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Establishments for education are sufficiently patronised and supported in the city of Philadelphia itself, both in public or common schools, Sunday-schools, and private seminaries, of which the number is considerable. But in the interior of the state, where the descendants of the Dutch and German settlers are not so much alive to the importance of education, the schools are few and slightly attended. On this subject the following is the language of the last report of the Pennsylvania Society for the promotion of Public Schools : “ There are at least 400,000 children in Pennsyl. vania between the ages of five and fifteen. Of these, during the past year, there were not 150,000 in all the scbools of the state. Many counties, townships, and villages have been taken indiscriminately from all parts of the state ; and, on examination, the average proportion of children educated in any one year, compared with the entire number of children between the specified ages, appears to be only one out of three. It is probable that this proportion prevails generally throughout Pennsylvania, and justifies the assertion that more than 250,000 children capable of instruction were not within a school during the past year. Many of these children never go to school at all."

Among the higher establishments connected with litera. ture and the promotion of general knowledge, the Philosophical Society, whose rooms are now the Athenæum of Philadelphia, takes a very high rank; it_grew out of two societies originally founded by Benjamin Franklin : the one in 1728, under the title of “The Junto," and the other in 1744, under the name of “ The American Philosophical Society.” These were united in 1769 under the present name. Its objects are sufficiently comprehensive to embrace almost everything calculated to advance the taste for literature, natural philosophy, science, antiquities, and the arts; and it has accordingly periodical meetings of its members, for the reading of original papers and the discussion of literary or scientific subjects, which are well attended. It publishes a regular series of Transactions, like the learned societies of Europe, of which it has fifteen volumes completed. It has a library of 11,000 volumes, mostly works of great value, and such as are difficult to be found elsewhere. It is par. ticularly rich in pamphlets and public documents, manuscript and printed, illustrative of American history. It corresponds with upward of fifty of the learned and scientific societies of Europe, and receives their Transactions regularly in exchange; and it has the best museum of Mexican

AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES.

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and Peruvian antiquities existing anywhere on the Continent of America.

We had the good fortune to visit this institution in company with its venerable and estimable secretary, Mr. John Vaughan, and to meet there the equally venerable and estimable Dr. Duponceau, the president, one of the greatest philologists and most remarkable men of the day. These gentlemen were each above eighty years of age, and yet both were strong in body and vigorous in mind. They each preserved in a remarkable degree, and in all their original freshness, the peculiarities of their respective nations, Eng. land and France, and yet nothing could be more friendly or affectionate than their intercourse.

It was in the society of these venerable relics of the olden time, who were each personally acquainted with most of the great characters of the American Revolution, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, and others, that we sat in the chair of Columbus, an antique, upright, black polished wooden chair, covered all over with various devices, and like some of the old chairs of Henry the Seventh's time seen in England; in the chair of Jefferson, with its movable writing-desk affixed, on which the original draught of the Declaration of Independence was penned ; in the chair occupied by Franklin in the assembly which adopted that Declaration, and in which he affixed his signature to that magna charta of American liberty. Here also we had the pleasure to read the original draught and amended copy, such as it was made after the revision of a select committee, to whom this duty was intrusted, and to compare both with the printed copy first issued from the American press; and at the same time to be looking upon an original portrait of William Penn, taken from the life while a young man, before he became a Quaker, and habited in the half-court and halfmilitary dress of the days of Charles the Second. All these were combinations and associations so new and interesting, that we prolonged our visit for several hours, and were delighted during the whole of the time.

The character of Mr. Vaughan is public property, at least it has been so made by one of his fellow-citizens, the philan. thropic Matthew Carey, who, in an interesting little work called the “Annals of Benevolence," has written · Mr. Vaughan's eulogy with the pen of truth, though guided by a friendly hand; and as it is alike honourable to the writer and to the subject of his commendation, the former an

Vol. I.-YY

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Irishman and the latter an Englishman, and both octogenarians, I insert it here.

“The possession of great wealth is not necessary to entitle an individual to be enrolled among the honourable class of benefactors of their fellow-men. Many a person, who in the course of a long life has not given five hundred dollars, or even one hundred, for benevolent or eharitable purposes—simply from slenderness of means, not from narrow ness of heart-has higher claims to the respect, esteem, and gratitude of his fellows than some who have bequeathed to such objects hundreds of thousands, which they clutched during life with an iron grasp, and reluctantly parted with when they could clutch them no longer ; unmoved by the noble ambition of being their own executors for at least a portion of their wealth, and of enjoying the luxury of seeing the objects for which it is to be ultimately bequeathed rising and prospering under their eyes, and shedding their benign influence around. To a man possessing the inestimable blessing of mens sana in corpore sano, this would be the most exquisite delight this world affords.' For such exalted purposes alone would a truly wise man desire the accumulation of wealth beyond what is requisite to procure the comforts of life.

“Among those whose means are incommensurate with their expansive benevolence, there are few more worthy of honourable mention than John Vaughan, Esq., one of our citizens, an Englishman, who has resided among us for fifty-five years. Throughout his whole life a large portion of his time has been employed in active beneficence; and he has probably done as much good with slender means as any man living, and more, far more, than some possessed of countless treasures. To needy strangers, particularly his countrymen, destitute of money and friends, and, though industrious and desirous to work, destitute of employment, his services have been invaluable. For hundreds of persons thus circumstanced he has found advantageous situations, many of whom are now in independent circumstances, the foundation of which was laid by his interference.

