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jail, a court house, an hospital, and almshouse,* and a city library, and about a dozen churches, constituted the amount of our public buildings. The jail, and library, have been long since removed. The former, together with its yard, (enclosed by a stone wall,) and the jailer's house, occupied about one-third of the west side of Third, from the corner of Market street: and the latter, a mean one story tenement of stone, stood in a muddy lanewhich is now Fifth street—and near to the corner of Chestnut-a spot now ornamented by our state-house square. The market-house extended from Front to Third streets, and at this last extremity-convenient to its parent, the jail, stood a pillory and whipping post, where felons were usually exhibited on market days. Still, Philadelphia, at this early day, was not without many spacious mansions; but they were distributed in all parts of the city. We could boast of none of those splendid rows which now challenge a comparison with the edifices of any other metropolis. Carriages, or coaches, and chariots, as they were then respectively called, were yet more scarce, than large dwellings. Our progenitors did did not deem a carriage a necessary appendage of wealth and respectability. Many merchants and professional gentleman kept a one-horse chair, but every man's coach was known by every body. There were not more, perhaps, than ten or twelve in the city. A hack had not been heard of. There was one public stage to New York, and there may have been stages to Baltimore and Lancaster, but they are not recollected;-indeed, there was so
* Then called the bettering house.
+ A few years more, and it will be forgotten that we owe this embel. lishment and convenience, to the taste and exertions of the father of our worthy fellow citizen, John Vaughan, Esq.
little intercourse between our city and these towns, that their names were scarcely known until the war brought them into notice.
Let it not however be supposed that we were without refinement: we were polite, though frugal. We had a theatre and a dancing assembly. The latter was held once a fortnight, and managed by six married gentlemen, of the most respectable rank and character. This association, it must be confessed, partook of the aristocratic feeling infused into our community by a monarchical government. The families of mechanics, however wealthy, were not admitted. The subscription was 31. 15s. and admitted the master and the females of his family. Young men never appeared there under the age of twenty-one, and then they paid for their own tickets. Young ladies could not be introduced under eighteen.
Supper at the assembly consisted of tea, chocolate, and rusk-a simple cake, now never seen amidst the profu sion of confectionary that inundates our entertainments. We had at that time no spice of French in our institutions; consequently, we did not know how to romp in cotillions, but moved with grave dignity in minuets, and sober gaiety in country dances. Every thing was conducted by rule and order: places were distributed by lot, and partners were engaged for the evening; and neither could be changed, by either forwardness or favouritism. Gentlemen always drank tea with their partners the day after the assembly. Private balls were sometimes given: tea parties were not known by that term, yet by the established modes of visiting, ten or a dozen ladies were often collected, to partake of that pleasant beverage. Christmas was peculiarly the time for dinner parties. Families, and the circle of their intimate friends, invariably took the round of dinners during the holidays; and the
meeting was always protracted to a supper. Morning visits were very rare. Hours were, comparatively, very early: the most formal dinner was on the table at two or three, and supper between nine and ten. Of the few practices not to be commended in these primeval days, perhaps it is one, that supper, after tea, was a customary meal in every family. Sociable visits were then paid, not at night, but in the afternoon. A matron would drink tea with her friend, return home by candle-lighting, tie on her check apron, and put her children to bed.
As we are not instituting a comparison between the rusticity of our state, whilst we were dependent colonies, and our improvements and conveniences since we become a sovereign nation, we shall simply state the amount of our attainments in the infancy of the city. Marble mantels, and folding doors, were not then indispensably necessary to make a house tenantable--nor sofas, nor carpets, nor girandoles. A white floor, sprinkled with clean sand, large tables, and heavy high-backed chairs of walnut or mahogany, decorated a parlour genteelly enough for any body. Sometimes, a carpet, not, however, covering the whole floor, was seen upon the dining-room. This was a show-parlour up stairs-not used but upon state occasions—and then to dine in. Although many articles which now minister to our comfort were then unknown, yet our houses were abundantly provided with necessary and substantial furniture. Pewter plates and dishes were in general use: having no trade to China, the porcelain of that country, if seen at all on a dinner-table, was only displayed on great occasions. Plate, more or less, was seen in every family of easy circumstances; not indeed in all the various shapes that have since been invented, but in massive waiters, bowls, tankards, cans, &c. &c. Glass tumblers were but little used; punch, the most
common beverage, was drunk by the company from one large bowl of silver or china; and beer, from a tankard of the former metal. Dress was discriminative, and appropriate, both as it regarded the season and the character of the individual. Ladies never wore the same dresses at work and on visits. They sat at home, or went out in in the morning, in chintz-brocades, satins, and mantuas, were reserved for evening or dinner parties. Robes, or negligées, as they were called, were always worn in full dress. Muslins were not worn at all. Little misses, at a dancing-school ball—for these were almost the only fêtes that fell to their share in the days of discrimination -were drest in frocks of lawn or cambric. Worsted was then thought dress enough for common days. We should shock the grandfathers, perhaps we might say the fathers, of the present race, if we should tell them, that when boys, they wore long coats and small-clothes! Gentlemen wore light-coloured cloths of every hue: blue, green, drab, blossom, or scarlet. Black was used as mourning only, or as a professional dress.
Boarding-schools for girls were not known in Philadelphia until about the time of the Revolution; nor had they any separate schools for writing and ciphering, but they were taught in common with boys. The ornamental parts of female education were bestowed on them, but geography and grammar were probably thought too abstruse for their flimsy minds--at any rate no one dreamed of making the experiment, until a certain gentleman, named Horton, proposed to teach those sciences to young ladies. He obtained a class of about half a dozen, and the idea being once broached that females had intellects, institutions for their improvement soon multiplied.
But perhaps there is a balance of advantages and disadvantages in every age. In the olden time, domestic comfort was not every day interrupted by the pride and the profligacy of servants. There were then but few hired; black slaves, and German and Irish redemptioners, made up the mass. Personal liberty is unquestionably the inherent right of every human creature; but the slaves of Philadelphia were a happier class of people than the free blacks of the present day, who taint the very air by their vices, and exhibit every sort of wretchedness and profligacy in their dwellings. The former felt themselves to be an integral part of the family to which they belonged; they experienced in all respects the same consideration and kindness as white servants, and they were faithful and contented. Servants, in the days of which we speak, affected no equality with their masters; they knew their places, and they kept 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 sat 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