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them; nor did they, in either dress or manners, indicate an ambition to rise to the level of their superiors. It is certainly an evidence of the honesty of our population, previously to the Revolution, that our front doors stood open all day; in pleasant weather they were open also in the evening, at which time people frequently sate in the porches which were appended to every dwelling. By this practice the social intercourse of neighbourhoods was facilitated: neighbours sat together, or walked from door to door, and chatted away a friendly hour. All who lived within the square, and whose rank was nearly the same, had this appellation, and were visited accordingly. It may be proper, here, to inform the reader that Philadelphia then had no influxes of strangers as she now receives from year to year. The inhabitants were the descendants of the first settlers, and were almost all known by name, and a considerable part personally, to one another. Of late years, the practice of visiting families who come into your vicinity, has been in a great measure disused; formerly it was a hospitality very seldom omitted. In submitting these brief notices of Philadelphia as it was, to our readers, we suppose we shall elicit a smile, and perhaps a sneer too, at the rusticity of the early settlers; yet it may not be unamusing. Manners and customs pass away, and new inventions take their places— but all are good in their own times—a Christmas turkey was as palatable fifty years ago from a dish of pewter, brightly scoured, as a bouillé is now, from one of French china. The age of our city does not much exceed a century and
a half. Since the date of our independence, it has increased with such astonishing rapidity, both in extent and opulence. Our new streets approach to patrician splendour, and the old houses, in which our ancestors acquired wealth, are becoming so offensive to our improved ideas in taste, that they are continually disappearing, to make room for a better order of things. We often fear that our venerable state-house, and old Christ church, will start up some of these days in a dress of marble, in accordance with the modern morbid passion for magnificence. Since then the prevailing temper of the times is to make all things new ; and the generation which by personal knowledge, or by tradition, possesses the power of telling of things as they were, is fast passing away,+it is a matter of some interest to collect amongst them, the relics of our infant condition. The older inhabitants of our towns and cities can contribute much towards a history of the early settlers in the minor particulars of their customs and habits, far more illustrative of their character, than great events. They can tell how America, by patience and industry, has developed her genius, and advanced from insignificance amongst the nations of the earth, to a station not merely respectable, but greatly to be envied. Since we commenced these remarks, we have been kindly favoured with the sight of a curious manuscript on the same subject. The writer is a very enthusiast in antiquities, and seems to have laid under contribution all the well-stricken in years within his reach. From the most respectable authorities, he has collected a mass of curious facts and anecdotes, respecting Philadelphia and the neighbouring villages—particularly of Germantown. Springs, creeks, groves and copses, which once broke and diversified the ground, now levelled and drawn out into streets, are located and recorded. They are all gone, long since, and forgotten; but this indefatigable inquirer has performed a grateful service to society by rescuing them from oblivion.
The rapid increase of our city being frequently the subject of conversation, gentlemen, not much beyond the middle age are heard to say, that they have skated on ponds as far east as Seventh, and even Fifth, streets; and many remember lots, inclosed by post and rail fences, in the now most populous and busy streets. But we had not heard of a duck and geese pond near to Christ church, until we found it mentioned in the manuscript just alluded to. The writer of this interesting collection has discovered also the location of a mineral spring, spoken of in Penn's letters; and at least of six others within the city; and particularly a remarkable basin surrounded by shrubs, called “Bathsheba's spring and bower.” Many circumstances respect. ing Philadelphia, not of sufficient importance to be admitted into a regular history, will be found in this book. They will be amusing to our children; and indeed there is much, of which the younger part of the present generation are entirely ignorant. These things, trifling as they may appear, at first view, are worth preserving; and all who remember the olden time will do well to contribute their mite.
Most of you writers have leaped into the censor's throne without leave or license; where you were no sooner seated than, with the impudence one might expect from such conduct, you have railed, with all the severity of satire and indecency of invective, against our folly, frivolity, forwardness, fondness of dress, and so forth. You can't conceive what a latitude is assumed by the withings of the day, from the encouragement of such pens as your's. Those well dressed young gentlemen who will lay awake whole mights in carving the fashions of a new doublet, and who will criticise Cooper without knowing whether Shakespeare wrote dramas or epic poems, these wiseacres, I say, saunter along chesnut-street, when the sun shines, and amuse themselves with sneers against our sex: and in nothing are we so much the object of their ridicule as in our devotion to fashion, on whose shrine, according to these modern peripatetics, we sacrifice our time, our understanding, and our health. We have freedom of the press, and freedom of religion, and why should we not enjoy a freedom of fashions? What do these sapient gentlemen wish? Would they have a dress for females established by an actofthe assembly, us doctors of medicine have been created in Maryland?
“Which dress aforesaid of the aforegoing figure, colour, materials, fashion, cut, make, &c. &c. all the good spinsters of Pennsylvania shall wear on all highdays and holydays, under pain, &c. &c.” Horrible idea!—What! tie us down to the dull routine of the same looks, the same bonnets, the same cloaks? take from us that charming diversity, that delightful variety, which blooms in endless succession from week to week, with the changes of the season—make us tedious to ourselves, and as unalterable and unattractable as an old family picture—or, what is equally out of the way and insipid, an old Bachelor? Rob us of half our charms and deprive us of all the subjects of thought and conversation! You men may talk of your dogs, your horses, and your wine; but alas! if you take fashion from us, pray Mr. Saunter, inform me upon what topic shall we converse with our beaux! Can you furnish any substitute for the delightful themes of ribands, laces, bonnets, shawls, new dresses—with all the various and interesting inquiries about the forms and fashions intended to be at Mrs. O.'s party to-morrow night, or which agitated the bosoms of so many belles on the preceding evening, at Mrs. T's. We should really mope ourselves into the melancholy of a young lawyer, who looks and sighs in vain for a mistress or a client, or a gay girl, who is shut up in the country, enjoying the poetical charms of tirbid ponds, bellowing cattle, and neighbourly visitations; and the poor, dear little Dandies, for lack of new bonnets and gay ribands to talk about, would relapse into downright torpitude. But some of you talk of simplicity of nature; of the