract notice of the world."
Three ships, including that which carried Markham, sailed for Pennsylvania in 1681. In August, 1682, Penn himself embarked. His ship, the "Welcome," made what in those days was considered a swift passage - nine weeks from shore to shore; but small-pox broke out on the vessel, and thirty of the company died. On the 24th of October, 1682, Penn landed at Newcastle in Delaware. It was a happy circumstance that, out of twenty-three ships which made up the emigrant fleet, not one was lost.
News of the arrival of the "Quaker King" spread rapidly, and a large concourse of Swedes, Dutch, English, and Indians assembled to greet him. There was no disposition to resist his authority. The Swedes in particular showed the utmost alacrity in helping to unload the vessels and provide shelter for the new-comers. One of their prominent men was deputed to wait upon Penn and inform him of their readiness to "love, serve, and obey him," with the additional assurance that they counted his coming "the best day they had ever had seen."
Under these peaceful auspices William Penn took possession of his new government. The formal cession of territory was made the day following his landing by the exhibition of the royal patent and seal on his own part, and on that of the agent of the Duke of York by the solemn and symbolic delivery of portions of earth and water from the country transferred by his royal master. A few weeks later, Penn made his famous first grand treaty with the Indians. His title to the lands included in the royal grant was such as is held valid by all nations; but Penn chose to add to it the additional right of a purchase from the Indian proprietors. The council was held under a large elm-tree at Shackamaxon, on the borders of the present Philadelphia [The monument which now marks the site of this elm-tree stands in the midst of a manufacturing district in close proximity to some of the large ship-yards.].
"We meet," Penn told his savage audience, "on the broad pathway of good faith and good will. No advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love." The red men were not to be outdone in cordiality. "We will live in love with William Penn," they swore, "so long as the sun gives light." They kept their oath. The peaceful message bore peaceful fruit, and not a drop of Quaker blood was ever shed by an Indian.
Chapter 3 The Founding Of Philadelphia
Surveys for the building of a town had been set on foot before the arrival of Penn. The land now occupied by the city of Philadelphia was at that time the property of the Swedish colony, and probably for this reason the commissioners had decided upon a spot some twelve miles farther up the Delaware. The present site, however, possessed advantages which could not be overlooked by so acute an observer as Penn. The noble waterway formed by the approach of the two rivers, the heavy timbering of the land, the existence of large quarries of building stone and of a heavy stratum of brick clay - all these considerations conspired to fix his choice, and an amicable exchange of lands being effected with the Swedes, the laying out of the city began. Philadelphia, or "Brotherly Love," was the name chosen for it.
"The situation," writes Penn, "is not surpassed by one among all the many places I have seen in the world" - and he had visited most of the cities of Europe. Time has justified his encomiums. The position of the city of Philadelphia is one of almost unrivalled advantage. Built on a neck of land between two deep rivers which unite to form a third water front, and barely one hundred miles from the Atlantic, Philadelphia has all the practical advantages of a seaport, while holding in her hands the inland threads which link the commerce of the Northern and Southern States. The peninsula which she occupies, an irregular oblong in shape, has an average width of five miles, with an elevation of from two to forty feet above the sea; but the city has long since outgrown its original limits, and the new Philadelphia to the west of the Schuylkill runs over heights which rise in places to one hundred and twenty feet. Swept by freshening winds, with a climate which pleasantly compromises between Northern cold and Southern heat, and an abundant water-supply, the city from its foundation possessed the requisites of a rapid growth.
"The sky," writes one of the early colonists, "is as clear in winter as in summer, not foul and black, and the air, though cold and piercing, is so dry, that it does not require more clothing than in England." Game abounded; Indian corn grew wild; the rivers furnished a profusion of fish; A deer could be bought for two shillings; a large turkey for one; Corn was two-and-sixpence a bushel. With all these facilities, however, the privation of the colony during the first winter must have been great. In sharp contrast to the comfortable English homes just quitted, the colonists were forced to make a shift with bark-huts, or with caves which many of them dug in the high banks overlooking the Delaware. "I never heard them say," wrote one of their number, who had himself exchanged a pleasant home in England for a cave - "I never heard them say, 'I would I had not come,' which is worth observing, considering how plentifully they had lived in England." The framework of a country-house for the Governor had been sent out by the first fleet, but the dwelling was still incomplete when he arrived.
"There is curious building-stone and paving-stone," writes Gabriel Thomas, one of Penn's shipmates, "also tile-stone, with which Governour Penn covered his great and stately pile which he called Pennsbury House. There is likewise iron-stone or oar (lately found), which far exceeds that of England, being richer and less drossy. There is also very good limestone in great plenty, and cheap, of great use in buildings, and also in manureing land, if there were occassion - but nature has made that of itself sufficiently fruitful. Besides here are load-stones, ising-glass, and (that wonder of stones) the Salamander-stone, found near Brandy-wine River, having cotton in veins within it, which will not consume in the fire, though held there a long time. There are an infinite number of sea and land fowl of most sorts, and there are prodigious quantities of shell and other fish; also several sorts of wild beasts of great profit and good food. There are also several sorts of wild fruits, as excellent grapes - which upon frequent experience have produced choice wine - walnuts, chestnuts, filberts, hickory nuts, hurtleberries, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, plums, and many other wild fruits in great plenty, which are common and free for any to gather. Also many curious and excellent physical wild herbs, roots, and drugs of great virtue, which makes the Indians, by a right application of them, as able doctors and surgeons as any in Europe. Indeed the country, take it as a wilderness, is a most brave country" [Watson's " Annals of Philadelphia," vol i, p.69].
The city of Babylon is said to have been in Penn's mind as a model for his proposed city. Its area was liberally calculated. Penn's orders were to "Lay out a town in the proportion of two hundred acres for every ten thousand sold, of which the purchasers of five hundred acres were to have ten." The whole amount sold having been nearly four hundred thousand acres, the city as thus planned would have covered an area of eight thousand acres [Barber and Howe's "Hist. Coll.," p. 90]. The disadvantages of such a scheme in a situation where the mutual protection of close neighborhood might at any moment be of the highest necessity, soon became apparent; and in place of a town of twelve and a half square miles, one of a sixth of that size was decided upon. Later this plan was again contracted, and the boundaries of the city were declared to be Vine and Cedar Streets to the north and south, and the two rivers to the east and west.
"Be sure to settle the figure of the town so as that the streets hereafter may be uniform down to the water from the country bounds," wrote William Penn before his arrival, forecasting that decorous regularity of arrangement which has distinguished the city of his love ever since his day. "Let every house be placed, if the person pleases, in the middle of his plat, so that there may be ground on each side for garden or orchards or fields, that it may be a green country town which will never be burnt and always be wholesome." Such a "plat" was set aside by the commissioners for the Governor's own use. It was 402 feet long by 172 deep, and extended from High Street, southward on Front and Second Streets, half-way to Chestnut. The house, according to his wish, stood almost exactly in the middle of the enclosure. It was of simple construction, two stories in height, and built of brick. The cellar was dug before Penn's arrival, and the house was probably ready for occupation during the next year, 1683.
Penn's country-seat was at Pennsbury, on the Delaware, above Bristol. It was the residence that he preferred, and he came and went to and from it as the necessities of business required, using a barge or yacht, with a certain attention to state and show which befitted his position. "For although the Proprietary had adopted the simple habits and doctrines of the Society of Friends, there was within him much of the manner of his father's house. Formality and a certain degree of luxury, with attention to many worldly fashions which were to the strictest Quakers vanity of vanities, were kept up."
"The place was constructed at great expense for that time, having cost L7,000. The mansion was sixty feet in front by forty feet in depth; the garden, an ornamental and sloping one, lay along the river side in front of it. . . "
"Pray let the courtyard be levelled," he writes, "and the fields and places about the house be cleanly and orderly kept . . . I would have a kitchen, two larders, a wash-house, a room to iron in, a brewhouse, and a Milan oven for baking, and a stable for twelve horses. All my rooms I would have nine feet high. What you can, do with bricks; what you can't, do it with good timbers. . . There is gravel for walks, that is red at Philadelphia, near the Swamp. Let all be uniform, and not ascu from the house."
These innovations brought upon him some unavoidable criticism. In "News from Pennsylvania," published in London in 1703, this description is given by an apostate Quaker of Penn's manner of living during his second visit to this country:
"Our present governor, William Penn, wants the sacred unction, tho' he seems not to want majesty, for the grandeur and magnificence of his mien is equivalent to that of the Grand Mogul, and his word in many cases as absolute and binding. The gate of his house (or palace) is always guarded with a janisary armed with a varnished club of nearly ten foot long, crowned with a large silver head embossed and chased as an hieroglyphic of its master's pride. There are certain days of the week appointed for audience, and as for the rest, you must keep your distance. His corps du guard generally consists of seven or eight of his chief magistrates, both ecclesiastical and civil, which always attend him, and sometimes there are more. When he peramulates the city, one bare-headed, with a long white mace over his shoulder, in imitation of the Lord-Marshal of England, marches grandly before him and his train, and sometimes proclamation is made to clear the way. At the Meeting House, first William leads the van, like a mighty champion of war, rattling as fast the wheels of his leathern conveniency, after him follow the mighty Dons according to their several movings, and then for the Chorus, the Feminine Prophets tune their quail-pipes for the space of three or four hours . . . "
The first house finished in Philadelphia was a small wooden one on the east side of Front Street, a little north of the place afterward called the Dock. It was for many years in use as a tavern, its sign being a blue anchor. In 1683 Philadelphia, we are told, "consisted of three or four little cottages." But word had gone out into the world of the establishment of a city of refuge for the oppressed of all nations, and from all parts of Europe and Great Britain emigrants came crowding to the land of promise. "In the short space of three years after the settlement of Penn, fifty sail of vessels arrived, filled with passengers from different countries" ["The Picture of Philadelphia," p. 31]. From Germany they came, from Sweden, from the Low Countries, Ireland, Wales, and England. The rapid increase of population almost alarmed the Government, but it worked no harm, and steadily and silently the newcomers were absorbed unto the body politic, to help on the rapid growth of the general prosperity.
In three years after its foundation Philadelphia had gained more than New York in half a century. "The town already contained six hundred houses, and the schoolmaster and printing-press had begun their work." No wonder that Penn should exultingly write to Halifax: "I must without vanity say that I have led the greatest colony into America that ever man did upon a private credit, and the most prosperous beginnings that ever were in it are to be found among us."
Lawgivers as well as artisans are needful for the building of a state. Nine representatives were elected from each of the six counties into which Penn's dominion was divided, to frame a charter of liberties. Penn presided over the debates, but left the Assembly free to follow its own counsel. He laid before them the plan of government framed in England, but added: "You may amend, alter, or add; I am ready to settle such foundations as shall be for your happiness."
The constitution as finally decided upon created a Council and an Assembly. The former was to serve three years, the latter one. One third of the Council was to be renewed yearly. The whole assembly was subject to an annual election. Judges were nominated by the Council, and were not to be removed, except in case of ill behavior, till their term of office had expired. God was declared the only lord of the conscience. The Sabbath was set apart as a day of rest. The law of primogeniture was pronounced invalid. The word of an honest man was to be evidence unaccompanied by an oath. Thieves were to restore fourfold, after being whipped and imprisoned; if unable to do this, they were kept in servitude till the debt was discharged. No tax or custom could be levied except by law. There were neither poor-rates nor tithes. Murder was the only crime punishable by death. Every convict prison was to be a workhouse. False accusers were to pay a double penalty. The Governor had a negative voice in all acts of the Council, which was, in fact, a veto on every law. Except for this, the constitution of Pennsylvania would have been a pure democracy. In the adjoining State, Maryland, the Council was named by its Governor, Lord Baltimore. The appointment of all subordinate officers rested with him; he also had the revenue of tobacco, and the State was burdened with taxes. The same revenue was offered to Penn, and was declined. Tax-gatherers were unknown in Pennsylvania; the Council and all lesser offices were voted for by the people; and William Penn could not of his own will appoint so much as a constable to place. It is no wonder that this charter was received by the people with enthusiasm as "one of unhoped-for liberty." Penn was no less content. "I desired," he said, "to show men as free and as happy as they can be. If in the relation between us the people want of me anything that would make them happier, I should readily grant it."
"The early minutes [of the Assembly] show that the members in William Penn's time used to take their dinners with them to the House (the House being a schoolroom hired for twenty shillings the session), and adjourned sometimes for an hour to warm themselves; paid their clerk four shillings a day, and fined absentees tenpence; often sat in silence for a while, meditating, as at a Quaker meeting; and passed laws prohibiting the drinking of healths and the spreading of false news" [Parton's "Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin," vol. i., p.327].
It is interesting to note the calm good sense of the Quaker rulers when dealing with that question of witchcraft which a few years later was to upset all the best judgement of New England. In 1688 a woman was brought to trial as a witch. The jury - in which Quakers predominated - after listening to the testimony and the Governor's charge, brought in this verdict: "The prisoner is guilty of the common fame of being a witch, but not guilty as she stands indicted." It was the first and last trial for witchcraft which took place in Pennsylvania.
The government thus inaugurated, the courts of law established, a peaceful settlement with the natives secured, Penn's work was done, and he prepared for a visit to England. The executive power he left in the Council, and the seal of the State in the keeping of his friend Lloyd. He sailed in August, 1684, leaving behind him this touching farewell: "My love and my life are to you and with you, and no water can quench it or distance bring it to end. You are come to a quiet land, and liberty and authority are in your hands. I bless you in the name of the name and power of the Lord, and may God bless you in his righteousness, peace and plenty all the land over . . . And thou Philadelphia, the virgin settlement of this province, my soul prays to God for thee, that thou mightest stand in the day of trial, and that thy children may be blessed. Dear friends, my love salutes you all."
It was Penn's hope in sailing, to return in the course of a few months, but this hope was frustrated. Vexations and disappointment awaited him at home. Charles II, the granter of his patent of lands, died shortly after his arrival. Charles's successor, James II, had, as Duke of York, been a warm personal friend to Penn, and continued so after his accession. We hear of Penn in favor at Court during the following years, and using this favor in behalf of the Universities and of all persecuted sects, the Roman Catholics no less than his own people.
On the downfall of James, Penn, in common with all the friends of the deposed King, found himself suspected and in disgrace. He was twice arrested on a charge of treasonable practices, and twice acquitted. His government was taken from him, and again restored. It was fifteen years before he again saw the shores of the Delaware and the city of his planting. Great changes had taken place during this interval. Where he left a plain, rudely staked out with squares and streets, a few houses finished, and a few others begun, he found shops, warehouses, shipping. The population had increased to forty-five hundred, with an accomodation of seven hundred houses. Philadelphia, from the outset, has been remarkable for the liberal provision of dwellings for her people. The value of the customs at this time, Penn calculated to be not less than L8,000.
It was during this second visit that Philadelphia was instituted a city, though it would seem in effect to have possessed the character of one before then, for as early as 1691 its official acts were signed by a mayor [Watson's Annals of Philadelphia, vol. i., p. 25]. There were several good schools of learning for youth, and - for which the early chronicler gives thanks with an equal fervor - several cook's shops, both roasting and boyling, as in the city of London, for which we owe the highest gratitude to our plentiful Provider, the great Creator of heaven and earth . . . All sorts of very good paper are made in the German-town, as also very fine German linen, such as no person of quality need be ashamed to wear; and in several places they make very good druggets, crapes, camlets, and serges, beside other woolen cloathes, the manufacture of all which daily improves . . . The Christian children born here are generally well favoured and beautiful to behold; I never knew any with the least blemish [Gabriel Thomas's Account of Philadelphia and the Province to the Year 1696"].
A curious anecdote is told of Anthony Duche, a respectable Protestant refugee from France, who was one of Penn's ship's company on this second voyage. Duche had lent Penn a small sum of money, about thirty pounds. On their landing, Penn offered him, in lieu of the debt, what he called a good bargain in land, namely, the whole square between Third and Fourth Streets, with the exception of a small piece already occupied as a Friends' burial-ground. Duche replied, You are very good, Mr. Penn, and the offer might prove advantageous; but the money would suit me better. Blockhead! cried Penn, thou shalt have thy money; but canst thou not see that this will be a very great city in a very short time? So I was paid, adds Duche, and have ever since repeated of my folly [Annals of Philadelphia, vol. i., p. 264].
This proved to be Penn's last visit to his colony. He sailed for England in 1701, urged thither by embarrassments in his affairs, and partly, it would seem, also, by the unwillingness of his wife and daughter to remain. I cannot prevail upon my wife to stay, and still less with Tishe: I know not what to do, he writes. It was his hope speedily to return to Philadelphia, and to make the colony his permanent home; but these hopes were baffled. Renewed vexations awaited him in England. At one time he was actually in the Fleet prison for nine months on account of debt. O Pennsylvania, he wrote, during this period of trouble, what has thou not cost me? Above thirty thousand pounds more than I ever got by it, two hazardous and mostly fatiguing voyages, and my son's soul almost. (This is in reference to his eldest son, who had fallen into evil ways during his residence in the colony.) I cannot but think it hard measure that, while that proved a land of freedom and flourishing to them, it should become to me, by whose means it was made a country, the cause of trouble and poverty. So great were his necessities, that he actually negotiated for the sale of his province for L12,000, reserving to himself the quit-rents and estates. His mind was failing at the time, and before the execution of the deed he had so far lost his faculties as to be incapable of making a legal conveyance. In 1712 he had a shock of paralysis, and six months later another. For six years he lingered, enfeebled by memory, but when thoughts of business were kept from him, very sweet, comfortable, and easy, and cheerfully resigned, and taking delight in his children, friends, and domestic comforts. He enjoyed much serenity and continued incomes of the love of God. He died in 1718. His work survived him, and still survives. The chief cause of Pennsylvania's rapid growth was not the pleasantness of the climate, nor the fertility of the soil, nor the convenience of the situation, though these were causes of its prosperity; Pennsylvania throve because William Penn had been just.
Meanwhile, twelve years before his death, in a small tallow-chandler's shop in Boston, a boy had been born who, next after Penn, was destined to exert a lasting influence upon the city of his planning. Philadelphia, says Parton, is Quakerism mitigated by Franklin.
Chapter 4 The Successors Of Penn (1701-1766)
"A sober and considerate perusal of all the papers which remain at this day on the subject of Penn's government could not fail to convince the reader that the structure of colonial governments in general must have been of the most perplexing and vexatious kind. They remind one of wranglesome children, perpetually plotting and counterplotting against each other - 'destroying others, by themselves destroyed' - each carrying their complaints and remonstrances back to the distant parents in England, and they, equally perverse, rescinding and counteracting the efforts of the children to become their own masters. Americans, to be duly sensible of the value of their liberation from such harassing thraldom, should go back to the perusal of those voluminous papers which contain the facts so constantly afflictive to our forefathers!" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i, p. 81]
For some time after the death of William Penn, his widow, Hannah Penn, conducted the correspondence with the colony, and in some sort administered the government. William Penn, the oldest son of the family, made a claim on the colony as natural heir; but before any final decision had been arrived at in the matter, his unworthy life had come to a close. He died two years after his father's death, worn out by intemperence and excesses.
By Penn's will, the Pennsylvania estate was divided between the three sons of his second marriage, John, Thomas, and Richard. John Penn, dying unwedded in 1746, left his whole estate to his brother Thomas, who thus became owner of two-thirds of the province. He seems to have been a prudent and methodical man of business. Richard, the youngest of the brothers, was a spendthrift. Both were men of inferior capacities and narrow hearts, having inherited nothing of the wide thought and wider humanity which distinguished their father, and which led him to erect barriers for the protection of generations yet unborn against even his own authority and that of his heirs.
Insignificant among the gentry of their own country, without either place or influence, the heirs of Penn had yet the power to wield an almost royal control over a territory larger in extent than in England itself. Ruling by deputy, and rarely visiting the country which they claimed as an inheritance, their sole care in the management of it seems to have been their own enrichment in wealth and importance. Representatives of a parent whose virtues they neither understood nor imitated, and who would have been the first to condemn their methods of government, they used their authority to vex, retard, and hamper a community which, regarding them in the outset with a deep and grateful affection, learned in the end to feel toward them abhorrence and distrust, as the oppressors of the very people whom their father had given his all to make free.
Twenty-five years after the death of Penn, Pennsylvania contained a population of one hundred thousand, and Philadelphia ten thousand inhabitants. His heirs valued their American estate at ten million sterling. Twenty-five shiploads of Germans alone landed during the year 1749, and this was not estimated above the average emigration of former years. In 1731 Pennsylvania traded in twenty-eight different articles of commerce with England, besides exporting in considerable quantities to Portugal, Spain, Surinam, and the Mediterranean ports, and shipping over three hundred thousand pounds of produce to the West Indes. Over two thousand tons of shipping were built for sale over and above the quantity needed for the carrying trade of the province. The heirs of Penn drew from the province an income of twenty thousand pounds. Yet they steadily claimed the right of exemption from all taxes, even those levied for the protection of the territory from which this revenue was derived.
"During the first year of the French war, from 1754 to 1758, the ravaged colony of Pennsylvania contributed to the King's service in defending its own borders and aiding other colonies to strike at the common foe, the sum of two hundred and eighteen thousand pounds sterling. Still the Proprietaries would not be taxed. The Crown lands and castles, the lodge and palaces, of the King of England contributed their proper proportion to the revenue of the kingdom. But the proprietary estate of these lordly brothers must still be exempt from taxation" [Parton's "Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin," vol. i, p. 371]. The sum in question was not large, amounting to no more than five hundred and fifty pounds a year, all of which was to be expended in the defence of what the Messieurs Penn were magniloquently accustomed to style "our province of Pennsylvania" and "our city of Philadelphia." Yet even when, after the defeat of Braddock in 1756, the savage foe ravaged the outskirts of the colony, and families were scalped within eighty miles of Philadelphia, the Proprietaries held firmly to their refusal. Instead of setting on foot instant measures for relief and reprisal, the Assembly was forced to waste valuable time in miserable squabbles with the Governor over the point, as to whether or no the nominal rulers of the province and those who derived the greatest benefit from it should or should not be forced to bear their false share of the expenses for its protection.
These deputy-governors, sent out from England with sealed instructions for the management of every possible and impossible complication which might arise in the colony, must indeed have been a thorn in the side of a quick-witted and ardent community like that of Pennsylvania. They were changed as often as the indignation of the colonists or the convenience of the Penns made it desirable, and their different careers may be summed up with tolerable uniformity. Arrival, fair promises, hopes; quarrels with the Assembly, growing uneasiness; then appeals, denunciations on both sides, a tough fight over supplies, and his Excellency This sailed for England, while his Excellency That arrived to take his place. It was all a hopeless muddle. More than once the Governor's signature to bills which had passed the House was only extorted by making the payment of his own salary contingent upon it. "It is a happy country," remarks Franklin dryly, "where justice and what was your own before, can be had for ready money. It is another addition to the value of money, and of course another spur to industry. Our present Proprietaries have never been more unreasonable hitherto than barely to insist on your fighting in defence of their property, and paying the expense yourselves."
It is no wonder that Pennsylvania turned at length against this pair
of thick-headed despots, too distant and too deaf to heed remonstrance,
and too dull to understand it. When she turned, it was with that violence
of contempt which children feel who, after writhing under the rule of a
formal old pedagogue, realize at last his ignorance and their own strength.
But there is a melancholy side to such a reaction. Great men are none too
common in this world: their names should be held in honor. It is grievous
that the sons of a man like Penn should have been able, by their folly
and selfishness, to smirch and dim his honorable repute with the state
he so benefited, and bring down on themselves a satire so biting and so
deserved as that embodied in Franklin's "Memorial of T. and R.P.P. of P."
(Thomas and Richard Penn, Proprietaries of Pennsylvania), published in
1764. These are the concluding sentences:
"The privileges granted by their father
Foolishly and cruelly
Taking advantage of public distress,
Have exorted from the posterity of those settlers,
And are daily endeavoring to reduce them
To the most abject slavery,
Though to the virtues and industry of these people
In improving their country
They owe all they possess and enjoy -
A striking instance
Of human depravity and ingratitude,
And an irrefragable proof
That wisdom and goodness
Do not descend with an inheritance,
But that ineffable meanness
May be connected with unbounded fortune."
Notwithstanding these misunderstandings with the Proprietaries, the record of Philadelphia during the seventy years following the death of her founder shows a steady growth in prosperity. In 1753 the population had increased to nearly 15,000, and the number of houses to 2,300. In 1777 the population was 23,734, and the dwellings 5,395.
Penn's original plan for the laying out of the streets was adhered to by his successors. Streets fifty feet in width run from north to south and from east to west, crossing each other at regular angles. The streets which lead from river to river are named, in most part, after the fruit and forest trees which were found growing on the spot when the settlers arrived. The streets from north to south are numbered in regular order from No. 1, or Front Street, upward. Each block is calculated to contain one hundred houses, and is numbered accordingly. All dwellings above Market Street are marked north, and all below it, south. By this arrangement the number of any house defines its exact topographical situation. There are in Philadelphia none of those meanderings and divergences, attributable, as it would seem, to the vagrant propensities of the Puritan cow, which make a walk in Boston so puzzling and so interesting. All is duly rectangular and understood. One knows beforehand exactly what to expect at every turn and corner. But what such an arrangement lacks in interest is atoned for by the ease and simplicity which make it impossible for a stranger to go astray or to experience the least difficulty in following a given direction.
In 1752 Philadelphia was still what its founder desired that it should be, a "green country place," extending a mile along the Delaware, and about half a mile back from its shores. The houses, built principally of brick and stone, as to-day, stood each surrounded by its garden. Almost every family kept its cow, which was pastured in the outskirts of the city. The peach-orchards bore so abundantly, that pigs were fattened on the fruit. There were still persons who remembered when the site of the city was a forest: indeed the first child born in the colony was yet living, a man of sixty-two. Game was plentiful in the near neighborhood; and down to the middle of the century, wolves and bears were occasionally shot within eight miles of the State House.
An aged lady, still alive in 1740, could recollect the time when she and other girls went out to gather wild strawberries in what is now Spruce Street, between Seventh and Eighth. The woods there were "lofty and thrifty," and extended all the way across to the Schuylkill. An aged gentleman of the same date "well remembered a fine field of corn in growth on the north-west corner of South and Front Streets" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol i, p.234].
The health of the city was not uninterrupted during the first half of the century. With the increase of population came an increase of disease, chiefly of the zymotic type. In great part these disorders seem to have had for cause a small swamp or creek running north-westerly from the Delaware across Second and Walnut Streets to Third, with an arm extending as far as Spruce. This creek was given to the city by Penn, to be kept in perpetuity as a convenient water-way for boats of light draught, to carry supplies from the river to the heart of town. The sluggish current of the creek caused its bed gradually to fill with mud, which in time became the receptacle of a mass of sewer-contamination and garbage, and made a centre of poisonous exhalations for that part of the city. In 1784 Dr. Benjamin Rush pointed out this dangerous nuisance, and his influence was sufficient to carry (against strong opposition!) a law providing for the cleansing and arching over of the creek, and the laying out of a street above it; which measure was followed by an immediate improvement in public health.
It was Penn's intention to preserve the frontage of the Delaware as an open esplanade, to be planted with trees, and form an airy and agreeable walk for the citizens. His straits for money at a later day unfortunately led him to relax from this intention and to sell these lots for bank vaults and stores. It was a sore mortification to him, on his second visit, to see the "growing deformity" of this part of the city. "My necessity, not my will, hath done this," he remarked. The abandonment of his plan was a great and lasting loss to Philadelphia, only partially remedied by the bequest of Stephen Girard at a later day for the improvement of the river front.
In 1702 the breaking out of the war between England, France, and Spain menaced the settlements on the Delaware with attack, and the inconvenience of the Quaker doctrine of non-resistance became apparent. For although the original charter of Penn included a provision that he and his heirs should "muster and train, make war and vanquish or put to death all enemies by sea and land," and during the early years of the colony something like a militia organization existed, there can be no doubt that the Quakers were at heart strongly opposed to anything which bore the semblance of warlike preparations. Lieutenant-Governor Evans, then in command, attempted to raise a regiment for defence, which attempt was firmly resisted by the Assembly. Four years later he employed a foolish trick, with the hope of exciting a public panic and forcing the Quakers to abandon their policy of non-resistance. A forged letter was prepared and sent into town on a market-day, when the city was full of people, reporting that armed ships had entered the Delaware, and were coming up to plunder the city. The Governor made his appearance on horseback with a drawn sword, and called upon the people to rise in defence of their homes. Great alarm was excited, and the people began to remove their families and property; but the Quakers stood firm, and when, soon afterward, the fraud was discovered, the storm of indignation that it excited was so great, that the Penns were forced to remove Evans and replace him with another deputy.
In 1709 French privateers actually plundered the town of Lewes, in one of the lower Delaware counties. From 1740 to the close of 1748 France and Spain were at war against England, Holland, and Hungary. The American settlements were of course an inviting object of attack to all the enemies of England. All the southern colonies put themselves into a state of warlike preparation. "Pennsylvania alone was utterly defenceless. The banks of the Delaware had not a fort, not a battery, not a gun; and Philadelphia lay, a tempting prize, that even a well-armed privateer could seize and sack. There was not so much as a volunteer company, if there were muskets enough to arm one. John Penn and Thomas Penn were not Quakers, as their father had been; yet in the legislative Assembly the Quaker influence so greatly preponderated, that nothing could induce that body to vote money for the purchase of means of defence. Not the actual presence of a privateer in the river could move them: with such tenacity do we cling to eccentric beliefs!" [Parton's "Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin," vol. i, p. 264].
This obstinate inactivity was at last brought to an end by the influence of Benjamin Franklin. We have already spoken of this distinguished man as being, next to Penn himself, the most potent factor in the moulding of the Pennsylvania community.
The story of his life is, or should be, familiar to all who read these pages. There is, however, a surprising and growing carelessness about the lives of even great men, as they recede into the dimness of history. We fear there may be those, especially among our younger readers, who, in thinking of this celebrated character, depict him to their mind's eye as a bland, elderly figure vaguely outlined, with an aspect of benevolent instruction, who carries in one hand a lightning rod, in the other a batch of proverbs. For the benefit of these, if such there are, we will venture to give a brief sketch of a career so intimately bound up with the fortunes of Philadelphia, and which, taken in all its parts, is perhaps the most noteworthy of any recorded in American history.
