Imatges de pÓgina

Dr John Kearsley, who bequeathed, for this purpose, an estate consisting chiefly of lands, which he vested in the rector, church-wardens, and vestrymen of Christ Church and St Peter's.

Philadelphia Dispensary.-The object of this institution is to afford medical relief to the indigent sick, who are unable to pay a physician for medicine and attendance. It was instituted in April 1786, and is supported by annual contributions of a guinea, or life subscriptions of ten guineas, and is conducted by twelve managers, annually chosen by the contributors. The patients, who are recommended by the contributors, when able to go out of doors, receive medical assistance at the dispensary; those who cannot leave their houses are visited at home. *

Manners and Habits.-The origin of the popula tion of this state is yet too recent to allow of any thing like uniformity of manners and habits. The inhabitants are chietly of English, Irish, or German extraction. The two first compose about one-half of the present number; the last, perhaps, more than a third. The rest are the descendants of Scotch, Dutch, Swiss, Finlanders, and Danes. The first emigrants who followed Penn have been estimated at about 2000, most of whom were non-conformists from London, Liverpool, and Bristol; and their descendants generally occupy the eastern countries. The Irish and their offspring are found almost every where throughout the state, but particularly in the Cumberland val

* Hardie's Philadelphia Register for 1793, p. 188. VOL. II.


ley. The Germans are also much dispersed. In Delaware county there are some Swedes; many of those, who, on their arrival, were bound by voluntary contract, for a certain number of years, as servants, for freight or passage from Europe, are now substantial farmers, rich in lands and cattle, well lodged and fed, and comfortably clothed in their own manufacture. Poverty is the lot of none who are able and willing to work. Smiths, shoemakers, weavers, and tailors, have generally one or two acres of land, which afford pasture for a cow, fuel, and esculent plants. The quality of the soil, the general healthiness of the climate, the high price of labour, and example given by the Quakers, of industry and regular habits, have rendered the people of this state among the most moral and happy in the republic. The propensity to use spirituous liquors, which was once very general, is now fast diminishing, and among the middling and higher ranks, drunkenness is unknown. The Philadelphians are generally reserved in their conduct to strangers, except when the latter are formally introduced, and then they are treated with great hospitality. In the article of dress, and the luxuries of the table, they vie with the inhabitants of the great towns of Europe; many of the farmers' houses, particularly the descendants of the English and Irish, are elegantly furnished; the Germans are less disposed to change the habits of their ancestors. Females generally have a share of the patrimonial estate, and primogeniture, and the preference in favour of males, will soon be unknown, even in testamentary disposition. Females usually marry be

tween eighteen and twenty, and few remain single until twenty-five. The men usually marry before thirty; marriages are generally made from affection, and the crime of bigamy is rare. The amusements, throughout the state, are horse-racing, dancing, concerts, plays performed by strolling companies, fishing, and hunting. Festivals are held in May and October, and at corn-husking and the gathering of apples, there is generally much merriment, the task being performed by a number of young people of both sexes, who assemble from the neighbouring parts. Sleighing is a favourite winter amusement in the western parts; in the eastern the snow, of late, has not been sufficiently deep for this purpose.

History.-The first settlers within the limits of the state were Swedes and Finns, who, soon after their arrival, in 1627, purchased, from the Indian proprietors, a tract extending from Cape Henlopen, the place of disembarkation, to the falls of the Delaware river, along which they made various settlements, but not being supported by their prince, Gustavus Adolphus, they fell under the dominion of the Dutch, who retained the country under the name of the New Netherlands, till it became subject to Britain. Charles II. granted the country, by charter, to William Penn, in 1681, under the name of Pennsylvania, as a recompense for the services which he had rendered to the crown. This grant included all the country between the 40° and 43° of latitude, and extending over 5° of longitude, except a part of New Jersey, which Penn pur


chased for 4000 pounds. Soon after the ratification of those grants, Admiral Penn died, and the lands descended to his son, who went out himself and procured a number of settlers. From feelings of justice, he paid a price to the Indians, for the lands conferred upon him by grant; and, in order to prevent disputes between the parties, it was ordered, that all dealings between them should be transacted in the public market; and all differences settled by a commission of six planters and the same number of Indians.

The most favourable regulations were made to encourage the first colonists. All persons above sixteen years, who had no money to purchase land, were allowed fifty acres in perpetuity, subject to a perpetual rent of an English penny per acre. Children and servants, when arrived at the age of maturity, were also allowed the same extent of land, subject to a rent of two shillings; and all were considered as true inhabitants, with the rights of election and of being elected, without regard to religion or birth. The government consisted of two sovereign colleges, a council of state, and general assembly, elected yearly by the inhabitants. No tax could be imposed without the consent of two thirds of the colleges. For the purpose of preventing, as much as possible, contests and law-suits, the amount of contracts and obligations on notes, exceeding fifty pounds, and running beyond three months, were inscribed in a register; and, that no person might have an interest in encouraging law-suits, no lawyer, solicitor, or attorney was allowed to take a fee. With the view of establishing perfect equality among

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all religious sects, no cathedral or principal church was to be established, and no person was obliged to assist in any public religious exercise. To encourage industry, it was enacted, that every child above twelve years of should learn some useful trade or profession. Encouraged by the liberal system of this wise legislator, which formed a striking contrast to the arbitrary measures of the government of the mother country, numbers sought refuge from persecution in this colony. It is stated by Douglas, in his description of this province, that, in the year 1729, the number of emigrants was 6200, of whom the greatest part were Germans or Irish; that, in 1750, 1000 British and Irish gers arrived, and 4317 Germans. Another writer t mentions, that, from 1750 to 1754 inclusive, there arrived at Philadelphia yearly, about the close of autumn, from twenty to twenty-four vessels, which, during that period, disembarked more than 24,000 persons. The frame of government and code of laws adopted by the assembly in 1682 were afterwards modified in 1683, 1696, and 1701, when they received the name of the charter of provincial privileges. After the defeat of General Braddock in 1754, which rendered the French masters of all the western country from the Ohio to


* How melancholy is the recollection of the fate of so benevo lent a legislator. Deceived by agents in whom he had placed confidence, and defeated in a law-suit of great importance, he lost his liberty at an advanced age; and expired, after years of deep sad. ness, in 1718, near Reading, in Berkshire.

+ Histoire de la Pennsylvania, traduite de L'Allemand, par M Roussetot de Surgy, Censeur Royal.

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