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FAVOURABLE SITE OF PHILADELPHIA.

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and enjoyment, and where the impress of sobriety, order, industry, and improvement, originally stamped on the country by its first settlers, still continues visible in the charac. ter and condition of their descendants, as in no part of the Union is there to be seen better agriculture, more flourishing farms, more thriving manufactories, more useful public improvements, more benevolent institutions, a more gener. al diffusion of comfort, or a higher tone of morality, than in Pennsylvania: consequences and characteristics of which its Quaker inhabitants may well be proud, as having sprung undoubtedly from the character and policy of their ances. tors who first colonized it.

CHAPTER XXV.

Favourable Site or Position chosen for the City - Original Plan of the Founder, Wil.

liam Penn.- Descriptions of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. -Arrangement and Names of the Streeis.-Style of the private Dwellings, Exterior and Interior.-Shops, Hotels, and Boarding houses.- Public Buildings of Philadelphia.-Old State House or Independence Hall.-The Merchants' Exchange and Postoffice.-The Banks of Philadelphia as Works of Art.-Bank of the United States.-Copy of the Parthenon. -Girard Bank and Philadelphia Bank.-Corinthian.-Mint of the United States.Ionic Temple at llyssus.-University of Philadelphia, Origin and Progress.-Anatomical Museum, and Philosophical Apparatus.-Girard College, Origin and Founda. tion, Description of the Building by the Architect.—The Water-works at Fair Mount. - Markets of Philadelphia, Supplies.- The Navy.yard.-Line-of-battle Ship Pennsylvania.-Views of the City on approaching it by the River.

The position chosen for the site of Philadelphia is, like that of all the large maritime cities of America I had yet seen, remarkably beautiful and advantageous. A perfectly level piece of land, lying between the Delaware River, which bounds it on the west, and the Schuylkill River, forming its margin on the east, was the spot fixed on for this purpose by its founder. By this selection, the breadth of the city was necessarily limited to about two miles, that being the distance from stream to stream; but the northern and southern limits were not so bounded by any natural barrier; and in these directions, therefore, the city might be made to extend to any length. The original plan contemplated, howe ever, for the city proper, as distinguished from the suburbs, was an oblong square, of about two miles from river to river east and west, and one mile from boundary to boundary north and south, the streets running perfectly parallel to each other from river to river, and being crossed by others of similar dimensions at right angles, so as to present the most perfect regularity in all its parts. Space was left in this design for several open squares in different quarters of the city, with lawns of grass, gravelled walks, and overshadowing trees; and nothing seemed wanting in the de. sign to unite beauty, salubrity, and convenience.

The original plan has been generally followed out, with strict regard to the will of the founder, with these exceptions only: that there yet remains a portion to be filled up in the western division of the city near the Schuylkill; and that on the north and south, in the eastern division, along the more frequented banks of the Delaware, the suburbs from Kensington and Spring Gardens on the north, to Southwark and Greenwich on the south, have extended in each direction so as to make the whole length of the continuous range of houses nearly five miles from north to south, while the breadth does not exceed two from east to west,

The Delaware, which washes Philadelphia on the east, is a noble stream, rising in the State of New York about 300 miles above the point of its junction with the sea, and flow. ing southward through Pennsylvania, separating it on the west from the State of New Jersey on the east, and flowing into the great bay of the Delaware below Philadelphia, from whence to the sea it is navigable for ships of 120 guns, and communicates readily with the Atlantic. It is by this river, therefore, that all the maritime commerce of Philadelphia is carried on.

The Schuylkill is a smaller stream, though navigable for schooners, sloops, and steamers of moderate burden; it is beautifully picturesque in many of its windings, where sloping lawns, forest trees, and prettily scattered villas adorn its banks.

The streets are not only symmetrical in their relative position to each other, but they are generally uniform in their dimensions ; the number of the streets is about 600, and their breadth is, on the average, from 40 to 80 feet. The two largest of the transverse streets, which form a sort of cross, running through the centre of the city, the one from east to west, called High-street or Market-street, and the other from north to south, called Broad-street, are, the former 100, and the latter 113 feet broad, and they have each a railroad running through them. The carriage-ways of all the streets are paved with stone (excepting only a small portion where an experiment is trying, to pave with octagonal blocks of wood), though not so evenly as in the cities of

PAVEMENTS.TREES.NAMES OF STREETS.

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England. The side-pavements, which are of a well-proportioned height and breadth, are formed of diagonally-placed bricks, and are more agreeable to walk on than the flag pavements of London.

What gives the greatest beauty, however, to the streets of Philadelphia is this, that along the edge of the side-pave. ments, at intervals of a few feet apart, run beautiful rows of trees, which, when in full foliage, give a verdure, freshness, coolness, and shade most agreeable to the eye, and most delicious to the feelings of the passenger. Scarcely any. thing can be imagined more beautiful, in streets at least, than the sight of one of these long avenues, reaching from the Delaware to the Schulykill, a length of two miles, lined with trees throughout the whole way, and the termination of the vista at each extremity reposing on the opposite banks of the respective streams.