Born in Boston in the year 1706, one of the ten children of a tallow-chandler; apprenticed to his brother at the age of twelve to learn the art of printing, falling out with his master five years later, and escaping from his service, our runaway apprentice landed in Philadelphia in 1723, being then seventeen years of age. His first adventures in the city are too well known to be dwelt upon at length. Landing from the small boat which had brought him down the river from Burlington, footsore, travel-stained, and almost penniless, his first emotion was one of surprise at the quantity of bread given him in exchange for a threepence - "twice as much as any Massachusetts baker would have given." Walking down grassy, tree-shaded Market Street, Deborah Read, his future wife, stood in her father's doorway and smiled at the odd appearance which he made - all of which simple legend should be as familiar to American boys and girls as is the history of Whittington and his Cat. We doubt if it is so.
Seven months later he returned to Boston for a brief visit, well dressed, with money in his pocket, and the owner of a watch. The clever young printer had prospered at his trade and made friends, among them Sir William Keith, at that time governor of the colony. This friendship proved in the end misfortune to Franklin. Keith, a vague, chimerical, untrustworthy man, sent him to England in 1724 with a commission to purchase the outfit for a printing establishment of a superior kind which the Governor desired to establish in Philadelphia. His promises as to money and introductions were not fulfilled, and Franklin was left to shift for himself in London, as he had done two years before in Philadelphia. Fortunately for him, a good printer could hardly lack for work in those days, and he found no trouble in earning a maintenance . He returned to Philadelphia in 1726. Three years later we find him established in a considerable printing business of his own, and conducting "The Pennsylvania Gazette," the first paper of note produced in the colony.
In 1730 he married his early love, Deborah Read. In 1731 he started the first subscription library, probably in the United States, certainly in Pennsylvania. Two pounds sterling for the purchase of books and ten shillings a year afterward, were the terms of the first subscriptions. This was the nucleus of the great Library of Philadelphia. In 1785 the number of volumes was 5,487; in 1807, 14,451. In 1861 it had risen to 70,000; in 1881 to 100,000. "The institution is one of the few in America that has held on its way unchanged in any essential principle for a century and a quarter, always on the increase, always faithfully administered, always doing its appointed work" [Parton's "Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin," vol. i, p. 202].
In 1732 was given to the world the first volume of the renowned "Poor Richard's Almanac." This little work, besides giving the usual information as to moons, tides, and weather statistics, was made the vehicle of Franklin's admirable comments on the affairs of the day, of his equally admirable fun, and of a wealth of aphorism which still supplies our memories and conversation. "Honesty is the best policy;" "A word to the wise;" "God helps those who help themselves." How often these and their companion proverbs are used by us without any recognition of the source from which they come.
In 1733, having earned a certain privilege of leisure, Franklin resumed the education which, so far as schools go, had ended for him at the age of ten. He learned to read fluently French, Italian, and Spain. He made considerable progress with Latin. He was also accomplished in music, the master of a clear and effective English style, and fond of the game of chess.
In 1744, when the war and the defenceless condition of Philadelphia created general alarm, he published a tract entitled "Plain Truth," in which he depicted the horrors of war, pointed out the danger of the province, and cited Biblical arguments to show "the righteousness of self-defence." This tract produced a powerful impression. Within a month after its appearance, almost every man in the province not a Quaker had joined a military organization and procured some sort of weapon. Eighty companies were soon formed. Franklin was elected colonel of one of the Philadelphia regiments, but "thinking myself unfit," he declined. It is probable that the younger Quakers at least secretly rejoiced at the movement. Certain it is that Franklin's share in it did not cost him his influence in the Assembly, of which he was clerk, as had been feared.
In 1747, Franklin, then forty-two years of age, and in the enjoyment of an income of some L700 a year, deliberately retired from active business for the purpose of gaining time to devote to scientific study, notably to electricity, which was then the absorbing topic of the day. In 1752 he made his great discovery of the identity of the electric fluid in the clouds with that in the electrical battery. The same year he invented the lightning-rod. The experiment was first tried in his own house. "The rod came into the bed-chamber on the gable end, eastern side, and there being cut off from its communication with the rod descending to the ground, the intermediate space of about one yard was filled up with a range or chime of bells, which, whenever an electric cloud passed over the place, were set to ringing and throwing out sparks of electricity" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i, p. 552]. In this manner the philosopher played with the terrible agent whose properties he was among the first to recognize. A vein of poetry runs through many of his scientific experiments. He was fond of the music of the AEolian harp, and accustomed wherever he went to stretch a silken string across some crevice which admitted air, in order to produce the sounds which delighted him. It is said that, revisiting many years after a house in which he had lived during his first visit to France, he found it shut up and deserted, under a suspicion of being haunted by spirits who made strange musical sounds. Investigation revealed the cause of this report - a forgotten cord stretched by himself across the window during his previous residence.
In 1752, through his instrumentality largely, the Academy and Charitable School of the Province of Pennsylvania (afterward to become the University of Pennsylvania) was founded, and soon afterward the Pennsylvania Hospital. It is to him that America owes the introduction of the willow-tree, and of plaster of Paris as a fertilizer. It was at his suggestion that the merchants of Philadelphia, in 1753, sent a ship to the Polar seas for the discovery of the Northwest Passage. He first detected the poisonous qualities of air exhaled from the lungs, and wrote effectively on the subject of ventilation. The open stove called the "Franklin," which has been in use among us ever since his day, was his invention. And it was his apt and fiery arguments which strengthened the popular party in Pennsylvania during their long struggle with the Proprietaries, and sowed the seeds of that determination after liberty which carried the colony through the hardships of the Revolution.
For sixteen years Franklin had held the place of Postmaster of Philadelphia. In 1753 he, in conjunction with Benjamin Hunter of Virginia, was commissioned by the Home Government as postmaster-general for America. It was under his administration that the mail-service first began to yield a revenue. Some of the improvements introduced by him into its management are part of our postal system to this day.
In 1755 he gave valuable assistance in fitting out Braddock's ill-fated expedition against Fort Duquesne. Visiting the camp for this purpose, he found leisure during the journey to observe and explain the movement of one of those spiral whirlwinds which were as common and destructive then as now. After the massacre of Braddock's force, and the onslaught of the savages on the frontiers of Pennsylvania, Franklin accepted for the emergency a military appointment, and led a body of volunteers to the relief of the Moravian settlement of Gnadenhutten, which had been laid in ashes by the Indians. The record of his two months' service in the field was so creditable to him, that he was urged by the Assembly to accept a general's commission and "undertake the reduction of Fort Duquesne," a proposal of which his wisdom and modesty alike forbade the acceptance.
In 1757 he was sent out to England as Agent of the Colony of Pennsylvania, to appeal against the vexatious conduct of the Proprietaries. He carried with him a memorandum of Heads of Complaint, which ran as follows: 1st. The Royal Charter gives to the Assembly the law-making power: the Proprietaries deprive them of that power. 2nd. The Charter confers on the Assembly the right to regulate supplies: the Proprietaries neutralize that right. 3d. The exemption of the estate of the Proprietaries from taxation is a manifest injustice. These complaints producing no impression on the minds of the Messrs. Penn, Franklin bent his energies toward influencing the Lords of the Council and the Board of Trade.
His mission kept him in England for nearly five years. They were laborious and harassing years, but they had their admixture of happiness, for the reputation of Franklin was now world-wide, and the best scientific and literary society of London welcomed him with open arms. In its main object his errand was a failure. The Proprietaries proved impracticable, and their influence prevailed with the authorities. In 1760 a committee of the Privy Council had a Report actually prepared, by which his Majesty was recommended to repeal the Bill which has passed the Assembly for the equal taxation of all estates. This was equivalent to a decision in favor of the Penns. Here the inimitable tact and dexterity of Franklin stepped in. He contrived so far to influence the committee as to secure an alteration in the terms of the Report, by which the King was recommended to repeal the Bill, unless the Assembly made certain alterations and concessions therein. This was, in effect, spiking the enemy's guns, for the Assembly found it easy to procrastinate, and evade the fulfilment of the conditions until the matter had passed out of men's minds and the immediate consideration of the Privy Council.
It may as well be said here that these feuds with the Proprietaries were not finally ended until the breaking out of the Revolution put an end to all property titles based on grants from the English Crown.
One year after Franklin's return to his own country, these discontents culminated. A majority of the Assembly signed a petition praying the King of England to take Pennsylvania under his protection as a Royal Colony. "On the twenty-sixth day of October they elected Benjamin Franklin as their agent, and in spite of the bitter protests of his opponents he sailed for England with the sacred charge of the liberties of his country in his custody" [Bancroft, vol. v. p. 220].
"Six times Franklin presented the petition of the province to the King; six times the Penns so opposed it that the appeal came to nothing. When the final disruption occurred, the Penns, being still in possession of the province, contrived to sell what they could no longer retain. The State of Pennsylvania voted them L130,000 sterling, and the British Government settled upon the head of the family a pension of L4,000 a year. They deemed the price far too small; but they nevertheless deigned to accept it, and Pennsylvania was rid of them forever" [Parton's "Life of Benjamin Franklin, vol. i p. 464].
The agitation caused by the passage of the Stamp Act, the following
year, also operated to hamper Franklin's negotiations. He continued in
London as representative, first for Pennsylvania, and later for the thirteen
original colonies, for ten years, until the very eve of the great struggle
of the Revolution, and until every hope of averting that struggle was past.
He himself, in his own person and as the agent of his country, had been
subjected to a public insult at the hands of the King's Solicitor-General,
Wedderburn, in a speech before the Privy Council in 1774. Horace Walpole's
epigram on this occasion will be remembered.
"Sarcastic Sawney, swol'n with pride and prate,
On silent Franklin poured his venal hate;
The calm philosopher, without reply,
Withdrew, and gave his country liberty."
The "calm philosopher" might not reply, but neither did he forget. "I am not insensible to injuries," he told a friend in after life, "but I never put myself to any trouble or inconvenience to retaliate." Five years later, on the day when the Treaty of Alliance between France and the United States of America was signed at Paris, it was observed that Dr. Franklin had put on the same suit of "Manchester" velvet which he wore on the day when he stood to be baited by Wedderburn, amid the applause of a great concourse of lords. He never wore it again, and he never remarked on the coincidence; but there can be no doubt that even the philosophic mind found satisfaction in linking together by this little act the day when, in his person, his country was humiliated, and that on which, through his assistance, she secured a powerful ally, and sprang into a new position of power and menace before the eyes of England.
Franklin's presence in France was in itself a triumph to the colonies" [Burke]. A member of the famous Congress of 1776, he was sent out to Paris in the autumn of the same year as Commissioner of the United States, and remained there until after the Treaty of Peace in 1782. His high repute in science and letters, his eloquence and dexterity, and his inimitable tact, contributed largely to the success of the negotiations and the ultimate triumph of the cause he represented. "Franklin charmed and captivated by a power so subtle and magnetic, as to be well-nigh indefinable" [Rosenthal, "France and America," p. 33]. His personal popularity was unbounded. " 'T is the fashion nowadays," sneered Longriet, "to have an engraving of M. Franklin over one's mantlepiece, as it was formerly the fashion to have a jumping-jack" [Capefigue, "Louis XVI.," vol. ii p.11].
The rest of his life may be summed up in a few brief sentences. Returning to Philadelphia in 1785, he was twice elected President of Pennsylvania. He died, 1790, at his own house in Market Street, being in the 85th year of his age. Next to Washington's, his life may be said to be that which was most useful to mankind of any life yet lived on the American continent.
Chapter 5 Old Philadelphia (1701-1766 Continued)
So late as the year 1760 Philadelphia continued to be an unpaved city. The soil being of clay, the streets in the wet season became almost impassable. Carts were frequently "stalled" in the mire of the principal thoroughfares. "Filthy-dirty was the jeering name given to the place by the farming folk in the neighborhood. The roads leading to the city were in even a worse condition. It was not an infrequent experience to see horses struggling in mud up to their knees. "Mr. Tyson has seen thirteen lime wagons stopped on the York Road, near Logan's Hill, to give one another assistance through the mire; and the drivers could be seen with their trousers rolled up, and joining team to team to draw out; at other times they set up a stake in the middle of the road to warn off wagons from the quicksand pits. Sometimes they took down fences, and made new roads through the fields" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i., p. 257].
Even the ground about the Market Place was left neglected until, in 1752, Franklin, "seeing with pain the cleanly people wading in mud up to the stalls," used his influence to secure a pavement, and later set on foot a subscription for having it regularly swept. The convenience of this pavement aroused a general desire for the paving of other streets, and made the people willing to be taxed for the purpose.
Second Street was the first to be paved. A prominent citizen, riding there on horseback, was thrown from his horse, and broke his leg. This accident drew attention to the shocking condition of the street, and led to its reformation. In 1761 a lottery was announced for the raising of $7,500, to be used in paving the streets. Ten years later another lottery produced $5,250 for the same purpose.
The sidewalks were generally laid in brick. New York sidewalks of the same date were cobble-stoned. "Habit reconciles to everything," writes a Philadelphian about 1730. "It is diverting enough to see a Philadelphian in New York. He walks the streets with as much painful caution as if his toes were covered with corns, or his feet lame with the gout; while a New Yorker, as little approving the plain masonry of Philadelphia, shuffles along the pavement like a parrot on a mahogany table."
In the year 1742 the city "began to be illuminated with lamps." Most of the early houses had casement-windows fitted with leaded panes. Sun-dials were affixed to many of the house-fronts, and were consulted as timepieces by the passers-by. In 1842 such a dial was still in existence on a dwelling on the north side of Pine Street, opposite the Friends' Meeting-house. Every housedoor had its porch, under which the family sat on pleasant evenings to enjoy the fresh air. "It was customary to go from porch to porch in neighborhoods, and sit and converse" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i., p. 174]. "Decent citizens had a universal speaking acquaintance with each other, and everybody promptly recognized a stranger in the streets" [Ibid., p. 175]. A watch of any kind was a rarity; when first watches came into use, the watchmakers found it an annoyance that they were so constantly called on by passers-by for the hour of the day. Carpets were scarcely known in the city till after 1750. Wall-papers followed later, about 1790, whitewash having previously been in universal use. In 1771 the first umbrellas appeared in Philadelphia, and were scouted as a ridiculous affectation. Blank cards seem to have been unknown down to the middle of the century. Playing-cards were the only ones imported, and invitations and tickets of admission were printed on the backs of these. A card for a ball still in existence, issued in 1749 by Mrs. Jeykill, one of the fashionable leaders of the day, bears on its face the glaring image of the queen of clubs.
Down to the time of the Revolution tooth-brushes were unknown. "The genteelest were content to rub the teeth with a chalked rag or with snuff. Some even deemed it an effeminacy in men to be seen cleaning the teeth at all" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i. p. 279]. The dental art was in its infancy. By a printed advertisement of the year 1784, Dr. Le Mayeur, one of the first dentists known in the city, engages to pay two guineas for each tooth which may be offered him by "persons disposed to sell their front teeth or any of them!" These were wanted for the operation called "transplanting," by which a sound tooth is drawn from the mouth of one living person and set in that of another. Dr. Le Mayeur had great success in Philadelphia, and is said to have "transplanted" one hundred and twenty-three teeth in six months.
Carriages were scarcely used in the city till after the Revolution. "One of the really honorables of the colonial days has told me of his mother (the wife of the Chief Justice) going to a great ball in her youthful days, to Hamilton's stores on the wharf on Water Street, next to the drawbridge - she going to the same in her full dress on horseback" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i p. 286]. In the year 1761 there were in the city but three coaches, two landaus, eighteen chariots, and fifteen chairs, making thirty-eight vehicles in all. The rapid progress in luxury immediately after this date is shown by the enumeration for duties on pleasure-carriages in 1794, which shows a list of "thirty-three coaches, one hundred and fifty seven coachees, thirty-five chariots, twenty-two phaetons, eighty light wagons, and five hundred and twenty chairs and sulkies" [Ibid., p. 208].
As late as the year 1762 the Schuylkill was still unbridged, and was crossed by means of ferries. In 1776 a floating bridge was placed on the river; but it was not till 1804 that a permanent structure took its place.
In 1704 the city was divided into ten wards, which division continued till 1800. The eastern front on the Delaware, from Vine to Walnut Street, made two, named the Upper and the Lower Delaware wards. From Walnut to Mulberry and from Front to Second Street made three more, Walnut, Chestnut, and High. The space between Mulberry and Walnut and Second and Seventh Streets was formed into the South, Middle, and North wards. Mulberry ward occupied the space between Delaware, Seventh, Walnut, and Cedar streets. The whole number of taxable persons in the city in 1741 was only 1621. The exports to Great Britain in the following year amounted to L8,527 12s. 8d., while the imports were L75,295 3s. 4d.
During the first thirty years of the century, piracies along the coast were of frequent occurrence, and lept the colony in continual alarm. In 1699 Captain Kidd was a standing menace to all sea-going people. Four of his crew were arrested and tried in Philadelphia. In 1717 and 1718 the equally infamous "Blackbeard" was plundering off the coasts of the Middle and Southern States. He is said to have made repeated visits to Philadelphia, and to have been countenanced and abetted by men in respectable repute. A son-in-law of the Deputy-Governor, Colonel Markham, was refused his seat in the Assembly on account of his alleged connection with him [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. ii p. 216]. Blackbeard frequented an inn in High Street, near Second, and his vessel, which lay off State Island, was regularly victualled and supplied by a worthy Swede named Crane, who lived at the Upper Ferry on the Schuylkill, and went off in his boat to the pirates.
How great was the terror excited by this freebooter may be guessed from the correspondence of the times. In 1717 James Logan writes: "We have been extremely pestered with pirates, who now swarm in America, and increase their numbers by almost every vessel they catch [compelling them to enter by coercion and otherwise]. If speedy care be not taken, they will become formidable, being now at least fifteen hundred strong." And later: "We have been much disturbed the last week by the pirates. They have taken and plundered six or seven vessels of this place. Some of our people having been several days on board with them, had much free discourse with them. They say they are about four hundred strong at Providence, and I know not how many at Cape Fear, where they are making a settlement . . . The sloop that came on our coast had about one hundred thirty men, all stout fellows, all English, and doubly armed. They said they waited for their consort of twenty-six guns, when they designed to visit Philadelphia. Some of our masters say they know almost every man on board, most of them having been lately in the river . . . They are now busy about us to lay in their stores of provisions for the winter." The following year, writing to the Governor of New York, he says: "We are in manifest danger here, unless the King's ships [which seem careless of the matter] take some notice of us; they probably think a proprietary government no part of their charge. It is possible, indeed, that the merchants of New York, some of them, I mean, might not be displeased to hear that we are all reduced to ashes. [Even so clearly, it seems, there were jealousies of trade!] Unless these pirates be deterred from coming up our rivers by the fear of men-of-war to block them in, there is nothing but what we may fear from them; for that unhappy pardon [of Blackbeard] has given them a settled correspondence everywhere, and an opportunity of lodging their friends where they please, to come to their assistance; and nowhere in America, I believe, so much as in this town" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. ii, p. 216]. Here we have the direct fact of Blackbeard's being then on the coast, well armed, with a crew of one hundred and thirty men, and waiting the arrival of another vessel, when he meditated a visit of plunder and rapine on Philadelphia itself. "Think too, of his crew being men generally known to captains in Philadelphia - some of them born among us . . . and the whole busily concerting schemes to lay in their winter store of provisions" [Ibid, p. 218, 219].
The "settled correspondence" of Blackbeard seems to have included persons high in authority. On his capture some months after the date of these letters, papers were found on board of his ship which incriminated both the Governor of North Carolina and his secretary as accessories in his infamous trade. They seem to have held a regular business connection with the pirates, who were allowed to bring their prizes into port and have them condemned, as though the freebooters were sailing under letters of marque. Their booty was openly sold, the Governor sharing in the spoils. He even lent the countenance of his presence to the marriage of Blackbeard with a young woman of good family, who wedded him without being aware of his character. It afterward proved that she was his fourteenth wife, twelve others being still living! It was not till the Governor of Virginia, moved by an appeal from North Carolinians, "who much distrusted their own Governor," came to the rescue, that anything was done toward checking this desperado.
His capture produced no immediate effect on the spirit of lawless adventure, for in 1723 we hear of "Lowe, the pirate, and his consort, Harris;" in 1724 of "Sprigg, the Pirate," of the "Bachelor's Delight," and Skipton, of the "Royal Fortune." Justice seems to have taken her time; but 1725 brought a check to this nefarious trade, and gradually it came to an end. The last executions were in October, 1731, when "Captain Macferson" and four others were tried for piracy and hanged, after a long day.
The low valuation of land within the city limits so late as the middle of the century is remarkable. In 1737 the whole square from High to Chestnut, and from Tenth to Eleventh streets, was leased for twenty years for the sum of forty shillings per annum and the additional consideration that the lessee should fence the plot and sow it with "English grass." Three years later this fortunate lessee sold out his title and interest in the ground for the remainder of the term for L5. William Penn is said to have offered his coachman the whole of the square included between Chestnut and Walnut and High and Second streets in lieu of a year's wages. An old lady living in 1842 relates that her grandfather was offered for L20 the whole square from High Street to Arch Street and from Front to Second Street, by William Penn himself. He declined, saying, "How long shall I wait to see my money returned in profit?" Water Street was a fashionable residence down to the beginning of the present century, "many of the richest and genteelest merchants living there." "The ground forming the square from Chestnut to Walnut streets and from Sixth to Seventh, was all a grass meadow, under fence, down to 1794 . . . The next square beyond, westward, was Norris's pasture lot." "Except one or two brick houses on the corner of Eighth Street, you met no other house to Schuylkill." When in 1792 a house was built on Market Street about Fifth, the owner was "almost considered as deranged for putting his building so far beyond the seat of civilization" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. ii p. 238].
In 1751 the Burlington and Bordentown line of packet-boats was established for the transportation of merchandise to New York. In 1756 a stage line to the same place was "instituted," to start from the sign of "The Death of the Fox" in Strawberry Alley, and arrive in three days. Nine years later, a second line of stages was announced. They were covered Jersey wagons without springs, leaving Philadelphia twice a week, consuming three days on the journey, and charging a tariff of twopence a mile. The year following, the march of improvement and the demand for rapid transit resulted in the establishment of a third line, called the "Flying Machine," price threepence a mile, and warranted to push through New York in two days, "except during the winter season," when three days must be allowed.
Only three newspapers were published in Philadelphia previous to the Revolution, the American Weekly Mercury" started in 1719 and discontinued in 1746; its successor, the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser," begun in 1742, in size a foolscap sheet;" and Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette," which dates back to 1729, and was finally merged in 1840 into the North American." Those were the days when the Press was held under strict cencorship, both in England and America. As late as 1719, John Matthews, a boy of nineteen, was executed at Tyburn for publishing a tract in favor of the expelled Stuarts. In 1722 the Council of Boston condemned James Franklin, publisher of the Courant" to jail for what was held to be a reflection on the tardiness of the authorities in the matter of the pirates. In 1723 they attempted to suppress the same paper. Private as well as public opinion bore heavily on writers and printers, and held them to a strict account for their utterances. There is a droll and delightful story told of Franklin in connection with this.
Not long after Benjamin Franklin had commenced editor of a newspaper, he noticed with considerable freedom the public conduct of one or two influential persons in Philadelphia. This circumstance was regarded by some of his patrons with disapprobation, and induced one of them to convey to Franklin the opinion of his friends with regard to it. The Doctor listened with patience to the reproof, and begged the favor of his friend's company at supper on an evening which he named; at the same time requesting that the other gentleman who were dissatisfied with him should also attend. The invitation was accepted by Philip Syng, Hugh Roberts, and several others. The Doctor received them cordially, his editorial conduct was canvassed, and some advice given. Supper was at last announced, and the guests were invited to an adjoining room. The Doctor begged the party to be seated, and urged them to help themselves; but the table was only supplied with two puddings and a stone pitcher filled with water. Each guest had a plate, a spoon, and a penny porringer. They were all helped, but none but the Doctor could eat. He partook freely of the pudding, and urged his friends to do the same; but they tasted and tried in vain. When their facetious host saw that the difficulty was unconquerable, he rose and addressed them thus My friends, any one who can subsist on sawdust-pudding and water, as I can, needs no man's patronage.'" He might have added, and can afford to print the truth and his real opinion," - a luxury not common among editors, ancient or modern.
On the 14th of May, 1729, the Assembly of Pennsylvania made an appropriation of two thousand pounds for the building of a house for the Assembly of this province to meet in." A lot was purchased on Chestnut Street, extending from Fifth to Sixth Street. The building was begun in 1732 and finished in 1735. Not till 1750, however, were the tower and steeple added and the bell procured, with its prophetic inscription: Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land, and to all Inhabitants thereof."
It is a singular fact in municipal history that the first house built in Philadelphia still survives. This ancient dwelling was built in 1696 by Penn's order, to be ready for his use when he arrived. It was finally made part of the marriage portion of his daughter Letitia, and was known as Letitia Street, above Second, near Market, and for many years was occupied as a tavern, under the name of the Woolpack Hotel. It was recently removed from its original site and rebuilt in Fairmount Park, where it is shown to visitors.
Another quaint building, antedating 1700, was the Slate Roof House," on Second Street, at the corner of Norris Alley, which survived till 1868. Penn occupied this house during a part of both his first and second visits to this country; and in it was born his son, John Penn - the only one of his descendants not born in England.
Of other well-known buildings in Philadelphia which date back to the eighteenth century, we may name the original Friends' Almshouse, built in 1729; the German Lutheran Church in Fifth Street, built in 1743; the old London Coffee-house on the corner of Front and Market streets, built probably in 1702; and the Old Swede's Church, which antedates them all, having been begun in 1798. The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia was built in 1704. The first place of worship for members of the Church of England was erected in 1695. It was a lowly structure of wood, occupying the present site of Christ Church. An old negro woman, who died in 1802 at the advanced age of 115 years, recollected its appearance. The ceiling, she said, she could touch with her lifted hands. The bell to call the people was hung in the crotch of a tree near by. When it was superseded by a more stately structure of brick, they ran their walls up so far outside of the first church, that the worship was continued unmolested till the other was roofed and so far finished as to be used in its stead [Watson's Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i p. 379]. Facts since brought to light seem to prove that the original wooden building must have been a temporary shed constructed within the walls of brick, and used till the walls and roofing could be finished.
In 1711, and again in 1720, Christ Church received considerable additions. The tower and steeple were not built until after 1744. This church is rich in antique communion plate, including a chalic and flagon presented by Queen Anne in 1708. Franklin and his wife are buried in Christ Church graveyard, corner of Fifth and Arch Streets.
In 1739 the famous preacher, George Whitefield, made his first visit to Philadelphia. His eloquence produced a deep impression, and no church could be found large enough to contain the audiences which flocked to hear him. He accordingly held forth, from the balcony of a court-house on the corner of Second and Market streets, to a crowd which extended eastward nearly to the Delaware. Franklin calculated that at times twenty-five thousand people may have been within the reach of his voice. In 1740 he made a second visit to Philadelphia, but speedily involved himself in controversies with the leading people of the city, which had the effect to impair his influence. He and his co-evangelist, Seward, undertook the bold measure of endeavoring to close the dancing-school, the dancing-assembly, and the concert-room; the two latter being kept up by subscription among us people of wealth and fashion who aspired to be leaders of society" [ Historic Mansions of Philadelphia," p. 157]. Seward writes: A friend came in and told us that some gentleman threatened to cane me for having taken away the keys of the assembly-room, dancing-school, and music-meeting, which the owner delivered to me on my promise to pay for any damage which he might sustain thereby. May the Lord strengthen me to carry on this battle against one of Satan's strongest holds in the city, supported in part too by the proprietor, whose father bore a noble testimony against those devilish diversions - which shows us how dangerous a snare it is to our children to leave them rich in this world's goods and not rich in faith!"
Many years later Whitefield, saw through light of sober experience, how unwise and uncharitable he had been, and with ripened opinions made the following confession: I have carried high sail whilst running through a torrent of popularity and contempt. I may have mistaken nature for grace, imagination for revelation, and the fire of my own temper for holy zeal; and I find that I have frequently written and spoken in my own spirit when I thought that I was assisted entirely by God" [ Historic Mansions of Philadelphia," p. 158].
The disfavor felt by the regular clergy toward Whitfield threatening to deprive him of the use of all places of worship for his meetings, it was determined to erect a building which should be controlled by him, and large enough to hold the vast crowds which came to listen to his teachings. This resulted in the building known as the Old Academy in Fourth Street. It was begun in 1740. Whitfield preached in it during the same year, before the roof was put on, and again in 1745 and 1746. During the week it was used as a free school under the name of The College Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia." On Sundays it was at the service of any regular minister of the gospel who was willing to subscribe to what was termed the Whitefield creed," with the proviso that the Rev. George Whitefield should have the free and uninterrupted use of the building whenever he should happen to be in Philadelphia. Later on this Academy College" was merged into the University of Pennsylvania.
The amusements of the century were mostly of a hearty and unrefined sort. Bull-baiting and cock-fighting were much countenanced. Horseracing was popular. All genteel horses were pacers. A trotting-horse was deemed a bad breed" [Watson's Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i p. 280]. Fairs with whirligigs and slack and tight rope dancing were much patronized. In winter there was a great deal of skating on the rivers. May-days were observed with the raising of the May-pole. It was not until 1754 that the first theatre was opened in Philadelphia, by a company of comedians from London." Their first place of exhibition was a store in Water Street. At the date of their arrival, popular prejudices were powerful against every species of theatrical exhibition, and petitions were more than once presented to the Legislature to put a stop to them. The Synod of the Presbyterians in a general convocation, July, 1759, also lent the aid of their influence against the theatre, by petitions to the Governor and the Legislature, which were published. A few days later the theatrical corps announced for exhibition, The Tragedy of Douglas, by the Rev. Mr. Home, minister of the Kirk of Scotland'" [ A Picture of Philadelphia," p. 329].
