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Washington having discovered that the enemy designed to surround his little army, ordered the baggage to be removed after dark. At twelve o'clock, having renewed his fires, he decamped with his army, unperceived by the enemy, and marched against Princeton by a circuitous route, where he arrived by the rising of the sun, defeated the troops there, and captured their stores*.
The Delaware is a delightful river, with many magnificent windings. The convex shore of one extensive curve, is so imposing, that it is called Point-no-Point, an apparent cape being always in sight, but which recedes as the observer advances. The grounds adjacent to the river are flat, and covered with a rich verdure; but the beach is of a height sufficient to prevent a person from seeing far inland from the river. Many large farm houses are to be seen, with extensive orchards, and beautiful weeping willows adjoining. The last, form large spreading masses without any erect or principal top, the main or leading branches rear themselves upwards, after acquiring a considerable degree of strength; and the shoots immediately younger, are elegantly bent, as if in the act of getting erect; while the youngest of all are completely pendulous. The whole is singularly picturesque.
On approaching Philadelphia, I felt disappointed in seeing the shipping so very inferior to that at New York; and the houses fronting the river are old and irregularly placed, so that the idea of a port declining in trade immediately occurred.
Philadelphia is situated between the rivers De
* Washington's Letters, vol ii. page 4, Lond. 1795.
laware and Schuylkill. The streets are laid off agreeably to the cardinal points, and cross one another at right angles, the principal ones running in the east and west direction, crossing the neck of land between the two rivers.
The streets, as at New York, are lined with trees; they are cleaner kept, and are wider, and more regular, so that gaseous exhalations are much less felt in them than in the other city. Most of the houses are of brick, and many of them have the doors and windows surrounded by white marble. Several public edifices are built of that material.
August 7. The general aspect of the city is more pleasant, and a freer circulation of air is felt than in New York; of course the natural inference is, that Philadelphia must be the more salubrious of the two. Dr. Mease, of the American Philosophical Society, has deduced the same conclusion from the bills of mortality. The daily average of deaths being 54 in this place, and 6 at New York. At the time this computation was made, the population of Philadelphia was the greater of the two, consequently something more is to be allowed in favour of the relative healthfulness of Philadelphia.
The doctor has also compared the mortalities of Philadelphia and Liverpool, and it appears that the deaths in the former city are, to those in the latter, as 33 to 50. The comparison was made between the number of deaths in 1810 for Philadelphia, and on another year for Liverpool. This must have been occasioned from a want of data applying to the same year in both places. My very short acquaintance with the doctor gives me the utmost confidence in his candour, and in the accuracy of his calculations.
It is not to be kept out of view, that the mortality in Philadelphia is considerably greater in summer than in winter, the deaths in August, for example, may be fairly stated at twice the number in December. This fact, not to mention the epidemical diseases with which Philadelphia is sometimes visited, must give a decided preference to Liverpool.
The religious sects of Philadelphia are eighteen in number; they have thirty-four places of worship. The whole may be exhibited thus: Swedish, three churches; Quakers, three; Free Quakers, one; Episcopal, three; Baptist, one; Presbyterian, two; Catholic, four; German Lutheran, two; German Calvinist, two; Associate Reformed Church, one; Moravians, one; Associate Church, (Antiburghers,) one; Presbyterian Covenanters, one; Methodists, four, (two for whites and two for blacks ;) Universalists, one; Unitarians, one; Independents, one; Jewish Synagogues, two.
There are four State law courts in the city; four Banks, and eleven Insurance offices.
The other institutions would be too tedious to enumerate separately, probably the following includes most of them. Thirteen charitable institutions, eight free school societies, three patriotic societies, about twenty mutual benefit societies, five associations for the relief of foreigners and their descendants, seven literary institutions, three libraries, the American Philosophical Society, the Society of Artists, the Pennsylvanian Academy of Fine Arts, and a museum of natural history*.
The American Philosophical Society meets frequently, and is well attended. When I visited the institution, three of the foreign ministers were
* Dr. Mease's Picture of Philadelphia.
present. Professor Cooper read very interesting papers on the bilious fever, on a new mordant to be used in dyeing, and on a new test for detecting arsenic where administered as a poison. There is still zeal and talent in the association once distinguished by a Franklin and a Rittenhouse.
The Franklean library contains about 24,000 volumes; almost every scientific work of merit may be seen. Strangers are allowed to read and even to write in the great hall. On leaving a small deposit they may carry books out of the library. The building belongs to the institution, and has a herculean bust of the founder over the entrance; and the following lines, by Alexander Wilson the ornithologist, hang in a frame in the great room.
"Ye who delight through learning's paths to roam,
By silent awe and contemplation led,
The Atheneum is another excellent institution. Here a great number of American and foreign newspapers are read, and there is also a collection of the reviews, periodical publications, and scientific journals, of Britain and America. Strangers are introduced by the subscribers.
The United British Emigrant Society meets frequently, and its business is conducted with zeal
and ability. A book is kept open, in which are inserted notices of labourers, &c. &c. wanted, with the names and residences of the persons to whom they are to apply. On looking over this record, I observed that many of the situations offered were in the western country. Although the members of this society merit the utmost credit for their benevolent exertions, the most cautious strangers will always hesitate to undertake long journies, incurring a great expense, the risk of meeting only with a trifling employment, and that of cheapening their labour by the sacrifices which they make. Artifices of this kind are not to be imputed to the society.
The museum contains a considerable collection of objects; and among the rest a skeleton of an entire mammoth. Around the upper part of the wall are arranged the portraits of several hundreds of the personages who have distinguished themselves in the revolution, or in the legislature of America. The design is praiseworthy, but the execution of the picture is bad.
The state prison does honour to the jurisprudence of the country. The culprit is not made a burden on the community, but is put to work, and the first of his earnings applied to his support, a part of the remainder is given to him at his dismissal; by this means he is not under the necessity of resorting immediately to robbery or theft. Habits of industry are acquired, and trades learned, by persons who previously were pests to society. The strict order, and even silence, that is maintained in the establishment, is conceived to be the peculiarity that has produced the effects that distinguish it above every institution of the kind. The provisions given to the inmates are said to be plentiful and good, though furnished at the low rate of