Abbildungen der Seite


PHILADELPHIA (1682–4). When Penn had sailed, he held a note in his mind of six things to be done on landing : (1) to organize his government; (2) to visit Friends in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey; (3) to conciliate the Indians; (4) to see the Governor of New York who had previously governed his proy. ince; (5) to ix the site for his capital city; (6) to arrange his differences with Lord Baltimore. The subject of his chief city occupied his anxious thought, and Markham had collected information for his use. Some people wished to see Chester made his capital; but the surveyor, Thomas Holme, agreed with Penn that the best locality in almost every respect was the neck of land lying at the junction of the Delaware and the Skuylkill rivers. Both these rivers were navigable, at least for small vessels; the Delaware being a noble stream, and the Skuylkill broader than the Thames at Lambeth Reach. The point was known as Wicocoa. In all respects the site agreed with Penn's requirements. Facing the river the bank was bold and high, the air pure and wholesome; the neighbouring lands were free from swamp; clay for making bricks was found on the spot; immense quarries of good stone-not a little of it the whitest marble-lay within a few miles. These advantages not being found elsewhere, Penn soon decided in its favour, and taking an open boat at Chester Creek, sailed up the river to this chosen spot. The land was owned by three Swedes, from

whom Penn purchased it on their own terms; and then, with the assistance of Holme, he drew his plan. In everything relating to his Holy Experi. ment, he thought on a grand scale. Not content to begin humbly and allow house to be added to house and street to street, as people wanted them, he formed the whole scheme of his city-its name, its form, its streets, its docks, and open spacesfair and perfect in his mind, before a single stone was laid.

According to his original design, Philadelphia was to cover with its houses, squares, and gardens, twelve square miles. Two noble streets, one of them facing a row of old red pines, were to front the two rivers; a great public thoroughfare lying between the houses and the river banks. These streets were to be connected by the High Street, an avenue perfectly straight, a hundred feet in width, to be adorned with lines of trees and gardens surrounding each clump of dwellinghouses. At a right angle with the High Street, Broad Street, of equal width, was to cut the town in halves from north to south. The whole city, therefore, was divided into four sections. In the exact centre a public square of ten acres was reserved and in the middle of each quarter a similar square of eight acres was set apart for the comfort and recreation of posterity. Eight streets, each fifty feet wide, were to be built parallel to Broad Street, and twenty of the same width parallel to the rivers. Penn encouraged the bnilding of detached houses, with rustic porches and trailing plants about them; his desire being to see Philadelphia “a green country town.'

A house was hardly built a cave was hardly dug in which to shelter comers from the cold of winter, ere the colonists poured in. As soon as it was known that Penn had sailed for his prov. ince, hundreds of persons in the old country followed him; and since the spring not less than twenty-three vessels had entered the Delaware filled with emigrants most of them anxious to remain at the .'green country town. Along the high bank of the Delaware nature had formed a number of caves, and these were seized by some of the colonists, and made as habitable as time and circumstances would permit. Some settlers lodged under the branches of huge pines; he blessed his stars who was fortunate enough to secure the shelter of a tree in the vicinity of his house. Women, who had been used to all the luxuries of the earth, went out to help their fathers and husbands; brought in wood and water; cooked the victuals ; tended sheep and pigs; some of them acted as labourers while the house was building, anxious to carry mortar or lend a hand at sawing a block of wood. If murmur ever once arose, the thought of that 'woful Europe' which they had left behind soon checked the sigh. A wilderness was better than a jail. Before enthusiasm every obstacle must give way; and in a short time every family had found some sort of shelter from the winter frost.'

The first frame completed was a tavern, ferryhouse, and general place of trade. For many years the Blue Anchor maintained a high reputation in the province; being a beer-house, an exchange, a corn market, a post-office, and a landing-place combined. This house became the key of the infant city and was connected with the leading incidents of its early days. The Blue Anchor was formed of large rafters of wood, the interstices being filled with bricks brought from England, in the manner of Cheshire houses of the Tudor

and Stuart reigns. It had twelve feet of frontage towards the river, and it stood full twenty-two feet backwards, into what was afterwards Dock Street. Modern magnates of Philadelphia may smile at the dimensions of a house of so much interest to their fathers, but posterity will feel for ever grateful to the founder of their city, that in an age of means so limited and results so small, he clung to his own conceptions laying down the outlines of his city with as much order as if sure he was rearing the capital of a mighty state. Other houses, such as they were, were soon completed. Within a few months of the foundation, Penn could announce to the Society of Traders that eighty houses and cottages were ready; that the merchants and craftsmen had fallen into their callings; that the farmers had partly cleared their lands; that ships were continually coming with goods and passengers; and that plentiful crops had been obtained from the soil. Enterprise then took bolder flights. One settler named Carpenter built a quay three hundred feet long, by the side of which a vessel of five hundred tons could be moored. The first mayor of the town made a rope-walk; and stone houses, with pointed roofs, balconies, and porches, ceased to excite remark. One year from the date of Penn's landing in the New World, a hundred houses had been built; two years later there were six hundred houses. Penn's correspondence with his friends in England is full of honest exultation. To Lord Halifax he writes, 'I must without vanity say, I have led the greatest colony into America that ever any man did on private credit. To Lord Sunderland he says, “With the help of God and such noble friends, I will show a province in seven years equal to her neighbour's of forty years' planting.'

But the material growth of his city occupied only a part of Penn's attention. He took early and regular steps for the protection of morals and the promotion of art and scholarship. Before the pines had been cleared from his ground he began to build schools and set up a printing-press. These were not the least marvellous of the many novelties introduced into Philadelphia. In other American settlements such luxuries had slowly followed in the wake of prosperty. In December, 1683, Enoch Flower opened his school in a hut, formed of pine and cedar planks, and divided into two apartments by a wooden frame. A Philadelphian of the present age may smile at the simplicity of Enoch's charges and curriculum, though his ancestors thought such matters worthy of a place in their minutes of council: "To learn to read, four shillings a quarter : to write, six shillings : boarding a scholar—to wit, diet, lodging, washing and schooling—ten pounds the whole year.'

Six years afterwards a public school was founded, in which the famous George Keith was the first master. The office of teacher was held in high estimation. Keith was allowed fifty pounds a-year, a house for his family, and a set of school-rooms, over and above all the profits made by the payments of his scholars; in addition to which he received a guarantee that his total income should never fall below a hundred and twenty pounds in any year-a very considerable sum in those days in a society so small and primitive. William Bradford the printer who went out with Penn, set up his craft. In Massachusetts, no book or paper had been printed until eighteen years after the first settlement; in New York seventy-three years had elapsed before a press was got to work; in

« ZurückWeiter »