From the settlement of Philadelphia in 1682 until 1696 no public precautions seem to have been taken against fire. In the latter year the provincial Legislature passed a law by which persons were forbidden to fire their chimneys to cleanse them, or suffer them to be so foul as to take fire, under a penalty of forty shillings; and each houseowner was to provide and keep ready a swab of twelve of fourteen feet long, and a bucket or pail, under the penalty of ten shillings. No person should presume to smoke tobacco in the streets, either by day or night, under the penalty of twelve pence.
A similar Act was passed in 1700, providing for two leather buckets, and forbidding more than six pounds of powder to be kept in any house or shop, unless forty perches distant from any dwelling-house, under the penalty of ten pounds. The law was re-enacted in 1701, and the magistrates were authorized to procure six or eight good books for the tearing down of houses on fire" [Watson's Annals of Philadelphia," vol. iii p. 405]. In 1718 Abraham Bickley, a public-spirited merchant, imported a hand fire-engine from England, which next year was purchased of him by the Council. A destructive fire in 1730 led to the purchase of three more engines by the city, besides four hundred leather buckets, twenty ladders, and twenty-five hooks, an assessment of two-pence per pound and eight shillings per head being made to pay for the same.
In 1733 an article appeared in Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette," on fires, their origin, and the best methods for putting them out. This led to the formation of the first fire company. It was incorporated in 1736, Franklin being one of its founders. Each member at his own cost was to provide six leather buckets and two bags of good osnaburgs or woder linen. The bags and baskets were for packing and transporting of goods. Upon the alarm of each fire, each member was to repair with half of his buckets and bags to the fire, to extinguish it, and preserve the goods. The number of members was restricted to thirty, and this being filled up within a year, a second company was formed, March 1st, 1738, under the name of the Fellowship Fire Company, with thirty-five members" [Watson's Annals of Philadelphia," vol. iii p. 408].
In 1742 a third company, The Hand in Hand," was organized; in 1743 a fourth, The Heart in Hand;" three years later the fifth, named The Friendship;" and in 1751 The Britannia," disbanded in the time preceding the Revolution, probably on account of its name. Each of the companies had an engine imported from England, and these six organizations, with their appliances, were Philadelphia's reliance for protection against fire down to the end of the century.
Education was one of the earliest needs to which the Quaker colony lent its attention. The first English school was opened in 1683, one Enoch Flower being its master. The prices were moderate: to read English, four shillings; to write, six shillings; and to read, write, and cast accounts, eight shillings; for teaching, lodging, and diet, ten pounds per annum" [Watson's Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i p. 287]. In 1689 the Friends' Public School, which now stands in Front Street, below Chestnut, was begun. There were no separate schools for girls until near the close of the century. In 1770 a Mr. Griscom advertises his private Academy, free from the noise of the city," at the North end. It is amusing to reflect that this scholastic retreat was situated on Front and Water streets, a little above Vine - a spot which no student in search of quiet would be likely to select nowadays.
The stone prison on High and Third Streets was begun in 1718, and was probably the first built for the use of the colony. "The barbarous appendages of whipping-post, pillory, and stocks were placed full in the public eye, hard by, on High Street, directly in front of the Market" [Watson's Annals of Philadelphia," vol. i p. 363]. These punishments were in use till the Revolution. In 1720 the penalty of death was inflicted for making and passing of counterfeit dollars - the first case in the colony. In 1705 men were fined twenty shillings for laboring on the Sabbath day, and ten for being found tipping in a tavern on the same day. Profane swearing was a punishable offence. Barbers were indicted for shaving persons on First Day," and for trimming hair." In 1731 a woman was burned alive publicly for the murder of her husband. It was not until after the coming in of our own century that the present penitentiary system was inaugurated.
Down to the Revolution, slavery was a feature of Philadelphia life, and it was a common incident for family servants to be sent to jail to receive a dozen lashes as punishment for acts of insubordination. In 1762 Messrs. Willing and Morris advertised in the daily papers the sale of one hundred and seventy negroes just arrived from the Gold Coast. Redemption servants," or emigrants sold for a term of years to defray the expense of their passage, were numerous. An advertisement in 1728 reads: Lately imported, and to be sold cheap, a parcel of likely men and women servants." The practice was discouraged after a time, from the dread lest criminals should in this way be imported into the country.
"In 1763 the Treaty of Peace between England and France was signed at Paris. The savage tribes of America, however, remained unaffected by the pledges of the Christian rulers who for years had alternately employed them. They still continued their career of destruction, and of all the colonies, Pennsylvania suffered most" [Parton's "Life of Franklin," vol. i. p. 311].
Through the whole summer of that fatal year the western frontier of the State was ravaged by the hostile savages, till "every white man in Pennsylvania loathed the name of Indian." The terror and indignation excited by these attacks led during the winter to an act of unjustifiable reprisal, if reprisal it can be called which visits on the innocent and defenceless the wrongs of the guilty who are out of reach.
Twenty miles from Philadelphia, near Lancaster, there still dwelt a feeble remnant of the Costenogas, the tribe which had been first to bid the English settlers welcome on their arrival eighty years before, and to agree in the Treaty of Peace. One old man still survived who had touched the hand of William Penn. They had kept their treaty obligations loyally, and had always been faithful friends to the English. In 1763 only twenty of them were left, seven men, five women, and eight children. "They were still living in their village on the Shawanee Creek, their lands being assured to them by manorial gift; but they were miserably poor, earned by making brooms, baskets, and wooden bowls a part of their living, and begged the rest. They were wholly peaceable and unoffending, friendly to their white neighbors, and pitifully clinging and affectionate, naming their children after whites who had been kind to them, and striving in every way to show their gratitude and goodwill" ["A Century of Dishonor," by H.H., p. 303].
Upon this inoffensive community, which had never raised a hand against a white man, a party of armed ruffians descended on the 15th day of December, burned the huts, and killed and scalped every creature in them. As it chanced, only six of the Indians were at home that morning. The magistrates of Lancaster took charge of the remaining fourteen, and placed them in the workhouse for protection.
A fortnight later, the same band of murderers surrounded the workhouse. They were fifty strong. No one dared to interfere. "When the poor wretches saw that they had no protection nigh, and could not possibly escape, they divided their little families, the children clinging to their parents. They fell on their faces, protested their innocence, declared their love of the English, and that in their whole lives they had never done them injury; and in this posture they all received the hatchet. The barbarous men who committed this atrocious act hurrahed in triumph, as if they had gained a victory, and rode off unmolested" [From a pamphlet printed anonymously in Philadelphia at the time of the massacre.].
This tragedy could hardly find a place in a history of Philadelphia, though belonging to its immediate neighborhood, were it not for the consequences that followed.
The massacre of these twenty harmless and unresisting creatures seemed to light a flame of cruelty throughout the State. Men justified the act of "the Paxton boys;" worse, they burned to imitate it. The efforts of the magistrates to find the offenders were fruitless. All the Christian Indians were included in the unreasoning hatred of the multitude. "Everywhere in the provinces fanatics began to renew the old cry that the Indians were the Canaanites whom God had commanded Joshua to destroy. It became dangerous for a Moravian Indian to be seen anywhere. In vain did he carry one of the Pennsylvania governor's passports in his pocket. He was liable to be shot at sight, with no time to pull his passport out" ["A Century of Dishonor," p. 308].
In November an order reached the Moravian missionaries to bring the baptized Indians under their charge to Philadelphia, that they might be under the protection of the city. The Governor at that time was John Penn the younger, who had lately arrived from England. He seems to have acted in good faith in this order; but he found difficulties in carrying it out. When the little band of Indians arrived, one hundred and forty in number, including the aged, the sick, and little children, they were assigned to the "Barracks in the Northern Liberties" for shelter, but the Highland regiment quartered in the place denied them admission. For five hours the helpless creatures stood before the shut gate, the mob increasing and growing more riotous every hour, their missionaries bravely standing by them, and trying in vain to stem or control the insults of the crowd. At last an order came that they should proceed to Province Island - an island in the Delaware, joined to the shore by a coffer dam.
They remained at this place for more than a month, humane people in Philadelphia sending them provisions, fuel, and other necessaries. Meanwhile the Paxton boys, now swelled in number to some hundreds, began to march upon the city in two bodies, with the avowed intention of not leaving a single Indian alive. The Governor issued stringent proclamations, but had evidently no force of will to meet the emergency. The helpless Indians were hurried here and there - to League Island, back again to Province Island; to Amboy, with the intention of putting them under the protection of New York; back again to Philadelphia - all in the cold of midwinter. At last they were quartered in the same barracks which had once before refused them admittance.
News was received that the rioters in large force were approaching. It was only too probable that, should they enter the city, they would be joined by many sympathizers. Bells were rung, bonfires lighted. The whole city was in terror. Entrenchments were thrown up round the barracks, and cannon planted, many Quakers assisting in the preparations for defence. Dr. Franklin and three other gentleman rode out to meet the insurgents, at the request of the Governor - all this warlike demonstration and public fear being caused by the necessity of protecting less than two hundred of his Majesty's red lieges, members of the same communion, and amenable to the same laws, from the murderous assault of a body of their fellow-Christians of the same community!
The arguments of the delegation or the news of the defences of the city had the effect to discourage the rioters, and they withdrew their force, making no attack. The effect of the affair on the mind of Governor John Penn was, however, unfortunate. He lost all courage and spirit in the face of danger, and gave way to the tide of popular feeling. Terrified, and angry with himself for being so, he truckled to the murderers. A few weeks after these events, he issued a proclamation, which may justly be styled infamous, offering a bounty for Indian scalps - one hundred and thirty eight dollars for that of a male Indian, fifty dollars for that of a female, with the addition implied, if not stated, of "no questions asked." And this from a grandson of William Penn!
Chapter 6 The Gathering Of The Storm (1766-1776)
When on the morning of the 22nd day of September, 1763, three Lords of the Treasury met in Downing Street, and, with little discussion and less hesitation, passed a casual minute providing for the taxation of the American colonies, neither of the three, as it would seem, had the least foreboding of the storm of resentment which the measure was to evoke. Parliament was equally unconscious. One man alone among the employees of the Government had an instinct of the coming peril. Richard Jackson, secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, warned his master to lay the project aside, and refused to take any part in furthering it.
"Ignorance of American affairs," said Burke, had misled Parliament; knowledge alone could not bring it into the right road." But knowledge came, as she too often does, only in time to point a moral after evil is an accomplished fact, and its consequences inevitable. All the colonies were in a flame of passionate indignation; the spirit of resistance, like a prairie fire, was fairly leaping over the land, before any one in England had wasted two thoughts on the matter, and even before the actual passage of the Stamp Act itself in 1765.
It was an act curiously well adapted to puzzle and disgust the people whom it was to affect. It imposed duties on fifty-four different articles. All parchment and paper, all legal documents, school and college degrees, bills of lading, licenses, bonds, leases, warrants, mortgages, all pamphlets, almanacs, advertisements, translations, all premiums paid by apprentices, deeds, conveyances, appointments to office - in short, every act between man and man which required the guarantee of a signature and a seal was to be taxed at a rate of from one shilling to four pounds each.
In addition, heavy restrictions on trade were imposed. The colonists were prohibited from exporting the great bulk of their produce to any country save Great Britain. They were prohibited from purchase, except of a few specified articles, in other than British ports. To increase their dependence on England, manufacturers of various sorts were interdicted, especially those of iron and ore and of wool.
The colonists abounded in land, and so could feed flocks of sheep. Lest they should multiply their flocks and weave their own cloth, they might not use a ship nor a boat, nor a carriage, no, nor even a pack-horse, to carry wool, or any manufacture of which wool forms a part, across the line of one province to another. They could not land wool from islands in the harbor, or bring it across a river. A British sailor finding himself in want of clothes in one of their harbors might not buy there more than forty shillings' worth of woollens" [Bancroft, vol. v. p. 265].
Printing the Bible in America was also prohibited, and, except in the Indian dialects, it never was printed there till after the Revolution. These laws were to be enforced, not by the civil officers only, but by naval and military officers irresponsible to the civil power in the colonies. The penalties and forfeitures for breach of the revenue laws were to be decided in courts of vice-admiralty, without the interposition of a jury, by a single judge, who had no support whatever but from his own share in the profits of his own condemnations" [Ibid, p. 267].
Looking at the measures in the light of their after results, it seems singular indeed that even the colonial agents dwelling in London should have been so little prepared for what was to follow. Franklin himself seems never to have doubted but that the tax, however unpalatable, would be peacefully levied. Nobody could be more concerned in interest than myself to oppose it," he writes to a friend; but the tide was too strong against us. We might as well have bindered the sun's setting; that we could not do. But since t is down, my friend, - and it may be long before it rises again, - let us make as good a night of it as we can. We may still light candles. Frugality and industry will go a great way toward indemnifying us. Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments. If we can get rid of the former, we can easily bear the latter." To a friend he added privately, We are not yet strong enough to resist."
Meanwhile all America was in a ferment. In Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, the collectors were compelled by threats or by the urgency of public opinion to resign their offices. An ardor for retrenchment seized the colonists. Resolutions for the practice of economy were everywhere passed. Communities bound themselves, by way of encouraging the production of wool, to eat no mutton or lamb; and they resolved to dispense with the use of all British-made goods.
Self-denial for the living was not enough: it was decided to restrict the expense of burying the dead; and accordingly in Philadelphia, that year, B. Price, Esquire," was buried in an oaken coffin with iron handles, and Alderman Plumstead without pall or mourning dresses.
In hope of making the objectionable Act more palatable, several of the colonial agents in London were consulted by Grenville, the Prime Minister, as to the choice of persons to serve as stamp-collectors. Franklin, when applied to for the choice of someone who should be acceptable to Pennsylvania, designated Mr. John Hughes, a respectable merchant of Philadelphia and an old friend of his own. His feeling seems to have been that, the tax being inevitable, it was wise to make the best of the matter; but at home the action was constructed as indicating a sympathy with the unpopular measure, and for a time his townspeople were very angry with him. The unlucky Mr. Hughes, who does not seem to have been in any way responsible for his appointment, became the object of general execration. When the English ships bearing the detested stamp-paper came up the river, all the vessells in the harbor hung their flags at half-mast, and the bells of the city were muffled, and tolled as if for a funeral. The stamps were not allowed to land, and were sent back to England. A similar fate awaited a similar freight a few months later. To evade the provisions of the Act, the almanacs of that year were published in advance of their usual date; and on the day before the Act was to go into effect the two newspapers then existing in the city came out with black borders, a heading of skulls, cross-bones, pickaxe, and spade, and, by way of a tail-piece, a coffin. Several thousand citizens assembled in the State House yard and appointed a committee to wait on Mr. John Hughes and request him to resign his position as collector. This he refused; but subsequently, under pressure, did.
So high did popular feeling run, that the house of Franklin himself was threatened with destruction at the hands of the mob. It must have been particularly trying to be misjudged by a distant constituency at a time when explanations and exculpations took two, three, sometimes four, months to cross the sea.. Franklin's repute did not, however, long suffer wrong at the hands of his countrymen. Presently came the report of his examination before parliament on the question of the day - an examination which did much to influence the repeal of the Stamp Act, which soon after followed; and the record of his clear, vigorous, outspoken explanations and replies riveted to him afresh the affection of every loyal heart in America.
News of the repeal reached Philadelphia in May, through the captain of a merchant vessel. The overflowing and general joy expended itself in acts of hospitality toward this bearer of good tidings. He was escorted through the streets, treated to punch at the Coffee-house, and presented with a gold-laced hat. The following day an entertainment was given in the State House, to which the officers of the royal ships then in harbor were invited. Mutual pledges were exchanged, and all was amity and goodwill, not in Philadelphia only, but throughout the colonies. In Boston the debtors even were brought out of prison to share in the general rejoicing.
Franklin's relief at the repeal was deep and fervent; but he instantly wrote to warn his friends at home not to express their gladness in a way which should give a handle to their enemies in England. Our relief," he writes, is chiefly imputable to what the profane call luck and the pious call Providence." Neither he nor any American had occasion for enduring satisfaction. Their defeat in the matter of the Stamp Act rankled in the breasts of his Majesty's ministers; and a year later the excitement and distrust of the colonies were reawakened by the passage of an Act to tax glass, paper, painter's colors, lead, and tea.
These duties, being only designed to produce a revenue of some twenty-four thousand pounds, were treated in a light and matter-of-course way by Parliament, which ignored the fact that the question at issue with the colonies was the principle of taxation, rather than the avoidance of its immediate burden.
All the agitations provoked by the Stamp Act were at once renewed. In September, 1768, the traders of Philadelphia, in concert with those of New York and Boston, entered into a formal agreement to import no goods whatever from England till the tax should be abolished. In 1769 a vessel freighted with English malt arrived in the city. The brewers held a meeting, and by a unanimous vote resolved not to purchase or use a pound of it. In 1770 the New York traders, under the pressure of a strong local influence, receded from the agreement, and reopened importation. This act gave great umbrage to the patriotic Philadelphians who, in a public meeting, agreed to buy nothing whatever in New York - that faction unfriendly to reduction of grievances." The general desire to encourage home manufactures led in 1771 to the establishment of a flintglass factory near Lancaster and a china factory in Philadelphia. In this year also a piece of fine broadcloth was exhibited at the Coffee-house - probably the first ever made in America.
The feeling in Philadelphia was shared or surpassed by the colonies in general. It was during this period of intense agitation that Franklin, still in London, published anonymously his famous satire, entitled Rules for reducing a Great Empire to a Small One. Presented to a late Minister when he entered upon his Administration."
This trenchant burlesque began as follows: An ancient sage valued himself in this, that, though he could not fiddle, he knew how to make a great city out of a small one. The science that I, a modern simpleton, am about to communicate, is the very reverse." Then follow the Rules," which are full of humor. A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. Turn your attention, therefore, first to your remotest provinces, that, as you get rid of them, the next may follow in order. Take special care that the provinces are never incorporated with the mother country; that they do not enjoy the same rights, the same privileges, in commerce; and that they are governed by severer laws, all of your enacting, without allowing them any choice of the legislators. By carefully making and preserving such distinctions, you will (to keep to my simile of the cake) act like a wise gingerbread baker, who, to facilitate a division, cuts his dough half through in those places where when baked he would have it broken to pieces. Quarter troops among them, who by their insolence may provoke the rising of mobs, and by their bullets and bayonets suppress them. By this means, like the husband who uses his wife ill, from suspicion, you may in time convert your suspicions into realities. Scour with armed boats every bay, harbor, river, creek, cove, or nook throughout the coast of your colonies; stop and detain every coaster, every wood-boat, every fisherman; trumble their cargos, and even their ballast, inside out and upside down; and if a pennyworth of pins is found unentered, let the whole be seized and confiscated. Then let these boats' crews land upon every farm in their way, rob their orchards, steal their pigs and poultry, and insult the inhabitants. If the injured and exasperated farmers, unable to procure other justice, should attack the aggressors, drub them, and burn their boats; you are to call this high treason and rebellion, order fleets and navies into their country, and threaten to carry all the offenders three thousand miles to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Oh, this will work admirably! If you have carefully practised these few excellent rules of mine, take my word for it you will get rid of the trouble of governing them, and all the plagues attending their commerce and connection, from thenceforth and forever."
This ingenious bit of fun and satirical sense had a great run, and was copied into many newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic.
In 1770 Parliament decided to abolish all taxes in the colonies excepting that on tea. The concession produced no effect. The right to levy imposts was as much involved in the taxing of a single article as of a dozen, and the determination to resist such a right had only grown stronger with time. Smuggling became common practice. In 1771 a revenue schooner belonging to the King made a prize on the Delaware of a pilot-boat loaded with tea intended for the Philadelphia market. A rescue party at once set out, boarded the King's vessel near Red Bank, overpowered and bound her crew, and taking possession of the pilot-boat and her cargo, sailed away with her.
All the agreements for non-importation were continued. In 1773 the East India Company resolved to ship cargoes of tea to the principal American seaports. What this resolve led to in Boston all the world knows.
In Philadelphia a large meeting of citizens was held in the State House yard to protest against the enterprise. Eight Resolutions were adopted, the seventh of which was as follows:
Resolved - that whoever shall, directly or indirectly, countenance this attempt, or in any wise aid and abet in unloading, receiving, or vending the tea sent, or to be sent, out by the East India Company while it remains subject to a duty here, is an enemy to his country."
Two months later, on Christmas Day, word came that the tea-ship Polly,"
Captain Ayres, was in the river, and had got up as far as Gloucester Point.
Another meeting was at once called, even more largely attended than the
previous one. The Resolutions it passed were curt and to the point. Resolved:
1. That the tea on board the ship Polly,' Captain Ayres, shall not be landed.
2. That Captain Ayres shall neither enter nor report his vessel at the custom-house.
3. That Captain Ayres shall carry back the tea immediately.
4. That Captain Ayres shall immediately send a pilot on board his vessel, with orders to take charge of her and proceed to Reedy Island next high water.
5. That the captain shall be allowed to stay in town till to-morrow to provide necessaries for his voyage.
6. That he shall then be obliged to leave town and proceed to his vessel, and make the best of his way out of our river and bay.
7. That a committee of four gentleman be appointed to see these resolves carried into execution."
Handbills and broadsides purporting to be issued by the Committee for Tarring and Feathering' were printed. They were addressed to the Delaware pilots and to Captain Ayres himself, warning the former of the danger which they would incur if they brought the tea-ship safely up the river, while Captain Ayres was threatened with the application of tar and feathers if he attempted to land the tea [Guide to Philadelphia, p. 25].
But Captain Ayres had landed in advance of his cargo, had attended the State House meeting, and needed no further warning. He discreetly took the hint. Very little time was given him for trifling. In two hours the Polly" was loaded with fresh provisions and water, her bow was turned seaward, and Captain Ayres sailed out of the Delaware to convey the detested tea back to its old rotting-place in Leadenhall Street."
The eyes of all the world," writes Bancroft of this period, were riveted on Franklin and George the Third." The former still remained in London, though encompassed by dangers. He knew himself in daily peril of arrest, but so long as a glimmering hope of mediation remained he would not desert his post, though matters in England steadily grew worse. The colonies were systematically misrepresented, bribery was on the increase, offices and votes were openly sold. If America," said Franklin, would save for three or four years the money she spends in the fashions and fineries and fopperies of this country, she might buy the whole Parliament, Ministry and all."
Seven years of alternate usurpation and concession, hope, and fear, faith and distrust, ripened at length in the first Continental Congress. The time had come for the fulfillment of Bonaparte's subsequent epigram: The youth must become a man; the time must arrive when the child must cease to sleep with its mother." The Congress held a preliminary meeting in Smith's tavern, to select a place for their deliberation. The carpenters of Philadelphia offered the use of their plain but spacious hall," and the offer was accepted. John Adams thus tells the story of the acceptance:
We took a view of the room and of the chamber, where there is an excellent library. There is also a long entry, where gentleman may walk, and also a convenient chamber opposite the library. A general cry was that this was a good room, and the question was put whether we were satisfied with this room, and it passed in the affirmative. A very few were for the negative, and they were chiefly from Pennsylvania and New York.
Some discussion arose at the first meeting as to whether the session should be opened with prayer. It was at last resolved that the Rev. Mr. Duche, rector of the Christ Church, should be asked to read prayers on the occasion. He appeared accordingly in vestments, and read several collects and the psalm for the day, which chanced to be the thirty-fifth. A false rumor of the cannonading and destruction of Boston by the British troops had that morning arrived, which gave to the psalm an especial significance. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that psalm to be read that morning," wrote John Adams; I never saw a greater effect upon an audience."
The proceedings of this Congress were cautious and slow. It adopted a series of Recommendations" to the American people, enjoining economy, self-restraint, the disuse of English goods, and the non-exportation of sheep to the West Indies. The time had not yet come for talk of armed resistance. Before its adjournment, the members were formally entertained at a banquet given in the State House, the last time that building was used for such a purpose. John Adams writes of this dinner: A sentiment was given: May the sword of the parent never be stained with the blood of his children.' Two or three broad-brims were over against me at table. One of them said: This is not a toast, but a prayer; come, let us join in it.' And they took their glasses accordingly."
On the 26th of January, 1775 - that year big with fate - a provincial convention was held in Carpenter's Hall, to enforce the measures recommended by the Congress, and to advocate the promotion of manufactures, especially of gunpowder, for which, it was dryly added, a great necessity existed, especially in the Indian trade." On the 24th of April came news of the skirmishes at Concord and Lexington, and the reprisals taken by the Massachusetts farmers upon the King's troops. All Philadelphia was in a surge of excitement. Meetings were called, and all present pledged themselves to defend with arms their property, liberty, and lives against all attempts to deprive them of it." Even the pacific Quakers shared in the popular emotion; on Fifth Day afternoon" they called an assembly to consider how best to send supplies to Boston, then suffering for freedom's sake." The Assembly was petitioned to raise L50,000 for the defence of the city; militia companies were formed, and exercised in all the open parks and squares; the manufacture of gunpowder and cannon was urged forward; and preparations made to obstruct the navigation of the Delaware.
It was in the midst of this crisis that a strong reinforcement to the friends of liberty landed from England in the person of Dr. Franklin. He had slipped quietly away from London on the 20th of March, with leave-taking so brief, that he was well at sea before his departure was known. To the last there were apprehensions lest he might not be permitted to embark. He landed in Philadelphia on May 5th, and was elected a member of the second Congress on the day following.
The news that greeted his arrival stirred in him a hearty zeal. Long residence in England had taught him the futility of negotiations and petitions, and the true character of the King and his Ministers. Concerning the Lexington affair he wrote to Mr. Burke: General Gage's troops made a most vigorous retreat, - twenty miles in three hours - scarce to be paralleled in history; the feeble Americans who pelted them all the way could scarce keep up with them." And to some disaffected person who insinuated that firing from behind stone walls proved the cowardice of the Americans, he shrewdly answered: I beg to inquire if those same walls had not two sides to them."
With his disappearance from the scene [London], the last gleam of a compromise vanished. Of all men he was the friend of peace; but the horrors of a sanguinary civil war did not confuse his perceptions or impair his decision. The Administration and its followers called him insincere. But nothing deceives like jealousy . . . The British Ministry overreached themselves by not believing him. Speaking the truth to them in sincerity,' says Franklin, was my only finesse' " [Bancroft, vol. viii., p. 264].
On the 10th of May the second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. A cavalcade of gentleman, five hundred mounted men in all, rode six miles out of the city to meet and escort the members. One of the first measures of Congress was to reinstate Franklin in the Postmaster generalship, of which he had been deprived by the British Government immediately after his arraignment at the hands of Wedderburn. He was elected for one year, or till another is appointed by a future Congress." In franking letters at this time he adopted, instead of the Free, B. Franklin," which he had been accustomed to employ, the form, B. Free, Franklin," which served at once as an admonition and a passport.
On June 15th Washington was chosen by Congress as general of the patriotic forces. That same evening a dinner was given in honor of the event by several prominent gentleman of Philadelphia. At its close Jefferson rose and proposed the health of George Washington, commander-in-chief of the American armies." Washington had risen to reply; but as for the first time the new title fell upon his ears, he lost color, and a look of awe came over his face.
At that moment he suddenly realized, as we all did," writes Dr. Benjamin Rush in his Journal, the awful responsibility of our undertaking, and all the difficulties which lay before us. The shock was great. The guests had all risen, and held their glasses to their lips ready to drink. Each one slowly replaced his glass without touching a drop, and thoughtfully sat down. For some moments the solemn silence was unbroken."
The proprietary party in Pennsylvania, both at that time and later, remained strongly opposed to any collision or rupture with the mother-country. Under the guidance of John Dickenson, their representative, they held a firm check on the ardent spirit of the colony, and retarded so far as was possible its patriotic impulses. The redress of grievances, together with union and harmony between Great Britain and the Colonies," was their policy, openly avowed and persisted in throughout all those years of struggle and agitation which preceded the final severance; and it was a policy difficult to combat. The honest scruples of the Quakers merited consideration." The proprietary influence was strong, and the popular resistance to influence had induced the habit of looking to the King as a redresser of grievances rather than as an inflicter of them. This division of sentiment and interest had the effect more than once to make Pennsylvania seem lukewarm in her response to the appeals of her sister colonies; but the strength of the liberal party was constantly on the increase, and in the end it prevailed; and the Quaker colony took her full share, and more, of the risks and hardships of the seven years' struggle.
The conduct of the Quakers during the American Revolutionary War is inexplicable, if viewed in connection with their earlier history. From the settlement of Pennsylvania the adherents of the Church of England, representing the interests of the Crown, were in opposition to them. But they were found, with but few exceptions, on the side of the Crown, and as long as they dared they did not hesitate to show their disapprobation of the measures of resistance to wrong which led the way to independence [ Historic Mansions of Philadelphia," p. 322].
Even so late as the 20th of December, 1776, an Address was issued by the Pennsylvania Friends," urging upon all members of their communion to resist with Christian firmness the ordinances of men who assumed the power of compelling others to carry on war. Long after the evacuation of the city by the British troops the Society claimed the right to deal" with such of their members as violated their discipline by joining in the measures for defence or self-protection. In 1779 two worthy Friends, in the pursuance of this policy, called at the house of Colonel Timothy Matlack, thus to deal" with his son, a member of their body on account of bearing arms." The wrath of the warlike parent could not be restrained. I turned them out of my house," he says, in a published account of the transaction, and gave them both in the open street, in full measure, but not without mercy, the chastisement which their audacious impudence demanded, and thus exacted from me. As this transaction will undoubtedly form a page in the Book of Sufferings, and as Mr. F. and Mr. J. represent the stick used on that occasion as a very heavy one and a mere cudgel, to prevent the exaggeration so very common in that book, it is necessary to say that, my horsewhip being out of place, I was obliged to use a middle-sized walking stick which I have usually carried for a few years past."