“ To respectable foreigners he is well known, as, I had almost said, the accredited cicerone of Philadelphia. He either accompanies them, or procures them access to whatever our city possesses worthy of attention. During the six months in which the social circle of the Wistar Club holds its weekly sessions, he is relied on for introducing such strangers of the above description as have no acquaintances among the members, from the latter of whom, in this capacity, he holds carte blanche.

“ Although his means are far from affluent, his contributions to public objects are in as full proportion to his income as those of any other cit. izen whatever, and far more than those of many who possess twenty dollars to his one.

“ He is now about eighty-two years old, and, owing to a good consti. tution, and steady habits of uniform temperance in regard to food and drink, he is nearly as active in his beneficent routine of duty as he has been at any time for forty years. He rises early; and few mornings pass over that he is not seen escorting some stranger, lady or gentle- man, to the steamboat for Baltimore or New-York.

“When his last sand is run, his mortal remains deposited in the si. lent grave, and his spirit shall have ascended to the dread tribunal of the Judge of the living and the dead, his demise will be lamented as a serious public loss by the great body of his fellow-citizens, by whom he is held in universal veneration.

“His death will create a chasm in our city, which, it is to be feared,

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a

will not be soon or easily filled up. But let us hope that his mantle, like that of Elias, will fall on some Elisha, who will emulate his virtues, his activity, and his benevolence, and thus earn that meed of praise and gratitude which the public awards to John Vaughan."*

Among the memorials and characteristic anecdotes of the celebrated Benjamin Franklin, of which the Athenæum and Mr. Vaughan are full, I met with one which, as a specimen of benevolence, humour, generosity, and delicacy combined, deserves to be made as public as possible, and with this view I give it here. It is a letter from Franklin, addressed to a poor Irish clergyman named Nixon, who was in great distress at Paris, and applied to him for relief, in reply to which Franklin wrote him the following letter :

“ Paris, April 22, 1784. “I send you herewith a bill for ten louis d'or. I do not pretend to give you such a sum, I only lend it to you. When you shall return to your country you cannot fail getting into some business that will in time enable you to pay all your debts. In that case, when you meet with another honest man in similar distress, you must pay me by lending this sum to him, enjoining him to discharge the debt by a like operation, when he shall be able and shall meet with such an opportunity. I hope it may thus go through many hands before it meets with a knave to stop its progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a good deal with a little money. I am not rich enough to afford much in good works, and so am obliged to be cunning, and make the most out of a little.

“ BENJAMIN FRANKLIN." Notwithstanding the universal veneration expressed, and apparently felt, towards this patriot and philosopher by the people of the United States, the same neglect of his tomb has been made matter of just complaint by the Americans themselves, as has been that of the sepulchres of General Washington at Mount Vernon, and of De Witt Clinton at Albany; and, to show that this is well grounded, I transcribe the following from the Public Ledger of Philadelphia, a paper remarkable for its exemption from party trammels and perfect independence of character. It is this:

“ FRANKLIN'S EPITAPH.-In the Life of Dr. Franklin we find the following epitaph, written by himself, and intended by him to be inscribed upon his tombstone :

· The body of
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Printer
(like the cover of an old book,

its contents torn out,
and stripped of its lettering and gilding),

lies here, food for worms;
yet the work itself shall not be lost,

but will (as he believed) appear once more * The venerable writer of this eulogy has since descended to the grave; but Mr. Vaughan, much bis senior in years, still survives, being now 87.

in a new
and more beautiful edition,
corrected and amended

by

THE AUTHOR.' “ Has this be done ? No! In the northwest corner of the Epis copal burying-ground on Mulberry-street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, is a plain slab of gray marble, laid upon the ground, on which is the following inscription :

Benjamin

Franklin,
and
Deborah

1790. “We would suggest that the remains of Benjamin and Deborah Franklin be removed to Independence Square, and that this slab be placed over them, as at preseni; that a suitable monument of white Pennsylvania marble be placed close to it, on one side of which shall be inscribed the foregoing epitaph written by himself, and on the other sides a brief sketch of his life, presenting ihe most important political events with which he was connected. If the middle walk of the square be not a suitable place for this monument, let it be placed in the centre of one of the sections; and for the sake of uniformity, as well as for more inportant considerations, let a monument to Washington be placed in the centre of the opposite section."

The Philadelphia Library, which was founded by Franklin previously to the Athenæum, contains at present upward of 40,000 volumes, well selected and well arranged. It is sustained by shareholders in its stock, and by the annual subscriptions of more than 2000 subscribers, at four dollars a year each; and the whole of this sum is laid out annually by the committee in the purchase of additional books. It has a large and commodious building near the State House, and promises to become in time one of the best libraries in the county.

The Franklin Institute and the Academy of National Sciences are two excellent institutions connected with the promotion of useful knowledge : and the Philadelphia Museum, which contains the most perfect union of the various parts of the mammoth that have been yet discovered in America, is rich in collections of various kinds. For its more perfect arrangement and display, a large building is now erecting in the heart of the city, the principal room of which is said to be only six feet less in length than West. minster Hall, though it is much narrower; but it is fitted with galleries and recesses, and well lighted from above, so that it will be one of the largest and finest museums in the Union. At one end of this building is a lecture-theatre, constructed on the old Roman plan of constantly-ascending semicircular scats, which will contain comfortably a thousand auditors.

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