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One or two extracts will exhibit favorable specimens of the author's manner, and of the prevailing spirit of his poetry. The first is a description of natural scenery.
It was a lovely night in June;
years hath cast its shades between
pp. 70, 71.
Such was the pitiless grief, whose smart
But when the first keen agony
Nor heeded that the night wind blew. The author makes free use of the poetical license. His Scandinavians, who have shot up into a wide spreading nation of six hundred thousand persons from the slender stock of Naddohr's colony, retain for three centuries not only all the customs of their ancestors, but they build cities and palaces, fabricate arms, put on coats of mail, go to battle by the sound of the bugle, ride horses richly caparisoned, and do many other things, which we should hardly expect to be done by a race of people separated three centuries from the land of its ancestors, and surrounded by savages on the banks of the Mississippi. A novel kind of warfare is also introduced. Escalala comes suddenly into battle,
On a mammoth's giant might,
Rushing through the failing fight. This mammoth makes prodigious havoc, and we can show no good reason why the poet has not a right to enlist him into the service of his heroine, although we can bring no precedent for such an adventure. For all that tradition or history says to the contrary, the mammoth may once have been as potent in the armies of the west, as the elephant in those of the east.
ART. X.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
1.-Philadelphia in the Year 1824; or a Brief Account of the
various Institutions and Public Objects in this Metropolis ; being a complete Guide to Strangers, and a useful Compendium for the Inhabitants. To which is prefixed an Historical and Statistical Account of the City; with a Plan of the City, View of the Water Works, and other
Engravings. pp. 238. Carey & Lea. Philadelphia. 1824. It was a remark of one of the wisest and best men, whom the world has seen, that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity,' By the writer of a brief history of Philadelphia, this remark of Washington is quoted, as being fully illustrated in the rise and growth of that city. And, indeed, there are many associations connected with the origin of Philadelphia, its progress and history, equally grateful to the philanthropist and the patriotic citizen of the United States. Its foundation was laid in peace and concord. Our ancestors in general, however gently we may touch their motives and temper, merit little for their wisdom and discretion, in their conduct with the Indians. They were too prone to look on the wild man as an inferior being, and to set themselves up as lords over his rights and property, without remembering that they were intruders on his soil, or condescending to meet him even in the land of his fathers on equal and amicable terms. To the reproach of many of our progenitors, whose virtues in other respects speak volumes in their praise, the sword was too often made by them the charter of their rights, and the instrument of gaining ascendency over the natives.
But the memorable interview of William Penn with the Indians, on the bank of the Delaware, exhibited a different scene ; the even scales of justice, and the mild persuasion of christian love, were the powerful engines with which he swayed the barbarian mind, and taught the savage to confide in the sincerity of the white man; and the first page in the annals of Philadelphia is one of the brightest in the history of mankind, recording an event not more to the credit of the wise and benevolent legislator, through whose agency it happened, than honorable to humanity itself. It was here also, that religious toleration was made the basis of a government at its beginning, and religious freedom established at a time, when the yoke of bigotry and superstition was bowing to the dust the necks of almost all the inhabitants of civilised Europe. In later times it was here, that the first Congress of the colonies assembled, and the articles of confederation and union were agreed upon ; and it was here that American Independence was first declared. This city was moreover the residence of Franklin, Rittenhouse, Rush, and of other men, who contributed to achieve our nation's liberties, and who deserve a nation's gratitude.
At the beginning of the year 1681,' says the writer of the brief history above cited, the tract of ground upon which Philadelphia now stands was covered with forests; and wild men and savage beasts had a pretty equal title to it. Tradition has preserved the anecdote, that in the year 1678, a ship called the Shields of Stockton, the first that had ever ventured to sail so high up the river, approached so close to the shore in tacking as to run her bowsprit among the trees which then lined the bank, and the passengers on board, who were bound for Burlington, remarked upon it as an advantageous site for a town. Little could they foresee the city that was to be erected upon that spot, or the contrast between its growth and that of the still humble village for which they were destined.
The love of religious liberty led to the foundation of Philadelphia. William Penn had fixed his thoughts upon America as a land of refuge and freedom, many years previous to his acquisition of Pennsylvania. It was not, however, until August 1682, that this venerable lawgiver, with his worthy associates, took their final leave of England. They were accompanied with favorable winds, and on the twentyfourth of October the proprietary landed at Newcastle, amid the acclamations of the Dutch and Swedish settlers. From this place he proceeded to Upland, (now called Chester,) and shortly afterwards concluded that famous treaty with the natives, which they promised should endure “ as long as the trees should grow, or the waters hold their course;" a promise, which was faithfully kept during the whole period of the proprietary government.
Previously to the arrival of the proprietor, some of the emigrants, who had preceded him, provided for themselves temporary accommodations on the site of the city, in bark huts, which the natives taught them to erect, or in caves dug in the high bank that overhung the Delaware. In one of these rude caves was born the first native Philadelphian.* The first house erected in Philadelphia was a low wooden building, on the east side of Front street, in what was called Budd's Row, a little to the north of the creek or inlet now occupied hy Dock street, and which originally flowed as far to the north and west as Chesnut and Third streets. The owner kept a tavern there, called “ The Blue Anchor," for many years. One of the first brick buildings erected in Philadelphia, was a house, which till very recently stood on the north side of Chesnut street, opposite Carpenter's Court. In Letitia Court still survives the venerable building, which the proprietor occupied as his town residence, and which was erected within a few years after his arrival. Upwards of eighty houses, of different sizes, were erected during the first year; and the foundation being now laid, the proprietor addressed a letter of general information and description respecting the country, to the Society of Free Traders,” the following passage of which conveys his thoughts and wishes in regard to the infant city.
* John Key, who reached the patriarchal age of eightyfive, and died at Kennet, in Chester county, in July, 1767. He was born in a cave, afterwards known by the name of Pennypot, on the Bank near Race street. Proud relates of him, that when near eighty, he walked from Kennet to the city, a distance of thirty miles, in one day.
The natives of these dwellings of primitive simplicity, seem to have approached the primitive longevity; for Edward Drinker, who was also born in a cave, survived until the declaration of Independence.
““ Philadelphia, the expectation of those that are concerned in this province, is at last laid out, to the great content of those here that are any ways interested therein. The situation is a neck of land, and lieth between two navigable rivers, Delaware and Sculkil ; whereby it hath two fronts upon the water each a mile ; and two from river to river. Delaware is a glorious river ; but the Sculkil, being an hundred miles boatable above the falls, and its course north east, towards the forntain of Susquahanna, (that tends to the heart of the province, and both sides our own,) it is like to be a great part of the settlement of this age. I say little of the town itself, because a platform will be shewn you by my agent ; in which those who are purchasers of me will find their names and interests. But this I will say for the good providence of God, that of all the many places I have seen in the world, I remember not one better seated; so that it seems to me to have been appointed for a town, whether we regard the rivers or the conveniency of the coves, docks, springs, the loftiness and soundness of the land, and the air, held by the people of these parts to be very good. It is advanced within less than a year to about fourscore houses and cottages, such as they are; where merchants and handicrafts are following their vocations as fast as they can ; while the countrymen are close at their farms. Some of them got a little winter corn in the ground last season, and the generality have had a handsome summer crop, and are preparing for their winter corn. They reaped their barley this year in the month called May; the wheat in the month following ; so that there is time in these parts for another crop of divers things before the winter season. We are daily in hopes of shipping to add to our number; for blessed be God, here is both room and accommodation for them. The stories of our necessity being either the VOL. XX.-NO. 46.