The members excluded from the Society by this process of discipline were not disposed to submit quietly to excommunication. They associated themselves into a separate body, under the name of the Free Quakers," called by outsiders the Fighting Quakers." In 1783 they built the Free Quaker Meeting-house on the southwest corner of Fifth and Mulberry streets. In 1786 they obtained from the city the grant of eight lots on the west side of Fifth, below Prune (or Locust), for a separate burial-ground, which in after years was opened for the dead soldiers of the War of the Rebellion. To the last this assemblage of seceders maintained firmly their position as true members of the Society of Friends, but protesters against its injustice. No man of them ever gave in. Down to 1835 the survivors of the congregation, reduced by that time to four or five venerable men, met at the appointed seasons for an hour of silent worship in the Free Meeting-house. One by one they failed from their accustomed places, but not till the last staunch gray head was laid low was the meeting abandoned or the protest of a half-century silenced.
In 1840 the trustees of the Free Quakers leased the building for the use of the Apprentices' Free Library," the only library of the sort in the city. The lease was renewed in 1783. The inscription on the building is worth recording. By General Subscription, for the Free Quakers. Erected in the year of our Lord 1783, of the Empire 8." This is probably the only place where the word empire" was used in reference to the new Republic.
Petition to the King was the remedy proposed for the pacification of all difficulties by Dickenson and the Assembly he controlled. A carefully worded memorial and protest was accordingly forwarded to London, and when insultingly rejected by George III., a second anxiously drafted document was drawn up, and intrusted to the hands of Richard Penn for presentation to his Majesty. Meanwhile the defences of the Delaware went on. Before the year ended it was so well protected by forts, batteries, and chevaux-de-frise, that when, two years later, the King's ships attempted to force a way up the river, they were retarded for two months. Row-galleys," devised by Dr. Franklin, were manned and armed; patriotic women made provision of lint and bandages; Tories were occasionally tarred and feathered by the mob. But the influence of Dickenson and the Penns and the Quaker party still prevailed to curb the more ardent spirit of the movement toward revolution. Congress meantime had appointed Washington commander-in-chief of its army, and the battle of Bunker's Hill had given new impetus to the termination for freedom.
Dr. Franklin's humorous summing-up of the results of the Massachusetts campaign will be remembered. It occurred in a letter to Dr. Priestly. Britain, at an expense of three million, has killed one hundred and fifty Yankees this campaign, which is twenty thousand pounds a head. At Bunker Hill she gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost again by our taking post on Ploughed Hill. During the same time sixty thousand children have been born in America. From these data Dr. Price's mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expense necessary to kill us all and conquer our whole country."
The only answer of the King to the elaborate petition of the Assembly of Pennsylvania was his proclamation declaring the colonies in rebellion, and pledging the resources of the kingdom for the suppression of it. Not even this peremptory and insulting treatment had power to influence the proprietary party. They still held their policy of peace at all sacrifices, and, undeterred by ill-success and discouragement, set about the preparation of a third petition.
In this critical moment the liberal party of Pennsylvania decided to adopt Franklin's favorite method of influencing public opinion - an appeal through the Press. Thomas Paine, then a young man, prepared at their request a pamphlet, which, printed under the name of Common Sense," produced a powerful impression throughout the land. In it the whole question at issue between England and the Colonies was argued with a masterly mixture of eloquence and satire and clear reasoning. England, he contended, was not the mother-country of America. Not more than a third of the people of Pennsylvania even were of English parentage; the mother-country of America was Europe.
To be always running three or four thousand miles with a tale or a petition, waiting for four or five months for an answer, which, when obtained, requires five or six more to explain it in, will in a few years be looked upon as folly and childishness. There was a time when it was proper, and there is a proper time for it to cease . . . Everything that is right and natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of Nature cries, It is time to part!' "
The success of this pamphlet exceeded the most sanguine hopes of its originators. Edition after edition was sold, converts to the cause of liberty were made by the thousands, Mr. Dickenson's majority dwindled, and the Pennsylvania members of Congress began to waver in their opposition.
In May, 1776, a naval engagement took place in the Delaware between the galleys, guard-boats, and floating batteries of the Colony, and the British frigate Roebuck" and sloop of war Liverpool." The King's ships were in great danger of total destruction, and with some difficulty retreated, and returned to their cruising-ground near the Capes.
The same month Congress met for the third time in Philadelphia, and adopted a preamble and resolutions proposed by John Adams for the formulation of independent government in the colonies. The publication of these was claimed by the popular party in Pennsylvania as a dissolution of the proprietary government, and an order to frame another under the authority of the people. On the 24th of May a town meeting was held in the State House yard, attended by more than four thousand people. It was called to order by John Bayard. Resolutions were passed; but while the matter was still under discussion, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced on the 7th of June his famous motion, that These United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegience to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved." Consideration of the matter was postponed for a few days, during which Congress debated as to the form in which the announcement of liberty should be made.
During this interval the Declaration of Independence was framed by a committee of five members, Franklin being one. They held their meetings in a house on Market Street, the exact site of which is in dispute, but probably it was that on the corner of Seventh Street. To the pen of Thomas Jefferson America owes the immortal document. He submitted a draft of it separately to Franklin and to John Adams, accepted from each one or two verbal corrections, and on the 28th of June handed it to Congress. Debate on the document began on July 3d. There was no excitement in Philadelphia during those days. Congress was in secret session, and the people were not aware of what was taking place.
It was not until the 6th of July that the passage of the Declaration was made known to the city. On the 8th it was publicly read to the people from the observatory in the State House yard. The reading was listened to with deep and solemn attention. That night the King's arms were taken down from the court-room of the State House and from all public buildings and places of entertainment, and were formally burned, amid the hurrahs of the mob and the blazing of bonfires, while the Declaration of Independence was read for the second time on the common to the five battalions of city associators, and the State House bell, with its prophetic motto, rang out the message of freedom to the land, and proclaimed the birth of The United States of America.
Chapter 7 The Revolutionary War (1776-1783)
During that memorable month of July, Franklin, Jefferson, and John Adams were appointed by Congress as a committee to select a device for the seal of the new confederation. Their deliberations occupied six weeks; but the elaborate design which they proposed did not please the legislative taste, and only two of the features, the Eye of Providence and the felicitous motto, E Pluribus Unum, were incorporated into the device finally chosen.
The summer of 1776 was one of mustering and preparation. Lord Howe arrived from England with a fleet of one hundred and twenty sail. Almost every day troops from the Southern Colonies passed through Philadelphia on their way to join the forces of Washington. In August came the tidings of the battle of Long Island, and the defeat of the American army. Three weeks later Howe sent a paroled prisoner to Philadelphia with a message to Congress, requesting that some of its members might wait upon him, not in an official capacity, but as a private gentleman, to discuss the possibility of some amicable compromise between the British Government and the Colonies.
Congress, very properly, declined to treat on these terms, but offered to send a committee of their body to listen to what Lord Howe might have to say. Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge were designated for this purpose, and during the month of September they set out for Staten Island, at that time the headquarters of Lord Howe.
They were received with courtesy, but unconditional surrender was the only basis on which the British Commander was prepared to treat, and the interview proved fruitless of results, except that Adams, who on the journey had observed with distress the lack of discipline exhibited by the national forces, returned to Philadelphia to urge upon Congress the absolute necessity of reform in that particular. His representations resulted, not long after, in the adoption of the British discipline and articles of war, which still constitute the military system of the United States.
The year wore on, full of foreboding anxieties to the new-born republic. Disaster, suspense, and material loss are often the first results of the taking of a decided step, either by nations or by individuals. Many who read this can recall the heartache, the sickening uncertainty, the blind groping after counsel which followed the first enlistment of troops in 1861. Such a period of suffering is the bracing discipline which matures manly strength out of callow boyhood. It is the stern March weather which shakes and tightens the firm root-grasp of the tree. America was waiting to see what Fate should send her by way of a friend. England had many enemies; those enemies were the natural allies of England's alienated children. Already, in the preceding year, a secret agent had been dispatched to sound the intentions of France; and now, in the dark hour which preceded the dawn, came a letter of hope. Muskets, cannon, army material of all kinds had been contracted for in France. French artillery officers of repute were ready to offer their services to America. The French Government, though not prepared to commit itself by giving avowed assistance to the revolutionists, would wink at the shipment of these and the departure of those. It was a vague and indiscreet letter: it promised much that was unauthorized, and hinted at more than it had a right to promise; but at that moment of discouragement the vagueness and the indiscretion passed unnoticed, and the letter was read with an impulse of relief and joy.
On the 26th of September it was decided to send secretly an embassy to France. Three persons were chosen, Silas Deane, already in Paris, Arthur Lee of Virginia, who turned out a singularly bad selection, and Dr. Franklin. Franklin was already seventy years of age. "I am old and good for nothing," he said to Dr. Rush; "but, as the store-keepers say of their remnants of cloth, I am but a fag-end, you can have me for what you please."
On the 27th of October he sailed, and escaping by good fortune from capture by the enemy's cruisers, landed at Aunay in Brittany on December 3d. In his character as scientist and philosopher he was welcomed with enthusiasm in Paris, though as ambassador the French Government was not yet ready to have to do with him. Immediately after his arrival came the news of Washington's second defeat by Howe and his retreat through the Jerseys. Matters looked dark for the United States, and her friends on both sides of the sea lost heart.
It was at this crisis that the Marquis de Lafayette, then a young fellow only nineteen years of age, fired by the picture of endangered Freedom which the aspect of his affairs in America presented to his mind, resolved to volunteer his services in her aid. He sailed in May, 1777, a reinforcement of inestimable value, from his rank, his character, his nationality, and the general sympathy in the American cause which his action indicated.
The battles of Trenton and at Princeton in the closing month of the year had reanimated the spirits of the patriots; but matters were in a gloomy condition with the army of defence. Washington was adored by his own troops, and possessed the entire confidence of the great mass of the nation; but Congress accorded him but a half-hearted support, and Gates and Wayne and Lee, who divided his power, were a continual check and obstacle to the carrying out of his plans. "In Philadelphia Toryism stalked abroad fearlessly. In May a clergyman had publicly read prayers for the King." The troops were in need of clothing; supplies of everything had run short; the term of enlistment for a considerable part of the army was nearly exhausted. The retreat of Howe from the Jerseys, however, enabled Philadelphia to celebrate the first anniversary of freedom with heartiness and enthusiasm. The bells were rung all day and into the evening. All the ships and galleys, drawn up in line on the Delaware, manned and dressed with colors, saluted the newly chosen flag. A banquet was given to Congress and the officers of the army, the troops were reviewed, and the festivities concluded with a display of fireworks and a general illumination of the city.
In the month of August General Howe, having determined on the invasion of Pennsylvania, sailed with his army from New York, disembarked at the head of the Elk River in Maryland, and ascended the Chesapeake in transports. Washington marched southward to meet him. On the 24th his troops passed through Philadelphia. They wore sprigs of green in their hats, and the display was made as imposing as possible, in order to awe the disaffected in the city. On the 10th of September the Battle of the Brandywine was fought and lost, leaving the road to Philadelphia open to the British. Washington prepared to contest the passage of the Schuylkill at Parker's Ford, but by a feint Howe crossed the river at Gordon's and Fatland's fords, and on the 26th of September two battalions of Hessian artillery marched down the road leading to Second Street, and entered the city.
The news of their advance created universal consternation. Congress fled with inglorious haste to Yorktown, where they resumed their interrupted business. Valuables were concealed or buried; the State House bell was hurried out of town to a place of security; the timid and vacillating made haste to declare themselves on the side of the King. Part of the British army was quartered in Germantown, which at that time formed one continuous street nearly two miles long.
The ships and galleys of the State were lying in the Delaware above Fort Island. Perceiving that the British were erecting batteries on the wharves, they ran up to encourage them. The result was unfortunate. The frigate Delaware ran ashore and was forced to strike her flag. One of the schooners met with the same fate, and the remainder of the fleet was glad to retreat to their former position under the protection of the guns of the fort. On the 2nd of October a detachment of royal troops crossed the Delaware and made a demonstration against the fortifications at Belling's Port, the garrison of which fled, spiking their guns; and faint-heartedness prevailed along the river.
On the 4th of October, at daylight, Washington attacked the British detachment in Germantown. The morning was foggy, which should have been favorable to the success of the movement; but there were blunders, a lack of co-operation, and Washington's well-planned measures were not carried out. The attack failed, and the British cavalry pursued the retreating Americans for eight miles into Whitham Township.
The day of the battle was one of intense excitement to the citizens of Philadelphia. Deborah Logan writes of it: "We could hear the firing, and knew of the engagement, but were uninformed of the event. Toward evening many wagons full of the wounded arrived in the city, whose groans and sufferings were enough to move the most inhuman heart to pity. The American prisoners were carried to the State House lobbies, and had, of course, to wait until the British surgeons dressed their own men. But in a very short time the streets were filled with the women of the city, carrying up every kind of refreshment which they might be supposed to want, with lint and linen and lights in abundance for their accomodation. A British officer stopped one of these women in my hearing, and not ill-naturedly, but laughingly, reproved her for so amply supplying the rebels, whilst nothing was carried to the English hospitals. 'Oh, sir,' she replied, 'it is in your power fully to provide for them; but we cannot see our own countrymen suffer and not do something for them.' They were not denied that poor consolation."
The Battle of Germantown had not ended victoriously for the Americans, but its result was the withdrawal of all detachments within the city lines, and the erection of a chain of redoubts, with connecting abatis, from Kensington on the Delaware to the hill at Fairmount. The British held Philadelphia, but the Americans held the country beyond. The water approach to the city was closed by the chevaux-de-frise, which cut off communication with the English fleet. To stop the sale of provisions to the invaders, Congress declared the punishment of death to any person who should be convicted by court-martial of giving them information or furnishing them with supplies. Parties of militia watched the fords of the Schuylkill so closely that before long the enemy suffered from a scarcity of food and forage. "The Americans were excessively severe on market people, and Lacy burned the mills about the city, to the infinite misery of the town folk, to whom poor salted beef was now publicly distributed. Galloway says it was usual to give two hundred lashes to the market-people caught coming into town, or to send them in to Howe with G.H. branded on their flesh with a hot iron" ["Pennsylvania Ledger," No. 153]. The British Army was in effect a beleaguered force. This result had been foreseen by Franklin. "Well, Doctor," said an English sympathizer to him in Paris, "Howe has taken Philadelphia." "I beg your pardon," replied the astute philosopher, "Philadelphia has taken Howe."
Philadelphia had taken Howe, and for ten long months she held him fast. All things considered, the citizens fared better than could have been expected. The city, though very dirty, was not unhealthy. There was scarcely anything to sell in the shops when the British entered, and prices were enormous. Paper money was worth almost nothing. Two pieces of silk on sale at that time commanded one hundred dollars a yard, and tea was fifty and sixty dollars a pound.
On the 21st of October the British fleet made an attempt to get through the chevaux-de-frise. Three of the ships went aground, the Pennsylvania batteries, galleys, and fire ships cannonaded them, and in the end the fleet was compelled to drop down the river again, with the loss of two frigates, the "Augusta" and the "Merlin," blown up and set on fire. Meanwhile the Hessian grenadiers and chasseurs under Colonel Donop, crossing the river in boats, assaulted the fort at Red Bank. The assault was repelled, Donop killed, and the British forces retreated, with a loss of four hundred in killed and wounded.
After the affair of Germantown, Washington had retired to a range of hills northeast of Whitemarsh, and about fourteen miles from Philadelphia. Early on the 4th of December, a severely cold morning, he was attacked by Howe with an army of fourteen thousand British troops. Washington had not more than seven thousand effective men, but so ably did he handle his force, that after four days of skirmishing, Howe, baffled, returned to Philadelphia, where he passed the rest of the winter behind his entrenchments.
It is in connection with this sortie that the story of Lydia Darrach is told - a story legendary rather than historical, but probably resting on a sufficient foundation of fact to entitle it to a brief mention. She and her husband, members of the Society of Friends, are said to have dwelt in Second Street, near the military headquarters of General Howe. One of her back rooms had been hired by the British officers as a place for private counsel and deliberation. On the 2nd of December, her suspicions being excited by a peremptory order that she and all her household should retire early to bed, she listened at the keyhole of the council-chamber and overheard the plans then under deliberation for surprising the army of Washington at Whitemarsh. Much agitated, she retired to her chamber. When, an hour or two later, an officer knocked at her door to request her to extinguish the lights they had been using, she kept him waiting some moments, feigning to be awakened with difficulty from a deep sleep. Next day she obtained a pass from Sir William Howe to go to Frankford for flour, and, leaving her bag at the mill, hastened through the lines, and meeting a company of the American light-horse, called their commander aside, told her secret, and obtained his promise to communicate it to Washington. Her warning gave time to make needful preparations for the repulse of the British attack. Lydia returned home; she heard the British march out of town by night; she heard them return; but she dared not ask a question. The next day she was sent for by the adjutant-general and closely questioned as to whether any of her family were up on the night of the officers' meeting. "You, I know, were asleep," he observed; "for I knocked three times at your chamber-door before you heard me."
Such is the legend of Lydia Darrach, though dates and circumstances contradict it in part, it invests with a certain interest the house No. 177 South Second Street, in which she is said to have lived.
The American officers taken prisoner in the battles of the British occupation were at first confined in the long upstairs room in the State House, afterward used for Peale's Museum. For privates, the building afterward called the Walnut Street Prison was employed. At one time not less than nine hundred prisoners were confined there under charge of a cruel warder, Captain Cunningham, who had previously exhibited his inhumanity as the provost of New York. At the hands of this wretch the unhappy inmates of the jail were systematically tortured. Numbers died of cold and starvation, being tantalized by the sight of food which they were not permitted to touch. They ate grass, leather, chips, pieces of rotten pump, were frequently beaten with the butt-end of Cunningham's whip, and in every way insulted and abused.
Economy was become not only the law of conscience, but the law of necessity, in Philadelphia. Tea, if sold at all, was sold in sealed papers under the name of "cut tobacco," or some other disguise. Those who indulged in it did so secretly, taking it from a pitcher or water-pot, and keeping a coffee-pot always on the table, to disarm suspicion. A lady of Philadelphia, writing at this date to an officer in the British army who had been intimate with her family before the war, says: "Though we consider you as a public enemy, we regard you as a private friend; and while we defeat the cause you are fighting for, we wish well to your personal interest and safety. I will tell you what I have done. My only brother I have sent to the army with prayers and blessings; and had I twenty sons and brothers, they should go to emulate the great examples before them. I have retrenched every superfluous expense in my table and family. Tea I have not drunk since Christmas, nor bought a new cap or gown since your defeat at Lexington. I have the pleasure to assure you that these are the sentiments of all my sister Americans" ["Annals of Philadelphia," vol. ii, p. 328].
The reduction of the fort at Mud Island had now become a matter of prime importance with the British. By the 10th of November they had completed their batteries on the morass of Province Island, about five hundred yards distant from the American works, and opened a heavy fire. For five days the fort, whose garrison was less than three hundred men, held out; then the "Vigilant," a twenty-four gun ship, was warped up so near the American works as to be able to throw handgrenades into it, while marksman from the masts could pick off its defenders. On the sixth day only fifty men available for duty were left. The works were fairly knocked to pieces by the enemy's fire, the palisades beaten down, the parapet in ruins, and the guns dismounted. The remnant of the brave little garrison had, therefore, no alternative but to abandon the position, and, setting fire to all that was combustible, they crossed the Delaware in boats, and joined the forces at Red Bank.
This disaster opened the Delaware to the British fleet, and put that of the Americans in peril. The best hope of the latter was to gain the waters of the Upper Delaware; but to do that it was necessary to pass the city. On the 19th of December thirteen galleys and twelve row-boats succeeded in doing this under cover of night. The following night the remainder made the same attempt, but with less success. Two vessels were driven ashore, and nine were perforce abandoned and set on fire. A Philadelphian, living till nearly the middle of our own century, recollected seeing six of these "vessels of defence float by High Street all in flames, their magazines blowing up as they went - an awful spectacle!"
The fort at Red Bank was next invested and taken by the British. On the 26th of November freights and transports from below arrived at the docks of the city, causing great joy to the inhabitants and the royal troops, for provisions were become scarce and exceedingly dear, beef selling at a dollar a pound.
Early in January took place what was facetiously called "The Battle of the Kegs." These kegs were constructed in Bordentown, and floated down the Delaware for the purpose of destroying the British shipping. They were charged with gunpowder, and arranged to explode by a spring lock the moment they should touch the keel of a vessel. They did not do the damage that was intended, but they created a general panic, and an apprehension which was slow to subside.
No other skirmishes of importance occurred during the remainder of the winter or the spring. "Howe left the famous camp of Valley Forge untouched, whilst his great, brave, and perfectly appointed army fiddled and gambled and feasted in Philadelphia" [Thackeray, "The Virginians"]. The British officers, following the example of their general, a man of notoriously displayed habits, amused themselves in various ways, of which the least questionable were balls, parties, cock-fightings, and gambling. Twice a week entertainments were given at the theatre, which some of their number had assisted in decorating. Major Andre painted the drop-curtain.
In May arrived the stirring news of the alliance between the United States and France negotiated by the American Commissioners in Paris, and signed on the 6th of February previous. On the 18th of the same month the famous tilt and tournament called the "Mischianza" took place. It was given in honor of Sir William Howe by the officers of his army, on the occasion of his recall to England, superseded in his command by Sir Henry Clinton. The scene of the festival was Walnut Grove, the residence of the Wharton family, on the Moyamensing Road, just outside the city limits. Major Andre was one of the givers of the entertainment, and "the charm of the company." He, with the assistance of Captain Oliver Delancey, painted the chief of the decorations, which included a magnificent supper-room, two hundred and ten feet in length, ornamented with a design of vine-leaves and festoons of flowers; a ball-room, with walls painted in imitation of white and black marble, with blue and gold garlands, and eighty-five mirrors borrowed for the occasion, trimmed with rose-silk lillies and artificial flowers; a card room, on whose ceiling was depicted, over the entrance door, a cornucopia filled with roses, while over that by which the unlucky gambler left the room one quite empty was displayed; and two magnificent arches, which served as entrances to the lists, and which celebrated the (somewhat scanty) naval and military exploits of Admiral and Sir William Howe. Neptune mounted guard over the Admiral's arch, while Fame presided over that of the General.
The entertainment began with a superb regatta. The invited guests, who were almost entirely ladies, were escorted in a long procession of galleys, flatboats, and barges, with bands playing and colors flying and cannon saluting, from Knight's Wharf, in the Northern Liberties, to the old Fort, or Association's Battery, afterward the site of the United States Navy Yard. "Everything was loyal and enthusiastic, all but the tide, which, being composed of 'rebel floods,' was not disposed to hold back its regular course, even to favor the commander-in-chief of the British army. The flood-tide became too strong for the galleys to advance, and all the generals and admirals and colonels and captains which they contained were compelled to remove from the grand and exclusive means of conveyance in which they had started, and empty themselves, with undistinguished people of less degree, into the ordinary barges" ["Historic Mansions of Philadelphia," p. 473].
When landed, the company proceeded in due order to the tournament grounds. Seven "Knights of the Blended Rose," fantastically arrayed in white and red silk, their horses similarly caparisoned, encountered seven "Knights of the Burning Mountain" in black and orange; while their respective ladies, in "Turkish habits" of black and white and white and pink, designed after drawings by Major Andre, sat by to "rain influence" upon the combat. Each knight bore a device in honor of his chosen demoiselle. One of the "Ladies of the Burning Mountain" was Miss Shippen, afterward the unhappy wife of Benedict Arnold. Her cavalier, Lieutenant Winyard, bore as his emblem a bay-leaf, motto, "Unchangeable." Heralds trumpeted defiance, and made their proclamations; gauntlets were flung down; the knights met in mid career and shivered harmless lances; a magnificent display of fireworks took place; and while they thus feasted and jousted and fiddled, Captain Allan McLane, a dashing dragoon of the Continental army, who had been invited to the Mischianza, was occupied with firing the abatis north of the city by means of camp-kettles filled with combustibles and cunningly disposed along the lines. The timers blazed, the long-roll sounded, cannonading began, there was general alarm throughout the city, and the fair ladies at the fete were sorely frighted. Their partners, however, with great presence of mind, explained to them that these sounds only indicated a further demonstration in honor of the tournament. So the dancing recommenced, and the sound of the violins drowned the beat of hoofs as the British horse hastily sailed forth in pursuit of the audacious McLane, who, having done as much mischief as he possibly could, took the Wissahichon Road, swam his horse across the Schuylkill, and made good his retreat without a scratch.
Looking at this picture of senseless display on one hand and military incapacity on the other, it is easy to see why the British occupation of Philadelphia was so void of result. In a derisive pamphlet published a few months later in London, under the title "Strictures upon the Philadelphia Mischianza; or, the Triumph of leaving America Unconquered," the writer speaks of the pageant in this wise: "What are we to think of a beaten general's debasing the King's ensigns - for he had none of his enemies' - by planting all the colors of the army in a grand avenue three hundred feet in length, for procession , followed by a numerous train of attendants, with seven silken Knights of the Blended Rose, and seven more of the Burning Mountain, and their fourteen Turkey dressed damsels, to an area of one hundred and fifty yards square, lined also with the King's troops, for the exhibition of a tilt and tournament, or mock-fight in honor of this triumphant hero? And all this sea and land ovation made - not in consequence of an uninterrupted succession of victories like those of the Duke of Marlborough - but after thirteen colonies wretchedly lost, and a three years' series of ruinous disgraces and defeats!"
The festival was scarcely over, when Howe, learning that Lafayette, with twenty-five hundred men, had crossed the Schuylkill and taken up a post on Barren Hill, resolved, in the hope of winding up his American career with eclat, to move upon and capture him. Lafayette, however, availed himself of a lower ford to recross the river, and got his force over without the loss of a man.
A few days after this useless demonstration, the British troops were marched to the lower part of the city, crossed the river in boats, and quitted Philadelphia, never to return. "They did not go away," wrote an eye-witness, "they vanished."
It was on the 18th of June that the British evacuated Philadelphia. Washington made haste to intercept them on their way across the Jerseys, and on the 27th the battle of Monmouth was fought, which, disastrous to the American troops in the outset, under the unskillful or treacherous command of Lee, was turned into a decisive victory by the energy and courage of the commander-in-chief.
"Tell those Philadelphia ladies," writes General Wayne, "who attended Howe's assemblies and levees, that the heavenly, sweet, pretty red-coats, the accomplished gentleman of the Guards and grenadiers, have been humbled on the plains of Monmouth. The Knights of the Blended Rose and of the Burning Mount have resigned their laurels to rebel officers, who will lay them at the feet of those virtuous daughters of America who cheerfully gave up ease and affluence in a city for liberty and peace of mind in a cottage."
Close upon the footsteps of the retreating invaders came Colonel Allan McLane with his rangers, and immediately after him, General Benedict Arnold, sent by Washington to take possession of the city as military governor. His first act was to issue a proclamation declaring the town under martial law, and ordering that until further instruction all stores should be closed and all sales cease excepting the sale of provisions in the markets. The why and wherefore of this remarkable order was not made known till a much later period, when a secret contract was discovered, signed immediately on Arnold's arrival in the city, between himself and the Clothier-General, by which these worthies agreed to make purchases of goods, ostensibly for the public stores, but in reality for sale for their joint benefit, and this cessation of commerce was employed by them in purchasing and storing articles to be sold at a profit as soon as the embargo should be removed.
The law continued in force for eight days, to the infinite discomfort of Philadelphia, and would probably have continued longer, had not the Supreme Executive Council of the State interfered by a message demanding of General Arnold his reasons for ordering the shops to be shut. These reasons he dared not to give, and finding that he could no longer persevere in the measure without exciting suspicion, he issued a proclamation re-opening retail commerce.
"There were no means by which Arnold could obtain money that he hesitated in embracing." Soon after taking command of the city, he married Miss Shippen, one of the chief belles of the place, and a favorite toast with the British officers. Their mutual extravagance and love of show and luxury led to constant embarrassments for money, and Arnold resorted to all manner of questionable methods of raising it. Public stores he treated as his own property. In the matter of the "Active" privateer, he bought of her seamen their claims for prize-money at a small rate, and then used his influence with Congress to get the claims allowed in full. He smuggled goods for his own private profit into Philadelphia by means of army wagons, and charged the transportation to the Government.
"Both Colonel Pickering and myself had no confidence in Arnold, whom we had detected in scandalous transactions . . . I left fifty thousand dollars under Arnold's orders toward payment of the [Government] clothing and stores. He seized the articles, and never paid for them, but converted the money, or great part of it, to his own purposes, among others, to buy the country-seat of Mr. McPherson on the Schuylkill. Colonel Pickering and myself detected him in ordering stores, provisions, etc., out of the public magazines, to fit out privateers for his own account, and for his family use extravagantly. We gave orders to counteract him. This produced an entire breach. When his traitorous conduct at West Point became public, neither Colonel Pickering nor myself was the least bit surprised at it" ["Life of Timothy Pickering," vol. i, p. 228].
After a twelvemonth the Executive Council began to take note of these transactions. A paper of accusations was drawn up by them and laid before Congress. Arnold was tried by court-martial in 1780, and was sentenced to receive a reprimand at the hands of the commander-in-chief - a sentence which, mild as it was, in comparison with his offences, embittered him for life, and strengthened the determination already forming in his breast, to sell himself to the British on the first convenient opportunity.
After the exposure of his treason and his flight Mrs. Arnold returned
to the protection of her own family in Philadelphia. But her loyalty was
distrusted, and the city authorities were not content to have her remain.
Within a month of her arrival the following notice was served upon her.
"IN COUNCIL, Friday, October 27, 1780. The Council, taking into consideration the case of Mrs. Margaret Arnold (the wife of Benedict Arnold, an attainted traitor with the enemy at New York), whose residence in the city has become dangerous to the public safety, and this Board being desirous as much as possible to prevent any correspondence and intercourse being carried on with persons of disaffected character in this State and the enemy at New York, and especially with the said Benedict Arnold; therefore, Resolved: That the said Margaret Arnold depart this State within fourteen days from the date thereof, and that she do not return again during the continuance of the present war."
Mrs. Arnold's family and friends made strong intercession for her with the authorities; but their efforts were unsuccessful, and she was forced to depart at the time designated.
In 1778 the United States were forced to close the campaign before the
end of the summer for lack of funds with which to carry on operations.