In the streets running north and south, the trees flourish best on both sides, as there each has the advantage of the sun for a portion of the day; but in the streets running east and west, the trees flourish best on the north side, from their having the sun during many hours, while those on the south side have only the beams of the rising and setting sun, and that only when he is north of the equator, so that they are here fewer in number, and do not flourish so well.

The arrangement of the names of the streets is such as makes it perfectly easy for a stranger to find his way over every part of the city with ease. The streets running east and west, from river to river, are generally called by proper names, after some tree of the forest. The streets intersecting them, and running north and south, are called numerically, beginning from each river front, and advancing till they meet in the centre. For instance, the first street westward from the Delaware, and running nearly parallel with it, is called Front-street, the next beyond it westward is called Second-street, then Third-street, and so on till Thir. teenth-street, which is near the centre of the city. In the same manner, the first street eastward from the Schuylkill, and running nearly parallel with it, is called Schuylkill Front, the next Schuylkill Second, then Schuylkill Third, and so on till it meets the thirteenth street counting from the Delaware side, and thus fills up the whole breadth of

the city.

The numbers of the houses follow in the same order of enumeration, beginning from the river on each side, and going on to the centre of the city, the even numbers being

VOL. I.-TT

on the south and the odd numbers on the north side. The custom is, however, to name the positions of certain buildings, shops, or houses, not so much by their numbers as their relative positions with respect to streets. Thus it would be said, “Mr. A. lives in Walnut, between Ninth and Tenth," the word "street" being rarely mentioned; and by this de scription the stranger knows, within a very few doors, where the residence or building he is in search of may be found; as he has only to enter Walnut-street, and walk onward till he gets between Ninth and Tenth streets, and the locality is found.

The names of the streets, it has been observed, are mostly derived from forest trees, and it is said that each street was called after the particular kind of tree that grew on the spot where the street itself now stands. The sylvan origin of the city is thus strikingly preserved in its nomenclature; and the following, selected from the alphabetical lists of the streets, will show to what extent this has been carried : Acorn, Al. der, Almond, Apple, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Blackberry, Cedar, Cherry, Chesnut, Clover, Currant, Cypress, Elm, Filbert, Grape, Juniper, Laurel, Lemon, Locust, Magnolia, Maple, Melon, Mulberry, Oak, Olive, Orange, Peach, Pear, Pine, Plum, Poplar, Prune, Quince, Raspberry, Rose, Sassafras, Spruce, Strawberry, Vine, Walnut, and Willow.

The private dwellings are almost uniformly built of red brick, well executed, and the entrance to all the best houses is by a flight of marble steps, generally edged with an iron balustrade, and sometimes terminated by a small and neat portico of gray or white marble columns. The brasswork of the railings and doors is always in a high state of polish; the doors are usually painted white, and often ornamented with carvings or mouldings in panels; the window.glass is invariably beautifully clean, and the aspect of the whole presents a combination of purity, comfort, and repose.

In the interior decorations and furniture of the houses we visited there was less of ostentatious display than in New. York, but more luxurious ease than in Baltimore; and, above all, an undisturbed serenity peculiar to this city, and quite in harmony with its Quaker origin. There are of course here, as everywhere, many houses of inferior size and quality; but there are fewer of these, in proportion to the whole number in Philadelphia, than in any city we had yet visited. On the other hand, there are some few mansions that would be accounted spacious and beautiful even in London. That of Mr. Newkirk, a wealthy merchant, in Arch-street, built

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wholly of white marble, with a noble and chaste Ionic portico in front, is in the best taste for its architecture, and as beautiful as it is chaste.

The shops in Philadelphia are much more elegant than those of New York or Baltimore. Some of those in Chesnut-street, which corresponds to the Broadway of NewYork and Regent-street of London—as uniting the fashionable lounge and shopping promenade—are equal to any on Ludgate Hill, and as well stored within as they are attractive from without.

The hotels are neither so large nor so comfortable as those of New York or Baltimore. There is nothing like the Astor House for size, nor the Eutaw for convenience; though the Mansion House, the Merchants', and the Washington are all excellent hotels, and superior to any of the older establishments of the same kind in the city.

The boarding houses are about the same in character and in quality as those in the two other cities named. The same inconveniences attach to them in quite as large a degree. The hour of breakfast is half past seven, and before eight the table is entirely cleared. The dinner is at two, and before half past two the greater number have finished and departed. The sleeping-room of the boarders is their only sitting-room, in which they can be alone by day, as the drawing-room is common to all; and the domestic service is so bad, that nothing is well cooked or well served, even at the regular hours; and if the meals are not taken then, nothing can be had at any other hours of the day.

Of the public buildings of Philadelphia, the first in historical interest and importance is undoubtedly the Old State House, or Independence Hall, as it is now more generally termed. This is a large and oldfashioned brick structure, having been commenced in 1729 and finished in 1734, nearly in the middle of the business-part of the city, its northern front being towards Chesnut-street, and its southern front towards a fine open square, well planted with large trees, and called Independence Square, where public political meetings are most frequently held. The State House presents an extensive façade; and from its centre rises a small open tower, from whence the best view of the interior of the city is to be enjoyed. The lower part of the building is occupied by the city courts and offices connected with the municipal government; and in the upper part is the room in which the first American Congress sat, and in which the original Declaration of Independence by the United States was first

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