The continental money was become practically worthless. In 1779 a dollar
in specie was worth $2,593 of the paper currency. In 1780, $7,400. In 1781
no dealer would receive it. As an example of the straits to which our ancestors
were reduced at this time of national depression, we copy an original bill
of the year 1781:
Col. A. MCLANE
Bo't of W. NICOLL.
1 pair boots $600
6.75 yds. calico at $85 per yard ($752)
6 yds. chintz at $150 ($900)
4.5 yds. moreen at $100 ($450.50)
4 handkerchiefs at $100.00 ($400)
8 yds. quality binding, at $4 ($32)
1 skein of silk 10
If paid in specie L18 10 s. ($3144.50)
Received payment in full, for Wm. Nicoll
To complicate the money question, each State had an irredeemable paper currency of its own to compete with the national currency. The confusion and unsettlement of values caused by these mixed issues can easily be imagined. The vague and uncompacted form of government which made of Congress rather an ill-assorted body for consultation than a central power, added to the hamper and bewilderment of public affairs in all departments.
"The Congress," wrote Greene, toward the end of June, 1780, "have lost their influence. I have for a long time seen the necessity of some new plan of civil constitution. Unless there is some control over the States by the Congress, we shall soon be like a broken hand."
The first vehement impulse toward the consolidation of the States into the federal Union was given by Robert Morris. By birth an Englishman, he had removed to America in his boyhood, and in 1733 had settled in Philadelphia. Averse, in the first instance, to the idea of a rupture with the parent country, his growing patriotism so far overcame this original reluctance, that we find his name among the signers of the Declaration of Independence. From the very opening of the Revolutionary struggle he was foremost in sustaining all patriotic measures. A member of the Congress of 1776, and again of that of 1778, he was placed on that committee, most important of all, which was charged with the expenditure of moneys for the secret service, and was appointed its special commissioner to negotiate bills of exchange, and take other measures for raising funds. In February, 1781, he was made Superintendent of France, in which position he did not hesitate to pledge his private credit for the relief of army emergencies.
"As it has been said that Washington was the sword of the Revolution, so it may be said that Morris was the Purse" ["Historic Mansions of Philadelphia," p. 354]. Again and again, when clothing and military stores were exhausted in Washington's camp, this generous friend came to their rescue. At one time, when cartridges had entirely given out, a seasonable supply of lead came in as ballast in one of Mr. Morris's ships, and was at once turned over by him to the use of the army. It was Morris who raised on his own notes and credit, the sum of half-a-million for the transportation and supply of the national army to Yorktown, where the battle was fought which brought about the end of the struggle and secured the peace.
In June, 1780, steps were taken at Philadelphia, under his influence, for the founding of a bank with the power to issue notes. This was the bank of the United States, whose fortunes were destined to have a considerable influence upon the prosperity of the city. It opened on the 7th of January with a capital of $4000,000, of which Morris took one half as an investment of the United States, paying for it in their currency.
Congress resumed its sessions in Philadelphia soon after the departure of the British. On October 4, 1781, was fought the decisive battle at Yorktown, followed by the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his army. The news came to Philadelphia by express at midnight, and the watchmen, when crying the hours as usual, roused the city by adding to their usual call of "Twelve o'clock and all's well!" - "And Cornwallis taken!"
"When the letters of Washington announcing the capitulation reached Congress, that body, with the people streaming in their train, went in procession to the Dutch Lutheran Church to return thanks to Almighty God. Every breast swelled with joy. In the evening Philadelphia was illuminated with greater splendor than ever before. Congress voted thanks to Washington, to Rochambeau, and to De Grasse, with special thanks to the officers and troops" [Bancroft, vol. x, p. 523]. A marble column was to be erected at Yorktown, with emblems of the alliance between the United States and his most Christian Majesty.
On November 30, 1782, the definitive Treaty of Peace between England and America was signed at Paris. When the news was confirmed, the joy in Philadelphia was unbounded. "A great flag was hoisted on a lofty mast on Market Street Hill, and the people fastened their eyes on it by the hour, transfering to the emblem the veneration they felt for the achievers of the peace. Great fireworks were prepared up High Street, and the crowd being immense, when the arch took fire, and the rockets flew down the street among the people, a great panic ensued, and many contusions and accidents. The houses at night were illuminated generally, save those of the Friends, which, of course, afforded fine sport for the rabble in breaking in the dark panes" [Watson's "Annals of Philadelphia," vol. ii., p. 332].
It is a singular coincidence that the first American flag ever displayed in the Thames at London floated from the mainmast of the ship "William Penn" in the spring of the following year. The sight caused so much excitement and vexation in the city, that the ship's crew was forced to keep vigilant watch at night, lest the vessel should be mobbed - an odd result of the exhibition of that pacific name!
Chapter 8 Philadelphia As The Capital City (1783 - 1800)
Immediately after the departure of the British army, Congress resumed its sittings in Philadelphia, and remained there till June, 1783. During that month a mutinous outbreak occurred among the Pennsylvania soldiery. About three hundred of them left their barracks in the Northern Liberties, and, joined by two newly arrived companies, marched to the house of Robert Morris, and demanded their arrears of pay, which, from the necessity of the times, and, it might be added, the incompetency of the Congress, had been withheld from them. Morris received them with tact and forebearance; he even offered to allow their sergeants to examine his books; but he was forced to confess that the public coffers were empty.
Thereupon the mutineers left him, and marched to the State House, where Congress was in session. General Hamilton was sent out to address and conciliate them; but they were so determined in their behavior, that he lost hope, and returning to the hall, calmly advised his fellow members to "think of eternity, since he firmly believed that within the space of an hour not an individual of them would be left alive." It was feared that the insurgents would attack the National Bank; but force enough was collected to overawe them, and in the end they returned quietly to their barracks, where, a day or two later, they were surrounded and disarmed by a force under Major General Howe, who had been sent for to quell the mutiny. Congress, however, could not forgive the insult to its dignity, and removed without delay, first to Princeton, and shortly after to New York, where it remained until the adoption of the Federal Constitution in 1790, when it was determined that Philadelphia should be the seat of government for ten years, while preparations were making for its final establishment in the District of Columbia.
"Morris had hitherto strongly advocated the claims of Philadelphia to be the permanent metropolis; and he now shrewdly concluded," President Duer observes, "that if the public offices were once opened in the city they would continue there, as but for the silent influence of the name of Washington, whose wishes on the subject were known, would have been the case."
In December, 1783, General Washington passed through Philadelphia on his way to Annapolis, to resign his commission into the hands of Congress. "The roads were covered with people who came from all quarters to see him," says Bancroft. "Alone, and ready to lay down in the hands of Congress the command that had been confided to him, he appeared even greater than when he was at the head of the armies of the Unites States. The inhabitants of Philadelphia knew that he was drawing near, and, without other notice, an innumerable crowd placed themselves along the road that he was to pass. Women, aged men, left their houses to see him. Children passed among the horses to touch his garments. Acclamations of joy and gratitude accompanied him in all the streets. Never was homage more spontaneous and more pure. The General enjoyed the scene, and owned himself by this moment repaid for eight years of toil, and wants, and tribulations.
"At Philadelphia he put into the hands of his comptroller his accounts to the 13th of December, 1783, all written with minute exactness by his own hand, and accompanied by vouchers conveniently arranged. Every debit against him was credited; but as he had not always made an entry of moneys on his own expended in the public service, he was, and chose to remain, a considerable loser. To the last he refused all compensation and all indemnity, though his resources had been greatly diminished by the war."
In May, 1787, the delegates chosen by the States to decide upon a constitution and rule of government met at the State House in Philadelphia. Much agitation and fluctuation of feeling preceded this important meeting. "Shall we have a king?" asked John Jay, and himself answered, "Not, in my opinion, while other expedients remain untried" [Sparks, vol. ix, p. 510]. Washington, in the quiet of Mount Vernon, was studying the matter, reading Montesquieu, and soliciting the opinions of the ablest men in public life; and as the result of reflection and opinion he drew up three separate outlines of a constitution, differing widely from each other, but all designed to consolidate a union of the conflicting interests of the Thirteen States.
Many and various were the points in the debate. Should the chief executive authority be vested in one person, or in two or three? Should an equal number of senators be sent by each State, or should they be distributed pro rata according to area or population? How should representation be apportioned? How should the separate State Governments be made to work in harmony with the General Government? The questions of slavery and the slave-trade, of finance, of the public debts, of taxation, of commerce, of the Indians - each in turn formed menacing points of difference and collision which required the utmost wisdom, moderation, and gentleness of treatment. At last, on the 17th of September, the Constitution as it now stands, with the exception of its modern amendments, was resolved upon, with the unanimous approval of the eleven States represented in the Convention.
The Assembly of Pennsylvania was at that time in session, and felt it desirable to secure the ratification of the Constitution without delay. A resolution for the calling of a State convention was passed by them. The enemies of the new measure were in a minority; but, determined to retard it as much as possible, they resorted to the scheme of defeating action by preventing the attendance of a quorum. The scheme was frustrated by the decided step of seizing two of the refractory members at their lodgings, carrying them forcibly to the House, and there detaining them until they had by their unwilling presence contributed to the passage of the unwelcome Act.
As the last signature was appended to the document, Franklin, looking at the emblazoned sun on the President's chair, remarked to those near him: "In the vicissitudes of hope and fear I was not able to tell whether it was rising or setting; but now I know that it is the rising sun."
Franklin was right; but the sunrise which he rejoiced over had in it the menace of storms. Intrigues against the Constitution and attempts to alter or annul its provisions began before the document was fairly laid before the people. Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and others of the Southern leaders, exerted themselves strongly in opposition. "But the influence of Washington outweighted them all. He was embosomed in the affections and enshrined in the pride of the people of Virginia; and in all their waverings during the nine months following the federal convention he was the anchor of the Constitution" [Bancroft, "History of the Constitution of the United States," vol. ii, p. 233].
The extraordinary intelligence and virtue displayed by the Continental Congress was recognized by sagatious and dispassionate observers throughout the world. Mirabeau spoke of it as a company of demigods; and William Pitt exclaimed: "I must declare that in all my reading and observation, for solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion, under such a complication of difficult circumstances, no body of men could stand before the National Congress of Philadelphia."
The final adoption of the Act was celebrated in Philadelphia on the 4th of July, 1788, by the most magnificent procession ever known in the city. From five to seven thousand persons took part in it. All the Trades were represented, and all the Societies. Ten white horses in the middle of the column drew a dome, supported by thirteen columns, which bore each the name of a State, and held up a cupola with the figure of Plenty and the motto, "In Union the fabric stands firm." Another display was "The Federal ship 'Union,' " also drawn by ten horses, and manned by a crew of twenty-five men, who flung the lead as they passed, cried the soundings, and trimmed the sails to the wind.
This beautiful little vessel had been barge to the "Serapis," captured by the English by Paul Jones in 1779. She was thirty-three feet in length. From under her keel, canvas, painted to represent waves of the sea, hung over and concealed the wheels of the car. A smaller vessel followed her, and a procession of pilots.
The Declaration of Independence, The Definite Treaty of Peace, The French Alliance, The Convention of the States, The Constitution, The New Era, were represented by some of the principal citizens in emblematical costumes. The Constitution was personified by a lofty car in the form of an eagle, drawn by six horses, in which sat Judge Atlee and Judge Rush in their official robes, carrying the Constitution, framed, and mounted on a staff, which bore a Liberty Cap and "The People," in gilded letters. Each Trade had its car, on which skilled workmen exhibited themselves busied in their different employments. The blacksmiths displayed a forge, with men engaged in the symbolic labor of beating swords into ploughshares; the printers and bookbinders a stage, on which was a press, where odes were printed and thrown out to the crowd. After the procession was over, all its members sat down to a plentiful dinner, at the conclusion of which the whole great company "withdrew to their homes by six o'clock in the evening, all sober, but all joyful," - a sight to rejoice the spirit of the city's friendly founder.
That same year saw the first steamboat on the Delaware. Its inventor, John Fitch, had conceived the idea in 1785, but, being a poor man, was for a time unable to carry it out. He applied to Congress for assistance, and was refused. A company was at last organized, by the aid of which the first rude idea of what has since become the modern steamboat, was built and launched. It was a singular craft, with two sets of paddles on either side set within a framework, and worked by an engine placed near the stern. Gilded chains were hung over the sides as an ornament to the boat, whose rate of speed was about eight miles an hour.
On the 6th of April, 1789, General Washington was elected the first President of the United States, and on the 16th he left Mount Vernon for his inauguration in New York. His desire was to travel quietly; but this the irrepressible enthusiasm of the people would not permit. On the confines of Pennsylvania he was met by two troops of cavalry and a large concourse of citizens, who had quitted Philadelphia the day before, and waited all night for his appearance. He was obliged to leave his carriage and mount a white horse, which was in readiness for the purpose; and so, escorted by a throng which increased with every mile, was conducted through avenues of just-transplanted laurels and under triumphal arches across Gray's Ferry and into the city.
"As he passed under the last arch, a youth concealed in the foliage, let down, with the aid of some ingeniously constructed machinery, a beautiful ornamented wreath of civic laurel, which, before the hero was aware, embraced his head." Thus crowned, with twenty thousand adorers crowding about him, the great man made his way to the City Tavern, where all the dignitaries of Philadelphia and a superb banquet awaited him. The festivities closed with a magnificent display of fireworks.
A year later Congress returned to Philadelphia, which for the next decade served as the capital city of the nation. All the principal officers of the government took up their residences there. The Supreme Court sat in the hall on the southeast corner of Fifth and Chestnut streets. The Treasury Department used the old Clark mansion on the southwest corner of Chestnut and Third. Congress was accomodated in a building which had been erected for use as a county court house on the corner of Sixth and Chestnut. In this building, known as Congress Hall, Washington and Adams were inaugurated for the second term of their Presidency and Vice-Presidency in 1793, and Jefferson in 1797.
In a letter from Philadelphia, dated August 10th, 1790, we find the following: "Some of the blessings anticipated from the removal of Congress to this city are already beginning to be apparent; rents of houses have risen, and I fear will continue to rise, shamefully; even in the outskirts they have lately been increased from fourteen, sixteen, and eighteen pounds, to twenty-five, twenty-eight, and thirty. This is oppressive. Our markets, it is expected, will also be dearer than heretofore. I am convinced that if things go on in this manner, a very great majority of our citizens will have good reason to wish the government settled at Conocheague long before the ten years are expired."
Robert Morris's house in Market Street, between Fifth and Sixth, had been secured by the corporation as a residence for the President. It was a large marble house, built in the plain style of architecture which at that time and since has been characteristic of the Quaker city. Another and finer house in South Ninth Street was proposed and urged upon the acceptance of Washington by the legislature of the State, but was declined, on the ground that he would by no means consent to live in any house which was not hired and furnished from his own means. The Morris house was three stories in height, and thirty-two feet wide, with eleven windows in front and a door furnished with three stone steps. It had formed part of the marriage portion of the wife of Richard Penn, son of the last Proprietary, and for some years was occupied by him. During the British occupation it was the headquarters of Lorde Howe. The rent paid by General Washington for the house was $3000.
From the letters of Washington at this time to his private secretary, Mr. Lear, we get an exact and curious picture of the minute regularity with which he acquainted himself with his affairs in their smallest particulars. It was the exactitude, not of a petty mind, but of an intellect so comprehensive in grasp that it could include little things as well as great, and whose first and most urgent desire was for justice.
"I am, I must confess, exceedingly unwilling to go into any house without first knowing on what terms I do it; and I wish this sentiment could be again hinted in delicate terms to the parties concerned with me . . . Mrs. Morris has a mangle (I think it is called) for ironing clothes, which, as it is fixed in the place where it is commonly used, she proposes to leave, and take mine. To this I have no objection, provided mine is equally good and convenient; but if I should obtain any advantages, besides that of its being up and ready for use, I am not inclined to receive it . . . They will also leave a large glass lamp in the entry or hall, and will take one or more of my glass lamps in lieu of it . . . I have no particular direction to give respecting the appropriation of furniture . . . I approve, at least till inconvenience or danger shall appear, of the large table ornaments remaining on the sodeboard, and of the pagoda standing in the smaller drawing-room. Had I delivered my sentiments from here respecting this fixture, that is the apartment I should have named for it. Whether the greens which you have, or a new yellow curtain, should be appropriated to the staircase above the hall, may depend on your getting an exact match, in color and so forth, of the latter. For the sake of appearances one would not, in instances of this kind, regard a small additional expense . . . Would not a stand like that for castors, with four apertures for as many kinds of liquors, each aperture large enough to hold one of the cut decanters sent by Mr. Morris, be more convenient for passing the bottles from one to another, than the handing each bottle separately - by which it often happens that one bottle moves, another stops, and all are in confusion. Talk to a silversmith, and ascertain the cost, and whether they could be immediately made, if required, in a handsome fashion . . . Upon examining the caps of Giles and Paris, I find they (especially that of Paris) are much worn, and will be unfit to appear in with decency after the journey from here is performed. I therefore request that you will have two new ones made, with fuller and richer tassels at the top than the old ones have. That the maker of them may have some guide as to the size, the enclosed dimensions of their heads will, I presume, be sufficient."
The President and Mrs. Washington arrived in Philadelphia on the 28th of November, and took possession of their new residence. Tuesday was selected as the reception day for all "respectable citizens and strangers properly introduced." These receptions were held in the diningroom on the first floor. From three to four the President stood surrounded by the members of his Cabinet, bowing courteously as each new-comer was named to him. He never shook hands on these occasions, even with his most intimate friends, and he rarely forgot a name that had once been mentioned in his hearing. On Fridays Mrs. Washington held her levees, at which the President appeared as a private gentleman and conversed without restraint. Formal dinners were given every Thursday, "at four o'clock precisely, never waiting for any guests."
At twelve every day it was the President's custom to walk forth and set his watch by Clark's Standard, southeast corner of Front and High Streets. All the passers-by took off their hats and stood uncovered till he turned and went back again. He always returned these salutations by lifting his hat and bowing low. On fine days he went out to walk, attended by his two secretaries, one walking on either side of him. They were never seen to talk to each other. On Sundays he drove to Christ Church in a cream-colored coach with enamelled figures on the panels. (The carriage is still preserved in Philadelphia.) All his servants wore liveries of white cloth turned up with scarlet or orange.
A very elegant and refined circle led society in Philadelphia at this time, and the coming of Congress gave the city the air and tone of a capital. "There was more attention paid then to the dress of servants and the general appearance of equipages," says Samuel Breck, in his entertaining "Recollections;" "dinners were got up elegance and good style. Besides Brigham and Morris and the President, who had French cooks, as well as most of the foreign ministers, there was a most admirable artist by the name of Marinot, who supplied the tables of private gentlemen, when they entertained, with all that the most refined gourmand could desire.
"General Washington had a stud of twelve or fourteen horses, and occasionally rode out to take the air with six horses to his coach, and always two footmen to his carriage. He knew how to maintain the dignity of his station. None of his successors, except the elder Adams, has placed a proper value on a certain degree of display that seems suitable for the chief magistrate of a great nation. I do not mean pageantry, but the decent exterior of a well-bred gentleman."
The inauguration of Washington for his second Presidential term was soon followed by the French Revolution and the proclamation of the Republic. The enthusiasm excited in the United States by the news was almost universal. "There seems to be something infectious in the example of a powerful and enlightened nation urging toward democracy, which imposes on the human mind and leads human reason in fetters," says Sparks ["Life of Washington," vol. v, p. 388]; and this feeling was deepened to Americans by the fact that France was but following the example which themselves had so recently given, and that it was a spark from our own torch which had set the Old World in a blaze.
"In its first stage, but one sentiment respecting it prevailed;" but the excesses which followed set serious men to thinking, and in the minds of a small, but influential minority, reaction began. Washington was of this minority. Entertaining the strongest affection and gratitude toward the French nation, and sympathizing in its desire for liberty, he yet felt the necessity of cautious action on the part of the United States. In April, 1793, came the declaration of war made by France against Great Britain and Holland. "The situation of America was precisely that in which the wisdom and foresight of a prudent and enlightened government was indispensibly necessary to prevent the nation from inconsiderately precipitating itself into calamities which its reflecting judgement would avoid" ["Life of Washington," vol. v, p. 402]; and the Government at Philadelphia at once issued a carefully worded proclamation of neutrality, which gave equal offence to the French and to their hot-headed sympathizers in the just United States.
A this crisis arrived "the Citizen Genet," ambassador from the Republic of France. He reached Philadelphia on the 16th of May, and was received with enthusiasm. The church bells were rung, a public address was made him, democratic societies were founded in imitation of the Jacobin clubs, and the French frigate "L'Ambuscade" came up the river, her masts decorated with the red caps of liberty, and flags bearing republican mottoes, and her guns saluting a vast crowd on the Market Street wharf, who answered each discharge with deafening hurrahs. On the 18th a dinner was given to Genet by the democrats at the City Tavern, and on the 22nd another, at which each guest in turn put the bonnet rouge on his head and offered a "patriotic sentiment." "The term 'citizen' became as common n Philadelphia as in Paris, and in the newspapers it was the fashion to announce marriages as partnerships between Citizen Brown, Smith, or Jones, and the citess who had been wooed to such an association.
At a dinner where Governor Mifflin was present, a roasted pig received the name of the murdered king; and the head, severed by the body, was carried round to each of the guests, who, after placing the liberty-cap on his own head, pronounced the word 'Tyrant!' and proceeded to mangle with his own knife that of the luckless creature doomed to be served for so unworthy a company. One of the democratic taverns displayed as a sign a revolting picture of the mutilated and bloody corpse of Marie Antoinette!"
This frenzy of welcome had its natural effect upon the intellect of the French ambassador. On his first visit to the President he took umbrage at perceiving in the vestibule a bust of Louis XVI., and stigmatized it as "an insult to France." Other causes of complaint were not lacking. The "Little Sarah," an English merchantman captured by a French frigate, was brought into the port of Philadelphia and equipped as a privateer. Her armament was on board, her crew enlisted, and she was about to sail on a cruise under the name of "Le Petit Democrat," when the Governor interfered, and requested M. Genet to defer the sailing of the vessel until the President, then at Mount Vernon, should return to the city, and the Cabinet should sanction her departure.
Genet in a fury threatened "to appeal from the President to the people." In defiance of the Governor's prohibition and of the half-promise extorted from Genet, "Le Petit Democrat" sailed before the arrival of the President.
The condemnation of this act on the part of the Government, and the steps taken to prevent the departure of other privateers then in process of being fitted out, excited a tumult of popular wrath which in every way was fostered by M. Genet. His letters to the President and other officers of the Government were couched in terms which bordered on insult. Before the end of the year Mr. Morris, our Minister at Paris, was instructed to request his recall. But the flame of sedition and discontent lit by him burnt on, and embittered the closing years of Washington's Administration.
The yellow fever made its appearance in Philadelphia during the summer of 1793, and raged with fearful violence. During the months of August, September, October, and November, the deaths in the city amounted to 4,002 out of a population of 30,000 ["A Picture of Philadelphia," p. 37]. Congress adjourned to Germantown, which from the healthfulness of its situation was exempt from the scourge. Down to that year this suburb of Philadelphia had retained its German character to a remarkable degree. All the public preaching was in German, and most of the conversation. After the influx of strangers caused by the fever, many persons chose Germantown as a summer residence, and the use of English rapidly increased [The changes effected by the lapse of a century in the character of the Germantown population was marked in 1883, at the celebration of the bi-centennial of its founding by Pastorious, when less than a hundred German citizens could be found to take part in the ceremonies.].
"The horrors of this memorable affliction were extensive and heartrending," says Breck, "nor were they softened by professional skill. The disorder was in a great measure a stranger to our climate, and was awkwardly treated. Its rapid march, being from ten victims a day in August to one hundred a day in October, terrified the physicians, and led them into contradictory modes of treatment. They, as well as the guardians of the city, were taken by surprise; no hospitals or hospital-stores were in readiness to alleviate the sufferings of the poor. For a long time nothing could be done other than furnish coffins for the dead, and men to bury them. At length a large house in the neighborhood was appropriately fitted up for the reception of patients, and a few preeminent philanthropists volunteered to superintend it. In private families the parents, the children, the domestics, lingered and died, frequently without assistance. The wealthy soon fled; the fearless or indifferent remained from choice; the poor from necessity. The inhabitants were reduced to one half their number; yet the malignant action of the disease increased so that those who were in health one day were buried the next . . . The Committee was in session night and day at the City Hall in Chestnut Street . . . The attendants on the dead stood on the pavement in considerable numbers, soliciting jobs; and until employed they were occupied in feeding their horses out of the coffins which they had provided in anticipation of the daily wants."
Repeated visits from this terrible epidemic in the years 1798, 1799, and 1802, led public attention to the investigation of causes, and to the cleansing and filling up of Dock Creek, after which malignant disorders of all kinds abated.
1794 and 1795 were troubled years. War broke out with the Northern Indians; and hardly was this brought to a close by the victory of General Wayne at the confluence of the Au-Glaize and the Miamis rivers, than a formidable mutiny began in the western counties of Pennsylvania against the execution of the recent laws imposing a duty on distilled spirits. The mails were stopped and rifled, the Government officials fired upon, the houses of the inspectors attacked, and they themselves forced to resign their positions. Nothing but the promptitude and energy of the Government saved the country from civil war. The militia was ordered out, Governer Lee of Virginia placed in command, the President himself visited each division of the force before it marched, and the insurrection was in the end terminated without the shedding of a drop of blood.
On the 7th of March, 1795, the "Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation," between the United States and Great Britain, which had been negotiated at London by our minister, John Jay, was received at the State Department, and on the 24th of June the Senate, by a small majority, voted for its ratification. "An immense party in America, not in the habit of considering national compacts, - without understanding the instrument, and in many cases without reading it, - rushed impetuously to its condemnation" [Sparks, "Life of Washington," vol. v, p. 625].
The friends of the Treaty were mobbed, and Mr. Jay was burned in effigy in several cities. In Philadelphia the mob held a meeting, at which various demagogues made addresses, after which they burned a copy of the Treaty under the windows of the British minister. The determination of the President, the calm statements and explanations addressed by him to the people, and the strong confidence felt by the majority in his opinion, availed in the end to subdue opposition and secure the final acceptance of the Treaty; but not until his person and character had been attacked with the utmost bitterness by the faction who opposed the measure. He was pronounced by them to be "totally destitute of merit either as a soldier or a statesman." His honesty even was assailed, and his enemies did not scruple to assert that he had drawn from the Treasury for his use more than the salary belonging to his office. We are so accustomed to think of Washington as the recognized model of faultless human character, that it is difficult to realize that he, too, bore in his time that "sharpest pang" of being vilified and misrepresented by those for whom he had given his best of life and work. That, with all his dignified composure, this pang was not unfelt by him, is proved by a passage from one of his letters, written in 1796:
"Until the last year or two I had no conception that parties would, or even could, go the lengths I have been witness to; nor did I believe, until lately, that it was within the bounds of possibility that . . . I should be accused of being the enemy of one nation, and subject to the influence of another - and to prove it, that every act of my Administration should be tortured, and the grossest and most insidious misrepresentations of them be made - and that, too, in such exaggerated and indecent terms as could scarcely be applied to a Nero, to a notorious defaulter, or even to a common pickpocket. "But enough of this! I have already gone further in the expression of my feelings than I had intended."
To the great mass of the American people, however, Washington remained to the end of his life the object of unabated reverence and affection. At the close of his second period in office, the determination of the general body of electors to continue him as chief magistrate so long as he would consent to fill the place, was so unequivocal that even his enemies dared not openly dissent. Only his distinct refusal to be a candidate for renomination laid the question at rest.
In 1796 he issued his famous Farewell Address to the People of the United States; and the following March, after having witnessed the inauguration of his successor, John Adams, he left Philadelphia for Mount Vernon, where the short remainder of his life was spent. Dr. William Duer, afterward President of Columbia College, was present at his farewell appearance in Congress Hall, and thus describes it:
"As the venerable hero moved toward the door, there was a rush from the gallery that threatened the lives of those who were most eager to catch a last look oh him who, among mortals, was the first object of their veneration. Some of us effected an escape by slipping down the pillars. I succeeded in making good my retreat through the outer door in time to see the retiring veteran as he waved his hat in return for the cheers of the multitude, while his gray locks 'streamed like a meteor to the wind.' Seldom as he was known to smile, his face now beamed with radiance and benignity. I followed him with the crowd to his own door, where, as he turned to address the multitude, his countenance assumed a serious and almost melancholy expression, his voice failed him, his eyes were suffused with tears, and only by his gestures could he indicate his thanks and convey a farewell blessing to the people. This was the last I saw of the most illustrious of mankind, and should I live a thousand years, I 'ne'er shall look upon his like again.'
In the spring of 1799 the waterworks of Philadelphia were begun by the construction of a reservoir near the banks of the Schuylkill, and of an edifice of marble at the centre square as a receiving fountain. These works at the outset had little encouragement; and to induce moneyed men to contribute their capital, they were offered the free use of the water for a term of a years. The citizens of Philadelphia clung to their pumps, and preferred them, until after the yellow-fever epidemic opened their eyes to the possible dangers of such a supply. In 1818 the steam-engine at Fairmount was set in operation; and from that time on there was a general acceptance of the Schuylkill water.
"On the 11th of March, 1789, the Legislature of the State had granted a new charter to the city of Philadelphia, the old one having been superseded by the events of the Revolution. The Act was made applicable to the city as laid out by Penn, the general form of administration differing little from the old system. In the course of time, suburbs outside of Philadelphia were created Districts having separate municipal powers. Under this system grew up a heterogeneous aggregation of municipalities independent of each other, and frequently discordant in policy" ["Guide-book of Philadelphia," p. 41].
In December, 1799, General Washington died at Mount Vernon. The event was commemorated in Philadelphia by a funeral procession from Congress Hall to the German Lutheran Church, and by an oration in honor of the departed leader delivered before both Houses of Congress. Meanwhile work had been going on at Washington in the building of the Capitol, the corner-stone of which had been laid by Washington himself in September, 1793. In the autumn of 1800 the north wing was pronounced ready for occupation, and Philadelphia ceased to be the seat of government.
Chapter 9 Growth And Development (1800 - 1876)
About the time of the transfer of the seat of government to Washington it was decided by the legislature of Pennsylvania to remove the State capital of Harrisburg [The State capital was removed to Lancaster in 1799, to Harrisburg in 1812]. Philadelphia, thus shorn of both her dignities, was left to work out her own development through a course of prosperous though uneventful years.
The discovery of the value of anthracite coal about the year 1814 gave an immediate impetus to manufactures of all sorts. The existence of this coal had become known as early as 1792, when the "Lehigh Coal Company" was started, with a small capital. The property owned by this company was on Summit Hill, nine miles from Mauch Chunk; but the difficulty and cost of transportation were such as to dishearten the stockholders; and for some years the mine was suffered to lie idle. The coal was used to a small extent for the forge-fires of the blacksmiths in the neighborhood, and in Philadelphia a few persons burned it in their grates; but rather as a curious experiment than from any sense of its utility. even so late as 1807, the coal company gave a lease of one of their veins gratis to a firm of iron manufacturers, in hopes of securing the utilization of the mineral; but the attempt proved a failure.
In 1810, however, an Englishman, whose name has not yet been preserved, made an analysis of the coal which convinced him of its value for all purposes of combustion. He built a small furnace for experiment, which was quickened by these strong bellows, and succeeded in getting a heat from the coal which was sufficient to melt platinum. This experiment paved the way for a more general use of the anthracite; but even so late as 1818,365 tons carried to Philadelphia "completely shocked the market," and was with difficulty disposed of. In 1825, however, the consumption amounted to 29, 393 tons, and by 1839 to 221, 850 tons. In 1841 the Schuylkill mines produced a million tons of anthracite alone [The total amount of anthracite coal sent to market during January, 1884, is 1,482,151 tons!].
Coincident with the discovery of coal, and cooperating with it, came the employment of steam. Steamboats began to ply regularly on the Delaware by 1808, in which year the "Phoenix," built in New Jersey, was successfully brought round to Philadelphia by sea. Turnpikes and bridges came to rank as prime necessities, not in Pennsylvania alone, but all over the country. In 1789 the traveller from Boston to Philadelphia was forced to pass not less than eight rivers in ferry-boats - namely, the Conneticut at Springfield, the Housatonic at Stratford, the Hudson at New York, the Hackensack and the Passaic between Paulus Hook and Newark, the Raritan at New Brunswick, the Delaware at Trenton, and the Neshamony near Bristol - all of which, except the Hudson, were substantially bridged by the year 1829. Between that year and 1791 the State of Pennsylvania expended over twenty-two million dollars on its own internal improvements.
In 1825 the Schuylkill navigation improvement scheme was put in operation, by which, through a system of canals, the waters of the Susquehanna were connected with those of the Schuylkill and Delaware. Following this came the openings of the Delaware and Maryland, and the Delaware and the Raritan canals, which united Philadelphia by a network of water-ways with Baltimore on the one hand, and New York on the other.
The war of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States gave but a brief check to the progress of this peaceful growth. Volunteer companies were formed, and the forts on the Delaware were strengthened. In the spring of 1813 three companies under Colonel Lewis Rush were sent from Philadelphia to guard the peninsula between Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake; and two years later twenty-one companies of volunteers from the city formed part of an advance light brigade serving under General Thomas Cadwallader.
The war against the Bank of the United States instituted by the democratic faction under Jefferson was the cause of great excitement and a considerable financial derangement about the year 1811. The Act incorporating this Bank was signed by President Washington on February 22, 1791, his fifty-ninth birthday. It directed the establishment of a Bank of the United States, with a capital not exceeding ten millions of dollars, divided into 25,000 shares of $400 each, of which no person should be allowed to subscribe for more than one thousand shares, except the President of the United States, who was empowered to subscribe for two millions of dollars on behalf of the Government. The subscription books were opened on the 4th of July, and before night the whole subscription was taken. In four days the value of the scrip was doubled; by the 4th of August it was selling for three times its face value, and by the end of that month four times. This speculative spirit gradually subsided, and the stock reverted to par, where it remained.
In 1811 the charter of the Bank expired. Jefferson had been President of the United States during the time of its operation, and at the beginning had opposed its creation. His objections to the Bank formed part of his political creed, and his party succeeded in preventing the passage of an Act for its re-charter, in spite of the urgent appeals of the Federal press and of the business community in general. The Bank of North America, established in 1781 under the powerful influence of Robert Morris, which had passed through a parallel crisis in 1786 and had barely succeeded in weathering the storm of opposition, added the weight of its remonstrance [The Bank of North America is still in existence, and by special act of Congress is the only National Bank in the United States which is not compelled to use the word "National" in its title]. Its directors transmitted to Congress a memorial pointing out the past services of the institution, and expressing serious apprehensions as to whether the commerce of the country could be carried on without its co-operation and assistance. The appeal was in vain. The directors of the Bank of the United States turned for relief to the Legislature of Pennsylvania; but the democrats were sufficiently strong in body to defeat the Bill incorporating it as a State institution, and at last, in 1812, the friends of the Bank gave up the contest, the Bank was closed, and its affairs finally wound up.
That same year Stephen Girard, the largest stockholder in the Bank of the United States, bought of its trustees the handsome building which had been erected for its accomodation, and set up in business as a private banker. "In fact, to all intents and purposes, Mr. Girard became the United States Bank under another name, though with not so great a capital." He managed its affairs with great prudence and success. At his death in 1831 the banking-house so long under his control became a chartered institution by the name of The Girard Bank. The subscription books were opened to the public in May, 1832, and a scene of the most extraordinary confusion ensued; hired bullies were employed to subscribe for citizens who hesitated to trust themselves in the crowd, and the stock was secured for a few hands by a system of ruffianly violence. The grand jury found bills of indictment against five of the Bank commissioners; there was even talk of repealing its charter, and the Legislature was petitioned to that effect; but that body refused to take action, and in time the public indignation subsided and the affair was forgotten.
Mr Girard was at the time of his death in 1831 one of the richest men in the country. By his will he left $500,000 to the city of Philadelphia for the improvement of the river front, $116, 000 to various institutions of charity in and about the city, a considerable sum for the improvement of the police system and the reduction of taxes, and $2,000,000 for the erection and endowment of a college for poor orphan boys - who, it was stipulated, must be white. Explicit directions for the building and regulation of the college accompanied this bequest, to which was added the remarkable proviso, that no "ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister" should ever hold or exercise any office or duty in the college, or should ever be admitted within the walls for any purpose whatever, not even as a visitor! The orphans, at an age between fourteen and eighteen, it was directed, were to be bound out to suitable trades and occupations under the direction of the Mayor and Corporation of Philadelphia. In 1874 there were 500 scholars in this institution; in 1883, 1,130. Its endowment fund in that year amounted to $9,629,204, and its gross income to nearly a million.
The first railroad communication with Philadelphia was made in 1832 by the opening of a short line to Germantown. In the same year the Wilmington and Baltimore and the Camden and Amboy roads were completed, and in 1832 the Reading Railroad. The Pennsylvania Railroad was chartered in 1846.
An outbreak of cholera took place in Philadelphia during the year which saw the first railroad brought to completion. The disease made its appearance on the 5th of July; and between that time and the 4th of October there were reported 2,314 cases with nearly a thousand deaths.
In 1835 gas was first made for general consumption by a private company, chartered, with a capital of $125,000. Other gasworks were organized in different districts; but after consolidation in 1854, they all came into the possession of the city, with the exception of the gasworks of Kensington and the Northern Libertis/.v
In 1824 La Fayette, on his second visit to the United States, was tendered a public reception at the State House in Philadelphia. On this occasion the condition of the building and the changes that had taken place in its interior appearance attracted public attention. Since the year 1800 some persons in temporary authority had taken advantage of their opportunity to "modernize" the fine East Room, in which the Second Continental Convention had held their sittings, and where the Declaration of Independence had been signed. The ancient paneling, the carvings, the old furniture, even the beautiful chandelier, a relic of Colonial days, were torn down, cast aside as useless lumber, and replaced by something which was thought to be "prettier." It was resolved that this room, famous as the scene of so many historical events, should be restored to its original condition; and in 1833 a sum of money was voted for this purpose. A large part of the old woodwork was found intact in the lumber-rooms of the building; what was lacking was replaced by new carvings made after the pattern of the old; and in all important particulars the room now bears the aspect which it bore when, with John Adams as the President of the Senate, the debates of the First United States Congress were conducted with "the most delightful silence, the most beautiful order, gravity, and personal dignity of manner," and "three gentle taps" from the silver pencil-case of the President were enough to compose the most excited discussions and "restore everything to repose and the most respectful attention."
In 1831 the United States Mint, which since 1792 had occupied a plain brick building on the east side of Seventh Street, removed to its present situation in Chestnut Street.
Previous to the spring of 1830 only two locomotives had been built in the United States. At that date Mr. Baldwin, the founder of what has since grown to be the colossal "Baldwin Locomotive Works," constructed a miniature engine, with two tiny cars capable of holding four persons, and exhibited them on a track laid for the purpose in Peale's Museum. The next year he received an order from the Germantown Railroad Company to construct a locomotive for their road. "He had no proper tools, no patterns, no models; but confidently relying on his own genius and resolution, he went to work, and in six months had it finished and placed on the road." Oddly enough, the ingenious brain which was capable of planning a locomotive failed to supply any expedient for preventing the slipping of the wheels on wet rails; so on rainy days the locomotive was left in the engine-room, and horse-power used to drag the train.
Experiments were made for propelling trains of cars by means of sails worked by the wind; and various other methods were attempted. For twenty years the portage road over the Alleghanies moved its cars by the use of wire ropes attached to stationary engines. The first stone of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was laid on the 4th of July, 1828; but locomotives did not run regularly over it till after 1832. In the construction of this road "Every mode hitherto suggested by science or experience was tested; the granite sill and iron rail, the wood and iron on stone blocks supported by broken stone, the same supported by longitudinal ground-sills in place of broken stone, the log-rail formed of trunks of trees worked to a surface on one side to receive the iron, and supported by wooden sleepers, and the wrought-iron rails of the English mode - had all been laid down, and as early as 1832 formed different portions of the road. The first portion completed was operated by horse-power. Finally locomotives were adopted" [Brown's "History of the First Locomotives in America"]
In 1834 the Columbia Line, combined of canal and railroad, was opened from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh - the whole making an aggregate length of nearly four hundred miles. It was at first constructed to be worked by horse-power; but about 1836, locomotives were taken into use, to the exclusion of horses. In 1847 a charter was granted to the Pennsylvania Railroad, which has since become one of the great agencies of progress to the city and State.
The decade comprised between the years 1834 and 1844 was marked by a series of riots and outrages which were in extraordinary contrast with the peaceful spirit usually prevalent in Philadelphia. In August, 1834, a collision occurred between the blacks and whites of the city. Colored people were assaulted and mobbed, their houses were plundered, and a meeting-house belonging to them near the Wharton Market was torn down. Later in the same year a serious riot of a political character took place near the Moyamensing Hall in Catherine Street, and a block of houses was burned. In July, 1835, further attacks were made on black people and their dwellings. In 1838 this hostility against negroes took the form of violence against those who urged the abolition of slavery. In May of that year Pennsylvania Hall, a large building used for public meetings, was hired by Abolitionists: it was attacked by a mob, fired, and totally destroyed. Two years later, riots broke out in Kensington on the proposal to extend the track of the Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad along Front Street. The rails were torn up, and buildings were burned. In 1844 occurred the most terrible riots that the city had ever known. Their cause was a dispute between what was known as the "Native American" party and the Irish Catholics. A meeting of the former held on the 6th of May at the corner of Master and Second streets was attacked and dispersed. The persons who composed it retreated to a market-house near by, where they were again attacked, firearms being used. This led to reprisals, which endangered the safety of every Roman Catholic and Roman Catholic Church in the city. The churches of St. Michael and St. Augustine, with their priests' houses and seminaries, were burned, as well as many private dwellings, and a large number of persons were killed on both sides. The military was called out to protect the city, and remained on guard for several days. In July further disturbances occurred, and the troops were again ordered out. The Catholic Church of St. Philip de Neri in Southwark was attacked; but being protected by a body of citizens, little harm was done to it. In clearing the streets some difficulties occurred between the troops and the people: a soldier was wounded by a brick, and the captain in command ordered his company to fire. Several of the rioters were killed, others wounded. An intense excitement set in; the troops were attacked with musketry and cannon, and defended themselves with artillery. For twenty-four hours the battle continued, and lives were lost on both sides. This was the most formidable riot ever known in Philadelphia, and the last of importance. Since then the peace of the city, with unimportant exceptions, has been unbroken.
The divided authority caused by the subdivision of the city into many districts, all practically independent of each other, was a serious obstacle to the peaceful administration of the laws. "A street became a barrier which an officer of the law could not pass; and rogues and rioters, by fleeing from one square to another, were free from molestation . . . The evils of this system led at last to the consolidation into one municipality and under one charter of the entire county of Philadelphia in 1854. By this Act Philadelphia became the largest city in territorial area in America, and second only to London in Europe" ["History of the Pennsylvania Railroad"]
We have already mentioned the purchase of ground for the Fairmount Waterworks in 1812. After the failure of the Bank of the United States, Lemon Hill, which was included among its assets, was purchased by the city, in order to secure the purity of the water, which might have been impaired, had the river bank above Fairmount been built upon. This purchase was made in 1844, and eleven years later Lemon Hill was formally opened as a public park. In 1856 Sedgeley, a considerable estate north of Lemon Hill, was added to the Park; in 1866 the Landsdowne property on the west side of the Schuylkill, later the land along the Wissahickon, and in 1867, by the gift of Jesse George and his sister, the eminence since known as George's Hill. The whole forms one of the largest public parks in the world, equalled in extent only by Epping and Windsor forests in England and by the Prater in Vienna, and exceeded by none in beauty of situation and natural advantages. It contains 2,740 acres, and affords a drive of thirteen miles in length along the beautifully wooded banks of the Schuylkill and Wissahickon and their tributary streams.
At Rambo's Rock, on the east bank of the Schuylkill , below Gray's Ferry, stands the quaint building known as the Court House, or Castle, of "The Fishing Company of the State in Schuylkill." This association, originally formed for hunting and fishing, dates back to 1732, when it occupied a house on the western bank upon the estate of William Warner, who received from the Company, in quittance of annual rent, three fresh fish, the first catch of the spring. Much humorous ceremony attended the meetings of this Society, whose membership has included most prominent Philadelphians since the Revolutionary times, and before them. In 1789 General Washington and a party of friends were entertained at the Castle. In 1824 the Club gave a reception to La fayette on his second visit to this country. Two years previously, the erection of the Fairmount Dam rendering it necessary to change its location, the materials of which the old Castle was built were carried across the river and re-erected at the present site at Rambo's Rock. The building includes a dining-room, large enough to accomodate eighty persons, and a large kitchen, where the members of the Club personally prepare those occult viands for which their reunions are famous.
On the east bank of the Schuylkill, farther north and opposite Fairmount Park lies a group of cemeteries, of which Laurel Hill is the oldest. The original purchase for this cemetery was in 1836, and the first internment took place in October of that year. It comprises but twenty-five acres; but is skillfully laid out and planted to make the most of its very picturesque position. West Laurel Hill, a mile distant, and much larger in extent, is growing into rivalship with its celebrated neighbor.
In 1829 was competed the great Eastern Penitentiary on Fairmount Avenue, the corner-stone of which had been laid in 1823. This prison was originally intended for the system of solitary confinement known as the Pennsylvania Plan, by which each prisoner was kept secluded in a cell by himself and allowed no knowledge of the outside world. It was argued that the association of criminals within the walls of a prison was productive of much evil, and almost inevitably demoralizing to young offenders not hardened in crime. In practice, the system of solitary confinement has proved a failure. Insanity resulted in numerous cases, and a gradual relaxation of the rules took place. The system is still called "solitary;" but the prisoners are necessarily associated to some degree in the various handicrafts which they are taught, and in some cases there are two occupants to a cell; they are also allowed to write and receive letters under the inspection of the officers, a library of six thousand volumes is open to their use, and newspapers are distributed among them.
The breaking out of the civil war in 1861 roused a deep and active spirit of loyal sacrifice in Philadelphia. It was followed within a year by the formation of the Union League - an organization for the promotion and strengthening of patriotic feeling, and the establishment of a centre "where true men might breathe without having their atmosphere contaminated by treason." Beginning with this modest intention, the work of the League soon took a wider direction. Its example was followed all over the land, and a host of leagues were formed in Pennsylvania and other States, until there was scarcely a hamlet in the North which could not point to a similar institution. Three regiments were organized and equipped in Philadelphia by the Parent Society in 1862. A Board of Publication was established for the printing of patriotic pamphlets, which were distributed gratuitously throughout the country. Committees for obtaining employment for disabled soldiers and seamen, and for recruiting colored troops, were formed, and a "Soldier's Claim and Pension Agency" was organized - all of which did valuable work.
The Fourth Annual Report of the Union League states that down to December, 1866, "Eighteen million and sixty-four thousand eight hundred and seventy pages of sound Union doctrine" had been published and distributed by the Society, which at that time numbered over two thousand members, including most of the influential names in Philadelphia.
In 1862 the great "Cooper Shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon," for the feeding of United States troops passing through the city, was inaugurated. Beginning with the supply of a single regiment by a few kind-hearted women, it developed into a thoroughly organized system, managed exclusively through volunteer aids, by which, in the course of the war, six hundred thousand soldiers were fed, nearly two thousand cared for in a hospital managed by volunteer nurses, and several thousand lighter cases relieved by dispensary treatment. This magnificent contribution to the comfort and effectiveness of the national forces was supported entirely by funds raised by private individuals, with no assistance whatever from the Government, and by the unremitting labor of unpaid assistants, not a few of whom laid down their lives as a willing offering to the work.
At the close of the war the Cooper Shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon and Hospital was merged into "The Soldier's Home of the City of Philadelphia" - an incorporated institution which is still in active operation.
In June, 1864, a magnificent fair was held in Philadelphia to raise funds for the Sanitary Commission. By the consent of the authorities, Logan Square was temporarily enclosed by a huge building of glass and iron, in whose aisles grew large shade-trees, uninjured by their brief seclusion from the outer air. The fair lasted three weeks; and its result was a million dollars to augment the treasury of the Commission.
Notwithstanding the heavy drains made by the war in the loss of volunteer soldiers from the ranks of her citizens, the population of Philadelphia during the decades between 1860 and 1870 increased by nearly one hundred and fifty thousand. Since the close of the war her growth has been still more rapid, not in numbers only, but in the provision of comfort made for her citizens. Philadelphia heads all other American cities in the accomodation provided for the poor man, and has thereby earned the honorable title of "The City of Homes." The number of dwelling-houses as computed by the census of 1870 was 112,366, which is an average of six persons to a house - exceeding the provision of New York and Brooklyn put together. Nowhere else are there such a number of small commodious houses, each with its bathroom and water supply, put within the reach of the working classes. Among more luxorious dwellings a gradual change has been at work during the past few years. The red-brick houses, with white freestone trimmings and white-painted shutters, which for many years were so universal as to seem like the Philadelphia uniform, are gradually giving place to a more ornate architecture, carried out in a great variety of beautiful stones and marbles, of which the quarries of the State afford an abundant supply.
The closing hours of the century of independence were celebrated by a grand civic pageant, in which thousands of people took part. The grave of Franklin was decorated with flowers and flags by members of the Insurance patrol, among the decorations being a knife formed of flowers. As midnight neared, a vast crowd assembled in the neighborhood of Independence Square; and when the clock struck the twelve clanging notes which marked the ending of the first hundred years of American liberty, an unexpected excitement of emotion took possession of the bystanders. Hardy men were not ashamed of the sudden dew which clouded their eyes, and there was a tremor in many voices as they sought to utter a blessing or a good augury for the country and the new period into which it had entered.
Chapter 10 The Centennial Exhibition
The clock which struck the close of the first century of American independence sounded with the selfsame note the signal for the opening of the year of the Centennial Exhibition. This magnificent and appropriate commemoration of our great national jubilee had long been under discussion. As early as 1866 the plan had been suggested and urged by Mr. John L. Campbell of Indiana, afterward secretary of the Centennial Commission, but it was not till 1871 that the Bill to authorize it finally passed Congress; so that all the enormous labor of preparation needed to bring so vast an enterprise to a successful issue had to be compressed into the short space of six years.
Of this labor a large proportion, as well as a large proportion of the expense, fell to the share of the city of Philadelphia. This was perhaps no more than just, as she most largely profited by the success of the enterprise; but the sacrifices made by her citizens and the arduous work accomplished by them were undertaken in advance of the result, when the success of the Exhibition was far from certain, and while the rest of the country rather stood apart, shaking its head and gloomily hinting at failure.
The Bill passed by Congress incorporated a Centennial Board of Finance, which, acting under the direction of the Centennial Commission, had authority given it to raise $10,000,000 by an issue of stock, with which to defray the expenses of the Exhibition. Subscription-books for the sale of shares not exceeding $10 in value were opened in all the principal towns of the Union - thus giving to the whole nation a chance to participate, and to the enterprise that distinctly national character which was essential to its dignity and success.
Until the organization of the Board of Finance, Philadelphia had defrayed the whole expenses of the committees and the opening of the subscription-books. These were considerable; $25,000 at one time, and at another $50,000, being voted for the purpose.
By the provisions of the Bill of authorization passed by the Congress, no formal announcement of the Exhibition could be made by the President until all moneys needed for the erection of buildings had been secured. Until this formal announcement foreign nations could not be asked to participate; so the most strenuous efforts were made to bring matters to this important point. Deputations from the Centennial Committee, the Citizens' Committee, and of the Philadelphia Council and of the Fairmount Park Commissioners, appeared before the Senate and assembly of the State at Harrisburg on the 28th of January, 1873, to set forth the benefits of the proposed enterprise to the State as well as to the country in general, and to urge an appropriation of $1,000,000 for its purposes. At the same time the City Council was asked to make an appropriation of $500,000; and memorials and petitions in favor of the movement were set on foot and extensively signed in all parts of Pennsylvania, it being understood that this appropriation was to be used for the erection of buildings of a permanent character.
There were some natural misgivings on the part of the legislators at Harrisburg lest these applications might mask a design for the erection of a building suitable for a State house, and the subsequent transfer of the Capital to Philadelphia. The general interest which about this time was awakened in the Exhibition, and a great mass meeting in Philadelphia, in which eminent men from all parts of the country took part, and at which a large increase to the stock subscriptions was announced, allayed these apprehensions. On the 27th of March the Bill for the appropriation of $1,500, 000 for the erection of permanent buildings passed both houses; and this appropriation together with the stock subscriptions, now amounting to $722,740, enabled the Governor of Pennsylvania to notify the President that the stipulated sum had been secured.
Four hundred and sixty-five acres in the western part of the beautiful Fairmount Park had been chosen as the site of the Exhibition. A happier choice could scarcely have been made, nor could many cities of the world supply a piece of ground so perfectly adapted to such a purpose. On the bank of the beautiful Schuylkill, with an ample and picturesque water frontage, occupying an undulating surface whose average elevation above the river was one hundred feet, with an unlimited water supply, sward, trees, a wide off-look; at easy distance from the city, and with a network of converging railroads delivering passengers at its gates - the Philadelphia Centennial commanded facilities which have never been equalled by any similar exhibition elsewhere.
On the 24th of June, 1873, the formal transfer of the grounds was made in the presence of the representatives of the national Government. The Secretary of the Navy read the President's proclamation announcing and commending the Exhibition, and copies of the document were promptly forwarded to diplomatic representatives of foreign powers.
Through some informality of phrase, this proclamation of the President was not accepted by the various governments to whom it was sent as an official invitation to take part in the Exhibition. No answers, consequently, were received, and the Centennial Commission, thus left in ignorance for months of what might be the intentions of other nations, experienced much delay and embarrassment. The omission was rectified the year following by a Resolution of Congress directing the President to invite the co-operation of foreign governments in regular diplomatic form, which had the result of bringing prompt and cordial responses. Mr. J.W. Forney was appointed special commissioner to visit Great Britain and Europe, to awaken public interest in the Exhibition, and to give all the information that might be required as to its scope and purposes.
Meanwhile every possible effort was being made to increase capital. In February, 1873, the Board of Finance invited thirteen ladies, of whom Mrs. E.D. Gillespie of Philadelphia was the head, to co-operate with them as an auxiliary committee. At the next session of the Commission this committee was formally recognized as a part of the executive force under the name of the "Woman's Centennial Executive Committee." The ladies composing it went to work with that precision and thoroughness of detail of which woman, when at her best, has the secret. The city was accurately districted, committees for local and State correspondence were formed, visiting and personal solicitation was pushed vigorously forward, and in three months the Woman's Committee were able to report subscriptions from Philadelphia alone to the amount of $42,060. It was also resolved by them to have an exhibition of woman's work apart from all other displays, for which purpose a special building was provided, the expense of which, as well as of the whole exhibit, was defrayed by the Committee, the sum being raised by a series of public entertainments of various kinds given in all parts of the United States for the purpose.
Notwithstanding these aids, the Exhibition fund still proved insufficient; and Philadelphia was again applied to for a further appropriation of $1,000,000 to erect the two halls for Machinery and Horticulture. Another large public meeting was held, memorials were prepared, signatures secured, and the Council promptly granted the sum required.
At the close of the year 1875, the enterprise having again outgrown its outfit, the Board of Finance applied to Congress for a last appropriation of $1,500,000. This was granted; though subsequently the Supreme Court held the appropriation to be of the nature of a loan, to be repaid to the United States before any division of assets to the other stockholders was made. $649,250 were also voted by Congress toward the Custom-House expenses, those of printing the stock-certificates, and for a Collective Exhibition of the Executive Departments. The plans made by Mr. Henry J. Schwartzman for the permanent buildings were accepted, and he was named chief of the Department of Engineering.
On the 10th of May, 1876, the Centennial Exhibition was formally opened to the public. No one who visited Philadelphia during the six months of its continuance is likely to forget the spectacle afforded by the group of immense structures with their radiating systems of dependencies, set like jewels in a base of smooth lawn enamelled with blossoming shrubs and parterres of flowers, all shining in the summer sun. A narrow-gauge railway circled the grounds and carried passengers along the line of its extent in half an hour. In the centre of the buildings the great Corliss engine, of 1,400 horse power, throbbed all day like the beating of a human heart. The Exhibition had its own police force, its own magistrate and court, its special fire-department and medical bureau. A stout paling surrounded the whole vast extent, broken by one hundred and six gates, each protected by a strongly built turnstile; and through these gates poured, for six memorable months, a vast multitude of persons from every part of our country and of the world, whose average number is computed to have been no less than 62,333 per diem.
In close proximity to the grounds there sprang up in a night, as it were, whole colonies of hotels, boarding-houses, and shops, which at the close of the Exhibition, their raison de'tre having ceased, vanished almost as suddenly as they came. Numerous steam-vessels, large and small, brought passengers up the Schuylkill, while a system of light-running wagons shaded by awnings made the drive from the city easy and refreshing. From tramways and steam-cars and by every species and description of vehicle the vast living tide rolled to and fro, and was absorbed into or disgorged from the great central attraction. Within the enclosure and up and down the aisles of the principal buildings, wheeled chairs pushed by men, and of a pattern known since as the "Centennial chair," carried invalids or tired or lazy people up and down. There could hardly be a more curious or unwonted experience in our work-a-day American life than, after the fresh, rapid drive from Philadelphia, to pass the turnstile, and in three minutes be in the midst of China or Japan, or Sweden or Russia, with a strange language sounding in one's ears, strange forms and garbs passing before one's eyes, and the rare novel products of an unknown realm heaped and ranged about. Or, seated in one of the luxorious "Centennial chairs," to glide smoothly and swiftly from one part of the world to another, out of India into lapland, or up from Bogota to Portugal. New knowledge, new ideas, a wider enlargement of thought, came with each step or turn of the wheels; and to many thousands of the hundreds of thousands of visitors, the great commemorative fair proved a stimulant to growth which has gone on during these succeeding years.
It may be well, for the benefit of those who do not recall the Exhibition
clearly, or who were not present at all, briefly to summarize its main
features. Chief among these was:
The Main Building - a monstrous structure covering over twenty acres of land, and built of wrought iron and glass raised on a solid foundation of masonry and bricks. Its length was 1,876 feet, by 464 feet of width, with transepts at both ends and in the middle. Four square towers in the centre and three at either end carried up the height of the building to 120 feet, and an admirable system of roof ventilation kept the air within singularly pure and cool.
Within this building, which was the first reached from the principal entrances, were the exhibits of all nations; and it naturally formed the chief feature as well as the chief interest of the Exhibition. An unsuccessful attempt was made to preserve this building, which has since been taken down.
Memorial Hall, situated north of the main building and parallel with it. This was built on a terrace 122 feet above the level of the Schuylkill; and being designed for subsequent use as an Industrial and Art Museum, was constructed in the most able manner. Three hundred and sixty-five feet long, two hundred and ten wide, and fifty-nine feet high, topped by an imposing dome; its materials glass, iron, and solid masonry, supposed to be fireproof, this was by far the most ornate and valuable building constructed for the purposes of the Centennial. Its use during the Exhibition was to contain the galleries of art; but large as it was, it proved too small for its purpose, and a temporary building was added to it as an "Art Annex."
Horticulture Hall was also designed for a permanent building, and its location was chosen with a view to that end. It stands on Landsdowne Terrace, in full view of the Schuylkill River. The style of the architecture is Moresque. The building has a length of nearly 400 feet, with a width of 193, and a height of 72. An immense conservatory, with a gallery surrounding it, occupies the middle of the structure, flanked on either side by four forcinghouses each 100 feet long, and by a series of external galleries. Fountains played in the angles of the main conservatory, and thirty-five acres of ornamental ground, including an extensive system of sunken gardens, surrounded the Hall.
Machinery Hall was built from appropriations made by the city of Philadelphia, its cost being, in round number, $550,000. It consisted of a main hall and an annex; the former was 1,402 feet long by 360 feet in width, and the latter, designed especially to display hydraulic machinery in motion, had a length of 360 feet and a width of 210. In the Annex was a tank 60 by 160 feet in extent, with a depth of ten feet, into the southern end of which poured a waterfall thirty-five feet in height, supplied by the pumps on exhibition. This vast building, of which the great Corliss engine was the pulsing heart, was one of the main interests of the Exhibition.
Agricultural Hall, the last of the five principal buildings, resembled in its interior a Gothic cathedral. Its great feature was a nave 820 feet in length. This was crossed by three arched transepts, the central a hundred feet in width, and those at the ends eight feet wide. Extensive stocky-yards for the exhibition of sheep, cattle, and poultry, were attached to this building, also a race-track for the exhibition of horses in motion. Here the display of steam machinery for farmwork was made, and that of the innumerable ploughs, mowers, reapers, and patented agricultural implements.
Next in importance to the five main structures was the "United States Government Building" in which was displayed artillery for land and naval service, the apparatus of the Life-saving Service, a model laboratory of the Ordnance Department, a model post-hospital of the Medical Department, a display of fog-horn signals by the Lighthouse Board, and a very complete and perfect exhibit of "all such articles and materials as will illustrate the functions and administrative faculties of the government in time of peace, and its resources as a war power, and thereby serve to demonstrate the nature of our institutions and their adaptation to the wants of the people."
Among other buildings of interest was the Woman's Pavilion, which covered an acre in extent, and afforded a comprehensive and miscellaneous exhibit of woman's work in all departments; the Judge's Hall, for the use of the Committees, the Centennial Commission, and the Board of Finance; the Jury Pavilion; the "Department of Public Comfort," which proved to be of the last value in furthering the convenience of the vast crowds; and the separate small buildings, over two hundred in number, erected by the States of the Union and by various foreign Governments to serve both as a rendezvous for their citizens and as examples of something distinctive and characteristic in architecture. Several of these buildings, notably those of England, Japan, and France, were admirable in point of taste, and of marked interest.
The question of awards had been carefully studied by the Centennial Commission. After long discussion it was decided to abolish the system adopted by previous exhibitions, of an international jury and awards by prize medals, and to substitute awards based on reports made in writing by a body of judges, two hundred and fifty in number, who were carefully chosen and invested with authority. The awards were to consist of bronze medals of a uniform value, of diplomas signed by the executive office, and of certified copies of the Report of the Judges recommending the awards. $1,000 was allowed for the expenses of the foreign, and $600 for those of the American, judges. The judges were required to consider impartially the interests of all exhibitors and the merits of all articles passed upon them. They were assigned, according to their qualifications, to the various groups indicated by the Central Committee. The recommendation for each award was based upon the examination and report of a single judge, and he was held responsible for his recommendation; but the whole group of judges, of which he formed a part, were expected to pass upon his report.
This novel system of awards proved on the whole a remarkable success. The judges worked together with singular harmony, and their decisions gave as much satisfaction, or as little dissatisfaction, as was possible under the circumstances. A good deal of confusion arose from the delay of the first exhibitors in filing their exhibits, and for this reason the first catalogue was extremely defective; but every succeeding week tended toward the perfecting of these details and added to the completeness of the Exhibition. In the month of September the Centennial Commission appointed a committee to receive appeals from exhibitors who held that justice had not been done them, with which Committee were associated ten judges, of whom several had served on previous groups. Under the revised decision of this Committee six hundred and twenty-eight awards were issued to exhibits which had originally been rejected.
The pecuniary result of the Exhibition was unexpectedly successful. From its opening on the 10th of May to its final close on November 10th, 10,164,489 persons passed through its gates, of whom 8,047,601 paid admission fees amounting to $3,833,636.49. The sale of buildings after their use was past, with various concessions and royalties on sales, swelled this amount to nearly $5,000,000, so that after repaying the loan of $1,5000,000 made by the United States Government, and providing for all expenses, the Board of Finance was able to allow interest at the rate of six percent upon all installments paid in between May 1st, 1873, and January 1st, 1876, and in addition to this interest to return to the shareholders a dividend of $1.75 per share on each share of stock.
Of the further results of the Exhibition it would be difficult to speak intelligently. So large a portion of the good it accomplished lies in the stimulus in knowledge and taste which it afforded - and influence which, while it is universally admitted, is difficult of exact formulation - that it is not possible to fairly represent or state its amount. Among other results may, however, be specified the extraordinary development of the manufacture of earthenware and china since the Centennial year; the great improvement in wallpapers and carpets; the development of the important industry of glazed and unglazed tiles; the marked advance of architectural taste; and the passion for house decoration and ornamental needle-work which has led to the formation of the many decorative art societies. Immense quantities of objects d'art, both European and Oriental, were sold from the foreign exhibits at the Centennial; and the taste thus aroused seems to have been constantly on the increase since that time. Philadelphia, always hospitable, surpassed herself in the cordial and unstinted welcome extended to all strangers during the Centennial summer by her citizens, both in their private capacity and as factors in a municipality; and to their public spirit and unwearied efforts of her prominent men - conspicuously of the Hon. John Welsh - the success of the enterprise is due. Many lives were endangered - some laid down - in the service of the Exhibition - as is always the case with a movement so enthusiastically shared in by a multitude of helpers, and for the reason that it proved impossible to make the sanitary provisions of the spot adequete for the needs of such an immense concourse of people. But taken for all in all, the Exhibition had a proud and remarkable success; and though the first, it may very probably retain the credit of being the best planned and most fortunate, attempt of the sort made on this side of the Atlantic.
Chapter 11 The Philadelphia Of Today (1880 To 1886)
Location - Philadelphia is situated on a tract of land embraced between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, which, lying to the east and west of the city, and gradually approaching one another, unite to form its southern boundary. In the original plan, this tract comprised about twelve hundred acres; but the enormous additions made during the present century have increased this area to eighty-two thousand seven hundred acres, so that the city now covers a territory amounting to one hundred and twenty-nine square miles - an extent not exceeded by any American or European capital, save the city of London. Its precise latitude is 39 57' north, by 75 09' west, from Greenwich. It is 136 miles northeast from Washington, and about a hundred from the Atlantic, following the Delaware Bay and River. The site of the city is a nearly level plain, varying from 2 to 46 feet above tidewater; but in the new suburbs to the west of the Schuylkill, the land rises in places to an elevation of from 112 to 120 feet. The total length of the city is twenty-three miles, with an average width of five and a half between the rivers. Having thus a large river to the east and west, and fanned by strong currents of air, the situation of Philadelphia in point of healthfulness is most advantageous. The city is entitled to send five representatives to the National Congress, and eight senators and twenty-eight representatives to the State Legislature.
Water Communication - Philadelphia may be ranked among the Atlantic ports. The width and depth of the Delaware enables steam vessels of the largest size to come up to her wharves, where there is an extraordinary depth of water, being 57 feet at low water at the pier heads for more than half a mile, and not less than 25 feet for three miles of the river frontage. The only obstacle to navigation is a bar in the river below the city, and on this there is 19 feet at low, and 25 feet at high, water. The strong current setting on the western shore at both flood and ebb tide prevents the encroachments on the harbor by deposit; the rise of the tide is but six feet, and floods and overflows are unknown.
Wharves - The wharves of the port of Philadelphia lie along the west shore of the Delaware for miles. Conspicuous among them are those of the Clyde Steamship Company, the Red Star line, the American Steamship line, the Philadelphia and Southern Mail Steamship Company, and the great ship-building yard of Cramp and Sons, where two of the new cruisers for the United States Navy are now building. At Girard's Point, near the junction of the Schuylkill with the Delaware, are the docks and the warehouses of the International Steam Navigation Company, together with their two enormous grain elevators, one of which is 100 feet wide, 200 feet long, and 124 feet high to the peaks of the roof. This stands in the middle of a wharf 500 feet long by 250 wide, with a dock of the same dimensions on either side. The total capacity of this elevator is 800,000 bushels, and by its facilities six vessels may be loaded at the same time.
Climate and Health - The salubrity of Philadelphia is exceptional, the mortality being 1 to every thousand persons less than that of Paris; and 7 to every thousand persons less than New York. This is due in part to the unbounded supply of fresh water and its universal use for cleansing and bathing purposes, but also in a great measure to the natural advantages of Philadelphia in regard to situation and the sweep of fresh air across the city from river to river. The foundation of the city is mainly a dry, well-drained gravel, making good sewerage an easy matter. The range of temperature throughout the year is very considerable, including all degrees, from below zero to above 100 degrees; but the extremes of heat and cold are of short duration, and the average of the year is moderate, escaping the worst evils of the Southern and Northern climates, between which the city may be said to lie. During the past one hundred and twenty-two years the highest recorded summer temperature was 101 degrees, the lowest recorded winter temperature minus 10 degrees, the mean annual temperature being about 52 degrees.
Railroads - In 1880 Philadelphia had the following railroad communications. The Pennsylvania Railroad, to which the city owes much of its progress in recent years. The total number of miles operated and controlled by this road is estimated at over two thousand. Its rolling-stock comprises one thousand locomotives, half as many first-class passenger cars, and over twenty-five thousand freight cars. The total assets of the Company have been placed as high as $180,000,000. Its principal passenger-depot is on Broad Street and Filbert, where, in 1880, was erected a magnificent station. Its chief freight depots are at Delaware Avenue and Dock Street, Sixteenth and Market streets, Kensington, Broad Street, and Washington Avenue.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Passenger-depot corner of Chestnut
and Twenty-fourth streets. It is supposed that this road, in connection
with the Reading system of roads, will complete a through line to New York.
The tunnel skirting the eastern edge of Fairmount Park is a remarkable
piece of workmanship.
The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. Passenger-depots, Thirteenth and Callowhill streets, and Ninth and Green streets.
The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, whose depot is at Broad Street and Washington Avenue.
The North Pennsylvania Railroad.
The Camden and Atlantic Railroad.
The West Jersey Railroad.
The Westchester and Philadelphia Railroad.
Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railroad.
Streets - Penns' original arrangement of the streets has been adhered to. Those running from river to river are crossed at right angles by those running north to south; the latter being designated numerically from the Delaware as Front, Second, Third, and so on; and the intersecting streets from East to West bearing, as a general thing, the names of trees or persons. The city is divided at Market Street into North and South; all streets above and below being known as North Third, South Third, etc. The houses are numbered by blocks, small intermediate streets being included in the blocks. Each block is calculated as containing precisely one hundred houses.
There are over two thousand miles of streets, of which nine hundred
miles are paved, and over eleven hundred miles either unpaved or laid with
gravel. The extent of the paved streets, and the cost per square yard of
each, as nearly as it may be estimated, is as follows: Cobble-stones, 500
miles, Cost $1.25
Stone blocks, 47 miles, Cost $3.00
Asphalt, 2 miles, Cost $1.60
Broken stone, 100 miles, Cost $1.50
Wood, 1 mile.
Rubble-stone, 250 miles, Cost $1.50
The gravel roads cost nineteen cents per square yard. The Chief Commissioner of Highways says: "Cobble-stones, when properly laid, make a durable and cheap pavement. Rubble-stone is used in districts where the long haul of cobble-stones would render the cost too high; and while such a pavement, laid with great care, is durable, it does not give general satisfaction, from its rough and irregular surface. Broken stone is used in the semi-rural sections, and is the old macadamized road - the merits of which are, of course, thoroughly understood. Asphalt, in various forms and combinations, has qualities which render it desirable for some purposes; but it has not yet proved itself the most desirable under all circumstances - which general quality is found more completely in the stone block, or Belgian pavement, to which we would unhesitatingly give the preference. Wood we ignore; decay renders it unfit for use."
The pavements of those streets in which car-tracks are laid are maintained in repair between the curbs by the horse-railroad companies, while other streets are attended by the Highway Department, the work being done under contract. Where the cobble-stone pavement settles out of shape, or gets in holes or ruts, the stones are taken up, the ground loosened with picks and smoothed with shovels, a little sand is scattered over it, and the cobbles are returned to their place, rammed, and covered with earth. This treatment is effective for a longer or shorter time, according to the amount of traffic in the street. The extent of streets paved with cobble-stones is so great, that any attempt to replace the whole of it with Belgian blocks would involve an enormous expenditure of money. The great length of paved streets to be kept in repair may account in part for the very indifferent condition in which some of them are. No cobble pavement, however well laid, can be kept properly cleaned by the means usually applied in cities; the hollows, ridges, and ruts preventing the brooms, sweeping machines, etc., from reaching the accumulation of dirt and filth; this dirt being brought to the surface by rain, or when the streets are sprinkled, only to be carried, when dry, all over the city in the shape of dust. However, the cobble-stone pavement has been an important element in the development of the city, as its use has rendered possible the improvement and occupation of many streets which would probably have remained undeveloped if expensive pavements, and the consequent high assessments on abutting property, had been laid. A yearly appropriation is now made for the replacement of the cobble-stones with improved methods of pavement, so that eventually they will disappear. The macadamized roads and streets consist of quarried stones placed on edge, forming a rough bottom eight to ten inches deep, and covered, first with coarse broken gneiss or other hard rock, then with finer stone of the same character, and over all the fine dust from the screenings of the broken stone. Very little limestone is used, but in its place a large quantity of slag from the iron furnaces, which is very hard, and contains a large proportion of lime. In addition to the pavements enumerated above, many of the abutting property owners have laid composition-blocks in front of their respective premises.
Street Railroads - No city in the world equals Philadelphia in facilities for cheap transportation. Every principal street is crossed or passed by a tramway railroad. There are not less than 285 miles of these railways in the city. The rate of fare on all the roads is 5 cents (4 for young children); and a system of exchange tickets prevails, which, by the payment of 2 cents additional on some lines, on others without additional charge, enables the passenger to transfer himself to any intersecting line of railway, so that for the sum of 7 cents a ride of many miles can be secured. The advantage of this system in bringing working men into cheap and easy communication with their labor is easily perceived; it is one of the influences which have given Philadelphia its reputation as the best home in the country for a poor man. There are over two hundred miles of car-tracks in the city; and being laid with a broad rail as nearly as possible on a level with the pavement, they do not materially injure the streets for the use of carriages.
There are more than 1,300 cars, with nearly 8,000 horses, in use, and during the year 1885 the total number of passengers carried was over 100,000,000. There are regular omnibus lines in the city, but there are 25 single omnibuses and 68 hacks regularly licensed by the Highway Department. This, however, gives no adequete idea of the actual number of these vehicles in the city, as a recent law permits the owners of livery stables to run hackney-coaches upon the payment of a State tax, without requiring a special license from the city. Hansom cabs and four-wheelers have been introduced in late years.
Water Supply - Philadelphians are noted for their free use of water, of which the city has an abundant supply, conducted over the city by more then 730 miles of pipe. The smallest and cheapest house has its bathroom, and the incessant washing of sidewalks and doorsteps is a grievance complained of by strangers who are trying to see the city on foot. The Water Department, which is under control of the city, consists of the following officers: a Chief Officer, a Register, and a Chief Clerk, besides a large force of draughtsman, clerks, engineers, and laborers.
The waterworks are divided into the following sections: the Fairmount, Schuylkill, Delaware, Belmont, Roxborough, and Chestnut Hill.
The Fairmount Reservoir is divided into four basins, having a capacity of 26,896,636 gallons. The works are run with seven turbine-wheels and one breast wheel, with a Worthington steam-pump for use when the water-wheels cannot be run on account of low water in the Schuylkill.
The Fairmount supply began with a pumping-engine at Chestnut Street, Schuylkill, and a distributing reservoir at Centre Square, which were commenced in May, 1799, and brought into use the 1st of January, 1801. In April, 1819, a dam across the Schuylkill at Fairmount was begun. The first water passed out from the new reservoir on July 1, 1823. Subsequently the city purchased the Lemon Hill and other properties, to secure the river from contamination, and formed what is now Fairmount Park.
The Schuylkill, or "Spring Garden," Waterworks, at the foot of Thompson Street, supply the Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Wards of the city. Their daily average is 5,226,008 gallons. They were erected in 1844 as independent waterworks by the commissioners of Spring Garden and the Northern Liberties, after an ineffectual protest at the high rates charged to the inhabitants of the district as compared with those of the city proper. They are run by steam power, with Cornish side-lever and compound engines.
The Delaware Waterworks are situated on the River Delaware, at the foot of Wood Street. These works went into operation in 1850. They supply the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth wards, their daily average capacity being 4,950,709 gallons. They are run by steam-power, with a Worthington beam and horizontal engine.
The Belmont Waterworks have their reservoir at George's Hill, Fairmount Park. They were built to replace the West Philadelphia Waterworks, which went out of use in 1870. They are run by three Worthington steam pumping-engines, and furnish a daily average of 5,226,008 gallons.
The Roxborough Waterworks are on the east bank of the Schuylkill, above Manayunk, on the line of the Philadelphia and Norristown Railroad. They were finished in 1870, are run by steam-power, and furnish a daily supply of 2,281,287 gallons. On the completion of these works the Germantown and Chestnut Hill works were abandoned as pumping-stations, and now receive their water from the Roxborough Reservoir through two large mains which cross the Wissahickon in Fairmount Park.
The total amount of water pumped in the various works in 1886 was 25,165,020,072 gallons, or an average of 68,945,260 gallons per day. The average cost of raising 1,000,000 gallons one foot high is 4.70 cents. The total receipts of the department during 1886 were $ 1,797,973.81, and the total expenditure $ 901,931.49.
Drinking-Fountains - Through the agency of the Philadelphia Fountain Society sixty-one public drinking-fountains have been established within the limits of the city. Seven additional fountains have been added by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ; they are kept in order by a fund appropriated for the purpose.
Gas-Works - The works for the manufacture of gas are the City, Point Breeze, Spring Garden, and Frankford works owned by the city, and the Northern Liberties Gasworks, which are the property of a private corporation.
The City Gasworks were authorized by an ordinance of the Council in 1835. It had a capital stock of $ 125,000 ; but the city reserved the right to purchase the works from the shareholders at any time, which right was claimed in 1841, when it bought out the stockholders for $ 173, 000, and took possession of the works through the agency of a board of trustees. In 1859 the remaining independent companies were bought out, and the whole service, with the exception of the gasworks of the Northern Liberties, brought under the control of the city. Great care was taken in the outset to secure the best improvements then effected in the manufacture of coal gas in Europe, and the Philadelphia works have always furnished gas cheaper than those of any other American city. The total amount of gas made during the year 1886 by the combined works was 2,946,407,000 cubic feet.
Public Buildings - The buildings owned or occupied by the city for municipal purposes are the State House, or Independence Hall, the County Court-house building, the Quarter Sessions building, and the Hall of the American Philosophical Society in Independence Square, the new City Hall in Penn Square [Partly occupied, but not yet quite finished], the House of Refuge in Poplar Street, the House of Correction on the south bank of Pennypack Creek at its junction with the Delaware, the Morgue in Noble Street, between Front Street and Delaware Avenue, the Philadelphia Almshouse, with which is connected the Philadelphia Hospital, on the west side of the Schuylkill south of the Darby Road, and the Lazaretto, or Quarantine Station, on Tinicum Island. The west room on the first floor of the State House, in which the sittings of the Second Continental Congress were held, was formally withdrawn from public use about 1830, and held as a national museum, to be devoted to "dignified purposes only." It now holds a valuable collection of relics, including the original charter of the city of Philadelphia, with Penn's signature and the great seal of the State, and the Liberty Bell, now cracked and soundless, which rang forth the Declaration of American Independence. The old Congress Hall was begun in 1790 and finished in 1791. The Hall of the American Philosophical Society was erected in 1787. The Society took its origin from Franklin's famous club, "The Junto," established in 1743. The new City Hall, in Penn Square, was begun in August, 1871, and it is expected will be opened for use a few months from this date (1880). The dimensions of this magnificent building are 470 feet from east to west by 486 1/2 feet from north to south, and the area covered by it is equal to about four and a half acres. The building contains five hundred and twenty rooms, and is supposed to be absolutely fireproof.
The Philadelphia Almshouse consists of five main buildings, each three stories in height and five hundred feet long, and extending from a central building. The grounds comprise one hundred and thirty acres. The buildings, which are managed by a board of guardians elected by the Council, are devoted to the poor and sick, to the insane, and to friendless children. The guardians also grant outdoor relief in the various wards. The average daily population of the Almshouse is over four thousand, and outdoor relief is afforded to nearly eighty thousand persons annually.
To this list of buildings for municipal purposes should be added nearly or quite two hundred public school buildings - the total real estate value of which is, comprising their furniture, nearly six millions.
The buildings owned or occupied by the United States Government in the city of Philadelphia are the United States Custom House and Sub-Treasury in Chestnut Street and Ninth ; the United States Appraisers' building on Second Street ; the Post-Office on the south side of Chestnut Street, between Fourth and Fifth ; the United States Courts on Library Street ; the New Post- Office on the corner of Ninth and Chestnut; the United States Naval Hospital; the United States Naval Asylum; the United States Navy Yard on League Island, in the Delaware; the Schuylkill Arsenal on the Gray's Ferry Road; the Frankford, or Bridesburg Arsenal, on Tacony Road and Bridge Street; and the United States Mint, on Chestnut Street, corner of Juniper. The Mint was established by the Act of Congress on the 2nd of April, 1792. The corner-stone of the present building was laid in 1829. It was made fireproof in 1854, and the interior has been frequently altered. It is a marble building , with a Grecian portico, and contains, on the main floor, first, the deposit-room, where gold and silver bullion is received and weighed; second, the copper melting room, where ingots are cast for the minor coinage; third, the gold and silver melting room; fourth, the rolling and cutting room; fifth, the coining room. The building contains twelve strong vaults securely guarded, and a cabinet containing the largest and most valuable collection of coins in the United States. The deposits of gold of domestic production made at the United States Mint from its earliest period to the close of 1880 amount to $ 873,097,015.62. The deposits of native silver during the same time are $ 121,924,919.14.
There are twenty-three hospitals within the limits of Philadelphia, and thirteen dispensaries, at which gratuitous medical and surgical treatment is given to the poor. The list is as follows:
The Pennsylvania Hospital, founded in the year 1752 by the exertions of Benjamin Franklin and his friends. The western wing was not built until after the Revolution, and the central building was finished about 1805. This hospital occupies the square bounded by Eighth, Ninth, Spruce, and Pine streets, the entrance being on Eighth Street. The entire frontage is 278 feet in width. Over one hundred thousand patients have been admitted to this hospital since its establishment, of whom more than one half have been non-paying patients supported by the institution.
The Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane (male department), between the Westchester and Haverford roads, west of Forty-third Street. Opened for the reception of patients in 1841. The principal buildings and wings have a front of 436 feet, are three stories in height, and accomodate 250 patients. The main building of this hospital was unfortunately destroyed by fire on the night of Feb. 12, 1885, and twenty-one patients lost their lives.
The Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, female department, on Forty-ninth Street. Opened for use in 1859. It has an equal capacity with the male department.
Philadelphia Hospital, conducted as a branch of the Blockley Almshouse. The insane department of this hospital contains on an average over a thousand patients.
Wills Hospital for Diseases of the Eye, on Race Street, between Eighteenth and Nineteenth. Opened March 3, 1834. This institution furnishes clinical assistance gratuitously to all who desire it.
Friends' Asylum for the Insane, Adam's Street, Frankford, founded in 1811 by members of the Society of Friends. Accomodation for about seventy-five patients. The institution was one of the first for the separate accomodation of the insane in the United States.
Preston Retreat, Hamilton Street, opened in 1866. This is a lying-in hospital for the use of "Indigent married women of good character, residents in the city and county of Philadelphia and the county of Delaware."
Municipal Hospital, Hart Lane, near Twenty-first Street, for the treatment of persons laboring under infectous diseases.
St Joseph's Hospital, south side of Girard Avenue, from Sixteenth to Seventeenth Street, under the care of Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity, but non-sectarian in its management. Capacity, two hundred and fifty beds.
Charity Hospital , 1832, Hamilton Street; chartered in 1858, and supported by private subscription. Daily clinics given, with advice and medicine to the respectable poor.
Hospital of Protestant Episcopal Church, south-east corner of Lehigh Avenue and Front Street, occupying a square of ground. This fine building, whose doors are open to patients of all creeds and nationalities, has a capacity of three hundred beds.
German Hospital, southwest corner of Girard and Corinthian avenues, founded by the efforts of citizens of German descent in 1860. Both German and English are spoken in the institution, which is open to the sick and injured of all nationalities.
St. Mary's Hospital, corner of Frankford Road and Palmer Street, under the care of the Franciscan Sisters of the Roman Catholic Church, and entirely supported by voluntary contributions.
Jewish Hospital, Olney Road, near the York Pike, was founded in 1866. It admits all sufferers without regard to religious belief, but with special arrangements for Jewish patients, so far as regards the peculiar observances of their religion.
Orthopedic Hospital and Infirmary for Nervous Diseases, northwest corner of Seventeenth and Summer streets. The cases annually treated number six hundred.
Presbyterian Hospital, corner of Thirty-ninth and Filbert streets. Accommodation for about fifty patients. The Children's Seashore Hospital at Atlantic City may be considered a branch of this institution.
Homeopathic Hospital, Cuthbert Street, west of Eleventh, under the control of the Hahnemann Medical College.
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, south side of Spruce Street, between Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth, founded in 1871, opened partially for use in 1874. This splendid hospital is entirely free to all residents of Pennsylvania who may need its services. Its endowment amounts to nearly or quite one million dollars.
Women's Hospital, corner of North College Avenue and Twenty-second Street, under the care of women, and for the reception of women and children only. It was established in 1861 in connection with the Women's Medical College.
Lying-in Department of the Northern Dispensary, 608 Fairmont Avenue.
State Hospital for Women and Infants, 1718 Filbert Street, now called "The Maternity."
Mission Hospital for Women and Children and Children, corner of Eighth and Mary streets.
Jefferson College Hospital, Sansone Street, above 10th.
Dispensaries - Philadelphia Dispensary, erected , in 1801, on Fifth
Street, between Library and Walnut.
Eye and Ear Institute of the Philadelphia Dispensary, southeast corner of Thirteenth and Chestnut streets.
Northern Dispensary, 608 Fairmont Avenue.
Northeastern Dispensary, corner of Tulip and Fox streets.
Northeastern (Homeopathic), 1520 N. Fourth Street.
Southern, 318 Bainbridge Street.
Howard Hospital, 1518 Lombard Street.
Germantown Dispensary, connected with Germantown Hospital.
Infirmary for Diseases of the Eye and Ear, 419 Wetherill Street.
Moyamensing Infirmary, at House of Industry, Catherine Street, below Seventh.
Dispensary for Skin Disease, Eleventh Street, above Locust.
Church Dispensary of Southwark, 1017 Morris Street.
Philadelphia Lying-in and Nurse Charity, 126 North Eleventh Street.
ASYLUMS AND HOMES
The number of these charitable institutions in Philadelphia is very large. A partial list only can be given.
Asylums for Children - Asylum of Philadelphia Orphan Society, Haddington,
West Philadelphia, instituted in 1814.
St. Joseph's's Female Orphan Asylum (Roman Catholic), Westminster Avenue, near Forty-ninth Street.
Colored Orphan's Shelter, under charge of the Society of Friends, corner of Haverford and Forty-fourth streets.
Catholic Home for Destitute Orphan Girls, 1720 Race Street.
Church Home for Children, Angora Station, on Westchester Railroad.
Lincoln Institute for Boys, 308 South Eleventh Street.
Educational Home for Boys, Greenway Avenue, near Forty-ninth Street, West Philadelphia.
Industrial Home for Girls, Tenth Street, below Spruce.
Northern Home for Friendless Children, occupying a square of ground between Twenty-second, Twenty-third, Brown, and Parrish streets. Chartered by Act of Assembly, 1854.
Burd Orphan Asylum of St. Stephen's Church, in Market Street, at Delaware County Line, for the support of white female orphans, not less than four or more than eight, who have been baptized in the Protestant Episcopal Church of Pennsylvania.
Day Nursery for Children, 410 Blight Street.
Home for Destitute Colored Children, Maylandville, Darby Road, near Forty-sixth Street.
Foster Home Association, Poplar Street, near Twenty-fourth.
St. Vincent's Home (Roman Catholic), northwest corner of Wood and Eighteenth streets.
St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum (Roman Catholic), at Tacony.
Union School and Children's House, southeast corner of Twelfth and Fitzwater streets.
Western Provident Society and Children's Home, Forty-first and Venango streets.
Orphan's Home of Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Asylum for Aged and Infirm, 5582 Germantown Avenue.
Jewish Foster Home, 1431 North Fifteenth Street.
Homes for the Aged - Christ Church Hospital, between York and Huntington, and Forty-ninth and Fifteenth streets. Founded in 1722. Accommodates one hundred inmates. The present building was erected in 1857.
The Friends' Almshouse, torn down some time since, was on the south side of Walnut, between Third and Fourth streets. The land for the erection of this building was given to the Society of Friends in 1713 by John Martin, a poor man, on condition that they would build an almshouse on the premises and would take care of him for the remainder of his life. This old building is supposed to have been in the mind of Longfellow when he wrote his description of the spot where Evangeline meets her long-lost lover.
Indigent Widow's and Single Woman's Asylum, Cherry Street, near Eighteenth,
opened about 1820.
Penn Widow's Asylum, Wood and West streets, Kensington.
St. Ann's Widow's Asylum, Moyamensing Avenue, below Christian Street, under charge of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Temporary Home Association, 505 N. Sixth Street.
St. Luke's Church Home for Aged Women, 1317 Pine Street.
Home for the Homeless, 708 Lombard Street.
Presbyterian Home for Widow's and Single Women, Fifty-eighth Street and Greenway Avenue.
Baptist Home for Women, corner of Seventeenth and Norris Streets.
Home for the Aged and Infirm Members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Lehigh Avenue, between Thirteenth and Broad Streets.
Asylum for the Aged and Infirm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 5582 Germantown Avenue.
Asylum of Little Sisters of the Poor (Roman Catholic), Eighteenth Street, above Jefferson.
Old Men's Home, Thirty-ninth Street and Powelton Avenue.
Mapother Home, Harrowgate Lane, west of Kensington Avenue.
Old Ladies' Home, Charfield Street and Frankford Road.
Home for the Aged and Infirm Colored Men and Women, Belmont and Girard avenues.
Boarding House for Young Women, 1433 Lombard Street, which provides a comfortable Christian Home for members of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Boarding House of Women's Christian Association, 1605 Filbert Street.
Bedford Street Mission, 6619 Alaska Street; free lodgings and baths for the poor.
Boarding Home, 915 Clinton Street, for working girls.
Asylums for the Unfortunate - Pennsylvania Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb,
northwest corner of Broad and Pine streets. Founded in 1820; finished and
occupied in 1825.
Pennsylvania Institution for the Blind, northwest corner of Twentieth and Race streets. Founded in the year 1833.
Pennsylvania Working Home for Blind Men, 3518 Lancaster Avenue.
Pennsylvania Industrial Home for Blind Women, 2931 Locust Street.
Reformatory Homes - Asylum of Magdalen Society for the Reformation of
Fallen Women, corner of Twenty-first and Race streets. Founded in 1880.
Home of the Good Shepherd, for the reformation of unfortunate women, without respect to creed, in West Philadelphia, under charge of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd of the Roman Catholic Church.
Asylum of the Rosine Association, Germantown Avenue, below Rising Sun Lane.
Howard Institution, 1612 Poplar Street.
Midnight Mission, 911 Locust Street.
Franklin Reformatory (for Inebriates), 913 Locust Street.
House of Industry, Catharine St., above Seventh.
In addition should be enumerated eight or nine "Relief Societies," of different nationalities; ten soup societies, for the supplying of the poor with nutritious food during the winter months; and a number of Fuel, Industrial Aid, Assistance, and Humane Associations, the funds for which are supplied by a number of "Trusts," managed by the city, the capital value of which is nearly or quite $700, 000.
Mention must also be made of "The Philadelphia Society for Organizing Charitable Relief and Repressing Mendicancy," established in 1878, which has done and is doing a valuable work.
Public Parks and Pleasure Grounds - Of these the largest and most important is Fairmount Park, which is situated on both banks of the River Schuylkill, and covers an extent of 2,740 acres. Next to Epping and Windsor forests in England, and the Prater at Vienna, it is the largest park in the world. It is divided by common usage into Old Fairmount, Lemon Hill, East Park, West Park, and Wissahickon Park, contains a great variety of surface, and commands wide and beautiful views. The number of trees and shrubs is immense. It was calculated some years ago that the Park contained thirty-four thousand trees over eighteen feet in circumference, and seventy thousand of lesser size.
Hunting Park, containing thirty-five acres, is situated at the intersection of Nicetown Lane with the old York Road. It was opened for public use in 1835, and is under the control of the Commissioners of Fairmount Park.
Public Squares - In founding the city, William Penn set aside five squares as public parks or enclosures. They were known as Northeast Square, Southeast Square, Northwest Square, Southwest Square, and Centre Square. Their modern names are as follows: Southeast, now Washington Square, occupies the ground comprised between Sixth, Washington, Walnut, and Locust streets. It contains little more than six acres. It was used for many years as a burial ground and potter's field, and hundreds of American soldiers were interred there during the Revolutionary War. This use ceased in 1795, and about 1820 it was re-opened as a pleasure-ground to the public.
Northeast, now called Franklin Square, lies between Sixth and Franklin, and Race and Vine streets. It contains between seven and eight acres. A portion of this square was also for a long time appropriated for burial purposes by a German reformed Congregation under a grant from one of the Penn properties; but the grant was annulled by the city authorities about 1835, and the square restored to its original intention.
Northwest, now known as Logan Square, extends from Race to Vine streets, and from Eighteenth to Logan, and contains about seven acres. It was formerly the place chosen for public executions. In 1864 the whole extent of the square was enclosed for the great Fair of the United States Sanitary Commission - already described in a preceding chapter.
Southwest, or Rittenhouse Square, is comprised between Walnut, Locust, Eighteenth, and Rittenhouse streets, and contains six acres and two roods. Centre Square was finally given up for the occupation of municipal buildings.
Independence Square is the block of ground extending from the south
side of Chestnut to the north side of Walnut streets, between Fifth and
Sixth, and contains rather more than four acres. The public buildings upon
it have already been described.
Jefferson Square, between Washington, Federal, Third, and Fourth streets, contains two acres and two roads.
Passyunk Square occupies part of the old parade-ground between Twelfth, Thirteenth, Wharton, and Reed streets.
Norris Square, 486 by 330 feet in extent, is situated between Diamond, Howard, and Hancock streets, and Susquehanna Avenue.
Fairhill Square, on Lehigh Avenue, is 500 feet by 210 in extent.
Germantown Square, one half acre, is in front of the old town-hall of Germantown.
Place of Amusement - Philadelphia has eight theatres. American Academy
of Music, Broad and Locust streets. Seating capacity, three thousand two
hundred. Opened in 1857.
Walnut Street Theatre, Ninth and Walnut. Seating capacity, fifteen hundred. Opened originally in 1809, rebuilt and reopened in 1829.
Arch Street Theatre, Arch Street, west of Sixth. Seating capacity, fifteen hundred. Opened 1828.
Chestnut Street Theatre, Chestnut, between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets. Seating capacity, nineteen hundred. Opened 1863.
Concordia Theatre, 417 Callowhill Street. Opened in 1854, burned in 1868, and afterward rebuilt.
McCaul's Opera House, opposite Academy of Music. Seating capacity, 1,900. Opened 1826.
Grand Central Theatre, Walnut, west of Eighth. Seating capacity, fifteen hundred. Opened originally in 1857. Burned and rebuilt in 1867.
The Bijou Forepaugh's Theatre. Opened 1854.
Chestnut Street Opera House, Chestnut, above Tenth. Seating capacity, two thousand six hundred. Opened 1881.
The Bijou, Eighth, below Vine. Seating capacity, six hundred. Opened 1882.
The German, Third, below Green. Opened 1881.
The National, Tenth and Callowhill streets. Capacity, fifteen hundred.
The Lyceum, Vine, below Eighth. Capacity, one thousand.
The Temple Theatre, Chestnut, below Eighth. One of the most beautiful in America, was destroyed by fire in January, 1877.
Eleventh Street Opera House, Eleventh Street and Marble Alley. Seating capacity, six hundred. Opened 1854. Used for "ministrel" performances chiefly.
Simmons and Slocum's Opera House, Arch Street, between Tenth and Eleventh. Seating capacity, eleven hundred persons. Opened 1870; burned, 1872. Rebuilt and reopened same year.
Wood's Museum, corner of Ninth and Arch streets, besides a collection of curiosities and a menagerie, has a regular theatrical department, where performances are given.
The Assembly Buildings, southwest corner of Twelfth and Chestnut streets, is used for concerts, exhibitions, and balls. Built, 1839; burned, 1851; rebuilt, 1852.
Mannerchor Hall, corner of Franklin Street and Fairmount Avenue, is under charge of the German Mannerchor Society.
The Musical Fund Society Hall, Locust Street, above Eighth, has a concert room 60 by 110 feet in size, which is held to be, acoustically considered, the most perfect music hall in the United States. It was built in 1854, and for many years was the fashionable public room for balls and lectures, as well as concerts.
The Zoological Garden occupies a beautiful situation on the banks of
the Schuylkill, within easy distance of the city, with which it is connected
by two lines of street railway and by the Fairmount line of steamboats.
The total amount of land occupied by this Garden is thirty-three acres,
which is tastefully laid out, and shaded by fine forest-trees. Within the
enclosures are the following buildings:
Solitude, a mansion formerly occupied by John Penn, now used for a variety of purposes. The Carnivora House, with outdoor cages - a large, substantial structure. The Aviary, The Monkey House, The Eagle House, The Elephant and Rhinoceros House. The Bear Pits; besides a large number of pens, cages, etc. The cost of the buildings was over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Admission fee, twenty-five cents; children, half price.
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is a fine fireproof building, two hundred and sixty feet in depth by one hundred in width, on the corner of Broad and Cherry streets. It is in the Byzantine style, and built of brick and stone. The institution was organized in 1805, and for many years occupied a building on Chestnut Street, above Tenth. The lower floor is devoted mainly to educational purposes: a director's room, a lecture and life classroom, and studio for painting drapery and still life, a modelling room, a library and print room, and galleries of casts from the antique. On the second story are three ranges of galleries, divided by a fine transept thirty feet in width. The collection of paintings and marbles is large and valuable. The six galleries on the north side contain each one important painting by an American artist, and are known as the Alston, the Benjamin West, the Leslie, the Stuart, the Sully, and the Neagle galleries.
The Academy of Natural Sciences, Nineteenth and Rose streets, with a large and valuable collection. The Pennsylvania Museum of Industrial Art, in Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park.
Cemeteries - The first movement in Philadelphia for the establishment of a cemetery not under the direct control of a religious organization was in 1825, when a "Mutual Association" purchased a lot of ground in what is now called Washington Avenue, between Ninth and Tenth streets, which was divided into burial lots and shared among the members. Two years later "Ronalson's Cemetery," on Tenth Street, was started; and in 1836 the beautiful piece of ground known as Laurel Hill Cemetery was set aside for burial purposes.
This cemetery is divided into three portions, known as the North, Central,
and South Laurel Hill. It is situated on the east Bank of the Schuylkill,
picturesquely situated, beautifully wooded, and contains many fine monuments.
The other cemeteries of Philadelphia are:
West Laurel Hill, on the west bank of the Schuylkill; at Pencoyd Station, one hundred and ten acres.
Monument Cemetery, west side of Broad Street, between Montgomery Avenue and Diamond Street.
Mount Vernon Ridge Avenue, immediately opposite Laurel Hill.
Glenwood, northeast corner of Ridge Avenue and Islington Lane; twenty-three acres. Woodlands, Darby Road; eighty acres.
Mount Moriah, near Darby Road, between Sixty-first and Sixty-fourth streets.
Old Oaks, Township Line Road and Venango Street.
Odd-Fellows Cemetery, Islington Lane; thirty-two acres.
Mechanics' Cemetery, adjoining Odd-Fellows.
Mount Peace Cemetery, Nicetown Lane, near Ridge Avenue.
Greenwood, belonging to the "Knight's of Pythias," Adams Street.
Cedar Hill, Main Street, above Paul, Frankford.
Leverington Cemetery, Ridge Road, Roxborough.
Fairhill, Germantown, above Cambria, belongs to members of the Society of Friends (Hicksite).
Cathedral (Roman Catholic), Lancaster Avenue, between Forty-eighth and Fifty-first streets.
New Cathedral (Roman Catholic), corner of Second Street and Nicetown Lane.
Mount Sinai (Jewish), Bridesburg.
Beth el Emeth (Jewish), corner of Fisher's Avenue and Market Street, West Philadelphia.
Markets - The provision supply of Philadelphia is superior to that of
most cities, and her markets have always had a wide celebrity. In 1709
the first permanent market-house was erected in High Street, west of Second.
Additions were gradually made, until the line of market buildings extended
in an unbroken line from the Delaware to Eighth Street and beyond. In 1859
the demolition of these old buildings began, and most of them were pulled
down, their place being taken by large separate buildings in different
parts of the city. Philadelphia now contains from thirty-five to forty
public markets, of which the principal are:
The Farmers', Market Street, between Eleventh and Twelfth.
The Eastern, at the corner of Fifth and Market streets.
The Central, Market Street, between Sixteenth and Seventeenth.
The Franklin, northeast corner of Twelfth Street and Market.
Southwestern, corner of Market and Nineteenth streets.
Fairmount, southwest corner of Twenty-second and Spring Garden streets.
Delaware Avenue - two buildings extending from Delaware Avenue to front Street - the great depot for oysters, fish, and Jersey produce.
Lincoln, southeast corner of Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue.
Germania, southeast corner of Poplar and Seventeenth streets.
Federal, southeast corner of Seventeenth and Federal streets.
Callowhill Street, south side, extending from Sixteenth to Seventeenth streets.
West Philadelphia, Market Street, between Fortieth and Forty-first streets, Girard Avenue and Ninth Street.
There are few cities in the world in which such strict attention is paid to the quality of food as in Philadelphia. The supply of butter, eggs, poultry, and milk from the neighboring counties is almost unlimited in quantity, and of superior quality. Prices are moderate, and the diet of the poor is of unusual excellence. The price of beef by the carcass varies at from eight to twelve cents a pound. The principal depots for the sale of cattle, sheep, and lambs are at the park Drove-yards, Thirty-second Street and Lancaster Avenue; the Abattoir; the Stockyard, Forty-fourth Street and Belmont Avenue; and the new Stockyards at Paschalville, in the southwest portions of the city.
Board of Health - The chief sanitary organization of Philadelphia is vested in the Board of Health - an independent body composed of twelve members, nine of whom are appointed by the Board of Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, and three by the City Council. The Act creating the Board does not designate any fixed number to be selected from the medical profession; but at present one third of the members are physicians. The Board is in no way subject to the control of the city government, except through the amount of appropriations made by the Council. The annual expenses of the Board, in the absence of any declared epidemic, vary. For 1886 the appropriation was $102,434. During an epidemic the Board may increase its expenses to any amount the City Council may approve. The authority of the board, as defined by laws and ordinances, is practically unlimited over the health and sanitary condition of the city, and the control of diseases of a contagious nature.
The chief executive officer of the Board is the Health Officer, who receives a salary of $2,100 per annum, as fixed by an Act of the Assembly, and in addition the sum of $2.00 for every vessel liable to health fees - making his yearly compensation about $5,000. He is required to examine the weekly accounts of the inspectors of vessels, and report monthly to the Board; to keep a cash account of the daily receipts as they occur; to keep a record of all bills; to consult with the City Solicitor in all business requiring legal proceedings; to see that all orders of the Board regarding quarantine, abatement of nuisances, etc., are enforced; to keep a record of all diseases of an infectious or contagious nature; to publish weekly a list of all deaths, and annually a list of all births and marriages; and to have a general superintendence over the registration department. The other executive officers are the Port Physician, the Lazaretto (or quarantine) Physician, and the Quarantine Master - their duties being indicated by their respective titles.
In addition to the above, the following assistants are regularly employed: one Medical Inspector; one Chief Inspector of street cleaning; ten Inspectors of street-cleaning and nuisances; two Messengers, to collect records of birth; two Inspectors of privy cleaning; two Vessel Inspectors; and eighteen Vaccine Physicians. All receive regular salaries, except the last, and they are paid according to the number of persons vaccinated. With the exception of the Medical Inspector, all the Inspectors have sufficient authority conferred on them by the Mayor to arrest parties for violating the health ordinances.
Nuisances - Inspections are only made as nuisances are reported, except when specially made in certain localities. When a nuisance is reported, an inspector is sent to investigate; and when the complaint is well proved, the owner or agent of the property is called upon to abate the nuisance. If this is not done within the time specified in the notice, the Health Officer does the work under instructions from the Board; and if the owner or agent fails to pay for the work, a lien is filed against the property. Whenever the cost of removing a nuisance exceeds the sum of twenty-five dollars, the Health Officer invites proposals, and lets the work out to the lowest bidder. The following is the time allowed persons for the removal of nuisances after notice has been served: To remove dead animals, slaughter-house offal, and other matter in a state of decomposition, and to cleanse and disinfect infected houses - twenty-four hours. To cleanse overflowing and leaky privy-wells and water-closets, to disinfect foul wells, and to cleanse slaughter-house manure-pits during quarantine season - three days. To cleanse fully privy-wells and manure-pits, filthy houses, cellars, yards, alleys, and vacant lots, and to repair surface-drainage and leaky and defective drain-pipes - five days. To remove hog-pens, to cleanse slaughter-houses and cow-stables, and to fill up drains and ponds of stagnant water - ten days.
For defective sewerage appeal is made to the City Council to remedy defects through the Survey and Highway departments. Street-cleaning is entirely under the control of the Board. There are two ways of remedying any defects - one is by doing the work at the expense of the contractors for street-cleaning, and the other by annulling the contract.
The Board sees that all garbage is removed; but its final disposal rests with the contractors who remove it. Ordinances prohibit the pollution of streams, and the Board has full control over the removal of excrement.
Burial of the Dead - No internment of a body is allowed unless a death-certificate, signed either by a physician, a coroner, or the Health Officer, is first obtained, to which must be appended the certificate of the undertaker. In addition, the superintendent of the cemetery must furnish a certificate of burial. No disinternment or removal of a body from one grave to another, in the same cemetery, or from one cemetery to another, is allowed unless a permit is first obtained from the Health Officer.
The undertakers are required to return all certificates and permits to the office of the Board once a week. The burial of a body in the inhabited or thickly settled part of the city at a distance of less than eight feet below the surface of the ground, or in the rural districts at a less depth of six feet below the surface of the ground, is decided by the Board to be prejudicial to health, and is positively forbidden.
Infectious Diseases - Small-Pox patients are isolated only with their own consent, being then sent to the Hospital for Contagious Diseases, which is situated outside the built-up portion of the city. Scarlet-fever patients are kept at home, but without special rules, except to the lower classes; sometimes cases are sent to the Hospital for Contagious Diseases. During times of severe epidemics the public schools are closed, disinfected, etc. Vaccination is only compulsory so far as children attending schools are concerned. It is, however, done at public expense by the physicians appointed for the purpose.
Registration and Reports - The registration of all births an deaths is under charge of the Health Officer - undertakers returning all death certificates to the Registration Office, while messengers collect from physicians, etc., the number of births. The Board reports annually to the Mayor, and its Report appears in an appendix to the Mayor's Annual Message. It is also published separately by the Board.
Street Cleaning - The streets are cleansed at the expense of the city by contract, the Inspectors of the Highway Department watching and directing the contractors. Very little of the work is done by hand, sweeping machines being used in all the streets, except some in the suburban districts. From November 1st to April 1st all the streets are cleaned once a week, and during the remainder of the year some streets are cleansed daily, some three times a week, some twice a week, and some weekly. The work is generally well done, considering that most of the streets are paved with cobblestones. The better-paved streets are kept in excellent condition. The annual cost of this work, including the removal of garbage and ashes, was for the year 1885, $855,435.04. The sweepings in some instances are used for grading the outskirts, but generally are sold to farmers.
The merits of street-cleaning of Philadelphia rest in the simplicity of the system and the economy of its administration. A new plan is to go into operation next year (1881), which, it is said, will be more economical, as it seeks to remedy defects now existing - i.e., improper dumping-grounds, inefficient sweeping machines, tardy removal of street dirt after sweeping; also non-systematic disposal of refuse.
Removal of Garbage and Ashes - All garbage and ashes are removed at the expense of the city. The work is done under contract, and the inspectors of the Highway Department supervise it. While awaiting removal, garbage is kept in receptacles not larger than a half-barrel, inside private premises, until the collector makes his visit, when it may be placed temporarily on the sidewalks. It is not allowed to keep garbage and ashes in the same vessel. The garbage is mainly used for feeding swine, a small portion of it going to rendering establishments, while the ashes are used for grading in the suburbs. So far, no injury to health has resulted from the manner of keeping, handling, or disposing of the garbage; though occasionally a nuisance does arise, owing to neglect on the part of the contractors. The merits of the system are frequency and cheapness of removal; while its defect - a non-systematic manner of disposal - will be remedied in the new plan to go into effect next year.
Dead Animals - Dead horses are removed by private parties, and the carcasses are utilized. The carcasses of all small animals are removed by the street-cleaning contractor and buried. Dead animals on vacant lots are removed at the expense of the owner of the lots. The rendering establishments, in which dead horses are utilized, are under the regulations of the Board of Health. The cost of the removal of dead animals, except where the removal is from vacant lots, is included in the cost of street-cleaning, etc. No record is kept of the number of animals removed annually, and the system is reputed as working satisfactorily.
Liquid Household Wastes - Where sewers exist all the liquid wastes from houses pass into them; where there are no sewers, chamber-slop are deposited in privy vaults, while kitchen-slop and laundry wastes are disposed of by surface-drainage. No definite estimate has ever been made as to the proportion of wastes that pass into the street gutters. Dry wells are used only to a limited extent, and they are porous - the idea being to sink them to gravel. The cesspools are nominally tight, and have overflows connecting with the sewers. They receive the wastes from water-closets, and are cleaned out in the same manner as vaults. The street contractors are required to flush the gutters as often as they clean the streets. The Board of Health reports that there have been cases in the suburbs of the city where the contamination of drinking water by the overflowing or underground escape of the contents of cesspools and privy vaults seemed probable.
Human Excreta - The Board of Health estimates that, out of the hundred and forty-five thousand buildings in the city, about twenty-six thousand are provided with water-closets, the remainder depending on privy vaults. Nearly all the water-closets deliver into the sewers, either direct or by cesspools that are connected with the sewers by overflows; though in some of the old houses they connect with the privy vaults. The privy vaults are open below, with brick and mortar walls.
All vaults, sinks, and cesspools are emptied in the daytime, by the odorless excavator process, the persons doing the work being licensed by the Board of Health. Privy-cleaners must obtain a permit from the Board of Health before cleaning any vault or cesspool, and this permit must be returned to the Health officer the day after the work has been performed. The dry-earth system is only used to a limited extent. The night soil is generally used as a fertilizer, in the untreated state; but none of it is so used on land within the gathering ground of the public water supply, as far as the jurisdiction of the city extends.
Manufacturing Wastes - All the liquid wastes that are not utilized for other purposes flow into the sewers. The solid wastes, if of any value, are used, and the remainder carted beyond the built-up portions of the city.
Police - The Police force of Philadelphia is appointed and governed
by the Mayor of the city. The Chief of Police, salary $2,325 per annum,
is the chief executive officer, and has direct control of the force, under
the direction of the mayor. The remainder of the force, in the several
grades, and the salaries of each, are as follows:
4 Captains, at $1,350.00 each, per annum
8 Detectives, at $1,080.00 each, per annum
29 Lieutenants, at 1,035.00 each, per annum
59 Sergeants, at $974.16 each, per annum
1,200 Patrolmen, at $2.25 each, per day
1 Police Surgeon, 1 Fire Marshall, 1 Chief of Detectives, 10 Patrol Sergeants, 48 Reserves. In addition, there are a lieutenant and 24 men, with 2 tug-boats, who act as Harbor Police. The force is assigned to one Central Station and 24 police districts. The Central Station is at the City Hall, from whence it has telegraphic communication with the district stations.
The uniform is of dark-blue, with gilt buttons, and each man furnishes his own - the city allowing each policeman $20 annually, in addition to the regular pay, for this purpose. The men are equipped with a badge, or shield, having on it the coat-of-arms of the city, a belt, club, rattle, and a revolver. The Force in each district is divided into No. 1 and 2 squads. No. 1 squad goes on duty at 5 p.m., and remains until midnight. No. 2 relieves No. 1, and remains on duty until 7 a.m., when it is relieved by one half of No. 1 squad. The first half of No. 1 squad remains on duty until noon, when it is relieved by the other half of the squad, which remains on duty until 5 p.m. Thus half the men are on street duty at night, one half remaining in the station-houses; and during the day one quarter of the men are on duty in the streets, one quarter having a day off every four days, and the remainder are on duty in the station-houses. The Police Force patrols nearly the whole area of the city. During the past year, 1880, there were 44,315 persons arrested, the principal causes being for intoxication and disorderly conduct. Some of these were disposed of by fines, and other cases were returned to court and there disposed of. No account is kept of the amount of property lost or stolen in the city; but during the year the police recovered lost and stolen property to the value of $112,313.09, and returned the same to the owners. The number of station-house lodgers during 1886 was 121,404.
The Police force is required to co-operate with the Fire Department by preserving peace at all fires, and preventing persons from crowding on the "fire-grounds." Special policemen are appointed at the request of citizens for duty as watchmen, etc. They are paid by the person who have them appointed, and are required to assist the regular Force when called on. The cost of the Police Department, for 1886, was $1,370,301.56.
Prisons - The Eastern Penitentiary of Philadelphia occupies a lot of about eleven acres, extending from Fairmount and Corinthian avenues to Twenty-second Street, and northward to Brown. The building has a frontage of 670 feet. It was begun in 1823, and finished in 1829. As has already been stated, the original intention was to conduct it on what was called the "Pennsylvania Plan" of solitary confinement; but this, carried out strictly, proved productive of insanity among the prisoners, and the system, though still called solitary, has gradually been relaxed, even to the extent of occasionally putting two persons into one cell. The prisoners are taught various handicrafts, they are allowed to write and receive letters under inspection of the officers, and a library of six thousand volumes is open for their use.
The Moyamensing, or Philadelphia County prison, is situated on Passyunk Road, near Tenth Street. The building was finished in 1836. It is solidly built of quincy granite, and contains four hundred cells for male, and one hundred for female, prisoners. The appropriation for the support of this prison in 1885 was $102,608.50. The House of Refuge occupies a lot extending from Parrish Street to Poplar, and from Twenty-second and Twenty-third streets. It was incorporated in 1826 for the "employment of the idle, the instruction of the ignorant, and the correction of the depraved." It has separate departments for boys and girls, and a special department for colored children. It will accomodate about six hundred inmates.
The House of Correction is on the south bank of the Pennypach Creek, at its junction with the Delaware. It occupies a piece of ground from two to three hundred acres in extent, which is in part devoted to farming and industrial purposes. The building is intended for the reception of vagrants, drunkards, and persons guilty of slight offences against the peace and good order of the community. There is attached to it a chapel capable of holding two thousand persons.
The number of inmates received at this institution during the year 1884 was 6,087. A new county prison is now building near the House of Correction.
Public Schools - The public schools of Philadelphia are supported by taxation, and are conducted for the benefit of all residents of the city. They are governed by a Board of Education, and there are school directors for each section, who are elected annually by a vote of the citizens. The schools are graded into Primary, Secondary, Consolidated, and Grammar Schools; there are besides, a High School for boys, and a Normal School for girls - which latter is meant for the education of young women who intend to become teachers. In 1885 the subdivisions of the educational system of Philadelphia included the following schools, making a total of 483:
1 High School, 1 Normal School, 1 School of Practice, 1 Manual Training School, 1 School of Industrial Art, 21 Night Schools, 68 Grammar Schools, 135 Secondary Schools, 256 Primary and Consolidated Schools.
The total number of teachers employed was 2,283; the total number of pupils under instruction was 108,209. The amount expended for the support of the schools was $1,754,330.63, and the amount appropriated for the erection of new school-houses, $50,722.50.
Libraries - Philadelphia is rich in public as well as private libraries. According to the returns of the census of 1870, there were not less than three thousand seven hundred libraries in the city, comprising 2,985,770 volumes. During the intervening decade these numbers have doubtless increased considerably. The Philadelphia, the most important of the public libraries, is one of the oldest in the United States; and, so far as is known, was the first to inaugurate the lending system, now so prevalent. It was founded in 1731 by that "Junto" of which Franklin was a prominent member. At his suggestion, the members of the little club brought each his small store of books to their club-room, that they might be ready for consultation and a "common benefit." Later, this plan proving to have inconveniences, Franklin started a project for a subscription library; and from this small beginning grew the present inestimable collection, amounting, with the Loganian Library, which is united with it, to over one hundred thousand volumes.
Until 1878 the Philadelphia Library continued to occupy the brick building on the corner of Fifth and Library streets, erected for its accomodation in 1790. Its more valuable books and collections were then transferred to a splendid fireproof building on Broad Street, bequeathed to the Philadelphia Library on the condition that it should henceforth be known as the "Ridgeway Library." This building has accomodation for four hundred thousand books. The fiction and modern works are now placed in a building designed in imitation of the old edifice, but nearer to the centre of the city.
The Mercantile Library is located on the west side of Tenth Street, between Chestnut and Market, in a building three hundred feet deep by eighty wide, erected in 1869. The number of volumes in the Library is over one hundred and thirty thousand, and its membership is estimated at over twelve thousand.
The Athenaeum Library and Reading-Room is on the corner of Sixth and Adelphi streets, below Walnut. It was instituted in 1813, and in 1847 removed to its present building, one of the finest in the city.
The Apprentices' Library, on the southwest corner of Fifth and Arch streets, is the only free library in the city. It was established in 1820 "for the use of apprentices and other young persons, without charge of any kind for the use of the books." It contains some twenty-five thousand volumes, has a free reading-room for men, and it is estimated that nearly eighty thousand young people have, since its beginning, enjoyed the advantages which it furnishes.
The Friends' Library, 304 Arch Street, began with a bequest of books from Thomas Chalkley in 1741. It contains seven thousand volumes, largely relating to the history and progress of the Quakers.
Friends' Library, Race Street, west of Fifteenth, established in 1834, has an equal number of books.
Law Association Library, southeast corner of Sixth and Walnut streets, was founded in 1802 by members of the bar for the sake of keeping a complete collection of law-books within reach of the members of the profession.
Southwark Library Company, Second Street, below German, is a State Company,
founded in 1822, and has about ten thousand volumes.
Mechanics' Institute, Southwark; about four thousand volumes.
City Institute, Eighteenth and Chestnut streets; three thousand volumes.
Spring Garden Institute, corner of Broad and Spring Garden streets; five thousand volumes.
Moyamensing Institute Library, corner of Eleventh and Catherine streets, founded 1852; four thousand volumes.
Kensington Institute Library, corner of Girard Avenue and Day Street.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 820 Spruce Street, founded in 1824; seventeen thousand volumes.
Library of Numismatic and Antiquarian Society, southwest corner of Eighteenth and Chestnut streets.
Library of Friends' Historical Collection, in the Pennsylvania Historical Society building.
Library of Baptists' Historical Society, 530 Arch Street.
Library of Methodist Historical Society, 1018 Arch Street.
Library of Presbyterian Historical Society, 1334 Chestnut Street.
German Society Library, 24 South Seventh Street; ten thousand volumes.
Fire Department - The Report of the Chief Engineer of the Fire Department for the year 1886 makes the Department force as follows: 1 Chief Engineer, 6 Assistant Engineers, 38 Foreman, 32 Enginemen, 32 Firemen, 38 Drivers, 6 Tillerman, 316 Permanent Hose and Ladder Men. They are divided into 32 engine, and 6 hook and ladder companies.
The whole number of fires during the year attended by the Department was 1,005, with a loss of property amounting to $1,909,604. These losses, as far as could be ascertained, were covered by insurance to the amount of $8,179,965.